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A Dervish's Du`a' meets LivingRoom

27 August, 2004 12:39 PM

At LivingRoom this week (did I mention we've moved to Wednesday nights?) we had a really wonderful time with a couple of special guests. Maryam from the A Dervish's Du'a blog came along with a friend (Waleed) and shared her faith story and aspects of what it is like to be a Muslim living in Melbourne Australia.

It was a real privilege to hear their stories (you can read Maryam's conversion story here) and to understand a little more of Islam. Maryam and Waleed both have a real gift in communicating really beautifully their understanding of faith, God and the particular issues and opportunities of life that they have. They were particularly gracious in the way they shared and open to pretty much any question we threw their way.

The only downside of the night was that it all ended so quickly. I think it left most of us as a group thirsting for more interaction with these two wonderful people.



Do you believe that all roads lead to God?

Is the God of the Christian Bible the same as the God of the Koran?

Will we all one day be together in the presence of the one true God? the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews?

What about the buddhist, etc., etc., etc.

Would love to hear your thoughts, it would help me understand the "Emerging Church" even better.

harmless » 28 August, 2004 12:09 AM

I thought I might be a bit presumptious and reply to Harmless' question as I was going to leave a comment anyway.

I'm curious as to why you are asking if Darren believes that "all roads lead to God" etc. simply on the basis of his report back of a very enjoyable information sharing evening between some Christians and Muslims?

It is very possible for people from different religions to enjoy a meal and talk about themselves without implying wholesale conversions of faith all round. Meetings between different faiths don't *have* to be negative or aggressive in order for people to retain the sanctity of their own beliefs.

I have to say both Waleed and myself found the folk from Living Room to be wonderful exemplars of their faith. They invited us to share a meal, made us feel extremely welcome, told us the Living Room story, were kind, considerate and were everything a witness for Christ should be IMHO.

Maryam » 28 August, 2004 10:22 AM

P.S. Sorry about the double trackback

Maryam » 28 August, 2004 10:23 AM

I read Darren's stuff everyday, and I wasn't in anyway making a criticism or judging... In fact, I agree. I think that it is awesome that this time together with the people of living room was possible.

But it spawned a question in my mind, and I was just curious. In the Bible, when you see the word, "fellowship" it means (in the greek) "in common" I believe that TRUE fellowship can only occur when people are headed the same direction.

Darren, I was just being curious. No response is necessary, I was just wondering where you stand...

harmless » 1 September, 2004 12:07 AM


harmless » 1 September, 2004 12:09 AM

Thanks for the comment Harmless - I've not been avoiding answering it - rather trying to find more than 5 minutes to sit with it in order to respond comprehensively. Unfortunately I've not found it so will answer on the fly before I run out to a meeting.

You're asking the million dollar question arn't you!? One that humankind has grappled with for thousands of years - how do you get to God? Who is God? etc etc.

I guess before answering I'd want to say (as has already been said above) that I don't think my answer has any impact upon whether I should or shouldn't share a meal with people coming at faith from other perspectives.... I think we're all on the same page with that one from what I've read above...

Ok - back to the million dollar question - there are so many streams of the question that I want to adress - some sit well with one another, others do not - let me spray some half baked thoughts out there if I may. Warning - this is messy thinking - I'm still learning/thinking/discovering on all of this.

1. I'm going to be very honest with you here Harmless and say that Ultimately I don't know the answer the question 'is Jesus the only way to God?' There are some things I'm really looking forward to questioning God on and understanding in fuller ways.

2. I was brought up to answer that question yes and there is a part of me today that can't let go of some of those Scriptures and teaching - however life back then was pretty black and white for me and for many many reasons life seems to have become a little more grey in many areas for me (I could write a book about it - but not here).

3. One thing I do know for certain is that I've come to a new and wonderful experience of/relationship with/understanding of God through Jesus. Part of this rich experience of God wants me to share it with others and be a part of their journey towards God also. I actually see the words of Jesus to 'make disciples' as a responsibility that I need to take seriously - so I am interested in others knowing what I've found to be true in my own life.

4. I also want to hold in tension the scriptures I was brought up with that might talk about an exclusive way to God with the verses that i read about not judging other people. There are some things I believe I'm not entitled to make judgments upon. I'm kind of happy about that - not being God and all. I think making those kinds of judgment calls would really screw with my head.

5. In a similar way to the realization that 'I'm not God' is another realization that I'm not responsible for the decisions other people make. I don't see forcing my faith upon other people as being sanctioned any where in Scripture. People are responsible to respond to what they hear God saying to them in whatever way they will respond. What I'm responsible for is loving people, listening to God in the relationships I have with others and joining him in the work of drawing them to him. I can't make decisions for people....again another 'phew' realization.

6. Over the last few years I've been learning in my own faith walk that God reveals himself to me in a myriad of ways. There are some more traditionally 'Christian' ways like reading Scripture, Prayer, Quiet times, worship etc - but more and more I'm catching glimpses of God in some really strange and surprising places. Creation, books, poetry, art, food, conversation just to name a few. I think it would be arrogant for me to say I'm seeing God in these things just because I'm a Christian. I get the feeling in my interactions with other people (some from other faith journeys like Maryam - some from people that have rejected any formal religion) that all people get such 'glimpses of God' in everyday life. I'm a strong believer that God is drawing all creation (including its people) to himself. Now the question still remains 'is Jesus the only way this process can be completed?' - again I'm not completely sure of the answer to that question but I'm becoming more comfortable to allow others to be on the journey that they are on and to trust that God is big enough to answer those questions.

That is probably one of the worst and long winded ways of answering your questions harmless - sorry.

I will say one last thing. You ask the question because you want to know more about the emerging church. Let me say that I suspect that there is as many opinions on this topic in Emerging Church circles as there would be in the wider, more mainline church circles.

Darren Rowse » 2 September, 2004 3:07 PM

I think that was a great answer. I appreciate you taking the time.

harmless » 2 September, 2004 8:45 PM

My name is John Jensen, and I work among the emerging church, and have started a number of communites that would be considered emerging churches.

I would like to affirm Darrens comment that his experience and thoughts do not speak for the entire emerging church community. This movement is very diverse, there will be some very theologically orthodox communites, some very liberal communities, and everything in between.

I happen to be one who like Darren is questioning things deeply. I have found Jesus to be my all and all. My goal is to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and my neighbors as myself. I hope I represent Jesus to all I spend time with. Beyond this I must trust God in the hearts of those He loves more than I.

the rev

the rev » 13 September, 2004 7:20 PM

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