Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a muslim and a christian

In the east Texas town where I grew up there were no Muslims. It has only been in my adulthood that I have learned about Islam. In recent years the news has concentrated on Muslims who chose a more radical way of living faith, so when I tell people that I am a Christian minister and my co-worker is Muslim they are quite surprised. My co-worker has the same experience as his Muslim friends can’t believe he works for a church.

Adlee Abdullah Akbar, a lifelong Muslim born and raised in Dallas, has helped me to better understand Islam. We often begin the day talking about local current events. Most always we end up talking about faith. Though we use different terminology and have different experiences we have discovered that we have more in common than not.

The common thread binding us together is God’s call to serve those who need basic life necessities and a sense of hope. This mutual calling requires that we step into each other’s neighborhoods to better understand each other. A year ago Adlee took me to a meeting on the South side of Dallas to meet community leaders and to hear Martin Luther King, III speak. In our neck of the woods Adlee works with church members serving in the Network clothes closet and has also met many North side community leaders.

We are well aware that our faith traditions do not see eye to eye. Yet, in our friendship we have come to trust that God is faithful, just and kind. Along the way we stretch and push to understand each other and as we do we encounter the depth of God’s love. We both wonder what would happen if more Muslims and Christians spent time listening to each other. If we had not done so our lives would not be as rich as they are today.

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