A friend texted me an emoji yesterday I didn’t recognize. Turns out it was the “apology” emoji and not the “Geesh, you’re a dope. I’m never talking to you again” emoji as I had imagined. Apparently I’m not real emoji-intuitive.
I lack intuition in other areas as well, particularly compared to my capacity to assume! It’s way out of balance.
I want to help people move from apathy, anxiousness and anger regarding Muslims toward love and engagement. This desire makes the big assumption that some people really feel these things. If this is true and we further assume most of us are more or less rational, there must be stuff behind those emotions: data, experience, belief, etc.
Would you help me understand this? Take maybe sixty seconds to weigh in with your thoughts about what’s behind apathy, anxiousness and anger toward Muslims. Think about yourself, but also what you sense is going on for others and in the broader culture.
- Apathy: We can’t care about everything, right? There are big issues facing us that I give virtually no mind time to. Beyond that factor, why might we be apathetic toward Muslims?
- Anxiousness: What causes our apprehension toward Muslims? If we drill down below the surface, what are we really afraid of? Or maybe “concerned about” more closely reflects what more people feel.
- Anger: Why are people angry at Muslims? I often say, “If you’ve literally been shot at by a Muslim and that made you angry, that’s legit.” But there are lesser or non-personal things that might also make us mad. What are we angry about?
Please click here and respond to one or more of these questions. I’ll be grateful to learn from your experience.
American evangelical Christians are big on Sola Scriptura, the idea that the Bible contains all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life. At least a growing number of us are. At least in theory. We hold to the Bible and don’t let anything sneak up next to it; not Oprah, not “how Grandma used to do it,” and not even Max Lucado books (usually).
We listen to preachers, we read commentaries and if it didn’t look so Catholic, we’d probably make C.S. Lewis a saint. But the Bible stands alone.
So if you find yourself chatting with a Muslim (And I cannot say how strongly I hope you do!), you might assume they think similarly about the Quran. I tend to think that. Sola Qurana!
But it’s really not the case. Muslims see the Quran as supreme, but also give significant consideration to the Hadiths and Sunnah and probably additional things I don’t even know about. (I only act like I understand this stuff!)
The Hadiths are collections of the sayings of Muhammad. The Sunnah, as I understand it, is the agreed upon path, the tradition passed down from person to person, from generation to generation. These both provide considerable input on how a Muslim believes and lives.
I’m not writing this to throw shade on Muslims because they get direction from multiple sources or to imply that Christians are oh-so-cool because we just believe the Bible. I’m writing to remind myself, and you if it’s helpful, that Muslims view the Quran highly, but not solely. If you’re in a theological conversation, that can be a huge and frustrating reality.
Read more about the Hadith and Sunnah here.
You know what you don’t expect to see at Baskin Robbins in Indianapolis*? A Muslim woman buying treats decked out in a full length niqab with only her eyes showing. But that’s just what my friend Hannah saw. Of course the Holy Spirit saw the woman too and promptly whispered to Hannah, “Pay for her ice cream!” Ahhh! Granted, buying ice cream is a little easier than some things the Holy Spirit may have said, but still.
Hannah’d been learning about Muslims and is by nature a little daring, so she did it! (Full disclosure: She used her boyfriend’s debit card!) The awkward purchase soon morphed into a lively conversation and culminated with Hannah being invited to dinner the next day!
Names and numbers were exchanged, locations and times agreed upon and Facebook stalking commenced. Hannah was alarmed to see her burka buddy’s page hosting a number of videos not too complimentary to Christians. But she knew the food would be great and God had her back, so she went.
The food was delicious, the conversation warm and heart felt. Rachel’s simple hopes were met: Her new friend got to know a Christian who liked her, she felt welcomed in the U.S., and Rachel learned a ton about her friend’s culture and beliefs.
Just that would have been pretty cool, but then Fatima capped the evening with this, “My husband owns a number of resorts throughout our country. We would love to have you be our guest at one with a penthouse suite, free food and your own driver! Can you come for a vacation or maybe for your honeymoon?”
Wow! Sometimes the simplest act, the smallest step across the divide that separates us leads to things we would not have imagined.
Let’s buy the ice cream!