Christians and Muslims Talking About God and Serving The City

It’s not often that I’ll mention what’s happening or happened at my church, but this post is dedicated to an interesting event we held three weeks ago.  We hosted Eboo Patel, author of Acts of Faith and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core.  He came, along with a few of his staff, one of whom is a member of our church, and we were very glad to have them.

The event launched what our staff expects to be a long-term multi-faith dialogue.  We expect the conversation that Pastor Hong and Dr. Patel started then will eventuate into more discussion and action on what it means for Christians and Muslims to be in relationship, how we together can seek the good of the city, and how we can pursue justice, even while honoring and holding well our own very real differences of (theological) opinion.  We also are planning slowly how to respond to the many things which came up after that: the questions, the concerns, the issues for people in our congregation.  Last, we are planning how to take the next step to make the multi-faith dialogue multi-faith.  We’ve been thinking about how we can invite and envelope a leader from one of the Jewish traditions in order to have the same kinds of conversations, words leading to actions.

That said, I purchased two copies of Dr. Patel’s book, one to read and one to give away.  The book’s in my third reading pile and I’ll get to it by February if I stay the reading course.  So, I can’t review it.  My friend and coworker, David Swanson, has read and reviewed it though

Nonetheless, if you’d like to get a free copy, enter my little competition by Wednesday, midnight CST, and I’ll randomly choose a winner.  To enter, leave a comment about why you think telling stories about faith is important.

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3 thoughts on “Christians and Muslims Talking About God and Serving The City

  1. Why do I think telling stories about faith is important?

    Because it’s how we learn and internalize. A fact is just a fact–it lacks context, background, and relevance. A story allows us to empathize with the characters, identify our own part in the story, and understand the importance of whatever is being discussed.

    When it comes to faith, it is easy to say, “If you have faith, you should do XYZ.” But it is difficult to turn that fact and proscription into a concrete action that someone else can emulate. But to tell a story about faith, where the characters are real and conflicted, and that nonetheless shows how a person can have faith despite everything else in life, offers the reader a means of internalizing things in an easily-relevant way.

  2. While we do have too much information to hold it all together thereby necessitating abstraction, we connect most deeply with the concrete. Stories are concrete. Stories are particular. God’s revelation to us is largely in narrative and in concrete, particular ways. For us to tell stories is to identify with and take part in that work too.

  3. After a contested but random process, Josh, you win the complimentary copy of Eboo’s book. I’ll gladly bring it to you in person! Thank you and Andrew for commenting.

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