Monday, December 05, 2011

Muslims and Christians, Ravens and Cats

We went for lunch to plan our way for 3 kids and a school district that's jerking them around. Very nice Pakistani food. Besides the meal, some was sent away with us, since that is the custom.

That is in fact profoundly wise, very much how God does things. We have communion in the faith, because food sacramentally makes relationship. Understanding this, Paul wrote not even to eat with certain people, while agreeing with Jesus that eating with sinners in the world is fine. And the way it's the custom in Pakistan to send food along with you when you leave, God sends his word along with us, so that in that way his presence lingers. The meal sort of doesn't end. We're reminded as we keep eating it at home.

They being Muslims, we talked about a few theological matters, on which being so much alike, Christians and Muslims have a lot to say each other. Islam came from Eastern Orthodox Christianity, so the ritual observances and liturgical calendar are very familiar to anyone acquainted at all with Eastern churches.

Just as Christians have our Christoids, whose understanding of spiritual warfare is bombing and invading people, who want uppity women to learn their place, and who feel obliged to dominate the state and society to do God a favor, Islam appears to be plagued with a nearly identical class of Muslimoids. Indeed, the principal Muslim-hating denomination in these parts seems to favor Muslim architecture when building their own mosques - uh, church buildings. We really should have no problem understanding one another.

When, as Muslims teach, Jesus returns to destroy the Antichrist (ad-Dajjal) and judge the world, none of us will be proud of how we had the right position on something. In fact, we all will be amazed at how foolish we all were, how truly all of us knew nothing at all. Why not save time and just stipulate it today before we get to God's court? Even today, when God shows up, we come away amazed at how, as Paul wrote, we know nothing as we should.

It is written that God feeds the young ravens when they cry. When our cats cry, if I blow them off for some other little silly purpose, I can feel God looking at me, and not with approval. God hears the cry of those cats - as well he should, I suppose, since both are really good at it.

Maybe God has taught them how to pray. If God hears ravens and cats, who never show the slightest interest in formulating the right positions on the oneness of God, the Trinity, or a variety of other questions that Christians and Muslims are often sure we need to understand correctly and with precision, maybe that's not as essential as we think it is. Maybe it's stuff like, "Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" - by finding out how to walk with God so that these become possible - just as the Bible says. "If your Father listens to ravens and to your cats, maybe he will listen to you, too, O man of little faith. "


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