HatTip to Ad Orientem
“A little more than a year ago, the Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding found herself at the doorway of a new world, Islam, and wasn’t quite sure how she got there. As she reflected on her journey, she realized Jesus was her guide. Now both a practicing Muslim and an Episcopal priest, Redding shares her thoughts on how the two faiths inform each other.
“The way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam,” Redding explains, “and although there are Christians and Muslims who think I must convert from one to the other, the more I go down this path the more excited I am about both Christianity and Islam.”
Redding credits her upbringing for early exposure to interfaith relationships. She was baptized by an African Methodist Episcopal minister but the only Sunday school she attended was Episcopal. She attended a Unitarian youth group in high school when the Episcopal group disbanded. She was influenced by a cooperative community near where she grew up that was comprised of mostly Quakers, Unitarians and Jews. Her father was a prominent civil rights lawyer whose work brought him and the family into contact with people of many faith backgrounds.
After an introduction to a Muslim prayer practice in early 2006, Redding knew she had been wrestling with a call to Islam. She approached a Muslim woman and told her so, and the woman replied, “Christianity has been good to you and you to it, and you don’t have to choose.” That made all the difference in Redding’s choice to practice Islam.
“What Islam has done for me is shed this light on Christianity and shown for me anew what a glorious way Christianity is,” she explains.
“We Christians, in struggling to express the beauty and dignity of Jesus and the pattern of life he offers, describe him as the ‘only begotten son of God.’ That’s how wonderful he is to us. But that is not literal,” she continues. “When we say Jesus is the only begotten one, we are saying he’s unique in some way. Islam says the same thing. He’s the only human aside from Adam who is directly created by God, and he’s different from Adam because he has a human mother. So there’s agreement—this person is unique in his relationship to God.” Christianity also says that we are all part of the household of God and in essence brothers and sisters of Jesus. Muslims take the figurative language of “only begotten,” make it concrete and contradict it: God “neither begets nor is begotten.”
“I agree with both because I do want to say that Jesus is unique, and for me, Jesus is my spiritual master,” Redding says. “Muslims say Mohammed is the most perfect. Well, it depends on who you fall in love with. I fell in love with Jesus a long time ago and I’m still in love with Jesus but I’d like to think my relationship with Jesus has matured.”
She added that what Islam does is take Jesus out of the way of her relationship with God, “but it doesn’t drop Jesus. I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam, and he didn’t drop me off at the door. He’s there, too.”
read the rest here [page 9]. WARNING: strong stomach necessary.
This woman believes she is a Christian. She has so modified-in her own mind and through her own rationalization-what Christianity is that it is completely compatible with any other faith system, even when they are mutually exclusive. She accomplishes this by being “tolerant” and she believes that she is tolerant by removing the “only”s in each religion’s respective statements of faith. This is what it means to be a theological liberal. This is what it means to be a heretic. As Bill Engvall says, “Here’s your sign.”