August 24th through 26th, I participated in "A Consultation on Christianity and Muslim Relations" at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. The meeting consisted of outstanding talks and conversations among pastors, missionaries, seminary presidents, deans, professors and seminary students about godly ways to engage and to relate to Muslims.
When we meet people's humanity, we see how much we are alike. It is easier to appreciate others when we recognize that we are in the same human boat.
Jesus teaches to love our neighbors. He does not give us religious criteria for loving the neighbor. We do not need to agree with our neighbors to love them.
In a world of political and social distresses over ethnic, gender, racial and religious plurality, how can the Christian lead in expressing love? One way is to get to know our neighbors. It is hard to truly love people we do not know.
We must not allow the media, social media, politicians and others teach us who another person is because of the other person's beliefs or preferences.
Let's meet and spend time with people who are not like us – whatever "us" means to you.
- Learning from others is a civil exercise.
- Living alongside people who we do not agree with is a sign of intelligence.
- Loving people who are "different" is the heart of Christian love of neighbor.
The future of our world belongs to those who know what it means to bear witness to Christ in lifestyle and love of neighbor. Amidst increased plurality, what wonderful opportunity as well as challenge to live out the call of Christ in renewed ways!