Thinking Anglicans

two reports on African Christianity

Hat tip to epiScope for both of these.

Nigerians meld Christianity, Islam with ancient practices from the Associated Press. This includes some quotes from Nigerian Anglican spokesman Akintunde Popoola.

And excerpts from Philip Jenkins’ article titled Unholy Communion in the New Republic are available here.

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Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“We must understand each other while holding onto our beliefs. The problems arise when there’s not enough understanding, and one religion tries to lord it over another.”

What a shame Popoola and his bishop cannot afford that same understanding to their fellow Anglicans and Christians who disagree with them on something far less essential than the differences between mono- and polytheism.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

In this context, did anyone see the article in yesterday’s Times “let’s make peace to save the world”, about a Muslim initiative to the Pope and other leading Christians to discover what unites us rather than divides us?
Sadly, +Rochester is already against it, fortunately Rowan appears to have commented positively.

Sorry, I can’t seem to get to the link in the Times Online. Maybe someone else here can?

John Omani
John Omani
13 years ago

Erika, The link to the Islamic statement is here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2636117.ece It is a mistake to say that +Rochester is against Muslim proclamations of peace – indeed he welcomed the new opportunity for dialogue – but he quite rightly warned that that this must be a genuine dialogue which acknowledges both our similarities as well as our differences. The Muslim insistence on the oneness of God in the document, for example, is most certainly not the same as the Christian perspective; indeed, Sura 9:30 of the Koran curses those who believe Christ to be the Son of God. Even more problematic… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

John,
thank you for the link and the explanations.
I confess to having read the article only briefly, so if I have misrepresented +Rochester, I apologise.

And yes, religious persecution must be confronted. Yet, the purpose of this initiative is to heal, not to highlight and emphasise the differences. In itself, it’s brave and a very welcome and necessary start.

John Omani
John Omani
13 years ago

Erika, Many thanks for this. You are absolutely right that it is a step in the right direction, and ought to be welcomed as an opportunity for dialogue. I can sympathise, however, with those who believe that before Muslim leaders lecture Christian leaders on peace, they would do well to redouble efforts to persuade their fellow Muslims to renounce violence as a means of achieving their aims. Over the past two decades, by a huge multiple, far more Muslims have been killed and driven out of their homes by their co-religionists, very often in the name of Allah, than by… Read more »

John Omani
John Omani
13 years ago

Just as a follow up to my previous post: Anglican Christians are taking the lead in building bridges with Islam, even in places not known for their embrace of conciliatary language. See this Church Times article on the efforts of the outgoing Bishop of Kaduna:

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=35431

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“I can sympathise, however, with those who believe that before Muslim leaders lecture Christian leaders on peace, they would do well to redouble efforts to persuade their fellow Muslims to renounce violence as a means of achieving their aims.” As do I. Further, your comments on religious freedom are bang on. In Saudi Arabia, one can’t be anything other than Muslim, even in private, and Christians aren’t accorded anything like equality across much of the Muslim world. Also, there is the interesting phenomenon of disrespecting the Prophet. Now I understand their point, and I see no reason to insult other… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“I can sympathise, however, with those who believe that before Muslim leaders lecture Christian leaders on peace, they would do well to redouble efforts to persuade their fellow Muslims to renounce violence as a means of achieving their aims.” I don’t like the negativity of this sentence. No-one is “lecturing”, and no-one says that Muslims shouldn’t bring their own house in order too. But if a group of brave Muslims (and in many countries you have to be brave to advocate talking to those of other faith), suggests a dialogue, why can we not say: Thank you for taking a… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

John and Ford: Excellent comments. One of the problems that besets us–in terms of requirements for “respect”–is C.S. Lewis’ “trilemma” argument, which applies to Mohammed as well as to Jesus. In other words, the testimony of Jesus leaves us no alternative to consider him merely a good man. Someone who claims to be God incarnate can only be one of three things: A very evil person, a very crazy person, or what he says he is. Jews face this dilemma with regard to Jesus. Likewise, Christians and Jews face a similar dilemma with regard to Mohammed, who claimed to be… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

It is a wonderful first step, these Muslims have brought a gift to the table and opened their hearts to show how co-habitating peace might be possible. After all, we all dependent on the same source for air, water and resources, we might as well learn to live with each other. Sure, some Muslims are still going to be a problem, but everyone on TA can easily name some Christians who also seem to find peace an anathema. If we let the bullies control the agenda, there will never be peace. If we led the immature hotheads provoke conflicts, they… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“He either was crazy, was evil, or was what he said he was. As with Jesus, there are only three possibilities (unless you deny part of his message).”

Even if you believe you have to judge the different faiths in such an exclusive fashion, there is a simple solution to your dilemma.
Substitute “evil” with “wrong” or “misguided” or “mistaken”, and you no longer need to revile those who don’t share your beliefs.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“Solutions?” Well, a good first step would be to stop trumpeting that anyone who isn’t a Christian will be roasted in Hell for all eternity. It might be an idea for Consevo parishes to stop demanding that their bishop either do this or provide them with alternate Episcopal oversight because he is persecuting them. It might be an idea to grow up enough to be able to say, and mean, “I believe you are wrong, but I respect the fact that you believe you are right. I will try, as Jesus commanded, to show you what I believe to be… Read more »

Steven
Steven
13 years ago

Ford: Everything up to the last bit about the Celts seems a bit off topic, though I suppose everyone has a right to vent from time to time. And, a parallel between Celts and Moslems seems a bit stretched. Moslems are not the followers of an ancient pagan religion, they claim to already know everything they need to know about Christ and Christianity, would consider the type of preaching you suggest to be condescending in the extreme considering the fact they hold their religion to be vastly superior to anything Christianity has to offer, and do not allow conversion or… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

We were talking about relationships between religions, and I do think the way certain Christian groups go about “evangelism” is on topic. The level of insult and scheming gives a poor image of Christianity. Publically claiming that God doesn’t hear the prayer of a Muslim doesn’t help either, yet that has been done,as you know. You can’t say the kinds of things I mentioned DON’T happen, and it seems to me they poison the atmosphere of Christian/Muslim relations. I have spoken to many Muslims who speak of the things Christians get up to in their countries. The phenomenon of the… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Ford I concur there are some who claim “God doesn’t hear the prayer of a Muslim” nor of any other who never even heard of them, were born before their time, or refused to be co-opted by them because they were just plain nasty (the opposite of gentleness that Jesus promised to the Daughter of Zion). Fortunately, God has a way around stupid self-righteous priests. God would never judge or treat a soul more harshly than it deserves. So… God assigns higher souls to look after an area, they are the “holding pattern” guardians for souls not acknowledged by the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“bypasses the cruel interpretations that demand that souls must make the right decision” You know, Cheryl, I don’t often agree with your theological ideas, but this line resonated. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life because He bypasses the humans who presume to put themselves in His place and decide who’s holy and who’s not. Is He is saying, “You know, it’s for Me to decide, not you, so if you persist in judging other people’s sinfulness instead of working on decreasing your own, then I’ll just welcome everybody and see how you like that!” I wonder if He… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Hallelujah Ford.

There are souls who like to gloat over human inadequacy and prove that they are “not capable” of making the “right” decision in each and every circumstance, or even in some clearly delineated circumstances.

Yet your posting acknowledges that God and higher souls would create mechanisms for “only humans” to be reconciled to God, irregardless of their historical opportunities or literacy.

Glad to see us moving together on some common ground. Please forgive my naivity, I thought we had more in common than you did, but that must be my optimistic tendencies coming to the fore.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Cheryl, No need to agree on everything. I work with people of different religious traditions, and we often discuss things. The differences are as informative as the similarities. The Hindu concept of images shares some interesting differences and similarities to ours. Muslim concepts of honour are also quite informative. As a Christian, I believe killing anyone, for any reason, is a sin. They would not agree in certain instances, for example. I don’t understand much of what you say about Shekinah, the Daughter of Sion, and all that stuff. It sounds syncretistic to me, in a way that acknowledging the… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Ford Thanks for giving me another point in my complaints before God i.e. Christians have forgotten about the cherubim of the ark, their sentimentalities and personalities. Yes, it is only part of the truth, just as Catholism is only part of Christianity. But it is a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that should not be forgotten, especially in Christian circles. You see, Christianity claims that Jesus became “the high priest” (e.g. see Hebrews 8-10), who had free access to the divine energy in the inner temple and for whom the veil was torn open because it was now safe for… Read more »

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