Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

imagesWhat an interesting title to a book. Yes, this is Brian McLaren’s newest release, though it came out a few months back: Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road? The subtitle gives a bit more insight into the theme of the book: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.

Even more interesting is the date that the book was released – September 11th, 2012 – the anniversary of the significant event etched in the minds of not only every American, but all humanity.

So how are Christians to engage with those of other faiths?

Now, I am aware that, at least for many evangelicals, the name, Brian McLaren, immediately sends off alarm bells. The question might arise: Does he really have anything truly and properly Christian to offer to this discussion?

Why this reaction? Mainly because of 2 reasons: 1) his openness to same-sex relationships/marriages (even leading the commitment ceremony at his son’s same-sex wedding) and 2) his not-so-clearly-defined view on whether God accepts or rejects those of other faiths and religions. These are currently two hot topic issues for evangelical Christians in the 21st century.

Now, I am very much aware that some might actually have a question for me due to my own reading of McLaren’s book: Where do you stand on these issues? Many will want me to clarify my person stance on these issues. Agree with McLaren and your suspect. Disagree with McLaren and you’re probably an ok guy.

Well, I’ll come on to that a bit later. But let’s first look at the text, since this is a book review of some sorts.

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Re-telling the Good Samaritan Story

In today’s world, a couple thousand years removed from the Jewish, first-century days of the New Testament, I believe we have lost the shock value of what we call the “Good Samaritan parable.”

So I want to re-tell the account, but in a way that would cause as much shock for the church of today as it would have for those listening in Jesus’s day.

A man was going down from downtown Memphis to midtown, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A faithful church-goer happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a pastor, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Muslim, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out $300, about two days’ worth of pay, and gave it to the inn manager. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’

The expert in theology replied, “The Muslim who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Awareness Sunday – 3 Week Countdown

I have posted about this important date previously, but with yesterday being the 3-week countdown to what could be an important opportunity in our global world today, I thought I would re-post.

That opportunity is known as Awareness Sunday.

On September 11th of this year, it will mark the 10-year anniversary of the infamous and dreadful 9/11 attacks in 2001. A significant date of remembrance for hundreds of millions of people. As so many in the generation before mine remember where they were and what they were doing when John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. were shot, the same stands true for our world today with regards to 9/11. Such is etched upon the minds and hearts of not just Americans, but our world. Continue reading