Update: This week in Lynnwood, our bishop, the Rev. Kirby Unti, participated in an interfaith dialogue called "Love in a Time of Fear". Between 350-400 people attended. You can watch the full video here. I had to turn my audio up to understand the speakers.
34 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’37He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
|A religious experience for some of my neighbors (and me!)|
As for religious diversity, we have very few non-Christian religions represented in our county. There are no mosques. If you're Jewish, the closest synagogue is in Bellingham. That means that the Orthodox Jews don't live here (because you have to be able to walk to your synagogue on Shabbat). I don't know of a Buddhist temple, and while there are many Sikh farmers and truck drivers in the area, I believe they drive to Bellingham also to go to their Gudwara.
What does this mean for Skagitonians? It means that we are susceptible to whatever half-truths are said about people of other faiths. Right now, that is particularly true about what we hear about Muslims.
|Pickled herring- loved by some but not all|
You would be able to refute half-truths and untruths because you know and love your neighbor.
|My professor, Shayk Yassir Chadly, and his wife Khadijah|
I have Muslim friends, especially from my years of living and working in Berkeley, California and from my neighborhood in Seattle.
I took a class in seminary on Islam, and it was taught by an imam, a leader of a mosque.
|My buddy Sohrob.|
I have traveled in Turkey, where Muslim women taught me how to wear a hijab (comfortable and warm in the windy weather of January).
|Idris Mosque in N Seattle|
Yes, there are some people who say they are Muslim who have committed acts of terror.
There are also people who say they are Christian who have also committed acts of terror.
Islam does not mean terrorist, just as Christian does not mean terrorist.
We are a diverse nation. As a Christian, I hear Jesus giving me the commandment to love God and to love my neighbors- all of them, including those of no faith and those of faiths other than mine.
So I say this: Peace be with you. Or as they say at the mosque: Salaam aleikum- may peace be upon you.