Monday, February 23, 2009

Muslims and Jesus

Here's some interesting excerpts from an interview with a guy named Carl Medearis who wrote this book. He makes some interesting remarks worth noting.

What do Muslims think of when they hear the word "Christian"?
They might think of freedom, capitalism, liberty, democracy. But they also confuse it with Hollywood movies, pornography, and divorce. We export dysfunctional families, books and websites that export filth around the world, and sadly, when Muslims look at that they think of Christians. In Beirut there was an actual line drawn between what was called Muslim West Beirut and Christian East Beirut. If you wanted to gamble or do drugs, guess where you went? To the "Christian side."

What does a Muslim think of when they hear the word "Jesus"?
There's immediate respect. They may not believe as we do that he is the Son og God, but in the Qur'an Jesus is mentioned some 90 times, all of them positive.... He did miracles, he lived a pure and sinless life.... If a Muslim says to me, "I believe in Jesus; he's a great prophet," instead of saying, "Yeah, but..." I say, "That's fantastic. Let's talk about him."

What do you say when asked if you are religious?
I say "Absolutely not!" I used to be. There's a lot of great stuff that comes out of religion, like boundaries, rules to live by.... But what matters is this: Have you seen Jesus for who he really is?

You say Christians need to learn to have fun.
I've found that laughter and hanging out over food and friends anywhere in the world opens the hearts of people. If you don't know how to party, get help from someone who does.

Many have not experienced the success* at leading people to Jesus that you have. What is your secret?
I think that many missionaries have the wrong message: Christianity is better than Islam and you should switch.... I don't build friendships in order to share the gospel. I just build friendships because I love people....I don't start with differences, I honor the culture and try to fit in...

* This word drives me nuts in the missional context. Success! As in we judge our work by the numbers, the converted, the baptized, etc... rather than if we are showing Christ's love. The drive for numbers is what pushes the religion - not Christ!

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