I’ve been thinking about Franklin Graham a lot these days, especially since I was in his home town last week. I drove up to Billy Graham’s gate just to pray for Franklin’s father who lives on the other side of that gate. I deeply admire Billy Graham.
I follow Franklin Graham on Twitter and he is my brother in Christ, but his tweets do not usually feed my soul. In fact, sometimes they trouble my soul and not in a this-is-good-for-me kind of way. Sometimes he quotes scripture – the same scripture I quote – but I long for a conversation with him about how he applies those holy words to some of the choices he makes. (If he knew me, he’d probably say the same thing about me.)
I find that I agree with my Jewish and Muslim friends more than my brother Franklin these days. I am looking daily – especially in these weeks before the inauguration of the next President of the United States – for people who resemble Jesus. Sometimes the ones who most resemble Jesus to me are not Christian.
I am trying to resemble Jesus myself. And this book is helping me. [Note: It’s written by a Muslim man. Sometimes interfaith conversations make me a better Christian.]
Muslims, Jews, and Christians share the heritage of Abraham. While we differ on what we believe about Jesus, we share a common God and we share some of the same holy stories.
Christians who voted for Mr. Trump and I share the same Savior. While we differ on what we believe about immigrants, women’s health, the poor, and white supremacy, we probably share some similarities on those topics too. We probably all know immigrants whom we admire. We probably all want women to be healthy. We probably all want people to have food and shelter. We probably all know people whose skin color is not like our own whom we care about.
Eboo Patel’s new book is a must read for navigating 21st Century life with people who are not like us. The world is become more – not less – diverse. We have got to figure out how to live with each other.
Eboo is specifically talking about interfaith relationships, but his wisdom can be applied to other relationships too.
- What do we share?
- How do we seek to learn from each other? (Or are we stuck scolding each other?)
- How do we enrich civic spaces (schools, parks, hospitals) in accordance with the diversity of those who spend time there?
These are the days when we need to educate ourselves. Is there someone we don’t understand? Is there someone we hate/avoid because we don’t know them and we don’t want to know them?
As a person who is trying to follow Jesus, I want to know what I don’t know. (See my previous post.) It makes me a better person. It makes me a better Christian.