Monday, December 7, 2015

An Open Letter to My Muslim Friends—Including Those I Have Yet to Meet (For Christians and Others, Too)


Dear Muslim Friends,

I hope it's okay with you if I share a bit from my heart.


The State of My Heart

I am troubled. And discouraged.

The world seems to be falling apart before our very eyes. All around the globe, nations rage against nations, races battle with one another, adherents of different religions are pitted against one another. The rhetoric of hate and fear is so loud that we begin to buy in, not because the arguments are convincing but simply because its obnoxious drumbeat reverberates in our heads non-stop.

I am troubled. And discouraged. But you give me hope.


Sharing Life with You Is Good for My Soul

When I am with you, my Muslim friends, I am reminded that we can respect one another and even love one another and share real friendship. And we must. Jesus taught that the way to overcome evil is with good, and I am convinced that getting together with you regularly is one of the best things I can do for my own soul and for the cause of peace in the world.

It seems that all the misguided talking heads on TV, all the fear-mongering keyboardists with internet access, and all the hate-filled ideologues and terrorists do not want us to come together, because peace and love seem not to suit their agenda. Their agenda must not prevail, however, and therefore we must stay resolute in our commitment to real friendship with one another. 

So, what I am saying is this: I need you. I need each of you sharing this journey of life with me, and I need us to stay persistent in spending time together. Sometimes, like the present, I start to get worn down by the voices screaming at me and telling me you're my enemies. You are NOT my enemies, and I refuse to give in to hate. Instead, I choose love. And I choose you--as my friends and my sisters and my brothers. And I choose to follow Jesus, whose life and teachings compel me to treat everyone with love and respect and kindness.


Merry Christmas and An Invitation

As you know, Christmas is the time when we Christians celebrate the coming of the Messiah and His miraculous, virgin birth. I know that many Christians and Muslims have real differences in their thoughts about Jesus (and in the right moments we can talk about those differences in the context of real friendship), but there is significant common ground as well.

One of my own convictions about Jesus is that, when we embrace his ways and words, then he leads us into real friendships with very diverse people from very diverse backgrounds. Thus, I am hopeful that you will not be offended by my invitation to a Christmas party, but rather that you will see it as I do--an opportunity to stand together on common ground and thus walk in the way of Jesus, who himself was severely ridiculed for being friendly with all the wrong people. : )

Thus, in this spirit, I wish you Christmas blessings, and I want you to know that this Christmas I will be giving thanks to God for each of you and for the gift of your friendship. 

And if ANY of you (Muslim, Christian, etc.) are in the Raleigh area this Saturday (December 12), I would love for you to join some of my Muslim and Christian friends and perhaps others for a special Christmas gathering to celebrate our friendship. If you are available and interested, please email me at thomas@peace-catalyst.net so that I can send you more details. We’d be delighted to welcome you!


Trying to follow Jesus and wage peace,
Thomas



5 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas from my family to yours Thomas. May we always live as neighbors and work together for peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kindness and love, Safi!

      Delete
  2. Merry Christmas Thomas :) to you and your family and if I was around I would have come to wish you all well. We may have some differences as you mentioned but we all love, respect and revere Jesus (may God's love, peace and blessings be upon him). May you enjoy your Christmas with good cheer and may you shine as far and wide as ever :)
    Your sister in humanity and faith,
    Basma

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am grateful for your kind words and well wishes, Basma my sister! May you know God's peace and love and blessings as well!

      Delete
  3. Thomas: Being in the presence of your thoughts expressed almost always leads to positive challenges and I thank you for sharing these thoughts as it has reminded me of elements of His true character which the static of life too often obfuscates. I wish I could be in Raleigh to share in the celebration of the Savior's birth and promotion of His Kingdom through your reflection of His grace and love to all. I will share your message with my Sunday School class with the expectation that our prayers this Season and following will be more rightly aligned with His purposes.

    ReplyDelete