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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Same God, cruel war...

Today making the rounds of my social media is the story of a professor at a "Christian" college, that has been put on leave because she suggests that Christianity and Islam worship the same God. And, and probably the real reason why she is all over the news, she wants to wear a hajib (traditional head covering for Muslim women) in support of this idea. School administrators, willing to overlook all kinds of academic and intellectual difference, cannot abide by such a sartorial gauntlet being thrown. Welcome to a Christmas leave of absence Professor Hawkins.

Of course, if either Christianity and Islam is correct, the religions do worship the same God. Since each religion posits there is one God, and if there is indeed only one, then anyone who worships God--even polytheists--is worshiping the same God. Neither side of this debate can give too much on their monotheism, so at some level we should admit she is correct. I mean, really...

Now, of course, each side believes the other to be wrong, so, of course, it is a bit jarring to say both Christianity and Islam worship the same God. But why does a religion have to believe in its own exclusivity? Is there something intrinsic to religions that requires exclusive control of grace, truth, and God? As far as I learned from Christianity, Islam, and add Judaism to the mix as well, there is no need for such a belief. We do often believe that though...such is the pity.

But although we cannot agree on the idea that we might worship the same God, just differently, (or as Luther might have said in the case of Islam, somewhat mistakenly. Luther just couldn't believe that someone couldn't see the God who created the heavens and earth as the baby Jesus in a manger was Savior of the world. It's his blindspot. My apologies to Muslims who have suffered at the words of Lutheran theologians over of the years.) There is one thing all religions can agree on: war sucks.

And that's what makes this story about the young professor so damn vexing. People are dying. Christians, Muslims, Jews, every religion just about everywhere, and we're worried about a privileged professor in the USA getting paid for her beliefs. Keep your focus on where the people are dying. God does--no matter which one you believe.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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