Islam, Worldview, and the Deep Questions of Life

Authentic religious conversations challenge worldviews. They must. But for a conversation to be authentic and have the capacity of causing a person to examine their worldview you must first earn trust and respect. That is why personal relationships characterized by honesty and compassion are indispensable. Within those relationships one can then pose questions that will help your Muslim friend to scrutinize her worldview.

Read the rest of the post at Covenant, blog of The Living Church.

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Entrevista para *Escritorio Anglicano*

Hace poco me entrevistó Darren Lorente-Bull, editor de Escritorio Anglicano. Hablamos sobre mi libro nuevo Two Stories of Everything, Cristianismo, Anglicanismo, Islam y el futuro de Europa. Aquí hay una de las preguntas:

Mientras que Jesús predica la pobreza y un reino que ‘no es de este mundo’ el profeta Mahoma se convierte en un hombre de estado. ¿Que podrías decirnos al respecto teniendo en cuenta que la iglesia ha estado envuelta en escándalos de poder y riqueza durante su historia?

La iglesia siempre ha mantenido algún tipo de división entre el poder eclesiástico y el poder civil. En la edad media era una división entre los clérigos y la realeza. De vez en cuando uno podía encontrar en duque-obispo, pero por lo general ha habido una división de alguna forma entre los dos mundos. Esto viene de nuestro fundador, quien dijo que su reino no era de este mundo, y quien reconoció una diferencia entre cesar y Dios. Cuando hemos departido de este sendero original, la iglesia ha comenzado a morir. Por ejemplo, hace años intentamos a copiar a los musulmanes con su guerra santa. Estoy hablando de las llamadas cruzadas. Después de unos pocos siglos reconocimos que era una desviación drástica del sendero original de Jesús, y lo dejamos. Eso nunca ha sucedido en el Islam y nunca podrá suceder, como explico en el libro. Como dijo el Ayatolá Jomeini, “O el Islam es política, o no es Islam.”

Lee toda la entrevista aquí.

Conociendo y Alcanzando a los Musulmanes, seis charlas

Los dias 28 a 30 de Mayo tuve el privilegio de presentar seis charlas sobre el tema “Conociendo y Alcanzando a los Musulmanes” en la Facultad de Teología UEBE en Alcobendas, Comunidad de Madrid.

Aquí está el audio de cada charla:

  1. El Islam y el Cristianismo
  2. Jesús en el Qur’an
  3. La Vida de Mahoma
  4. La Conversión del Islam as Cristianismo
  5. Cuidado Pastoral para los Conversos I
  6. Cuidado Pastoral para los Conversos II

Y algunos de los PowerPoint:

  1. Jesús en el Qur’an
  2. La Vida de Mahoma
  3. Conversión
  4. Cuidado Pastoral

Espero que os sea de ayuda!

Review of *Station Eleven*

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have tried to read (or listen to) every end of the world, apocalypse book I can get my hands on. I was excited then to hear about a new addition to this genre. Unlike many other books in this genre this one ends up on a slightly hopeful note. These books usually focus a lot on technology and getting things working again, or simply letting them die out as people return to a state of more primitive life (like my favorite book of the genre, Earth Abides).

Station Eleven is not only an end-of-the-world book though. It is an exploration of art, fame, family and relationships. Because of this the book has a depth to the personal relationships that is not common for books in this genre.

I will say that I thought the idea of a traveling art caravan with actors and musicians in the post-apocalypse was, well, a bit romantic and naive. I am also pretty sure that as the smothering arms of mother State die out that people will return to what is natural to humans–an awareness of the centrality of religion and a reliance on God. Mandel’s people are unrealistic in this way, though, as they seem happy to continue with their secular humanist worldview–a highly artificial and unnatural way to live, and one which is completely dependent on the welfare state for its existence.

View all my reviews

Review of “Unexpected Grace” by Farifteh Robb

Unexpected Grace: A Life in Two WorldsUnexpected Grace: A Life in Two Worlds by Farifteh V Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some years ago while completing my research for a PhD I interviewed Farifteh Robb. That led to the publication of a brief article titled “The Secret World of God: Aesthetics, Relationships, and the conversion of ‘Frances’ from Shi’a Islam to Christianity” in Global Missiology. At that time Robb was not discussing her history publicly, but I’m glad that she decided to do so.

This books brings a welcome contribution to the growing literature by converts from Islam to Christianity. Robb’s strong background in literature allows her to reference great authors and work in a way that other converts cannot. The fact that she ended up in Anglican Christianity as opposed to evangelical or charismatic Christianity is also rare for such conversion narratives. My favorite thing about the book was reading her personal recollections of what life was like in Tehran before, during and after the 1979 revolution.

Finally, the author has a light and witty style. Her sense of humor is much appreciated.

View all my reviews

Forming a firm identity: The pastoral challenge for ex-Muslim Christians

2012 10 23 AMISOM Hotel (8134668378).jpg
Photo by AMISOM Public Information – Flickr, CC0, Link  Mogadishu, Somalia

I recently attended a consultation in East Africa. Our goal was to formulate a strategy for evangelizing the unreached of East Africa and the Horn Africa, almost all Muslims. This talk was my own contribution to the consultation and was well received. It is an expansion of an earlier talk I gave in November of 2017.

I begin by arguing that persecution is not the main pastoral challenge for converts, rather is the formation of a firm, new Christian identity. I found this in my own research presented in Living among the Breakage (2016), and earlier research by Kathryn Kraft (2013) and Seppo Syrjänen (1984) contain similar findings.

Here I present ten points that can be used for people counseling and guidance for Christ’s converts from Islam:

A Firm Identity in Christ: The Pastoral Challenge for ex-Muslim Christians

Filling in the Global Map for the Anglican Communion

From my latest post at Covenant, the blog of The Living Church:

So, let’s imagine a country where the Communion has no presence. Let’s imagine a country where having a Bible is against the law and where citizens who become Christians might be executed. Let’s think about a place where there is not a single church building. In the words of John Lennon, “It’s easy if you try.”

What would establishing a missionary diocese there look like?

Read it all HERE.