The Episcopal Church in Jordan: Identity, Liturgy, and Mission

Miller, Duane Alexander. 2011. ‘The Episcopal Church in Jordan: Identity, Liturgy, and Mission’ in Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol 9:2, November, pp 134-153.

In the Journal of Anglican Studies. Here is the abstract:

The article begins with a brief review of the history of the diocese of Jerusalem. By interviewing eight members of the diocesan clergy in Jordan, the researcher desires to explore how the concepts in the title are related to each other within the Jordanian context. Is there a unique identity of Jordanian Anglicans? What is the desirability and/or feasibility of revising the prayer book? Given the declining demographics of Christians in the region, what avenues are open to these ministers to sustain their congregations? Specific care is paid to the topic of incorporating Muslim converts into existing congregations. Also included are some theological reflections on the meaning of liturgy within the Jordanian context and the diocesan policies for the formation of future priests, which have important implications for the future of the diocese.

Keywords: Anglican; Church Missionary Society; dhimmi; Episcopal; Jerusalem; Jordan; liturgy; mission

The article is archived at Scribd.

The Two Adams of Islam and Christianity

The fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity is then anthropological—or more precisely, hamartiological. Adam did sin, he was indeed punished, but in no way did his guilt develop into what Christians have variously called original sin or original stain. In the Adam narrative [in the Qur’an], as in Gen 3:15 and 3:21, we already have intimations of how this narrative will play out. In the Qur’anic narrative God appears to simply forgive Adam, and then warns him to follow his guidance and not turn from his message. In the Genesis narrative, however, we have hints that God will somehow conquer the serpent through Eve, and furthermore God himself sacrifices an animal to provide garments for Adam and Eve indicating that their garment of fig leaves was not sufficient for covering their nakedness. Both of these would become important images for the early Christians as they struggled towards the formulation of the orthodox tradition. (pp 503, 4)
Miller, Duane Alexander. 2010. ‘Narrative and Metanarrative in Christianity and Islam’ in St Francis Magazine, Vol 6:3, June, pp 501-16.

THE CONVERSION NARRATIVE OF SAMIRA: FROM SHI’A ISLAM TO MARY, HER CHURCH, AND HER SON

Samira tells of her encounter with the Virgin Mary as a young girl that would eventually help lead to her conversion to Anglican Christianity.

Miller, Duane Alexander. ‘THE CONVERSION NARRATIVE OF SAMIRA: FROM SHI’A ISLAM TO MARY, HER CHURCH, AND HER SON’ in St Francis Magazine Vol 5:5, October 2009, pp 81-92.

Download it here. Following is an excerpt from the interview portion of the article (pp 82, 3):

DAM: What was your first exposure to Christianity or Jesus or the Bible or any of those things?

Samira: Well, my first exposure was when I was six and had avision of the Virgin Mary. And at the time I didn’t know who Mary was or who Jesus was or who Muslims were—I didn’tknow anything about anything. I was in a mountain place; itwas dark, I fell and I couldn’t get up. And there was this huge rock; this lady came from behind the rock: she was all in white, and she held my hand and picked me up and said that she was Mary. And when she held my hand something stayed with me and I just loved her and I asked my mother who she was, and she said she was the mother of Prophet Jesus, as Muslims knew her. And I just knew since then that I wanted to be where she was, which was the church. And then when I was nine I learned about St Bernadette; there was a movie called The Song of Bernadette and that is when I received my calling into ministrybecause I knew that my life belonged to the church. Andthat was the place to go to [inaudible]. And the interesting [thing] about that is I didn’t know anything about Jesus and—or the Bible. It was all the love of the church through the Virgin Mary.

A Review of Alexander Robb’s ‘The Heathen World and the Duty of the Church’

The Heathen World and the Duty of the Church

by Alexander Robb

Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot 1863

Alexander Robb, a missionary in Nigeria, presents his church of the time with a forceful and passionate argument for mobilizing missionaries and supporting the work. He The The Rev. Alexander Robb deals with the normal questions that missionaries today still face: why support mission work when there are few converts? (God is sovereign, we don’t see fruit sometimes because we’ll get proud, etc.) What is the relation between commerce and mission in the (then) age of empire? (Let them each go their own way.) Is there possibility for salvation for the heathen without the Gospel? (Even if there is, we should act as if there is not.)

It is a short little volume, and on the whole he does a good job of providing answers that even today seem, well, let’s say less stale than other missionary texts of the mid-19th C. On the negative side, he starts the book with a catalogue of the inhumane vices of the heathen. It all seems a little overblown, but later on he strikes a balance by insisting that these are indeed human beings made in the image of God. One wishes for a little more sympathy and willingness to find positive aspects of the heathens’ cultures, but Robb doesn’t see much there.

“Reappropriation: an accomodationist hermeneutic of Islamic Christianity”

Miller, Duane Alexander. ‘Reappropriation: an accomodationist hermeneutic of Islamic Christianity’ in Saint Francis Magazine Vol 5:3, June 2009.

Link is HERE.

A section is here:

1.3 The Two Stream Hypothesis:
Rejectionists and Accommodationists

Continuing research in this area is needed, but I have come to a preliminary conclusion that there are two fairly different kinds of communities within Islâmic Christianity.  The Rejectionists are people who have come out of Islâm and often times have a negative impression of it as a dîn.  They are women who have come to an understanding that Islâm teaches they are inferior to men; they are men who have been submitted to torture and persecution under Islâmic regimes, all to the glory of God. They are people who want to coexist in a fragmented and globalizing world and grow tired of the teaching that Jews and Christians are descended from apes and pigs; they are scholars who studied history and the life of the Prophet only to be sourly disappointed with what they found in the earliest sources which are surprisingly candid – much more so than the hagiographic material widely circulated today – and came to the conclusion that he was a man of insufficient moral standing to bear the mantle of prophethood – and that is a very gentle way of putting it.

Rejectionists are, it seems, more present in places where reformed Islâm has been successful in dominating the political conversation; places like Iran4 and Egypt come to mind.  Many of these people came to faith in Christ while outside of their country of birth, or perhaps by media ministry (satellite, radio, etc). But we can also identify a very different, and I am guessing numerically smaller, groups of communities.  I call them accommodationists because there is, to differing degrees, a desire to accommodate, which in Latin means ‘to cause to fit together’, the Jesus of the Gospels with many aspects of the Islâmic dîn.5  There is a desire to continue, to differing degrees again, to abide by Islâmic practices: the Islamic fast over the Christian fast, women continuing to wear the hijâb, perhaps using the Qur’ân or parts of it in worship, keeping Islâmic names over taking Christian names, using Islamic forms and customs in worship and devotion and prayer, and so on.  Generally these people do not have a negative experience of Islâm, and they probably do not have much exposure to Christianity.  This would also be more common in areas or regions where there is either no Christian church, or where the churches are ethnically defined (Armenian, Assyrian, etc.), thus making the assimilation of non-co-ethnists difficult.

pp 6, 7.