I enjoyed being interviewed for this podcast, which is hosted over at Episcopal Cafe. Check it out and share it with others.
The folks of the Lausanne Movement recently have let us know about what appears to be a valuable, new book: Identity Crisis: Religious Registration in the Middle East (Gilead Books, 2016) by Jonathan Andrews (likely a pseudonym, I’m guessing).
The books addresses an important issue I noted on multiple occasions in Living among the Breakage, especially in my chapter on liberation theology in the texts of ex-Muslim Christians (Chapter 5).
I have not yet read the book, but I did read the Lausanne synopsis which looks promising. Here is a section from that synopsis:
It is often claimed that Islam is a religion of peace. What is meant by ‘peace’? Armed conflict can be stopped by one party surrendering unconditionally to the other. This brings ‘peace’ in the sense of an end to conflict, although the victors are able to impose whatever conditions they choose on the vanquished. It does not guarantee peace in the sense of stable, harmonious, and respectful community relations.
In Egypt, inter-communal strife is often followed by a ‘reconciliation meeting’. In situations involving Christians and Muslims, what typically happens is that Muslims seek draconian terms that marginalise and disadvantage the Christians, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the situation. In such cases, criminal behaviour is overlooked, even exonerated. Religious registration is at the root of such practices, creating a context in which those who think of themselves as the majority feel that they are entitled to exploit others. The system undermines the rule of law.
This is indeed accurate and happens not only in Egypt but also in Israel-Palestine, and probably elsewhere too. The difficulty is that the system of organizing Muslims under Muslim rule into dhimmis is as old as Islam itself.
Anyway, I’m always happy to hear about new research about the challenges facing ex-Muslim Christians and the issue of religious registration is one of the main ones.
Read the whole Lausanne synopsis HERE.
Al Fadi, from CIRA International, interviews me more on my research on converts from Islam to Christianity. Here is a second installation for his excellent podcast “Let us Reason.”
The first question is about the main challenge faced by ex-Muslim Christians. Guess what? It’s not persecution. If you want to know what it is, listen along. Also, want to hear about what a baptism looks like at an Iranian church? Listen along. Finally, how do congregations of ex-Muslim Christians form new convert identities for their believers? Listen along.
I also talk about our years in Nazareth and the founding of Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS).
The original podcast was issued on January 7th of 2017, but here it is again for all of you. Do visit the website for CIRA International, which stands for The Center of Islamic Research and Awareness.
Here is one question I was asked, specifically about the challenges faced by converts.
DWTX: And what do [converts from Islam to Christianity] find most challenging?
Miller: The greatest challenge these believers face is not persecution. Persecution is very real, and the traditional sentence in the shari’a for apostasy from Islam is execution. Shari’a states don’t always carry out this punishment, but everyone knows it, including Christians. But the greatest challenge faced by these believers is the formation of a stable, new identity. In the West we are used to categorizing life and identity, but most societies are not like us. Islam, for all its faults, provides a comprehensive way of life—political, spiritual, legal, familial—that provides a way of making sense and ordering the entirety of life. When women and men leave Islam for Christ they are given a new spiritual order—the Christian faith—but what about everything else? Also, in much of the Muslim world, ethnicity and Islam are tied up together. I have seen this very clearly in Turkey, for instance, where there is a small but growing church consisting of Turkish Christians.
Read the rest of the interview HERE.
I would like to share with you all that my book Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians is now available for purchase.
Here is the ‘about’ summary from the publisher page:
Around the world people are leaving Islam for Christianity in unprecedented numbers. This book seeks to look into the world of some of these converts, trying to discern the shape of their newfound faith. Why do they convert? What challenges do they face? And ultimately, what do they in their own complex and sometimes difficult circumstances claim to have understood about God that, while in Islam, they had not? In other words, what is the content of their contextual theology? In seeking to answer these questions, Miller looks into the world of an unintentional church plant in the Arab world consisting of believers from a Muslim background, visits with groups of Iranian converts in the diaspora, and examines the written testimonies of still other converts. In a world where Muslim-Christian relations are increasingly important and sometimes tendentious, this book examines the lived faith and contextual theology of people who have chosen to leave Islam and embrace Christianity.
Over the years I have published a number of articles in St Francis Magazine. The online journal focused on Christianity and Christian witness in the context of the Arab world specifically, and the Muslim world more broadly.
I always felt the journal played a unique role. But word has reached me through the grapevine that the website became too costly to maintain. The PDFs of the articles will hopefully be made available some time down the road. But I’m not in charge of that.
But for now, I am able to make my own articles available. So, here are numerous links…