from Shane's Muslim Connect
I once tagged along with a buddy on his speaking gig at Texas A&M. Fouad is Lebanese-American, has a Ph.D. and several books to his credit, and is a master teacher. I had a bit part in his day-long seminar, because my superpower is enabling people to say, “Well, I guess if Shane can do it, I probably can too.”
The night before the seminar, we accepted an invitation to the Aggie-land Nowruz celebration. Amid the food and fun, I sat next to Fouad as he chatted in increasing depth with an Iranian Muslim man. They talked about Islam, history, and theology. I listened, learned. . . and wrestled with my value. I thought, “What sort of imposter am I? I have nothing to offer this conversation, let alone the capacity to start my own.”
If you’re not born into an Arab family, you never get that starting point. Dang biology! And while I could learn Farsi (theoretically speaking - I’m not delusional!), it will never be my mother tongue. Nor will I ever be an expert on the Quran, Muhammad, or Muslim history.
Facing up to this reality, I have a few options, most of which I’ve taken at varying points.
- Whine: Woe. Everyone’s smarter than me.
- Envy: Of course I’ve never envied. Just thought it should be on the list.
- Read a book: Actually did this once. No lie.
- Resign: The couch is comfy, and Friends is still funny on the fourth go around.
- Cheer: Encourage the people who are smarter than me. (If you are an expert, good for you! You’ve worked hard to earn your capacity. Keep at it and kindly help the rest of us along the way.)
- Accept & Expect: So I’m a dope. Most of the people God used in the Bible and history were also dopes. And believe me: You and I will connect with people in ways that experts can't. We count. (Tweet this.)
Not an expert? No problem. We'll do what we can! Let’s band together, download this app, and do a tribe-wide, Lent-long prayer blitz for our neighborhoods and the nations.