from Shane's Muslim Connect
There’s a guy in my small community who spends many of his waking hours walking up and down the highway. This isn’t so much a “hit my fitbit steps goal” as maybe walking out his demons. His face is set, grim, and shows the wear of countless hours of Colorado sun and wind.
A friend at church asked me Sunday morning if I would be inclined to engage this guy in conversation. In a rare burst of honesty, I said probably not. When she asked why, I gave it some thought and replied, “I have no idea what’s going on in that guy’s world.” My spidey sense (which may often be contrary to the Holy Spirit) says it’s best to stay back. Play it safe. It could get weird if I get too close.
This realization, of which I’m not too proud, made me wonder how many Christians experience something similar when it comes to Muslims. It’s not anger or apathy that keeps us keeping our distance but more a sense of not knowing anything about their world, having no way to guess what’s on the other side of a “hello.”
Does this ring true with you? Do you suspect it in friends, family, fellow Christians? Given some of the popular narratives about Muslims these days, suspicion and discretion are not a big surprise, are they?
This matters because I hope Muslim Connect helps fill in that knowledge and experience gap.
If this dynamic is real, what else can you imagine that would help counter it?
How can we build a prevailing sense that the other side of “hello” looks like this: On the one hand, lots of relational work, cross-cultural awkwardness, and probably some theological challenges. But on the other hand, yummy food, interesting conversations, and maybe a fresh episode of the abundant life Jesus said he came to bring.
Please share your ideas here.