Listening to People of Other Religions

February 9, 2019 | Written by Charly P

Calligraphy of the Arabic word for "listen" and Chinese characters that say "listen to your heart."
The calligraphy was done by a Chinese Muslim friend of mine. The main script is the Arabic word for “listen,” with a vertical line of Chinese characters, “listen to your heart.”


For most of my adult life I have had the privilege of living cross-culturally and developing deep, meaningful relationships with people who identify as either non-religious or as belonging to a religion other than Christianity. Nearly thirty years ago I set out on a journey as a missionary with the goal of trying to persuade such people of the superiority of my religion in the hope that they would listen to me and embrace Christianity. Over the years, however, my perspective has shifted dramatically and I am learning to listen to others for what God may want me to learn from them as we seek Him together. One statement I have been making to my friends with increasing regularity over the past year or two is that I believe one of the greatest mistakes Christians have made historically and continue to make in the present is that we communicate as if we have exclusive access to Jesus. As a way of distancing myself from that posture, I want to grow in being a person who invites others, regardless of their religious identities, to come alongside me to help me to better listen to Jesus.

Over the last couple of years, I have had the honor of
building bridges with the Muslim community here in Colorado Springs.
I really appreciate how they welcome me to be present among
them for their noon prayer times on Fridays. I enjoyed hearing my friend, Arshad, in a recent sermon, challenge the community to follow the example of Jesus’ disciples by sharing from the following verse in the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of God: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, ‘Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God?’ Said the disciples, ‘We are God’s helpers!’” (Qur’an 61:14)

Two white men standing in a line with six Muslim men in traditional dress.
David White, one of our elders, even courageously joined me last year for one of the annual Islamic celebrations, where we were welcomed as guests.

As Thomas highlighted in his message last week, I do not have to agree with everything they teach in order to experience community with them. As the relational trust between us continues to grow, I am also excited about the opportunities God is giving me to invite others from Pulpit Rock into this faith journey of learning together with our Muslim neighbors. Several of you have already experienced sitting down with me and some of my Muslim friends for a stimulating conversation over coffee and tea or for a delicious Middle Eastern meal. I hopefully anticipate that bridges between us will continue to expand this spring and I would love to invite more of you to become involved.

If you would like to first learn more about such endeavors or you feel ready to jump in but would appreciate some encouragement in the journey, please contact me.



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