Saturday, December 8, 2007

Trapped by Assumptions

Discuss how one who is certain that Matthew 12:30, John 14:6 and Revelation 3:15-19 are true might be able to "suspend their certainty" in order to dialog with one who holds that all religions point to the same God. This was the question presented to us and this is my answer.




“We become trapped in the theater of our thoughts … losing touch with the larger reality …” (Senge, 2006, p. 225). Spiritual pride and arrogance further hinder honest communication. Laying aside attitudes of certainty and pride, truly listening to another, we are much more effective witnesses.

Bohm’s step three is challenging when the conversation only involves two people, unless we listen to God’s voice through the Holy Spirit. “…the Father … will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth … you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you John 14:16-17 (Today’s New International Version). God does not need defending.

Ministering to Muslim university students in the Holy Land taught me the validity of the above, which simply involves good listening skills, humility and openness to others. Initially, I prayed against the spirits binding Muslims when (five times a day!) I would hear the prayer call from the neighboring mosque. Six and a half years later, I was reminded to commune with God.

Much can be learned from traditions that differ from ours. I no longer see the issue as paradoxical. God is faithful as we live incarnationally giving “the reason for the hope that [we] have ... with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15 (Today’s New International Version).


Resources

Senge, P. M. (2006). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.

Holy Bible (2005). Today's New International Version. Grand Rapids:
Zondervan.

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