There was a Muslim, a Rabbi and a Christian Minister …..

There was a Muslim, a Rabbi and a Christian Minister …..

No this isn't a joke.  I was at a gathering where each person was to say a little about their faith, and then there were to be questions.  All was fine and very interesting until a well-meaning questioner tried to make a comparison between the Pentecostal experience (including praying in tongues) and Sufi Mysticism.  Perhaps his question was not too well put, but each of the three speakers disappointed me greatly with their response.  The Christian Minister could have said a word about the rich mystical traditions within Christianity.  He chose not to – and from his response, I wondered if he attaches either importance or credibility to religious experience of any kind.  The Rabbi chose not to talk about the wonderful Kabalistic mystical tradition within Judaism.  I am not able to speculate about his reason.

On the other hand, the response from our Muslim friend spoke volumes.  He was clearly antagonistic to the Sufi tradition, and reminded me of a Liberal Christian rubbishing any kind of mystical experience, and saying that the Pentecostal or Charismatic side of Christianity has no value at all!.

Within our Christian traditions, I have long argued for respect and tolerance for parts of our Christianity that don't appeal to one person, but are precious to another.  Can we not value out brothers and sisters of all traditions?  Now I am involved even more in interfaith dialogue, I feel all the more disappointed when faith-leaders take an entrenched position within their own faith.

It has been argued that there can be no peace between the nations of the world until there is peace between the faiths of the world.  How can dialogue and understanding between faiths possibly take place when we fail to understand and have respect for other people who supposedly share the faith to which we belong?

I think that what I want to say is “For God's sake, grow up, and venture out of your tiny narrow corner.  Our God is BIG, and we need to experience Him in more ways than the one …... ”

                Barry Drake

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