Other Religions

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Should a mosque be constructed at the site of ground zero in New York City? Talk to half a dozen folks and you may get half a dozen answers. What is the answer? The question I am using for Sundays sermon is “How should the followers of Jesus relate to people of other religions?”

We live in a world where you wake up today with Christians, Muslims, and Jews, along with those who practice many other religions, ready to kill each other in the name of God. Several who are killing others believe that they are doing so in the name of God. Christians make up 33% of the world’s population, Muslims 24% and Jews less than a quarter percent, but they own a disproportionate amount of the world’s weapons. If you have studied religious history you know that each of the branches of religion come off of Old Testament hero Abraham.

“Pastors, theologians, followers of Jesus,and all religious leaders need to heed the fact that our work, when taken seriously, is literally a matter of life and death.“ Brian D. McLaren

The great caution it seems to me, is that in a world where fear is rampant, we need to be careful. Fear breeds best where there are few facts, unknowns and ignorance. As followers of Jesus, it is imperative that we reach deep into the faith taught to us by Jesus who spent time with a Samaritan woman, a Roman centurion, a Syrophoenician woman, and some Greeks. Jesus loved them and got to know them. Relationships are vital.

Jesus also spent his time practicing his ministry by healing, teaching, caring , forgiving, and loving others. Jesus did not try to destroy the others. Rather Jesus invited the others in and offered a more excellent way of truth by following him. Jesus did not first seek to destroy or injure those who disagreed with him.

Let us know the practices of Jesus. It is time we put the word “discipline “ back into “disciple.” May other followers of Jesus see him in us. May those outside the body of Christ be welcomed into conversation with us, where we might come to know them and be allowed to treat them as Jesus first treated us. For I agree with McLaren -it is “a matter of life and death.” Let us choose life.

See you on Sunday.

Still in one peace,

                               David J. Jensen

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