Torturous Testimony from Muskasy
a dear movie

More Thoughts on Our Muslim-Christian Conversation

Carol Lobell sent these reflections on last Sunday's World Cafe conversation...

I had a very emotional experience last Sunday at K.C. as I greeted our 16 Muslim visitors. Tears came welling up from a deep place inside me as the first group of women in head scarves and long dark clothing entered our Sanctuary. My tears came from the realization that I have never before in my 70 years engaged in a conversation with a Muslim. I felt sadness around this lack and now suddenly I felt enveloped in their warm smiles and friendly laughter.

Perhaps a part of me had been missing until I met these women and talked heart to heart with them. Now my sadness is replaced with joy as I experienced the miracle that somehow God had brought them to us so that we could all learn from one another.

I really connected with those in my small group as we shared the theme of love casting out fear. We identified fear as the root of most hatred, stemming from ignorance of those who are different; customs that seem strange and religions and cultures that are unfamiliar. As the afternoon continued and new small groups were formed, we all seemed eager to bridge this gap of ignorance and mistrust. Some small miracle was happening and I felt blessed to be a part of God's healing presence. Ideas for future meetings to continue building bridges were eagerly discussed.

After reading the many responses to our Muslim-Christian conversatons at Kittamaqundi Community, I most resonated with Rev. Heather Kirk-Davidoff's blog account of this World Cafe experience. She said:
"If a million of us could dine together in groups of 4-7, maybe we'd even prevent the next war. Thats the kind of process I have faith in".

I join Rev. Heather and Ruth Smith, the sponsors of our Sunday afternoon "World Cafe" experience, in their quest for world peace through the gathering together in small groups to dispell ignorance and fear, and to find sisters and brothers of different faiths that are on the same quest.

It is interesting that in the last year I've read some books and watched some videos that I believe prepared me for this Christian-Muslim experience. Perhaps many Americans are eager to learn about people who are different from us, for these books that have all been on the Washington Post Bestseller list and are very intriguing to read. I'd like to highly recommend these books as a way to connect with other cultures.

Here is my list:

1. "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini - both are fiction about universal issues regarding relationships and healing, set in Afghanistan.

2. "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson - Non fiction telling Greg's personal conversion story about going from being a mountain climber to feeling called to build schools in small villages in the Middle East.

3. "Beauty School in Kabul" - A true story of an Hispanic Texan woman beautician who helps build cultural bridges through classes at her beauty school in Kabul.

4. "Arranged" - a video available from Blockbusters - Non-fiction about an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman of Syrian origin who build a friendship in America.

5. "Kundum" - The story of the current Dali Lama, starting from when he was first "discovered" as a child and going through his exodus into India as a young adult.


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Dear Friends,
I am one of the Muslim women that participated in the "World Cafe" gathering. I too feel what carol feels, and I pray that we may bring life to Minister Heather Kirk-Davidoff's words, and not only prevent the next wars and all the wars after that with these talks, but that we may be the ones to find the solution to the wars going on today.

Ruth Smith

Thank you Heather,Carol, and Fatimah for your comments on the World Cafe. Here is some of what I wrote in my journal this past week:
Sometimes I struggle with the concept of Call (our topic for worship last Sunday.)Like any good thing, the idea of Call can be in "I want to do this and you can't argue with me because God called me to do it." But last Sunday's Conversation
felt very much like Call to me. We were doing some of what Jesus( revered as a Prophet in Islam) taught us to do. "Blessed are the peacemakers." and "Let us go over to the other side." When I was in the Holy Land, I came to understand in a deeper way, that when Jesus invited the disciples to, "go to the other side", he was not just talking about the Sea of Galilee, but about connecting with people who are in some ways different from us. KC has been doing that for a long time in our relationships with Agape House in Baltimore
City, the Cold Weather Shelter, and in other ways. Now we have another opportunity to connect with others of God's children. Last Sunday our Scriptures were about Call. This Sunday we read about Mountain Top experiences. The World Cafe was a Mountain top experience for me.

Leonard Flachman

A recent book, Muslims and the Gospel: Bridging the Gap by Dr. Roland Miller, is very helpful to those involved in inter-faith dialog.

Leonard Flachman

A recent book, Muslims and the Gospel: Bridging the Gap by Dr. Roland Miller, is very helpful to those involved in inter-faith dialog.

Leonard Flachman

A recent book, Muslims and the Gospel: Bridging the Gap by Dr. Roland Miller, is very helpful to those involved in inter-faith dialog.

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