NOTE: THIS ARTICLE is a reprint from the blog of reverend Kevin Rogers of New Song Church in Windsor, Ontario and is reproduced here for your convenience. You can visit the his blog called "The Orphan Age" HERE.
In July 2009 I had lunch with a Muslim ‘imam’ (the Islamic equivalent of a pastor but with distinctions). I learned that you don’t call him an ‘iman’. That is a girl’s name.
I sat on a regional committee for the Ontario Multi-faith Council [i] . Part of my role as the chaplaincy coordinator with my church district was being a liaison to Christian chaplains in Western Ontario. The committee was gathered to interview a possible new chaplain for the Sarnia and Chatham jails. The committee was represented by several religious groups.
After our meeting we headed out for lunch being mindful of the dietary requirements of the Muslims in our midst. I shared the table with another Egyptian Muslim, a Jamaican Anglican, a Bavarian Lutheran and a Baptist. We ate a feast at Windsor Palace Restaurant [ii], a place of incredible middle Eastern food.
Beyond the small talk, we had some rich theological discussions. Ahmed (the imam) was a graduate of Al-Azhar University [iii] in Cairo, the premiere learning center for Muslim clergy.
Imam Ahmed had questions about how Christians can claim that Jesus was God when he was clearly a human being. He recognized that Jesus was a great prophet.
I also learned that Muslims consider the imam to be a holy man. Imam Ahmed asked why so many of the key figures of the Old Testament were guilty of terrible sins. He cited Noah getting drunk, Lot getting drunk and having sex with his daughters, David with Bathsheba and so on…
Imam Ahmed expects that the prophets of God and holy men should be above reproach.
My Bavarian Lutheran friend responded well by pointing out Christians view people as being sinners in need of God’s mercy. It is this inherent fault that requires that we turn to God through Jesus to find forgiveness and to be changed. (I’m paraphrasing what he said, but you get the idea).
Since that lunch I have thought about the challenge that adherents of any religion face when it comes to living up to their professed ideals. I know that Christians face a very real crisis when they preach one thing and find themselves living less than they should. I suspect it haunts most of humanity’s religions.
I don't necessarily endorse all content from this site but it's always good to get different perspectives. https://revkevinrogers.blogspot.com/2021/06/dinner-with-imam-baptist-and-bavarian.html