I found this article in the Mennonite Weekly Review, ‘Praying at the Mosque’, fascinating. It’s about a Christian who prayed at a mosque in Bethlehem twice a week for three months. He built friendships, was invited to homes, and learnt how Christian’s were viewed by those particular Muslim men. He was entirely clear that his faith was in Jesus the entire time; he didn’t seek to compromise his faith, but did respect their practice of their faith.
To me this seemed like a quiet way to build bridges, seek understanding, and genuinely share faith in Jesus. There was no loud advertising or political grandstanding, and no compromise of the Christian message. At the same time, there was genuine respect for the people at the mosque, who welcomed him back in their midst any time.
The article didn’t mention any conversions, but it could be that there was at least a change in perceptions, which maybe might lead to more peaceful relationships if it happened on a larger scale.
It was sad to read how Christians were perceived in that world – when they found the author was from Canada he was asked, ‘But you’re not going to shoot us, are you?’. Christians were seen as obsessed with sex and as being shallow in their faith.
I suspect that not all Christians could do this kind of thing with the kind of respect that would allow relationships to develop.
It’s worth reading about becauses this is a different approach to Muslims, on a smaller scale and more personal, than what we’ve seen from a couple of other Christian leaders lately. These were quite controversial, worrying some Christians that they might be watering down the Gospel or compromising on Jesus in order to reach out, whether that was actually the case or not.
Anyway, do have a read. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this gentle and friendly approach, and on the way Christians are perceived by these people.