Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding

A recent article on the religious practice and faith of The Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding gives the reader plenty to think about. She's a good New Testament scholar who is going to be teaching NT this fall at Seattle University, someone I know, and a graduate of GTS, I think.

According to the article:-

Her Muslim journey actually began at St. Mark's when in fall 2005 an Islamic leader gave a talk then prayed. Redding was moved as the imam seemed to surrender his whole body to God.

The next spring, another Muslim leader taught a chanted prayer in an interfaith class, which she began saying daily.

Her mother died at that time, the Seattle paper said, and "I was in a situation that I could not handle by any other means, other than a total surrender to God."

She can't explain why that led her to become a Muslim, but says "when God gives you an invitation, you don't turn it down."

She read up on Islam and made her profession of faith – the shahada – in March 2006, testifying there is only one god, Allah, and that Mohammad is his messenger.

The Muslim requirement of praying five times daily has given her the deep connection to God she yearned for, she says.

When she prays on other occasions, her prayers are neither uniquely Islamic nor Christian but private talks with Allah or God, names she uses interchangeably.

"It's the same person, praying to the same God," she contends.


Rev Dr Mom said...

We've just been reading "Five Voice, Five Faiths" in the Tuesday prayer group and today we discussed Islam. Admittedly there is a much left out in a chapter that is designed to be Islam 101 in 20 pages, but what struck me was the many similarities between Islam and Christianity: emphasis on prayer, one God, scripture to name jus a few. Of course, there is the "problem" of Jesus. If you are truly Christian can you relegate Jesus to the status of a "mere" prophet as you must do to be Muslim? And if you don't believe Jesus was divine as well as human, what is the point of being Christian?

There is much I find compelling about Judaism, too, and while I recognize and respect the Jewish roots of Christianity, I don't think I can truly be both Jewish and Christian--there's that pesky Jesus problem again.

So to what extent can we be true to the tenets of our own faith and adopt the practices and beliefs of another? It's an interesting question.

Simon Barrow said...

Interesting and brave. I agree with rev dr mom, though. To be a Christian is to see Jesus not as an exemplary religious figure, but as someone whose unconditional humanity is intrinsically a window into the divine. I don't see that as incompatible with the highest degree of respect for, and learning from, other paths - but the vision of God we get in the pain of the cross is explicitly rejected in Islam, say. Whereas a friend of mine who calls himself a Sikh Christian (he prefers "Sikh follower of Jesus") is working with a higher degree of mutuality.

Rowan Williams put it like this, in a review article in 2001 concerning James Alison's theology: "Islam has a wonderful vision of divine majesty, generosity and glory,and its demand for unreserved loving obedience has great nobility. But it is a faith that cannot readily find room either for the idea that God longs to share his [sic] very life, or for the vision of a God who can only win through defeat. It is not intrinsically a violent faith, but it is one that sets high store by victory."

(Of course so has Christianity in the past - when it has turned the cross into a weapon rather than seeing it as a wound in the heart of God.)

IslamExposed said...

Bible or Quran? "Is Anything From God - Really?" "Can You Help Me?"

Walter Phillips said...

While Rev Redding may follow the Bible and Qur'an, she cannot reconcile Christian and Islamic religious traditions.

We believe that God’s revelation is contained in our Bible. That has
been and will always be an uncompromising non-negotiation position for
us. Muslims believe that God’s revelation is contained in the Qur’an,
and that has been and will always be an uncompromising non-negotiation
position for them. If we hypothesize that God is the author of both
books, then we can test that hypothesis with a scientific comparative
analysis of both books.

Well, I have undertaken this study, again, with the assumption that
both books are entirely correct. The study found that there is
harmony between the principal teachings of the Bible and the Qur’an,
and that harmony was reached without damaging the integrity or
compromising the teachings of any verse in the Bible or Qur’an. I am
fully aware that these findings conflict with 1,300 years of Christian
and Islamic religious traditional teachings, which state that there
are irreconcilable differences between both books. Therefore, I have
included their arguments in the study, and using the same analysis
criteria I have found that that they are unsupported by the evidence
in the Bible and Qur'an. However, I should note that Christian and
Islamic religions traditions are incompatible.

The 30-year research and findings are contained in a book titled
“Brothers Kept Apart” and I am willing to defend the research.

Walter Phillips

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