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6.18.2007    |    "I am both Muslim and Christian"
Got to love the Episcopal Church. Its members run the gamut from orthodox catholic Christians (yes, this would mean something quite different if "orthodox" and "catholic" were capitalized), all the way to those who not only disagree that Scripture is the rock upon which our faith is based, but twist themselves in knots attempting to prove that black is white and night is day.

Case in point is one "Rev." Ann Holmes Redding, who claims to be both a Christian and a Muslim. Here are the basics, from the Seattle Times:
Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.
That movement must have been some brain flush. Taking the position of the proverbial man from Mars, one would have to apply simple logic: one can not hold two or more mutually exclusive beliefs. Ah, says that Martian man: perhaps these beliefs are not, actually, in conflict.

Now what I'm about to write is without prejudice. I have my beliefs, but can't condemn Redding for not sharing them. However, as a Christian, I must, repeat must, believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the only begotten Son of God, and was God incarnate. Also on the short but essential list of "must believes" is that Jesus was fully divine, and fully human, and died to put paid to our sins; that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and that those who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior will be saved.

Thousands of years of struggles, including much violence (really Christian...not) has taken place on the details. But these seem to be the basics. Until recently, even the liberal denominations might have agreed. Apparently there are some Piskies who no longer can sign up even to those minimalist creedal-type statements.

Islam does not recognize God incarnate; to them, Jesus was a prophet, and not even the last or most authoritative one. Just a man, in other words. In the simplest of terms, one may not logically be both a Christian and a Muslim, since Muslims can't accept that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God.

Which leads to the conclusion that Redding should not claim any longer to be an Episcopal priest. If she isn't tossed out on her hijab, then all this says is that her bishop, Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner of the Olympia (Washington) Diocese, is just as confused as she is.

Getting back to that man from Mars, the only logical conclusion he might reach is that while Christianity and Islam are incompatible in some core beliefs, Redding, and the Olympia Diocese, are not Christian believers.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.