Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Well, so much for posting every week . . .

. . . round two! I have been inspired to write again by my dear friend Amanda (of the best stuff, but plain and/or cracked).

This post has nothing to do with you, m'dear, but I wouldn't have posted at all if we hadn't talked last night.

So a few weeks ago (well, weeks ago when I wrote up this post in my word doc; a few months now) I went to an interfaith panel discussion at my college. There were a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew all answering questions about faith and secularism in the modern world. The Muslim's first name was Fez. Even among a panel of academics, he was remarkably articulate, and something he said very much stuck with me. He said that in Islam there is a theological division made between those who follow God for their own reasons (wanting to go to heaven, for example), and those who follow God with no thought of reward, but only for love. He then said that he personally does not like to make this distinction, because it results in too much judging.

I, on the other hand, was thinking how much I wished Christianity made this distinction. I remember a number of months at all, in my ecumenical Bible study which I have mentioned in numerous other essays, I mentioned that my reasons for being a Christian had nothing to do with my salvation at all. I received looks as if I had three heads. It seemed to be the feel of the room that if I was not focused on my salvation, I was missing what Christianity was about.

I don't want to pretend to be more spiritually advanced than anyone else. I wish that we made this distinction in Christianity because I want more ways of looking at faith to be more widely accepted. Maybe the right way IS to be totally focused on one's own salvation (I doubt it, but it's possible), but I wish that, especially among more conservative strains of my religion, other possibilities were acknowledged. I can't quite express how liberating it felt to have someone else, even someone of a different faith, express these different ways of approaching religion. Mmm.