Inter-religious friendship

One of my favorite responses from the many I appreciated from my interview with Brian McLaren was this one regarding inter-faith dialogue:

“Central to my vision of a new kind of Christianity is the realization that my primary call to my neighbor of another religion is to love him or her as myself.  Not terribly radical, I know, but surprisingly rare! This is especially important at our moment in history, it seems to me, because Jesus called us to be peacemakers, and God knows we need more peacemakers across religious boundaries. Not only that, but Jesus called us to follow his example, and he was always “transgressing” religious boundaries by befriending and serving and breaking bread with people outside the circle of “us,” whether it was a Syrophoenician woman or a Roman centurion. The apostles followed the same pattern, always breaking boundaries and connecting with people they formerly would have avoided. So one of my life mottoes is, “A follower of Jesus moves toward the other in love and compassion.” Inter-religious friendship is not a compromise of my commitment to Jesus; it’s an expression of it!”

I’m particularly taken with his last sentence — inter-religious friendship in an expression of my commitment to Jesus!   I find this a beautiful understanding of what it means to live our faith in relation to those of other religious traditions.  Bring on the inter-religious friendship!

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About Deborah Arca

Deborah Arca is the Director of Content at Patheos.


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