My wife Wendy and I are very excited to become the local program directors for Peace Catalyst International here in El Paso, TX.
One of the main things we want to do here is to help find creative ways to bring Christians and Muslims together to share great food and learn to listen to one another rather than argue or try to prove who is right or wrong.
We’ve already had the honor of meeting some wonderful Muslim friends here and we’ve had an opportunity to gather with them, share a meal and engage in conversation together.
Very soon I’ll be sharing with Muslims and Christian as part of a daily online prayer meeting that lasts 10 minutes and allows faith leaders from various communities to share encouragement and pray for everyone during this season of pandemic we’re in today.
Hopefully, once we’re all clear to meet other people face-to-face again, we want to start scheduling meals in our home, or in local restaurants, where Muslims and Christians can get to know one another, find out what we have in common and start working toward the path of peace together.
But, not everyone understands the importance of this work. For example, I have several Christian friends who are more interested in trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, or to debate over whether Islam is a religion of peace or whether the Qur’an is true, or false.
What my friends who take this posture don’t seem to understand is that this path leads to conflict and violence, not to peace and reconciliation.
Here’s what I mean: If your goal is to prove you are right and others are wrong, you have chosen the path of conflict. The longer you travel down this path, the more likely you will inspire arguments, conflict, division and eventually hatred and violence.
However, if your goal is to listen to those who are not like you, and if you work to find common ground and start building friendships and relationships based on what brings you together, then [and only then], have you chosen the path of peace. Because the longer you travel down this path of listening, learning and loving, the more likely it is that you will inspire friendships, collaboration, dialog and eventually, love and peace.
You can’t have it both ways. Either you choose to pursue the things that make for peace, and then you focus on what you have in common, you listen, you learn, you build friendships, etc. OR, you choose to prove who is right, who is wrong, and you focus on your differences which builds enemies and adversaries.
As for me, I choose the path that leads to peace. I don’t want to emphasize our differences. I want to find common ground with Muslims and you want to know the most AMAZING thing we have in common with Muslims?It’s Jesus!
Isn’t that wonderful? We get to sit down with people from another faith and culture and talk to them about our favorite person – Jesus! We get to learn about Jesus from them, share what we know of Jesus with them, and allow our entire focus to be JESUS!
I can’t think of anything better than that.
I’ve had some great conversations with my Muslim friend Safi Kaskas recently about what we have in common. I am looking forward to starting an online course next month that will invite Christians to learn how to follow this path of peace with Muslims in their community and neighborhoods.
My hope is to inspire Christians to follow this beautiful path of peace and learn just how much we have in common with our Muslim friends.
Trust me, if we follow this path, we will grow and learn and develop friendships that lead us to peace.
Won’t you follow this path with us?
APRIL FOOLISHNESS: My publisher [Quoir] has also dropped the price on almost every Kindle edition in their catalog to just .99 cents on Amazon right now, for the entire month of April. This includes, Jesus Untangled, Jesus Unbound, and Jesus Unveiled by yours truly.
Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of several best-selling books, including “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” which is available now on Amazon.