Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Interfaith Reflections

We live in the interesting situation of being an interfaith step-family. Ben's mother is married to a Muslim and they, as a family (along with Ben's two half siblings), follow Islamic customs, holidays and traditions. We don't know how observant they are on a daily / weekly basis, but Ben's life is certainly influenced by Muslim traditions and culture.

Yet our life here in Connecticut is very different. As a United Methodist Christian I am a follower of Christ. When Ben is with us he is immersed in Christian traditions. One of the traditions he is now participating in is Vacation Bible School! (Avalanche Ranch anyone?)

One of my initial concerns was that it would be confusing for Ben, being brought up in two different worlds. Yet he seems to be quite comfortable with it. When we say grace, he reminds us that we are supposed to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. At Christmas he celebrates not just the presents, but the birth of the Christ child. It all seems to make sense to him. As far as I can tell, he sees no contradiction between these two faith traditions.

I am currently reading Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy. (Yes, I do feel like the last person in the world to read this book!) McLaren writes, "I do hope all who feel so called will become Buddhist followers of Jesus; I believe they should be given that opportunity and invitation. I don't hope all Jews or Hindus will become members of the Christian religion. But I do hope all who feel so called will become Jewish or Hindu followers of Jesus." His point was to draw a distinction between the Christian culture and the Christian faith.

Who knows were Ben will ultimately come down on the Christian / Muslim decision ~ or if he will even feel that he needs to make a decision. Yet, as he grows up in these two different traditions, I hope that the Christian faith he is exposed to will be valuable to him. Being Christian is more than just self identifying as such. It is loving justice, standing with the poor, supporting the outcast, loving our neighbors and walking in the way that leads to life for all God's children.


Hot Cup Lutheran said...

wow... how challening and yet interesting too for you, for Ben... courage in your continuing to teach and tell and live the story for him.

Leah Sophia said...

We did Avalanche Ranch last week at morning VBS at the PCUSA--in some ways a little too free church, etc. for me, but the music was amazing! I even bought the CD! Evenings last week at the ELCA I had to (got to?) teach the adults, though a couple of us taught the kids some of the bilingual songs from Editorial Concordia's bilingual curriculum. The music wasn't nearly as good or as fun (we signed with AR), but the curriculum is solid and would be workable for any mainliner. Blessings!