On Tuesday nights Judy and I are taking a college level class called “Perspective on the World Christian Movement”, or in AZ its called “Pathways to Global Understanding”. I’ve explained it in depth several Blogs back.
Last Tuesday we had an interesting class. We normally meet in a class room of a church, men and women altogether. But this time they separated men from women. Men went in one door and the ladies went in another. The men’s door was labeled, “You are now entering the Muslim world, please remove your shoes”. The women entered a door to the same room, but there was a partition between the men and them, with only a five foot wide curtain of opaque material. Their lights were turned off as well. I entered the men’s door and saw a Muslim Holy Man, in full robes, standing in front. In English he asked us to stand in a row side by side facing the front and that he was asked to go through some Islamic religious culture for us. He demonstrated the prayer and practice of the “five times a day prayer”. Then had us all sit down on the floor, no chairs in the room, for a question and answer time. He said the women were not allowed to speak, but could write notes and pass them to the men to read on their behalf. One of our men asked, “Why the separation, why can’t the women speak?” The Muslim teacher answered and said that “the woman’s voice is too tempting for men to hear when they are trying to worship and learn the things of god. Also to have a women doing the bowing and kneeling in front of men would be very distracting to men.
We all have a “World View”, a way of looking at and understanding the world around us. we are not born with it, we learn it as we grow. Each of us are taught our “World View”, by our families, our neighbors, our schools, churches, media, (TV, Newspapers, Radio). As we mature, hopefully we realise that not everyone thinks the same way we do. Some people have differing points of view. Not necessarily wrong, just different. When we come to that realization and are willing or even want to learn others world view, then we have a chance of learning to communicate cross culturally.
I really enjoy viewing the world through other peoples eyes. Its kind of like the old adage, “Walking a mile in another mans shoes”, and getting an idea as to why one acts and reacts the ways they do. To be able to speak to people using their own language and culture is a gift. We must take it seriously. We must be willing to step out of our comfort zone and learn of other people and their ways. The Muslim world is upon us. We need to know how to speak with them, so they can really understand us and learn of the relationship that God wants to have with them.
The two main takeaways I got that night:
(1) We followers of Christ make the statement that “Jesus is the Son of God”. A true statement. But to a Muslims ears that is perverted. To a Muslim that statement says God came down in some human form and had physical sex with Mary in order to have a son. To a Muslim that is a sick belief system of Christians, that we would so humanize God in that way. What Muslims believe is that God spoke Holy words that entered Mary and miraculously formed the baby Jesus.
What we have here is a “failure to communicate”.
(2) They have received some Sacred Scriptures in the Islamic world. We need to learn how to communicate the rest of Gods Words in such as way that they can understand it and embrace it as their own.