On December 13, 2011, I presented at the Spiritual Shots forum in Richmond, Virginia. The forum is hosted in the upstairs bar of a pizza joint in the city's Shockoe Bottom district. My topic for this particular evening during the Advent season was the following: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
Of course, it's a question of no little importance for faith. And for the living of faith for the common good of the real world. Because as Miroslav Volf has succinctly put it: "Theological wars fuel real wars." But the reality is: this significant conversation is not at all content to play ball at some erudite theological level. For both Muslims and Christians, the theological is necessarily cultural and political -- with all the attending and differentiating considerations, according to our religious traditions, of how the theological is cultural and political.
When it comes to the Almighty One, who he is, how he has revealed himself, how we might understand him and relate to him, and, ultimately, what he desires from us -- these questions always pertain to a scintillating, age-old inquiry of preeminent values, right? So why do Christians and Muslims live how we live, and why do we mis-live how we mis-live, and what is our human responsibility for the social order? To be sure, theological wars don't fuel real wars in all cases. But hostility and conflict between Christians and Muslims over preeminent values often ignites enough suspicion, fear or hatred that it makes the talking and the living together -- not to mention the cooperating -- in the geographies we share exceedingly challenging.
Here's the audio from the presentation -- Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? -- as recorded by the Spiritual Shots forum. As you get a chance to listen, I'd love to hear your reflections on this increasingly pertinent and most pressing question.
The Song of Machpelah project is humbly designed to engage in a bold kind of culture-making between Christians and Muslims. Peace by piece.