dispatches to and from

nathan f. elmore

Dispatches to and from faith, culture, and things in between

Ramadan Renderings/Day 10

I am a Christian pastor who works as a collegiate minister with the Virginia Baptists at Virginia Commonwealth University. One of my areas of vocational interest and spiritual work is Christian-Muslim relations, including text-centered dialogues or conversations. During Ramadan 2011, I read through the entire Qur'an, in English, via Tarif Khalidi's 2008 translation (Penguin Books). What follows is a personal, meditative rendering of the Qur'an portion of the day. This rendering is devotional in nature, not scholarly. And it comes in the form of textual observations, spiritual reflections, theological questions or poetic responses.

 

The Qur'an & KFC?

 

Day 10 || Reading: Qur'an 8:41 - 9:92

 

Rendering from Qur'an 9:19-22

http://quran.com/9/19-22

 

We are generally quite good at setting up moral comparisons, right? But, according to these verses, not all good deeds are equal "in the sight of God." Sure, I say. Yes, I agree. On the other hand, musing further on these verses, I found myself growing increasingly theologically uncomfortable with the idea that someone's good belief or good action somehow gives them "a higher rank with God" -- and that any lasting victory in this life can be achieved by the good of our own hands. In this moment I am reminded: theological dialogue might be the hardest aspect of interreligious dialogue. Yet, still, I can agree: "With God lies the greatest reward."

 

Treasure [reneeoa1 via Flickr]