Sunday, February 15, 2009

Conversation with a Muslim

February 15, 2009

I enjoyed lunch this past week with our Senior Warden and his equivalent from the Atlanta Masjid (the 14th street Mosque) We were able to give him a tour and some of the history of All Saints’. Dr. Hisham Hiwasli is a cardiac specialist at South Fulton Hospital and one of the leading visionaries that began buying property around the small mosque with a vision of a large mosque and school in Mid Town. He was concerned about the ‘new atheists’ (notably Bart Ehrman of UNC) and w spent time discussing the relationship of our fundamental stories with the world of propositional ideas especially in relation to the problem of evil which Dr. Ehrman declares he can no longer square with a loving, all powerful God. I shared my belief that the story of Jesus, while not solving the problem of evil, shows that the worst thin in life is not suffering, pain or death, but breaking faith with the source of all life.

For him an antidote to such fears that we may have it wrong is found in acts of charity and his awareness of how many organizations have been started by Christians for the relief of the needy. He knew of our refugee ministries as Louisa Merchant who co-ordinates that work used to work with his wife at the school on 14th Street. He seemed interested in Covenant Community (and the number of Muslims who have been in the program) along with Mid Town Assistance and Threads. I shared my dream of one or more dinner groups between members of the Masjid and All Saints’ in time to come. Who knows what can happen in the world if American Christians could find a measure of true friendship with Muslims? We are taking some very tentative first steps.

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