Tag Archives: bible

Take the #ScriptureChallenge

Today’s Guest Post on Faithline Protestants is by Nick Price and a follow-up piece to a couple of posts Nick wrote in the last few weeks. Nick is currently a student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO, and is a former staff member for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. As an Evangelical Christian, Nick feels called by his faith to encourage Evangelical Christian participation in the interfaith movement. Nick was profiled in a video by 30 Good Minutes, in which he discusses his faith as an Evangelical and his commitment to interfaith work. He was also invited to write series for RELEVANT Magazine, in which he shared his Christian convictions for doing interfaith work. Nick is also the author of Prodigal Preacher, a blog that explores his experiences in seminary, where he wrote a 3 part series outlining his own theology of interfaith cooperation.

 

Religious illiteracy is a problem. Books and research have shown that a majority of Americans are becoming increasingly illiterate when it comes not only to their own faith traditions, but also when it comes to the religion of others. The result is increasing fear and mistrust of people from other faith traditions as well as an inability to articulate your own faith to those from other religious backgrounds.

So this is my small attempt to correct this problem. Welcome to the #ScriptureChallenge!!!

Like the famous (infamous?) #IceBucketChallenge, the #ScriptureChallenge is a chance to raise awareness. But this time it is a chance to raise awareness about another faith tradition. Here is how the #ScriptureChallenge works.

Step 1: Commit to reading through your own Scriptures within a year. For my fellow Christians, this means reading through 3 chapters of the Bible a day. This should get you most of the way through the Bible in 365 days.

Why is this important? It is important to have a robust understanding of your own faith tradition as you interact with those of other religious traditions. It allows you to find common ground as well as know how to articulate your differences.

Step 2:   Read through the Scriptures of another faith tradition within a year, pairing it with another book from that tradition to provide you with some context.

For example, I have decided that, in order to better understand my Muslim neighbors, I am going to read through the Qur’an. As my partner book, I will also read through Farid Esack’s The Qur’an: A User’s Guide in order to better acquaint myself with this rich text.

For those who want to learn about my own faith tradition, I would recommend reading through the Bible and pairing it with, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth or How to Read the Bible Book-By-Book: A Guided Tour.

Step 3: Nominate some friends to do it with you. Personally, I’m nominating the rest of the Faithline Protestants writers to take this challenge with me. Make sure you encourage them to write down what they are reading.

Step 4:  Tweet, Facebook, and hashtag it!!! #ScriptureChallenge

My hope is that we will all learn something, both about our own faith traditions, but also about the faith traditions of those around us. Let the challenge begin!!!

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Season after Epiphany, an Interfaith Meditation

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.” Matthew 2:12 (NRSV)

I know not all Protestant traditions follow a liturgical calendar, but for those of us that do, we are currently in the aptly named Season after Epiphany.

Epiphany was celebrated by most Protestants on January 6th.  It is the time when we celebrate when God made flesh in Jesus Christ was visited by three wise people.  Before arriving to the birth place, the three wise ones visited Herod, Roman-appointed puppet governor of Judea.  To make a long story short, Herod was threatened by the small baby Jesus because people were referring to the child as the King of the Jews.  Herod killed many children in Judea in an effort to protect his power and the wise people decided to not revisit Herod, instead taking “another road.”

I think this is inherently a call from the Bible to be engaged in interfaith cooperation against the injustices of the world.  The wise men, sometimes referred to as astrologers, were from lands abroad.  Church tradition notes that they may have been from three different continents.  They were most-likely not Jewish.  It’s hard to say what tradition they practiced or why they came to the baby Jesus or why they listened to the dream that warned them about Herod.  Despite all these uncertainties, I have been dwelling continually on what that other road was like.

Sure, there are the geographical questions, but what about the life questions?  As someone who is both a religious leader and an interfaith leader, I feel like my ministry is filled with opportunities to take other roads.  Interfaith cooperation is not about doing the same old thing, it is doing an entirely new thing.  We encounter injustice and suffering in many different ways in the world in which we live.  Are there other roads that we can join people who might not think the same way we do, but surely are capable of loving in the same way?

My hope and prayer is that this post serves as a motivation to begin thinking outside the box.  Encourage your own faith community to reach out to other faith communities or non-religious groups to get involved in a larger issue.  I am making it a part of my ministry to intentionally work with other faith groups for service projects.  Sometimes it seems difficult to find the time to do such things, but when we think of it as taking another road it shifts our mode of thought.  Interfaith cooperation is not a simple action, but an entire paradigm shift in how we think about and engage in the world around us.  Let us reap the wisdom from these wise ones of ancient times and not be afraid to take another road to see what can be.

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