Islam, Judaism, and Christianity Similarities and Differences Discussion panel

by birtanpublished on July 9, 2020

Now it's my pleasure to introduce ourmoderator the Reverend Amy Heller motherAmy is the senior chaplain at theEpiscopal School of Dallas and served asassociate rector of Church of theTransfiguration chaplain to the schoolat parish episcopal and i first met Amy

When she was here as an associate foradult formation we're fortunate to haveher back with us tonight please welcomethe Reverend Amy Hellerthank you it's a delight to welcome youall to st Michael and all angels and

Before I introduce our panelists let usbe and share among being prayer andshare a moment of quiet as we gather ourthoughts together to build community inthis evening we share let us prayloving God we thank you for the gift of

Our human family and our ability to bearyour image to one another we thank youfor our individuality and our sharedholiness that moves in and through usinto our world tonight in our timetogether may our hearts and minds be

Open to listening to one another and toa renewed understanding of the many waysyour holy people live their faith in youbless us with a holy curiosity a heartof compassion in a sense of shared lifeto you O Lord be all honor and praise

This night and always amenwell it's wonderful to welcome ourpanelists this evening beginning to myrightrabbi David Stern chief rabbi at TempleEmmanuel here in Dallas in Center Imam

Omar Suleiman director of the Islamiclearning foundation of Texas andresident scholar at Valley Ranch Islamiccenter and at the far right reverend drKrista Radha rector here at SaintMichael all angels it's a fun for me to

Learn that they are getting to know oneanother and building their collegialrelationships with one another and so wereally have an evening ahead of us oflistening in on their conversations asthey grow in friendship and fellowship

With one another in the different waysthat they serve faith communities in ourshared city so as we begin I have anopening question for you all thequestion is this what is a commonly heldmisconception of your tradition and what

Would you like us to know about thatcommonly missedI miss self-deception and we'll go fromthereI would never presume to answer first Ithought that was your answer held

MisconceptionI would say commonly held misconceptionmight be that the Jewish community is insome way monolithic in either itspolitical or spiritual attitudes and asany Jew will tell you the joke the Jews

Would use like tell about ourselves asto Jews three opinions which is not onlya joke but sort of an ethos the Judaismis built on a spirit of argument andmultiplication of ideas so I would sayany impression of the Jewish community

That veers towards the monolithic isprobably missing something central aboutwho we are and how we roll I don't thinkanyone has any misconceptionsMedia does a great job of representingus where do I start sort of bullet

Points there is less than you know wemake up less than 1% of the populationhere in the United States and we havenot secretly launched a takeover of thecountry we're not trying to replace theConstitution which Syria law we don't

Want to kill everybody we're just ascurious as to where Isis came from aseverybody else'swe don't oppress women in our traditionour tradition is not one that oh oh youknow okay that's the one that's that's

That's the one I'll focus on just for amoment and I think it plays into alarger narrative that Islam is a causeof destruction and regression and I'dlike people to just take a moment toconsider that we are a 1,400 year olds

Religion and that within Islam you hadthe birth of hospitals and medicine thefirst University in the world wasfounded by a Muslim woman our countryhere in the United States has yet toelect a woman president the largest

Muslim country in the world does anyoneknow where the largest Muslim country inthe world is Indonesian Asian hasalready had two female prime ministersso associating Islam with regressionparticularly the oppression of women and

Holding women back where some of thegreatest female scholarship has beenproduced from the Muslim world over thelast fourteen hundred years I think isvery dishonest and disingenuous so Ithink Islam being associated with

Regression and particularly within thatregression the oppression of women talkabout the other stuff later yeah that'sgreatI probably say one of the commonmisconceptions would be the Christians

Are judgmental that we seek only toconvert or change anyone we meet and Ihave conversations all the timeespecially with those who don't belongto a faith community that they're afraidto show up at a church because they

Assume that we'll kind of get our clawsand them and want to make sure that theychange who they are in order to be thekind of person God wants them to be andI think it's so much bigger than thatit's more Invitational than it is

Judgmental it's a commonly this heldmisconception I think of the faith itmay not be a misconception of the peoplethat's fairall right I think again I'll open-endedis to who wants to respond first but

It's a wonderful question that cameahead of time from some of someone outhere do we pray to the same God it'sgood softball Amy yeah I just thoughtI'd go there firstI love it theological so I mean I guess

I'll start on this one that the nameAllah is actually the same name wordthat is used in the Arabic Bible it'swhat Arab Christians believe it or notArab Christians say Allah Akbar whichmeans God is greater so the name Allah

Refers to what Jesus peace be upon himwould have said alors Allah refers tothe same god of Mosesmay God's peace and blessings be uponhim and so we have an understanding inour faith that at least that we are not

Only are we calling upon the same Godthat Jews and Christians call upon butin fact the Quran says when you speak towhen you speak to the people of the bookthere if you guys look up there was aninterfaith initiative called a common

Word that was initiated a few years agostarted between Muslims and Catholicsand spread it's based on a verse in theQuran which says say o people of thebook which refers to the Jews and theChristians come to a common word that we

Worship our God and your God and our Godis oneEnoch Oklahoma it out and out life yourGod and our God is one so in Islam wehave a very clear understanding that weare in fact calling upon the same God of

Abraham Moses Jesus and Muhammad maypeace and blessings be upon them allthank you I mean I would just echo tosay that we all I think understand thatour Abrahamic root is the same andalthough in every tradition not just the

Three defined here but as Rabbi Stearnsalready said there are differentbranches within each of these groupsthat its branches off of that same rootand the way that we understand thecreator may be different but that the

Creator is the same I would echo thatand say that it's probably an act ofhuman hubris to put the master of allthe universe in a definitional box ofhuman creation so I would echo what mycolleagues and friends have said by

Saying that it is in fact in some ways aviolation of God's sovereignty to treatGod's sovereignty too narrowlyand that it's fundamental to my sense offaith to say that there is one God thatwe find different paths to that we have

Different expressions of the changewithin our own traditions over time thatare different in any one moment across asociety and it seems to be fundamentalto a monotheistic conviction to say thatof course we do

Okay well keeping in that vein and maybewe're gonna we're gonna wander throughhistory a little bit why is it that eachof the religions that you serve and thatwe are part of focus on differences andnot similarities answered first the last

Time yeah it's chrisstambo intersectionI think it's human nature to try anddefine yourself by saying what someoneelse is or is not that that's that'snormal natural I think that it's notperhaps the most mature way to do it but

Very understandable and so I think overtime it has you think within Christiandenominations right so so many hundredsand hundreds every time a church splitsit's because someone thinks that theyknow something right that the other

People do not know or they believe thatthey can somehow agree on stuff thatthis other group cannot agree on and Ithink you know it's difficult to eversay if your starting place is that we'reall going to agree on everything I think

You sort of fail at the start to kind oflink back to what we've alreadydiscussed I always feel like God isalways bigger than anything we can everunderstand that our task is to try andit's that effort to try that helps shape

Us over time but to presume that we havefigured out that God is this box it'sjust a fallacy I I treasure differencetreasure distinctiveness the same way Iwant my children to treasuredistinctiveness and not have to blend

Into some great homogenized whole Ithink the challenge is to affirmdifference without letting thatdifference lapse into hostility orantagonism but seems to me that identityeither individually or communally

Depends upon acts of distinction and Ithink strives for distinctiveness ifthat doesn't doesn't mean we don'trecognize commonality across thosedistinctions but I treasure it you knowin the in our faith tradition we have a

Recognitiona few layers of brotherhood so firstthere is one of the early Islamicscholars Laveau's Adi recognized a fewdifferent layers of brotherhood so theysaid first there's the Adam II of the

The children of Adam the Brotherhood andsisterhood amongst the children of Adamthat there is a universal brotherhoodthat exists there and then it becomes aBrahimi an Abrahamic that there isanother closeness or a distinction of

Abrahamic brotherhood those who who whoclaim the father Abraham peace be uponhim and then there is the brotherhoodwith in Christ and Islam and thatMuslims also affirm a position a uniquedistinction in position of Jesus Christ

Peace be upon him and then there is amuhammediyewhich is the Muhammad's those whobelieve in the Prophet Muhammad peace beupon himaffirming a brotherhood amongst

Themselves but then it's reallyinteresting because these obviously getcloser and closer and closer and thereare differences even amongst thefollowers of the Prophet Muhammad peacebe upon him but the verse in the Quran

And every time I get asked what mypolitics are I say that there's oneverse in the Quran that sums up mypolitics well I thought column not anyatom we have honored and dignified thechild of Adam and so the children of

Adam are to be dignified when there arepolitical agendas at play division isthe tool of people in power to distractto distract you from from actuallyfocusing on what's keeping society downso division is a very it's very easy to

Point to someone who's different thanyou and say that's your problem not meand if you figure that problem out theneverything will suddenly disappear andso inyou know I don't want to get too

Political here not yet at least that Iwant you guys to like me at least forthe first 30 minutes because once Istart getting too political they see butwhat I would say is that that's wherethat's where sectarianism

That's where division becomes ripe iswhen there is an agenda at play andthere's something to be gained fromdividing people and it's just a simplequestion that we should ask who benefitsfrom our division who benefits from this

Idea of the clash of civilizationsextremist groups here and abroad ofdifferent faiths and flavours all allyou know are able to fester because ofthese this this idea that civilizationsare a constant and constant strife and

That two groups of people cannot getalong and so we have to always be instrife and always be fighting the otherso that we don't actually rectifyourselves and I'll follow that thread weoften talk about differences as

Problematic and so when I've been tointerfaith discussions like this or eveninterdenominational ecumenical oranything like thatit does seem like there's a tendency towant to reduce things down to the most

Common denominator right so to try andgo water it down and distill it down asfar as we can so that we're all the samerather than acknowledging thedifferences and then seeking tounderstand them and it's that lack of

Understanding of the differences thatexist that I think actually causes a lotof the mistrust and the growth of hatredand perhaps even allows people like usto to allow I suppose that kind of hateand bigotry and intolerance to hate to

Say thrive but maybe well I I do so I'llbe political so you don't have to be sobut I think the part of thepart of what the current culturalclimate does I think is givedisagreement a bad name because

Difference and distinction meansdisagreement and disagreement again canbe a very healthy engine if it's in ahealthy society Omar and I disagree wehave lots of serious and deepconversations with one another as

Colleagues and friends and there arethings we agree on clearly and there arethings we disagree on clearly thosedisagreements are precious to me theyhelp me clarify my own thinking theyforce me to develop empathy for the

Thinking of someone for whom I haveboundless regard and so I think that theproblem is that now that everything isso toxic we become afraid ofdisagreement right and that's to our owndetriment and so I would echo what

You're saying Chris I think that the thethe lowest common denominator thing isnot only misrepresentative and dull it'sdangerous because it casts disagreementsomehow as kryptonite and thereby limitsour capacity to understand each other ok

So I want to be a little more personaland reflective for each of you for amoment in your tradition and in yourfaith identity what is the mostbeautiful or loving part of that thatyou value the most just in your personal

Identity as as your purpose 8 that youlive what is it that you say when I wakeup in the morning this is what I loveabout being Who I am and the faith thatI hold dear you shall love the strangerfor you were strangers in the land of

Egypt you stay a little bit more forpeopleyeah I'm not the sound guy againrabbi Stern if a higher church voice I'duse it you shall love the stranger foryou were strangers in the land of Egypt

The reminder that the recognition of thedignity and the divinity inherent in theother is at the core of the Jewishcovenant with God that is a source ofpride and beauty to me and as Chris saidearlier that doesn't mean there's always

A difference between the doctrine andhow it's enacted by complicatedcommunities that doesn't mean that weget it rightall the time I would even try to guess apercentage of the time that we get it

Right but that is a horizon of decencyand justice and holiness for me that Iam that I feel blessed that it shines alight on my way so I would from at thetheological level the I would sayclarity as a Muslim there's there's

Great clarity in our theology as to whoGod is what his attributes are we begineverything that we do in the name of Godthe most compassionate the most mercifulthat's how we there's a very personalrelationship that we're able to develop

With God and so we call upon him in thename of God the most compassionate themost merciful there's also a connectionto to a multitude of prophets so i youknow i when i speak to someone who isjewish i learn as they are speaking

About the old testament and some of thestories of the prophets that came beforebecause in my tradition we affirm thoseprophets and when we speak of jesuschrist peace be upon him danaiah then ican relate to that i take great interest

And who he was and what his mission wasand and have something to relate tothere so there is a there's this there'sa wholesome theological claritybut then at the societal level Islam hasa very clear social justice tradition

It's a liberation theology at its corethat's that that's what's made itappealing to many of the great civilrights leaders and activists that wethat we that we've had and enjoyed inthis country and elsewhere there's a

There's a great there's an explicit antiracism tradition the last sermon of theProphet Muhammad peace be upon him wasor the second sentence of that lastsermon was that there's no superiorityof a white man over a black man or of an

Arab over a non-arab there's an explicitanti racism tradition there's anexplicit tradition of treating peoplewith dignity and with honor and withlove and compassion even if they don'tbelong to your faith so they're it's

It's the how pristine those concepts areand we can find a lot of those conceptsthat are under you know they're at thecore of our messages of loving theneighbor do to others which you wouldwant to be done to you those are things

But I'd say this that I often find thatthat a lot of the things that peoplethink about Muslims are actually trueabout Christ are true about Moses aretrue about what I mean by that is that Ithink that the sanitizing of Christ the

Sanitizing of Moses the sanitizing ofthese great prophets you know and I saypeace be upon them and it might annoyannoy you sometimes but that we say thatafter the name of the prophets and andconsistently that Jesus was a man that

Was radically devoted to justice and Ican appreciate that and yes yes there'sturned the other cheekbut there's also there's also a Jesusthat was angry when there was injusticeand that spoke out against it and I

Think that when you look at the prophetsof God they were not they were notpacifists in the sense that they did nottake a passive attitude towards theinjustice in their societies they werenot merely

Theology but their theology transformedtheir societies and they were able toconnect that to the vulnerable andprofits were never popular with powerstructures so you know power structureis always appropriate and commodify

Profits but they were never popular withpower structures and so to me that'swhat I can draw from that explicitsocial justice tradition that'samplified in the lives of all of thoseprophets as they're told within the

Islamic corpus I think in for Christiandifferent Christian groups there aremoments in the story of Christ that seemfundamental perhaps the number one mostimportant and that's perhaps shifted forme some in my life but in my as an adult

What has meant most to me is the idea ofthe Incarnation right when Christ wasincarnate in the world God came into theworld present in this person of Jesus ofNazareth there's so much that can bedone with that idea so much richness

That we can understand about God'scompassion and love and presencefaithfulness but where I think thatimpacts me is in the social sense thatevery person in this room God'sincarnation happens with each one of us

In small ways that we have God in usright that God Ness is something thatcomes in us periodit's not something we can lose and thereare plenty of Christian traditions Ithink in theological ideas that sort of

Starts with we are bad and need tobecome good and I think that there'splenty that says that we are good andlose our way and that there's thisconstant return and turning andreconciliation that happens on our

Journey and it's that turn andrepentance over and over and over againbecausegods in US and it's an inconvenienttruth for me as a Christian that God isin every person because I don't like

Every person and even the people who cutme off on the street or who yell at meor who do frustrating things or who hurtother people you name itGod still there somewhere could be so soburied but we're called to love God and

Love our neighbor and we're called tolove our neighbor because God's in theresomewhere and it's through the love thatwe share with one another that we helpthat kind of blossom and shine as we asI noticed the time I believe the women

Of st Michael will be collecting thosequestions so pass them to an end I thinkthis way and then we'll have a secondround of our questioning in process butwe have plenty plenty to talk about andwonder about together I'm mindful of the

Fact that we are all people of books onebook a holy book that is central to thestory and of course how we read oursacred texts is very important and soI'm just wondering sort of the approachthe literal approach the metaphorical

Approach how does each tradition speakto the reading of sacred texts whetherthrough worship or study and how is thathow it might there be differencesamongst the different faith traditionsor even better to understand

Similarities in the big Christianpantheon of denominations there are somany answers to that question as anAnglican Christian Episcopalian AnglicanChristian we root ourselves in Scripturefirst and then develop from Scripture

Through our tradition and then wewelcome in the idea of reason so ouractualexperience our faithful experience inthe world is meant to alsoinform how we live so scripture is

Central it is the beginning but I thinkthere are lots of Christians who havestart from a place of liberalism and Iwill tell I tell my Bible studies andgroups that I don't think that it's goodto read the Bible literally I would much

Prefer that you read it literatelyand that reading it literately is whatmost don't do because most haven'tactually read the whole thing and it'snot until you see how grand it really isthat I think you can appreciate the

Complexity it is just it's not possibleto read our both the Old and NewTestaments literally because theyliterally contradicted themselvesthroughout the texts right and so thatthose kinds of specific contradictions

Are okay so long as you are a literatereader and a faithful reader I like totell children when we give them copiesof the Bible that it isn't a book butit's really a library of books and thatyou can't simply go front to back as if

It's chapter 1 and chapter 2 of 1 nicenovel but instead it's this richincredible poetic and narrative andhistoric collection of different storiesthat sort of turn the crystal of truthand you can't just ever pick one verse

And say that is everything althoughpeople do it all the time right you canfind a verse in the Bible to defendpretty much anything that's not aliterate understanding and so it'sincumbent upon us to go at it as both

Intellectual but also faithful and tolet it speak to us over time and tocontinue to read it all the timebut I'm gonna guess that more Christiansthan not have never read the whole thingand that's probably a good place to

Start so there is a social experimentwhere you guys can look it up onlinethere's a person I believe it was donein the Netherlands who took a copy ofthe Bible but wrapped it with a cover ofthe Quran I've seen oh yeah it's like a

Street and you should look this up readthis read this verse from the Quran andpeople would read it and go oh my godthat's I can't believe it says that theyare they are who we thought they werethat's right right and he takes off the

The wrapper and shows it's a Bible andso it's actually quite and this is so asMuslims we believe in the originalformat of those texts as they wererevealed to their – to the prophetsagain we hold all of these people as

Prophets and there were originalrevelations that over time differenttranslations and different versions mayhave departed from the original text butit's really interesting because and I'mjust gonna this is in defense of my

Faith and and you know David you knowhow much I love you so don't getoffended by this all right but uh ifstatistically speaking if you take theverses of violence from the OldTestament the New Testament and the

Quran the percentage of the OldTestament don't get madI'm not bad all right let's keep thisyeah it's like 58%the New Testament was 28 the Quran was23 so we're we're pretty you know

Closer but we winbut but it's it's it's interesting to mebecause Islamophobes an extremist preachthe exact same Islam yeah I mean I'm notgonna lie the President and and you knowsome of those people they sound exactly

Alike when they talk about my religionI'm like you guys should get in the roomand talk about your Islam and can youkeep it somewhere and can we build awall and keep you guys on one side sothat the rest of the 18 billion Muslims

In the world can keep practicing the waythey've been practicing the Quran is tous the Word of God it is it is theliteral word of God to us so it's it's alittle different in that sense from atheological perspective the the role

That the Quran plays in the life of theMuslim for 1400 years that's beenpreserved in its original text there areno versions of the flam and MuslimMuslims throughout history haveintentionally maintained the original

Recitation of the Quran in Arabic andthat's why though there are manytranslations of the Quran and it wastranslated into persian by one of theCompanions of the Prophet Muhammad peacebe upon him still there is this

Insistence sort of like SyriaChristianity right the Persian Church inthe fourth century and 5th centuryrecited and you know and Syriac to stayas close to the Aramaic of Christ peacebe upon him so there's this insistence

On the originality of the text andmaintaining the text and reading thetext as it is and that's part of thebeauty of it in that uniformity that youcan have a child in in China or a childin Somalia and they're all reciting the

Exact same Quran so for 1,400 yearsthere's that consistency that's therewith the fourth it's about 600 pages itis memorized by millions of peoplearound the worldit's memorized by thousands of people in

Dallas if you're scared poofthousands and loosed thousands of peoplethat memorize the Koran word for wordhere in Dallas Texas right that's ormaybe honey no we got thousands I thinkwe got thousands we got a lot of a lot

Of schools here I shouldn't have saidthat rightbut um but the point being is that wehave that uniformity right that'smaintained by the recitation of theQuran however there's a clear

Understanding that the interpretation ofthe Quran is in the life of the ProphetMuhammad peace be upon him so forexample if you were to take a verse ofthe Quran and say the Quran encouragesdomestic violence it tells you to beat

Your wives but then the wife of theProphet Muhammad peace be upon him saysthat he never hit a woman or a servantto her child the interpretation of theQuran in Islamic theology is the ProphetMuhammad peace be upon him because if

You want to miss translate something ifyou want to take a word or take a verseout of context I don't care if you'rereading Harry Potter right I don't carewhat you're reading you could turn itinto a violent scripture so the

Interpretation of the Quran starts withthe way that it was practiced by theprophet and his companions and then thenit goes to scholarship and language andand there are certainly verses of theQuran that have to be read in context

Just like any book in any scripture sothat they do not beat so that they arenot hijacked by people that either areto be made extreme through it or peoplethat are to try to portray the face asextreme so the Quran is sacred to us it

Is the Word of God it's the speech ofGod to usbut there's context there'sinterpretation but we also haveprinciples that govern theinterpretation so that that uniformity

Is still maintained I think that's oneof the things that we we take pride inthere's people praying the same way inreciting the Quran all over the world indifferent contexts and I've been doingso for over millennia

How common would the understanding bethat muhammad is his life is actuallysort of the way in which you interpretthe rest of it i don't know that i'veheard anyone say it like that before sothis is where ninety ninety percent

Usually when you hear sunni shia you'rethinking about iraq or iran becausethat's in the geopolitical terminologythat's when it starts to come about butthe vast majority of Muslims around theworld are

Which means soon which is the life ofthe Prophet the way of the Prophet peacebe upon him but that means is that hislife and his words are authoritativethey they have they carry authority andthey they are the first place to go to

And interpreting the plan otherwise theinterpretation is not governed by any byany anything that is divine itself andso we believe that the prophets spoke ina way that was divine and they acted ina way that was divine so every prophet

Was infallible in this level so theprophets lived the message in the bestway and so you look to them first andthen you have differences and obviouslyevolving contexts and sometimes wheresome texts might not be appliable

Applicable so I think that we try tohave a balance between the letter andthe spirit of the law you know try tomaintain both and certainly benefit fromthe wisdom of other texts the wisdom ofother scholars the wisdom we we take

From stories of the Old Testament andstories of the prophets that came beforebut then the authority what is the finalauthority if you will that's that'swhere it becomes that way I'm interestedto know what David's gonna say here

Because when I listen to you talk aboutinterpreting through the Prophet I meanI think for for Christians where we mostoften almost every time disagree is notwhat Jesus said or did it's all theother stuff and as a as Kris what do you

Mean by all the other stuff yeah wellsay what are you talking about yeah wellfor example like letters of Paul rightwhere Paul as a as a I mean say aprophet an apostle was planting churchesall over the place and then when those

Churches would run into trouble or theydidn't understand something or someonewould ask a question then they wouldwrite to him and then he would writethem back and so his letters in casethat's not commonly understood he's

Answering a specific group of people ina specific place about a specificquestion or questions but what oftenhappens is that specific answer forthose peopleis then extrapolated to everyone in all

Time everywhereand it's often where it flies in theface of perhaps what we see about Jesusis kind of radical inclusion righthe always did the stuff that peopledidn't like and we naturally kind of our

Human nature is to begin to take what isvery broad and narrow it and most of thetime I think if you look back in the waythe different denominational groups havesplit over time it's often abouttheology that roots itself in not the

Gospels and I often will in Biblestudies encourage people to say okay soyou read that say in an Old Testamentbook or in a New Testament letter whatdo you think based on how Jesus livedthat the answer might be and it's that

Step of interpreting through the Prophetor through Christ that I don't seehappen as often as I wish can I if I ifI may here this is something thatreading into a lot of times we try toread into scripture what's not there but

We want it to be there so badly that wewill twist concepts so that I can't sothat we can somehow validate our ownapproaches and our our our intentionsand that's very dangerous when you'rereading scripture that you either look

Solely for inspiration when you want toso the the Holy Scripture turns into youknow a website of quotes so I'm lookingfor a good quote for my wedding card I'mlooking for a good quote on the wordsearch keyword searches and stuff like

Which which now that there is not forthat there's a lot for the calamityyou know you can you can literally dothat so I'm looking for a verse on thisright now yet but it's not it's just togive me some sort of inspiration right

Now to make me feel good about mysituation or to quote at somebodyso rather than religion being a tool orscripture being a tool that humbles meand then instructs me I abuse it toinstruct or judge or throw at somebody

Without living it at all the mostbeautiful description of the ProphetMuhammad peace be upon him that that Ifound and it's challenging is that hiswife was asked after he passed the wayshe said how would you describe him you

Could describe him in one sentence andshe said he was a walking foot on that'show she described he was a walking ad tome that's beautiful because a lot oftimes we know this is clergy there'sthat great play that was that that was

That I forgot I think it was called theChristians actually it was about a clerkyeah yeah yeah you guys all yeah so thethe departure once you're in the publicspace especially as clergy you in in theprocess of preaching it's very easy to

Fall into hypocrisy and very easy tohave a different life at home and beperceived in such a different way byyour family and by those who see youfrequently and I think that's across theboard for for clergy or public figures

As a whole so hearing his wife describehim as a walking foot on that means thathe practiced everything that he preachedand to me that is the ultimate goal isthat this is the standard this isperfection this is where I need to get

To whether it's in my family life and mysocial life and community life andthere's some times where you read thestories of these sages and you say wellI can't get there and sometimes actuallydiscouraging like these stories of

Selflessness and sacrifice and mercy andcompassion that is so far beyondanything that I've ever been able tostrive forso sometimes it's like well that wasthem and so I'm you know I'm not going

To even try to do what's in my capacityfor me the way I read that is this isthe standard this is what I need to tryto attain this is what I need to try toget to though I never will be I neverwill be Christ I never will be Muhammad

I knowwe'll be Moses I can try to be thosepeople I can try to be those men and Ican try my best to live up to what theydid and so the scripture the text has tochallenge me to get better not be used

By me to make me complacent with mysituation or worse to for nefarious youknow for nefarious aims I'll be a littlecontrarian because I think this isn'tdistinction first why to talk aboutBible study here at st Michael is to

What you have to recognize the historyof superb Bible teaching that's takenplace in this church that's the firstthing of which Chris is a disciplinewhich Chris carries forward in insplendid ways so I want to say that I

Also should say which I should have saidthe beginning which is that on on Omar'sbehalf and on my own to thank you allfor your hospitality and having us heretonightcertainly better parking here than I get

A temple manual I I get the trope ofJesus Mohammed Moses but I think towould you it doesn't really ring trueright for a couple reasons first Judaismfor Judaism classically the incarnationof God is in the word and everyone after

That is a teacher or interpreter of theword I don't walk around telling ourreligious school kids to emulate Mosesbecause Moses does some stuff I don'twant them to emulate I don't reallythink frankly the Bible is a book for

Children we need to filter it veryclearly and closely whether it's fivepercent or two-and-a-half percent orwhatever it might beI'myeah no part but but this is but this is

To the point that not and I only speakfor the Hebrew Bible which is really theonly one I know it is not it would be amistake to look at every verse of thatdocument and assume it to beprescriptive right when you cite what

One army did to another army which wouldgo into the five and a half percent haveI mentioned that which we go in withwhich would go into the five and a halfpercent that's not there as aprescription it's there as a description

Through certain human eyes of somethingthat took placeyou know alongside some river betweentwo warring armies i similarly do notread every verse of moses as somethingthat says emulate what's happening in

This verse some verses i do right mosesis certainly revered in the traditionparticularly for his humility and sowhen we talk to kids about humility wetalk about moses as a model of humilitybut i think the idea that the best way

To understand the word is how it wasenacted by x figure is probably not aJewish idea it lends itself to a certainkind of hagiography which I thinkJudaism resists and I believe so now togo back to Amy's question if you were to

Let's say that each of these traditionshas a range from and I'm not usingfundamentalists as a dirty word here I'musing it as sort of meaning theliteralist end of the spectrum ofinterpretation right so let's say each

Of our traditions has a fundamentalistend of the spectrum people who read thesacred writ with a particular literalistframe and then a more metaphoricinterpretive liberal reading let's callit okay without attaching any

Contemporary meanings to those words thein Judaism even the most fundamentalistreader okay if you go into the mosttraditional Academy of Jewish study andyou look at the pageof scripture that they're studying

Literally what you will see is in thecenter of the pagea rectangle that might have six or eightlines of scripture and then it iscompletely surrounded on all four sidesby commentary if you can see that

Picture in your mind that is how Jewsread scripture that it begins withdivine revelation and then it is notonly accessible to but it depends uponhuman interpretation to reincarnate whatis already incarnate in the word itself

So that's why I would think in generalI'm not saying that Judaism doesn't haveits instances of hagiography and holdingup people as the best and brightestembodiment of sacred call but in generalwe're going to look to the word and the

Application of our own wisdom and thewisdom of the tradition to the word morethan we're gonna look to specific intoindividuals as the embodiment of theword thank you do we have to go to thenext question it reminds me of Romney's

What was a 48% moment or for me so yeahI would this is a this is actually oneof the things that I actually deeplyenjoy about our discussion is if we'regonna talk about it from a purelytheological perspective so how do we

Reckon with this I think that everygeneration is going to be challengedwith how much access how much uniqueaccess do you have to text the previousgenerations did not so what emphasis dowe place on consensus so for me you know

Looking at looking at every Muslim ascapable of accessing the text andderiving their own interpretations isvery dangerous I'm not saying thatsuggested yeah I got youso there has to be a layer now in Islam

We don't have the hierarchy within theyou know as a similar to both of thetraditions up here that we don't have ahierarchy beyond the Prophet Mohammedpeace be upon them so scholars arejudged by the Sunnah by the practice of

The Prophet not vice-versa so if theIslamic scholar comes and says I'vediscovered something that for 1400 yearshasn't been there and this is when it'sall it's meant all along and nobody elsegot it right then we're not going to

Take that scholar very seriously howevercontext evolved and we also and I'll saythis just as we look to the past andthis is a really difficult thing forpeople to swallow sometimes we love tojudge the past and to think that

Everything and everyone in the past wasbehind us and that we we somehowrepresents this epitome or or the mostrefined version of morality now in the21st century here in the United Statesgive me a break seriously give me a

BreakI mean there's a saying that that uhthat if I was and I got to get thisright because I always mix up the twoterms that I was a conservative 20 yearsago and today I'm a liberal and I have

Not changed the single one of my viewsor Knox's office if it was a liberal 20years ago and today I'm a conservativeand I haven't changed a single one of myviews so everything is changing the waywe view morality is changing the way we

View our social contexts are constantlyevolving but can we look back and sayevery body in the pasthad it wrong on this and this and thisnot now there are some things that wecan say that for sure all right but then

Just in general the lenses and how weperceive society and I'll give you youknow when we're talking about theprofits in particular the profits of Godso in Islam we we would remove anyattachment of immorality to the prophets

And we would ascribe that to humaninnovation that these were men that cameafterwards that ascribed immoralities tothe prophets as opposed to immoralitiesof the prophets themselves committed andI think this is where it gets tricky

Because if you're and it's a questionthat we have to wrestle with OldTestament New Testament the god ofJudaism the god of Christianity the Godof Islam we started off this discussionby saying it's the same God while laws

Changed and prescriptions changed thevery nature and essence of God wholegislated and who reveals was the sameGod and so God was not was never immoralGod was never cruel God was alwaysmerciful God is always most gracious and

Compassionate and just and solegislation that we look back on orscripture that we look back on it we goyeah either we're misunderstanding it ormiss applying it or we can I mean Icould say confidently that there are

Many things that are ascribed to manypro2 to the prophets that I reject as abeliever of those prophets and I'moffended on their behalf yes when I whenI hear certain things ascribe to theprophets of the past so – there's a

There's an out there there's truth towhat you're saying in the sense thatit's not well I would just push backit's not the prophets themselves it'sthose that interpreted what they wantedto of the prophets and just like what

You had mentioned we usually get introuble with those that came afterwardsin Islam we usually get stuck with whatsome jurist in 9th century Baghdad rightokay that's where we usually get stuckbecause we want to honor that jurist cuz

He was great in many ways but then it'slike you see that sentence in this bookand you're like tonight can we just takethat out can I you know when we don'tuse whiteout anymore we justyou know but how do we take that out so

That's where we get stuck as wellusually I have a question what about thewhat about the potential for an arc ofmoral growth of one of these figuresover time is that anathema or is thatpossible I wanted to follow up sort of

On that idea of immorality that therewas where's their humanity a propheticlike that problems that they encounterthe mistakes that they make as they arehuman rather than taking that away assomething that was put on them later did

I hear that right I think so in Islam weour our definition of infallibility tothe prophets is that they were incapableof major sin or of ascribing to God apartner so they were capable of mistakesof slip-ups of minor sin but they were

Not capable of major sin so that's wherethat's where the Islamic definition ofprophets or how we categorized theirmistakes and you got to understand thatsometimes when I say I believe in Christor I believe in Moses or I believe in

Abraham that does not mean that as aMuslim I believe in every story aboutChrist Abraham or Moses peace be uponthem all that is found within Judaismand Christianity and let's face it thatwithin Christianity and Judaism right

There is there are differentinterpretations of who these men wereand who these people were and so youknow I think I'm talking too much nowbut I'm gonna just I would just say thatthat's where it still goes to the man

That told us the stories of thoseprophets who compiled those stories ofthose prophets and which stories made itthrough and then how were those storiesthat were told by men interpreted byother men that then reached us and so

That's where that's where I would Iwould say that we have to we have to beas critical of that or we have to startthere before we go to the prophetsthemselves and say hey you know thatthat's something that

That I reject with the Prophet himselfyou don't agree so a challenge yes youyou were the first one I know you guysput me in the middle for a reasonisn't that a form of sanitizing we dowe'd use the word you would talked about

Sanitizing before in terms of you knowthat we we whitewash the the propheticand justice anger of these figures is ita form of sanitizing to say that ifthere's anything uncomfortable that'sattributed to the Prophet I'm going to

Say the problem is in the attributionnot and the Prophet isn't that in and ofitself a form of sanitizer that's a goodquestion I and I would say that it wouldbe sanitizing if before I look to theattribution I look to what I like and

Don't like and then I toss it out oraccept it on that basis but I willscrutinize every attribute I yeah so inIslam we have you know we have a verystrict method of scrutinizing Hadeeswhich are sayings of the Prophet

Muhammad peace be upon him there aresome hadithsthat are so beautiful but they're notauthentic from an Islamic perspectivelike if I'm true to the signs of hadithand I'm just like I wish it was

Authentic because I love it and I lovethis attribution I love the story butit's not it's not something I candescribe so as a Muslim I start fromthat place is the attribution authenticor not if it is then what's the context

I want to understand the context becauseI cannot believe that a man who was usedas a vehicle of God's revelation himselflived an immoral life so I need to Ineed to look at that I need to look atthe attribution then look at the

Incident itself if I've determined thatthe attribution is authentic then whatis it that took place and how do i howdo i grapple with that particularincident what I find interesting aboutthis is that for for Christianity the

The root idea is God's redemptive workin the world right into Redemption is achange and so mistakes and problemsaren't a problem because it's just trueand we're all in that same boat togetherand it's I might steal David's word that

Arc that redemptive work over time notnecessarily just a single individualalthough yes there's that toobut it's also as a world like the ideaof a kingdom of heaven is not this otherthing but it's something we work toward

Now right then we are working we areredemptive agents in the world and arecalled to spread that that redemptivetruth of God and so to say that even ourprophets weren't part of that work to mekind of undermines I think what the

Christian kind of root of redemptionreally is so it goes to the definitionof a prophet and Islam and then it goesto the definition of what we classify asa major sin so the story of Adam and Eveis the story of mankind that Adam who's

A prophet made a mistake so the majorsin here when I when I class a major sinthat that you know I'm talking aboutmurder I'm talking about the you knowI'm talking about a different categorythere's a very specific category of

Major sin in Islam but redemption wouldoccur with all of the prophets with allof the stories of great people and thereare stories of redemption that are toldby the prophets themselves so the thework of God the entire the entire

Concept of salvation in Islam is thatyou do your best but your God is mostcompassionate Most Merciful and so solong as he finds you on the day ofjudgment having tried your best toattain that mercy then his mercy will

Will overcome your shortcomings and sothere's a saying of the Prophet Muhammadpeace be upon him that no one entersparadise by virtue of their good deedsbut instead by the mercy of God thatdoes not mean free pass you don't have

To do anything that means you will doyour best you will strive but you willfall short because you were created in away that you you are meant to fall shortbut it is ultimately the mercy and theredemption of God that will overwhelm

You and enter you into paradise but thatdoesn't mean my point is that thevehicles of God's revelation theprophets themselves and again this wouldtake a lot of deconstructsure because who tells us the stories of

Christ which stories of Christ areauthentic from a historical perspectiveif we were to take a step back and judgeit from a purely objective perspectivewhose story of Christ wins and becomesmainstream whose story of Moses wins and

Becomes mainstream there are that themethods of extraction are different aswell amongst ourselves and so with thatthere are certain stories that maybeyou're thinking of when I say thatyou're gone huh

So I'll give you an example Noah wellgive me the story he was naked and drunkon the beach we have so that we don'tread that part in church so so that thatattribution from an Islamic perspectivewe don't have that attribution in our

Text of Noah there yeah so what wouldmake your attribution more historicallyaccurate than my attribution to Noah doyou understand what I'm saying here it'smore fun it's more fun and you know Iwas I was talking to a young Muslim the

Other day was taught you know we havethe story of sacrifice the sacrifice ofAbraham that Abraham sacrificing his sonnow Jews say it's Isaac Muslim Said'sIshmael but how could a man sacrificehis son how could God command a man to

Sacrifice his son and the Islamic answerto that is that Abraham saw a dream thathe interpreted that way but that thatwas not God never commanded himexplicitly go slaughter your son andthat's where the miracle took place and

It was a ram rather than his son so wedon't attribute immorality to theprophets mistakes they made mistakes butthose mistakes would not compromise theintegrity of the message that they hadand that's where that that's where the

Difference lies I think all right I'mgonna pull us back a little bit from thewonderful text great door that I openednotit's like overhearing geeky theologypracticalities in all traditions head

Covering is a part what does that meanwhy is there head covering in thevarious forms that it exists within eachof the religions for men and for womenand isn't only for it times of worshipthroughout the culture what is the role

Of head covering I was in Christianityit is absolutely about humility beforeGod no question I mean how many of yougrew up either Catholic and I definitelysaw my grandmother cover her head whenwe went to church no question you would

Not go into a church without a scarf orthey kind of look like doilies I don'tknow but certainly out of humilityhumility for being in God's presence heever isn't it ironic the differencebetween how a Muslim woman who covers

Her head is perceived in a nun that hasnothing to do with the media that hasnothing to do with conditioning orengineering so I would look here's thething in our tradition and Muslims lovebeing asked about their faith and not

Told about their faith like usuallyhere's how an interaction interfaithdialogue for me usually is this walkingout of Walmart you guys and then it'sgone you know it's like okay well wecould have had an exchange that's all

The interfaith monologue yeahI have those like six times yet thereare Muslim women that are here todaythat cover their heads ask a Muslimwoman how she feels about her headcovering and if anyone forced it upon

Her or if it was a choice that she madeat some point in her life as a means ofdevotion and humility before God and Iguarantee you that you'll be surprisedby the answer so you have I'm actuallyinviting you all the sister I see a few

Sisters here you're good with beingasked about your hijab in the story orhey ok good you're all good with that soyou may ask them that question don't askme that question and ask ask thosesisters because when they decided to

Cover their heads and why they decidedto cover their headsit isn't in this America in 2018 hatsoff literally to the Muslim women in inthis country that insists on theirAmericanist and insist on their identity

Because what they are doing is an act ofresistance to bigotry because they'reinsisting that there is nothat is an insistence that know I willbe an accomplished woman I would andwhatever that accomplishment looks like

And I will insist on my religiousidentity and it is just as oppressive toforce a woman to take her head coveringoff than the force that her put it onso when you see France and you see awoman on the beach you know who's

Wearing the bikini god forbid a woman onthe beach wearing a swimsuit that coversher entire body in her hair because shewants to enjoy the beach but she alsowants to abide by her religiousobligations and you've got police

Officers going to the beach andhumiliating that woman and stripping youknow stripping her of that of the of heridentifying cloth and then doing that inthe name of secularism and modernity andprogress that's the point we need to

Look to what we need to accuse our ownour own lenses and our own constructsand I'll let Muslim women speak forthemselves as to why they chose to coverand why they what what they feel aboutthat obligation other thing I throw in

Is because you can do a nice I assumeyou could do it in other traditions alsocertainly in Judaism you could if youwanted to be if you wanted to prejudgeyou could look on a bus in Israel andbased on the kind of weather it's woven

Whether it's velvet how big how smallyou could like people who really knowIsraeli sociology could actually tellyou a lot about a person right now we'reand again it's a prejudgment but there'shead covering and then it get like as we

Said from the very beginning it's alsosometimes used as a sociological markerwell speaking of sociological markerstalk about interfaith marriage what doeseach religion say about it repeat thequestion

Interfaith marriage what does eachreligion say or teach about interfaithmarriage Omar I just spoke for like 15minutes yeah you guys gave one-wordanswers so it's a lot harder to saysomething with just a few words don't

You think so is the question what whatour traditions teach about interfaithmarriage or just say about I just wantto point out it's not the rabbi whoanswered a question with a question yesI think is I think it's a sense

My guess is behind the question havingnot written it is this sense of is itacceptable is it in traditional Jewishlaw it's prohibited in contemporaryJewish practice there are many rabbispecifically rabbis of my denomination

Who would officiate you would never findan Orthodox rabbi officiate aninterfaith weddingyou would actually and and aconservative currently the currentregulation of the conservative rabbinic

Organization is that if a conservativerabbi officiates at an interfaithwedding they're expelled from theorganization so it's so it's a strongtraditional prohibition in the moreprogressive and liberal denominations

That there are plenty of rabbis who doofficiate I would certainly say thatthere isn't explicit tea this is one ofthose moments where I cannot speak forChristianity right but I think that inmost cases individual clerics have some

Flexibility on how they approach thismost of the time marriage is consideredkind of in that pastoral categorycertainly as Anglicans or asEpiscopalians and I would say probablyOrthodox or Romans it is sacramental

And when a sacrament when a sacramentalmoment is shared that is a set that isshared among people who believe in thatsacramental experience however there isflexibility in that I think it dependson a personal in our tradition we are

Not compelled to marry anybody and Ihave declined multiple couples justbecause you know God knows they're notsupposed to be marriedsorry andso

If it's different I mean I wouldn't saythat that we have a responsibility forto baptize someone who wishes to bebaptized that we were responsibility tobury someone that needs to be buriedthat those are those are

Responsibilities that we share butthings like marriage is I think it areforming of Family and startingsomething new and most I would say mostChristian clergy would really want toencourage a Christian identity in that

New family even if perhaps someone didnot come out of a Christian traditionthat would still be very stronglyencouraged for sure so within the Muslimcommunity to the preservation ofidentity the Quran was revealed over 23

Years so the way we look in the Quranwas not revealed in one shot but ratherbetween the age of 40 and 63 of theProphet Muhammad peace be upon him andso it was dealing with the evolvingcontext as well when Muslims were in

Mecca which is the earlier part of therevelation the first 13 years there wasan absolute prohibition on interfaithmarriages so Muslim men and Muslim womencould not marry non-muslim men or nonMuslim women and there was also a

Prohibition on eating meat slaughteredby anyone that was not Muslim so thoseare sacrifices obviously a big part ofthe Abrahamic story so the thesacrifices of others were it was notaccepted when the Muslims moved to

Medina when the Prophet Muhammad peacebe upon him moved to Medina there is avibrant Jewish community and actuallythe first constitution in the worldaccording to some historians was theconstitution of Medina you could

Actually look it up where Muslims andJews agreed upon certain obligations toone another and certain things to eachotherat that point there was a verse that wasrevealed in the Quran that relaxed the

Prohibition for men Muslim men marryingJewish or Christian women and relaxed ordid away with the prohibition of eatingsacrifice eating the meats of Christiansand Jews and that was in that newinteraction that was taking place so

Certainly even with that relaxation ofprohibition on Muslim men being able nowto marry Jewish women and Christianwomen it still was not encouraged thatwas discouraged actually very early onand in the in an effort to preserve the

Islamic identity within the marriage butwhen it comes to food thankfully I caneat kosher yeahand we got some really good kosher foodand dogs is it it's better in NewOrleans where this is a hangout with

Rabbi Chloe but Muslims can eat halaland they can eat kosher so they can eatmeat that's slaughtered by Christiansand Jews as well as Muslims and I got mea little hungry and is there onerequirement to be who your faith is

There one requirement all right can youthink of a requirement to be your faithtradition are we doing a conversionright now yeah in our tradition it isthe testimony of faith which is not analum Mohammed almost a little odd that I

Bear witness that there's only one Godworthy of worship and unconditionalobedience and that Muhammad is finalmessenger and that statement affirms sixarticles of faith which is belief in oneGod and and monotheism belief in the

Messengers and prophets belief in thescriptures belief in the angels beliefin the day of judgment and belief indivine decree and predestination sothat's those are the six pillars offaith that are implied in the statement

But it's fun to make someone think whenthey're about to become Muslim thatwe're gonna also baptize and we're gonnawe've got a pool in the back of themosque so that kind of their eyes getreally why

Also when someone becomes Muslim the waythat Muslims celebrate as they sayAllahu Akbar and if you haven't warned aperson before they become Muslim thateverybody in the mosque is about tochant Allah Akbar and they've been

Watching certain news channels yeah theyget really scared that's always I alwaystry to make it a point to explain likethat's how they're gonna celebrate itdoesn't mean they're gonna kill you itmeans they're about to come hug you so

Christianity is definitely an orthodoxyso it is grounded in right belief andthe belief being that God's redemptivework in the world was made completethrough the incarnation of Christ andthat our move toward redemption and

Salvation is through the belief inChrist and the rest of it is detailsthat people need to feel good but thatis that's the common starting placeI think Judaism is distinguished herealso tends to put plenty of emphasis on

Deed as well as on Creed if you wantedto look historically the Jews or peoplebefore they get to Mount Sinai sothey're actually identified and behavingas a people before they enter into theformal signing of the Covenant in

General what you end up with in laterrabbinic Judaism is sort of two coreideas what's called Elohim ahout and allHammad's vote Ohama hoot is the yoke yokII of God's sovereignty and vomits voteis the yoke of the commandments and that

One way or another there has to beparticipation in the Covenantboth of those days so it's a it is it isboth about accepting a notion of one Godin all the world as well as accepting insome interpretation a life of musical of

Living according to covenant in communeI just share with you the coolest Muslimt-shirt that's out there there actuallythere's actually a t-shirt I cannot beMuslim if I don't believe in Jesus it'sactually a t-shirt that some people wear

That's pretty cool wow that's good soanother question from our gatheringtonight what is your biggest fear as itrelates to your faith in Dallas andworldwide maybe let's focus on Dallaswhat is your greatest fear right now and

Where we are well we're the onlycommunity well we're the only Muslimcommunity in America that regularly haswhite supremacist groups in front of ourmosques with long rifles that's prettyscary

And it's it's routine it's routine inour community there's no other Texas has10% of the country's hate groups we havea lot of hate in Texas we have a lot ofhate in Dallas and we have had a lot ofIslamophobia in Dallas and we have had

My she turned 8 last week my 8 year olddaughter all you know she asked me thequestions she said if Donald Trumpbecomes president are we gonna be killedand so what children are ingesting andinternalizing I'd like to think that and

This is I think part of all of ourfaiths that we we should work withoptimism that as a person who believesin God I can't afford to be pessimisticwe're playing the long game if we'repreaching inclusivity we're preaching

Love and mercy and tolerance and justiceand these ideals that for most peopleeven if they are lived they are not partof the mission of those people as peopleof clergy of faith people who believe inGod and people who want to make Dallas a

More loving Citywe have to be willing or we have tobelieve that we're gonna give ourchildren a fighting chance to be able torealize that I don't think that dr KingI don't think that dr King really

Believed that he would achieveeverything that he dreamed of in his ownlifetime so for me this is this ispretty bad and with a lot of other izingdr Greg Robinson who's the foremostscholar on Japanese internment in the

United States he has a book by order ofthe president in which he talks abouthow the Japanese in particular were ableto be treated that way as opposed toEuropeans that came from countries thatwere also hostile to the United States

And prevailing racist attitudes allowedfor racist policy allowed fordiscriminatory policy what that means isthat it was so it was it was easier toother eyes the japanese-americans thanit was the German American or the

Italian American or whatever it may beit was easier to authorize them so as aMuslim look it's in our situation it isa statistical fact that Muslims do notcommit most acts of terrorismdomestically or globally it's

Statistical you can't argue with it it'sobjective research data that Muslims donot kill more than other faith groupsand that Muslims do not commit mostterrorist acts or mass shootings in theUnited States however the way that a San

Bernardino is treated as opposed to aLas Vegas puts us in a situation inwhich we feel like at times we can't winbecause we have to defend every lunaticthat takes one life or 16 lives whereasother groups of people are given a pass

Even when a person may be claiming theirfaith or belong to their their group andcould murder 60 people without anyonefacing any repercussions for that andour children have to bear theif you think about how unjust that is I

Wrote an article yesterday that we'renot been seeing on CNN and and it's andit was I am NOT your American Muslim andI'm and and to be honest with you Istarted off with the last detainee atthe airport and DFW was Jesus his name

Was Jesus he was a 33 year old Iraqi manwho served the US military and was namedIssa which means Jesus and had a brokenpelvis because of an attack that hesuffered from serving the United StatesArmy and we held him at DFW and he

Almost died out of pain back therebecause of the Muslim ban one year agowhat does that say about ourChristianity what does it say about ourpatriotism what does that say abouteverything that we claim to hold near

And dear and so it's a losing battle ifin order for a Muslim to be dignifiedthey have to be American with a capitala a Patriot with a capital P a Democratwith a capital D or a Republican with acapital R we're just not willing to live

Up to those standards because you don'thave to like me but you have to respectme you you could hate the Quran butyou've got to treat me in accordancewith the Constitution and so we willinsist on our rights and I pray that

We're able to form I am optimisticbecause I do think that we're formingcoalition's now that we would not haveformed in our complacency that we wouldnot have formed if if the the myth of apost-racial America continued to persist

In the media and that that that ideathat we've moved beyond all of our riftsand discrimination was able to surviveso I think now the it's it's CodeRedit's it's raised we're alert andhopefully that radical hatred is forcing

Radical love and so I'm optimistic thatwe'll form coalition's and friendshipsand relationships that hopefully willgive our children a better chance to doaway with those divisionshere in Dallas I think that the most

Dangerous thing for us is that this is asegregated CityI've lived in five major cities and I'venot lived in a place that is soseparated and I think the separation ismaybe not bad for the reason you might

Think it's it's exposure and it's simplyjust knowing other people it it is soeasy for me in my world of work andschool and grocery stores and whateverto really only see people who look likeme and who might believe like me way too

Easyand when that is the case then thenatural exposure that we have to peoplewho just aren't like us is so low thatwe can't otherwise and in places wheresegregation where there is a big mix you

Just you kind of have to learn aboutother people just because they're aroundyou right you're working with themyou're shopping with them you're inschool with them and you figure out thatthey're just people and that that I

Think for Dallas is is probably theheart the biggest hurdle that we havebecause geography physical division isreally difficult to get over reallydifficultnationally perhaps I think that there is

No way to read the story of Christ as astory that is not about incrediblelavish abundance abundance always andyet I think that especially Christiangroups have not been living abundantlyfor a while

And when we guard ourselves and areconcerned about lack and try to shore upwhat we have to not lose any of it we'renot actually living faithfully and thatkind of the abundance of God is sotangible and real that if we don't claim

That back that confidence and thatcourage and that love that abundanceprovides and and empowers us to be we'renot going to grow we're not going to bea force for good we're not going to beable to claim our authority for the good

That God calls us to be in the world andI think that's that Christian groupsparticularly in America have have thatreckoning that is coming a lot fasterthan we wish it were I've you worriesfirst is I I sort of believe that

Anti-semitism is a constant I believethat in some periods in places it's moresubmerged which I'm very happy for butand I'm really not sort of anti-semitismout a primary shaper of my Jewishidentity it is for lots of Jews it's not

A primary shaper of my and I say thatwithout judgment it's it's not a primaryshaper of my identity but I have anawareness of it I have a sense ofvigilance about it I think that we'vebeen relatively fortunate in Dallas but

I sort of don't really take it forgranted and it may sound paradoxical butthe other thing I'm worried about in thesociological category is assimilationthat Jewish achievement and Jewishintegration gets so cushy that we lose

Track of who we are as a faith communityas an historic community as adistinguished and distinctive so I worryabout that and I see that as a big partof my responsibility and I'm going nowshifting away from the sociological

Towards themore explicitly faith dimension ofJewish identity I worry aboutcomplacency I worry that we'll take allthe parts that are warm and joyous andthe connective and self-affirming

Which thank God there are deepreservoirs of and neglect our obligationto justice neglect our obligation toenter into the space is uncomfortablegotten to collect our obligation to hearthe stories that are uncomfortable

Neglect our obligation to see what'sbroken and to work to be healers of thatbreach so I worry that that we don'trise to the level to which our traditioncalls us can respond for maybe justfaith communities in general I think

Assimilation is an interesting idea toput forward because one of the things atI grew up in Florida which a lot ofpeople call you know the sixth boroughof New York and I had we call it God'sante room God answered

That is not wrong so we used to havebumper stickers that said when I am oldI will move to Michigan and drive slowso point being though when I grew up Iknew I had lots of Jewish friends andevery Saturday morning they would trot

Off to Jew school right and they wouldlearn how to speak in read Hebrew theywould learn stories they met friends ofmine who were raised in Jewish familiesdid not make the assumption that theywould figure out how to be Jewish unless

They were taught by their church rightby the synagogue or their school ortheir Community Center and I think thatone of the differences that Christiangroups have to embrace is our culture isnot Christian right it is it is yeah I

Mean nominally there are some words thatperhaps culture uses that have Christianroots or but you know America wasfounded to be this place of diversityright and of equality and we have slowlyalmost so slowly that we don't even like

To admit it become a place where westill think that people might becomeChristian just by osmosis of being inAmerica not true and it has not beentrue and it's really basically not beentrue for any person in this room right I

Mean as many generations of not beingtrue and we have yet most Christiangroups have yet to cop to that untruthand we do not take seriously enoughforming people to be Christian in theway that I think my friends up here

Their traditions don't make thatassumption because that there is nobodythinks that just by being in Americayou're going to learn how to be a goodMuslim right everyone say no no and sowe

To a place where that tradition ispassed on and taught and honored andrespected in the same way that thatanyone who is Jewish does that andChristians have got to own that more andthat's a danger because I think as

People of faith all of us will lose ifwe don't realize the necessity offormation and we just assume it willhappen thank you so believe it or notgentlemen it's after 8:30 wait I knowzoom whoosh there goes so I can't help

But end on a wonderful question I don'tknow who wrote it it's kind of a circleback to when we've all got togetherbefore we came in here and I'm sorry Idon't mean to upset the questionstonight have been fabulous there are

Many many others that I'm sure we'regoing to figure out a way to address incommunication from this evening buthere's the last question and I did notwrite it see what is the best priestrabbi and a mom walk into a bar joke

I should qualify that can be shared in amix yes in this room in this sacredspace so I told them this earlier Iactually when I pulled into my to theparking lot tonight I googled a rabbi apriest and an imam walk in a bar just

Like figured you have to know one ofthem right I didn't know any of them andso here's here's what came up right arabbi a priest and an imam walk into abar and the bartender looks at them andsays what is this a joke I would think

That it would be something about youknow something about the Muslim beingviolent the mom hitting someone over thehead with a bottlethey shared on Howard's even though soyeah I mean it's gonna be one of the

Stereotypes rightbut I'm pretty sure it ends with the mombeing violent I mean she's gotta be thatway so the moms eyes are gonna break thebottle on the bartender's head or or thepriest is gonna get it so and yet I

Think we would all agree that often thebetter conversations for understandingare going to happen in the bars and therestrooms or around dinner tables thenthey are going to be in our segregatedplaces of worship on the weekends and so

Maybe that can be that great takeaway isto find ways in our communities to cometogether around tables around placeswhere we can engage in conversation andlaughterno honest hours I was just going to say

I don't drink but I'll but I'll say thisthat david has become my favorite coffeeso we've we've done Jabba me up andthat's excellent the best we've done andI've got to bring you out there as wellso I love coffee

All right that's right so real quicklyjust to end us I want to say a big wordof thanks to Amy for moderating ustonight for David and for Omar for beinghere with us tonight and a thank you toall of you for the women of st Michael

For everyone who helped put thistogether Saint Michael is really honoredthat you were here with us tonight inthis sacred space for a sacredconversation and we hope that it doesnot end here for you that perhaps you

Will stay after for the reception thatwill be out these doors in our gardencloister our parlour and all over theplace stay and have conversation lookaround the church and see somebody youdon't know and go meet them and go ask

Them who they are and why do they whyare they here first of all what do theybelieve and maybe make a new friend andperhaps we will all continue thisdialogue for good that will begin tochange our city in our world so thank

You all for being here tonightI hope the Geoghan goes I'm good

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