Or you can continue to call him God, but one Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands by the name of Tiny Muskens seems to think that calling God “Allah” will ease relations between religions.
Muskens believes that “Allah” is a very beautiful word for God and I agree, but not to the point where I will call him “Allah” for the sake of religion relations. One man that was polled on Bishop Musken’s suggestion cynically said “Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun.”
His response was strange and it was mainly because I think we do need to embrace some of what our Muslim brothers and sisters consider spiritual practice, if only conceptually to make our walk better. We should in essence treat our churches like mosques, but for some reason we have gotten too used to coming in any way we please with the least amount of reverence we can muster up after dragging ourselves out of bed. Instead of respecting the sanctity of the space as many Muslim respects their mosques, we come into the Lord’s house ready to feign interest during sermons while text-messaging, eating, passing notes and doing other random acts of rudeness during what is supposed to be the most reverent hours of our week.
And what is wrong with praying five times a day? I fully respect this tenet of the Muslim faith and wish that I had the discipline to drop everything I am doing on any given day of the week to pray to God and thank him for giving me another hour on this earth. Matter of fact, I might have to try this…
And Ramadan, the ninth month on the Muslim calendar, a time for great fasting and prayer, is no different from the seasons that we all must spend in fasting and prayer–if we will–and I’m not just talking about Lent.
I acknowledge that the solution to religious relations is not going to be in ascribing God some universally accepted. But somehow I feel that attempting to understand the spiritual practices of other faiths might help us along further. I personally would love to engage in the spiritual discipline that Muslim take part of by praying five time daily. Can you imagine what our relationship with God and our lives would be like if we prayer to him five times daily? Talk about going to another level. Or what about if we really took our worship seriously on Sunday? And that means from the moment you hit the door you go straight to the altar and pray until worship begins and you stay in a constant state of prayer and worship through service and stay in the zone with God.
This has really got me thinking about the benefits of blending spiritual practices. Is it wrong if it is done for the betterment of my relationship with the one true God? Can I take a little from the meditation practices of Buddhist, the dietary habits of Jews, the yogi habits of Hindus??? Hmm…