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…
According to Pope Benedict XVI all of the Protestants in the world are going to hell. How could that be? Well Ratzie has re-written the doctrine of the church–this pretty much justifies any church in existence. This re-write says that Christ established only “one church” on this earth. The grand prize of that title goes to the Roman Catholic church and the runner-up is the Orthodox church. The Catholic church is a “true” church because there is an apostolic succession that can be traced back to the Bible and the church teaches real truth and sanctification in addition to the many sacraments of the church. To a lesser extent the Orthodox church is a runner-up because it also enjoys an apostolic succession, sanctification and the teaching of the unadulterated truth. The only thing that makes the Orthodox church lag behind is the fact that they refuse to recognize the primacy of the Pope–for that I don’t blame them.
Now given all of the complex arguments that will go on because of this amendment to the doctrine, I have come to shine a little light on the situation. It is my prayer that Protestants who will read this news in the next few days will not lose heart in the faith and salvation that God has given them. Fortunately, Pope Benedict has no control over that–the grace of God. He can re-write doctrines until he turns blue but it won’t change the fact that the Protestant church and the servants who work within the church have–through the power of God–saved many souls. That work can’t be belittled because of one man who thinks he has all power in his hands.
Sure, he can re-write the doctrine of the church–this is a natural assignment, but he cannot re-write the fact that we all report to one God and God alone–and that is totally supernatural. Pope Benedict obviously has no idea of the plans that God has in store for his good and faithful servants in the Protestant church, the Catholic church and the Orthodox church. Clearly none of us do or else we’d be further along.
I know that the release of this news doesn’t change a thing about my standing in God. It’s true, the Protestant church is faulty but then again there is not a single perfect church in this world. And as many preachers would say, “If there is a perfect church, it became unperfect the day you walked in because you are not a perfect being.” In my opinion, the “church” as it stands is actually more of a manmade construct for the meeting of organized religion than a sacred space. It has been tainted by its leaders and its membership so it no longer retains it reliability. The real church is inside of us and it only follows the doctrine of God, our heavenly father. I
So I leave you with this one thought. I have transposed its original meaning which was intended to address divorces and marriages but I believe it holds true for the discussion at hand…Mark 10:9 says “Let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Try to re-write that…