A Few years ago I saw this bumper sticker that said "Coexist" with all the symbols of the world's religions. My first thought was, "How in the world does that work?" Most religions have such dynamic differences, there's no real way they can Coexist. And my second thought, "That's just a bunch of Utopian Tolerance. We can't do that! We have to guard the Truth. Stand up for the truth. Don't be afraid of the Gospel!!!" (and I could hear the battle cries from my evangelical friends howling in the background)
I know a lot of people who think the same. They believe If the Christian tribe enters a space where they have to Coexist without 'standing up for the gospel' they negotiate their worldview and cast shame on God's Truth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I think the idea that 'God is God and I don't have to be God on the planet' has allowed me to find friendships in the most interesting places. I have friends that are devout Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Jews, and even Hindus. When I started looking at the world through the lens I believe God uses to see humanity, I had a drastic conversion. I stopped trying to convince and convert on my own merit, and starting to Love God and Love Others. Loving God and Loving Others doesn't mean we simply hole up in our own communities and disregard a great big world filled with people who believe differently. It means what it says. Love God. Love Others. (Matthew 22:37-40)
We don't have to live in a sub culture isolated from the world.
We don't have to live in a world where our faith is compromised.
We have an obligation to listen and learn learn about our friends in other parts of the world and share together, without feeling the pressure of being anything other than God has called us to be.
I've had the most compelling conversations with Muslims in Mosques in Saudi Arabia.
I've talked openly about Jesus with my Buddhist friends seeking a life free from pain and suffering.
I've listened well to my Hindu friend talk about the Brahman and the Reincarnation part of his faith.
And of course, I've sat with some of the most well known Atheists to see why they hate people who love God so well.
And guess what? Every single time, I get a chance to share with them about Jesus. I don't try to act as a used car salesman selling the latest Jesus model car. I just live my life from a crucibal of life existence, and it's amazing how we can begin to talk together.
My experience has been revolutionary, and I wish more followers of Jesus had a chance to see how rich these relationships can be. Some will say, "That's just a bunch of people who sing Kumbaya together, and then leave the meeting with the same distorted prejudice as when they came in." And for some, it does turn out that way. But when you enter a space that's safe to discuss the similarities of faith and the drastic differences we have without feeling like you have to be silent, God shows up. We learn how to trust one another.
That's why I'm attending/participating in the Global Faith Forum in Keller Texas This November.
My dear friend Bob Roberts is a Southern Baptist Pastor with BIG vision for the new world. He is orchestrating a new conversation for a new world, and it is ESSENTIAL if you want to identify with some of the world's most difficult problems. As communication and globalization are becoming more a part of our future, this Forum will actually address some of the common places faith reaches, and it will also outline the differences and the reasons where we need more work to get along with our neighbors.
The line up of speakers are the 'Who's Who' in the world of faith and geopolitics, and they will be sharing their experience of faith as it relates to major decisions concerning business, the medical arena, diplomacy, women's rights, and peace keeping. It will be a way you can learn about Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Africa, Israel, Palestine, and the way faith is at the center of these major areas of ALL our lives.
Since I read The World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman in the early 2000's, I've been watching the faith community continue to try and understand the action and reactions of our own country in the face of Globalization. I've also seen a generation of teenagers longing to find answers to some of the confusing parts of global faith issues.
If you are curious about how to talk with people of a different faith while holding on to the deep truths of your own, you're not going to want to miss this huge initiative to actually bring people together in an honest way to learn from one another.
So mark your calendars, November 14-16 in Keller Texas, outside Dallas. Be sure to click on the Global Faith Forum website, and register today.
I'll be there, contributing a seminar on Teenagers and how Christians can talk to Muslims in an honest authentic way.
Come join us!!
You can see a write up on the Global Faith Forum Here: CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE