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Thursday, August 21, 2014
This Sunday’s scripture is one verse—Romans 12:2, which reads as follows: Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This could have been written by a Muslim as well. The Islamic faith is so much about following the mind of God, the spiritual will of God. Muslims believe that only following the will of God would bring goodness to a person and to the world. Without God, we are without a compass.

I hope this Sunday to help us see an Islamic point of view, as much as a non-Muslim can. But as a teacher of Islam, I can say that they feel as passionate about following that which is compassion and good as anyone. What is going on in the Middle East, most Muslims I know would say, is not representing their Islam. A translation of the word Islam has actually read “the peace that comes from the surrender to God.” There needs to be an inner peace in devoting one’s self to God, and that there is.

Since graduate school I have understood more deeply about the two-edged sword that is the human interpretation of history, including religion. Jesus and Muhammad were people who felt a deep need to make sure their world and the people in it found a better way to see their world….and then the rest of the world comes in and mixes it up. It happened with both Christianity and Islam. Interpretations of the original ideas of both religions by certain individuals/groups led to deciding violence is the only way to act—force is the only way to get people to the truth.

Fortunately, there are both Christians and Muslims who are for compassion towards others, including those not of the faith, and are for peace. Muhammad and Jesus were both non-violent people. They wanted justice and peace and love for one another. This message must be shouted to the rooftops. Neither of these men originally meant for others to be treated as less than because they did not subscribe to the same exact ideas. It was individual interpretation coupled with desperation to be heard that has led to as much violence as we know now.


I have never known the will of God to be about hate but about being kind to one another and acknowledging each others’ right to exist. I pray this is the mantra that we say collectively as a human people in the future, which I hope starts as soon as possible. 
In Peace, Joanna

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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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