One of the hardest things I have to deal with, along with my close friends who have Muslim friends, is the backlash we receive from the conservative Christian community. You would not believe what sorts of emails we receive, lies that are spread and just plain ignorance that is put forth in Christian circles about our Muslim friends and our friendships and dialogues that we have with them. What saddens me is that there are almost no voices from the conservative Christian (speaking conservative in theological terms) crowd who are seeking to establish relationships with Muslim communities. What we DO see is many relationships being formed between Muslims and liberal Christianity, whether it be from someone like Brian McLaren, or local Unitarian churches in our area. But, when you think of it, how can our Muslim friends have any idea what the Bible really teaches about Jesus if those they are able to interact with and befriend have very little faith in the words that are spoken in the Bible? What we do see is that because we are conservative in our theology and "run in those circles" we get smashed for even thinking of walking in a Mosque to make friendships with our Muslim neighbors.
People, speaking local leaders/pastors love to throw stones at us from their ivory towers but won't even think about actually meeting with Muslims themselves to reach out in the name of loving our neighbors for the sake of Christ. Why? I really don't understand this. I don't understand why people don't want to reach out to seek reconciliation with those many conceive to be our enemies (which I do not believe...every Muslim I have met has turned into a friend). These same people preach week in and week out, yet show nothing but hatred for their enemies/neighbors. Now, what they do like to say is they are speaking the truth in love. But, just because you say that is what you are doing, doesn't make it true. How does drawing up straw men and spreading fear and lies about another count as love?
What is even more amazing is that if you talk to Muslims, they desire to speak to those who love and follow Jesus and have hard lines about their faiths. They are growing tired of just meeting up with those who don't believe in the virgin birth, the atonement of Jesus and the word of God. They want to meet with people who actually believe that they are correct, but are willing to discuss. I'm getting tired of this kind of Christianity. The attacking of another's belief system for the sake of word play and headlines. One of my favorite pastors recently called Muhammad a "pedophile" just for the sake of saying it. Honestly, what the hell was that for? How does this help? Especially when it isn't true both historically and culturally. Why don't these pastors actually get off their asses and start engaging those they "speak the truth in love about" instead of reaching for local headlines? What if I were to call their next door neighbor out by name a whore, just for the headlines, because I heard something from someone else about them? That would be unloving and unnecessary, but when you say it about Muhammad you are a hero and "standing for the faith." Give me a break.
Let me give you some food for thought: Sometimes, pagans don't hate you because of your holiness, they hate you because you hate them and you have only shown hatred. This post came about because of watching this video below and realizing, again, that most of the time Muslims can only quote liberal Christians, because frankly, those are the only ones who are actually following Jesus in understanding how to love your neighbor. Sad. Those of us who are conservative in theology and trying to live out this understanding only get yelled at from our brothers for doing so. Again, sad.