The Interfaith Conversation class with Dr. Lynn Caldwell
Last fall I had the privilege of sitting in on one of my husbands seminary classes. If you don't know Marc will graduate this May with a Masters in Divinity from Virginia Union University. What intrigued me about the class was the opportunity to speak and listen to people from different faiths, denominations and backgrounds.
When first creating Blended Souls my goal was to get leaders from Christian organizations and churches together to not only discuss the difficulties of racial relationships, but to work out those differences so that we could better live out that mission...of going ye therefore and teaching men and women about the good news of the gospel. What this class did for me was open up my eyes to hard that can be if your reaching out to others of different faiths. How can we share the gospel of Jesus Christ when they don't believe in our Jesus? Can we even carry on a conversation if they believe in their God and not the God we talk and preach about.
Professor Lyn (center back row in the red top who not only graciously allowed me to sit in on the week long session but she also encouraged me to participate) asked us some very tough questions at the start of the course. Why are there so many different religions? How do we look at people who are non Christians? And how does God view others who are not Christian? I have to admit this is not something I had thought a lot about and even though I did not leave with all the answers I'm grateful for the chance to have dialogued and listened to people with varying viewpoints.
The one lesson I definitely learned from this experience is we are much more similar then we are different. Maybe not in our beliefs but in our hopes and dreams for our families and for our countries. The Muslim, or Jewish mother wants the same for her children and family that I do. And that is something that can act as a way to bring us together as people rather then divide us. If we would just listen to one another and hear each others hearts. We show others Jesus by how we love one another. All humans crave relationship. If you want to be an ambassador for Jesus how are you showing that? Are we spending time building bridges with those who are different from us or are we building up walls? Imagine if we not only came together along racial lines, but we actually built community with those of a different faith, shared services and worked on community projects with one another? How better to show the Jesus in us then by first showing that we care for one another!
One of the "take away's" I believe Professor Lyn wanted us to truly get was that we can't necessarily change a persons beliefs. We have to let God handle that. And we have to ask him to help us with our own biases and prejudices. If we want others to see the Christ in us we have to be willing to see what Christ see's in them! And then care for them in the way we wish to be cared for! Just imagine how we could change the world if we truly walked and talked and loved the way that Jesus loved?
I want to thank Professor Caldwell as well as the classmates for being so gracious and warm towards me and for allowing me to be a part of the class. Its an experience I know will stay with me for many years to come.