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Baptist-Muslim Dialogue opened my eyes to interfaith engagement

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Anwar Khan, left, president of Islamic Relief USA, and Trisha Miller Manarin co-led a session titled "Baptists and Muslims in Interfaith Relations."
(A longer version of this blog post first appeared on the website. We use an edited version here.)
By Trisha Miller Manarin
I did not know what to expect when asked to attend the third Baptist-Muslim Dialogue of North America for Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Elijah M. Brown.
Reports from the first and second dialogues include deep, thoughtful reflections from experts in Muslim-Baptist interface and theology.
I began reading and listening to Baptist experts like Roy Medley and Paul Fiddes, along with papers presented by the BWA Commission on Interfaith Relations and reflections from Baptist sisters and brothers around the world.
Within BWA, a deep well of encounters already exists between ordinary people -- Baptist and Muslim -- in both positive and challenging situations.
There are people around the world engaged in radical, life-giving hospitality. Others employ cutting-edge creative artistry in response to the need for love in their communities.
Still some are responding to crises at the grass-roots level. All of these are ordinary citizens loving their neighbors.
Participating in this dialogue opened my eyes to see my experiences living in a variety of places -- and now residing in a county where there are more Muslims than Baptists -- as one of interfaith engagement.
Anwar Khan, president of Islamic Relief USA, was my partner in the session titled "Baptists and Muslims in Interfaith Relations."
As children of Abraham, Anwar and I share a number of the same joys and struggles. We value our faith communities and our Holy Scriptures, as well as prayer and rituals.
I certainly have not had death threats as Anwar has had many times. I have not been detained in the U.S. because of my appearance or my name, though I have been held back at some other border crossings.
We shared laughter and prayer; we shared concerns and delighted in seeing where "our people" have joined together for the good of humanity.
Our Muslim friends were extremely kind and gracious toward us Baptists, who tend not to have a single voice but many voices speaking into our identity.
At times, our Baptist dialogue would consume a bit more energy than conceivably warranted by such an event, but this, perhaps, helped paint our diverse Baptist canvas.
We offered each other a respectful listening ear and, in return, experienced the grace of God.
I pray we will continue to be creative and thoughtful members of society, realizing we are indeed children of Abraham and cousins of faith.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?">Trisha Miller Manarin is the Baptist World Alliance coordinator for the division on mission, evangelism and justice, the executive coordinator for Mid-Atlantic Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the director of supervised ministry at John Leland Center for Theological Studies in metro D.C. She hosts a Gift from Global Baptists podcast.


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Guest Monday, 06 July 2020