Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An Episcopal Muslim???

From "Feeling vs. Faith" by Chuck Colson, posted 6/25/07 at Breakpoint.org

On Friday nights, Ann Holmes Redding of Seattle puts on a black head scarf, heads to the Al-Islam Center, and prays with her fellow Muslims.

Nothing I just told you is remarkable. What’s remarkable is what I didn’t tell you: Redding is an Episcopal priest. Not an ex-Episcopal priest, mind you, but a priest, as far as she and her superiors are concerned, in good standing.

Her story is a vivid reminder of what’s really at stake in the various culture wars within Christian churches: orthodoxy.

Redding has been a priest for over 20 years. Until recently she was the director of “faith formation” at Seattle’s Episcopal cathedral, St. Mark’s. I am, as Dave Barry likes to say, not making this up.

Apparently, at the same time she was in charge of forming other people’s faith, her own was undergoing a transformation. Fifteen months ago, she became a Muslim, the result of an “introduction to Islamic prayers [that] left her profoundly moved.”

Actually, according to Redding, I should say that she also became a Muslim. As she told the Seattle Times, “I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I’m both an American of African descent and a woman. I’m 100 percent both.” So while on Friday nights she puts on a black head scarf, on Sunday mornings she wears a clerical collar.

Redding doesn’t deny that there are differences between the two faiths—she simply doesn’t think that they ultimately matter. As she put it, “at the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That's all I need.”

There’s so much wrong here that I scarcely know where to begin, so I’ll limit myself to the obvious: There’s no inherent contradiction between being an African-American and a woman, just as there’s none in being an American of Swedish descent and a man, as I am.

However, the same cannot be said of being a Christian and a Muslim. As Kurt Fredrickson of Fuller Seminary told the paper, “there are tenets of the faiths that are very, very different,” especially regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Read the rest of this commentary.