Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Interfaith Thanksgiving . . .

"Muslim group to lead this year's interfaith Thanksgiving service," reads the headline on page 21A in today's Rocky Mountain News. And I wonder how I should respond. Is this a great move forward in interfaith understanding? (I don't think so!) Is it a step backward toward syncretism? (My sense: probably.) But/and/so what is an appropriate evangelical response?

"Traditionally, the interfaith service draws hundreds of people en route to celebrations of what is regarded as the quintessential American holiday," writes the story's author.

The interfaith service was founded in the late 1800s by Temple Emanuel, Montview Presbyterian Church and the Universalist Church. Participating faiths have expanded to include Catholics, Buddhists and various Protestant churches. While Muslim leaders have attended, this is the first time they have directed the event.

The one-hour service will feature three imams reading from the Quran and offering benediction, children from Crescent View Academy singing religious songs and music by Muslim musicians. One of the imams will offer the main sermon, which will talk about Thanksgiving in the Islamic tradition. . . .

Rima Sinclair, a community activist in charge of the MILA [Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism] project, said she hopes this year marks the beginning of wider Thanksgiving participation between Muslims and non-Muslims.

"I hope and pray that people will understand that the Muslim community here are not separate from the rest of the community," Sinclair said. "They are part of the faith and part of civil society, and I encourage the Muslim community to turn up."


So the point of this "service" is . . . ???

To show "solidarity" between the different faith groups? (But what do Islam, Christianity and Buddhism have to do with one another?)

To show goodwill between members of the different groups? (Great goal, but why in this manner?)

To declare that all gods--whatever god (or non-god) you believe in--are the same? (I sure hope not!)

For some reason, I am reminded of the prophet Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:18-40). Interestingly, he attended their worship service (if that's what you want to call it). But afterwards, he initiated a great slaughter.

I don't think YHWH is calling His people today to slaughter those who follow other gods. But, somehow, I don't think He calls us, suddenly, to laud their faith systems and/or participate in their worship, either! . . .
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