When coming back to my blog, I didn't really have an idea of what it was going to become, or what I WANTED it to become. But I'm realizing that this outlet is allowing me to share - in my writing - what I might not be able to convey as eloquently in an everyday conversation. I'm always the one who wishes in hindsight that I had said things differently or more passionately or with more conviction.
I've heard today that the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. has created quite a stir in both the conservative and more inclusive sets of Christians. (And I have dear family members who are passionately in both camps.) The National Cathedral is part of the Episcopal church (of which I was raised) and (in my opinion) has been increasingly involved in more political activism than transforming lives through Christ.
The big controversy that has ensued was a Muslim prayer service that was held this past Friday in the Cathedral. My initial response was one of little surprise.
According to the National Cathedral's 36 page Strategic Plan, here is the ONLY PLACE in their Mission Statement that Jesus Christ is mentioned: Washington National Cathedral was established to hold a special role in the nation’s life and continues to answer that call. As it does so it commits to the ancient vision, fervently proclaimed by Jesus in the Gospels, of a building open to all who seek a place of prayer and barred to no particular religious tradition or sect. Call me ignorant, but I can't think of anywhere in the Bible where He invited Roman pantheists to hang out with Him and worship their gods.
It appears that the Cathedral has changed its course and has become more of a "gothic interfaith community center". So the concerns of Franklin Graham are really of no consequence: "It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said, ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (John 14:6).”
I truly don't have a problem with interfaith gatherings. I believe all are created by God. I love learning about other's traditions and how they connect to my own. And I have friends of many faiths. When they have sacred holidays, I joyfully wish them a "Happy ....." By the same token, they wish me a Merry Christmas or ask me how my Easter was. There is a mutual respect for each others' faith - whether or not we share it. But it is reported that Muslim prayer carpets were laid out inside the cathedral facing east, towards Mecca, for the prayer service. They were also to the side of the sanctuary (as reported by Voice of America, the Washington Post, and other news outlets) so that worshippers would not see the crosses or Christian icons, because “Muslims are not supposed to pray in view of sacred symbols alien to their faith.” Why? Why? Why would a church want to host a prayer service where they have to hide the cross? That would be like me asking my friend if I could celebrate Holy Communion in her temple - but please remove the Torah.
My concern is that political correctness (and please don't confuse that with Christian love and charity) overshadows our call to follow Christ as our Lord and Savior. And to host a Muslim prayer service to Allah in a church of believers (what is Biblically called the bride of Christ), basically tells our Chriatian faith, "Hey, I need a little break from this relationship."
And I'm not willing to be on a "break".