Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to speak on a radio show for nearly fifty minutes about the book, “Mornings with the Masters: Mystical Journeys in a Postmodern World.” The radio host had obviously read the book, and was therefore able to ask great questions. His audience is largely Christian and lives in the “Bible Belt,” so I focused my answers on Christian spiritual teachings. He focused almost immediately on issues surrounding Islam.
He asked, “Why isn’t Mohammed one of your spiritual guides?” I replied that it was probably due to a block in myself, although I had recently learned to appreciate Mohammed because he so admired and respected the woman who was his employer, that he married her. I have experienced Mohammed’s daughter, Fatima, showing up a few times either during meditation or during healing sessions.
The radio show host (whom I will refrain from naming), commented that he thinks that it would be good to send the police to drive around Muslim neighborhoods, and he didn’t see why Muslims would object to that.
I replied that, as a woman, having experienced discrimination for decades, including the attitude that I wasn’t fit to fill the pulpit in the eyes of some Christians simply because I am a woman, so I said I could understand how Muslims would not want to be discriminated against.
The radio show host said there was a big difference between discriminating against a Muslim and in keeping a woman out of the pulpit. I realized that in one conversation I was not going to be able to help him understand the nature of discrimination and its impact on people, so I shifted the focus of the conversation.
I said that Christians as well as Muslims have historically killed others for not being from their religion, and that both religions had practiced killing people for not believing their faith. I added that sending police into a Muslim neighborhood is acting from fear, but that the Bible in 1 John tells us that “perfect love casts out fear,” so we Christians are called to respond with love rather than fear.
I referred the host to the section of my book where there is a lesson based on the Christian scripture affirming that the text in 1 John tells us: “God is love … those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them,” and in the book, the lesson concludes that “Fear is the only infidel, because fear is unfaithful to God.”
The host commented that this section of “Mornings with the Masters” was well written, but that he was not coming from a place of fear; his goal was to protect children and all the people in the community. I realized that I would probably not be able to help him see that he would not feel anyone needed protection unless he feared Muslims.
So, I sought to connect with him by commenting that, back when I was a single mom and my children were little, if someone had threatened their safety and well-being, I probably would have thrown all my pacifist values out the window in order to protect my children (I’d like to add: that was then, and this is now).
I then added that as Christians, though, we don’t call the police, we would get to know our Muslim neighbors. I shared that there is a beautiful movement in Christianity based on a book written, I believe, by Steven Sjogren, called something like “random acts of kindness.” I said this program is beautiful because it gets Christians to go out into the world and to share God’s love with no strings attached.
He asked if I was referring to the book “Conspiracy of Kindness,” which indeed I was.
I continued, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, and pointed out that the Samaritan was the enemy of the Jews, so the Samaritan would be like Muslims , and yet the Samaritan was the good person in the story. (I don’t see Muslims as enemies, and have no intention of suggesting they are, but this man clearly saw them as potential enemies.)
I concluded with, as Christians, we don’t send the police into Muslim neighborhoods. As Christians, we go to the Muslim neighborhoods with freshly-baked cookies and freshly-baked bread and knock on people’s doors and offer them a gift, letting them know that we would just like to get to know them.
I do not remember how the host responded, but I would like to add what just now came to me: in the Reign of God, there are no enemies. In other words, when we allow the Divine to rule through us by being faithful to Divine Will, no one is our enemy, and everyone is our friend. Everyone is the presence of God.
God, whose name is “I AM” is in everyone, therefore, “I AM my neighbor.” As Jesus Christ actually taught so long ago, let us simply go be a neighbor. As we act like a neighbor to others, everyone becomes our neighbor. I am my neighbor, for God is in everyone.
Peace, love, and light,
#Muslimsareourneighbors #conspiracyofkindness #muslimneighborhoods #GoodSamaritan