Things I like about Islam – Ramadan Reflections

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  1. Beards [I have a beard]
  2. Consciousness about external modesty [I benefit from modesty in others]
  3. Gender roles are very clear [I am unclear about what the biblical gender roles are & how to negotiate them]
  4. Muslims seem pretty serious about Islam [I yearn for more seriousness in Christians]
  5. Long flowing robes [I fancy a bit of long flowing robe wearing, especially in summer]
  6. The faith does not easily lend itself to being an added extra in western life [Christianity does appear to – even if it actually doesn’t and can’t]
  7. Life does seem to be lived out corporatively to quite an extent – pray together, fast together [I would like more of that]
  8. The brand of Islam is masculine in the public square [Christianity less so]
  9. Unashamed conciousness about brotherhood and sisterhood [calling another christian ‘brother’ seems to embarrass – often them and sometimes me]
  10. Muslim actually get all sorts of free passes in western life – at work and at play [Christians are becoming more despised – like a when a child comes to hate it’s mother – it’s history – I desire free passes – regrettably]
  11. Strong emphasis on the Creator/creature distinction [many Christians have kind of forgotten this in a real and affecting sense]
  12. The control and effective policing of external life appeals to me [on my worst days]
  13. It has been influenced greatly by the strongest virtues of Christianity [Christianity is now being influenced by the strongest virtues of secular materialism – the culture]
  14. The understanding of who God is is harder to mess around with [Christians are going through a long phase of re-imaging God in their own image and now re-imaging scripture in cultures image]
  15. Emphasis on family is strong [now less so for Christians]
  16. Most resources go on helping the muslim community which strengthens the community considerably. [Christians following Christ’s example of superabundant generosity for the outsider are more promiscious in scattering their resources, helping those outside the community of faith to the glory of God in Christ Jesus]. This weakens the christian church in a spiritually bankrupt sense. Good thing.
  17. It is winning some of the numbers games [Jesus (my Lord, Master, Saviour & brother) was never a numbers person – he said narrow is the gate and few will come through it – many called but few chosen].
  18. Is so poorly understood by the western liberal media that a quick slight of hand from a muslim ‘talking head’ seems to cause the western journalist to exclaim “well folks, there you have it – Islam itself is great and innocent of all charges” [on my worst days I desire that kind of power over the media and that kind of idiocy from them].
  19. I like all the talk about honour [but not what the honour doctrines given full life within a believer can lead to. Can lead to death – the death of some one else – obviously the one who dishonoured].
  20. The charismatic power and sheer showmanship of quoting your precious text in another and rarely understood language by the hearer, before a translation to English. [Christianity has long lost this quality of quaint bamboozleoscity (it’s a word) which is increasingly important in the West where the new is good, the old is bad, the known is toxic and the ‘other’ or unknown is exotic].
  21. The corporate & physical drama expressed during prayer [as a former Roman Catholic & Pentecostal I retain some physical drama in prayer but when expressed  corporatively not so much]
  22. It is a religion based on Power [for the individual the central nexus is submission but for the Islamic community the central nexus is power – the old dead sinner in me, like a zombie walker cries out daily “get more power”].
  23. It’s a religion with an enormous and ‘flesh’ appealing system – there is a system of piety and good deeds (the halals) – if you do them you’re good with God – paradise bound. But it is of course the religious system of Schrodinger’s cat. As God cannot be bound by any system even one he designs and implements – God can say ‘No Cigar’ to the best of mankind (who would obviously be the best of the muslims). So like the religion of Schrodinger’s cat, there is a system to follow but it maybe for you, the follower, as if no system existed at all. System existing and not existing all at the same time. Like that darn cat. Who can tell whether it is really there at all. A system that is truely there must be systematic in it’s outcomes. Reliable. Trustworthy to deliver. The God of Islam is not systematic in his outcomes – or relating to your outcome as you engage with the system – through the halals and the harams. Nothing commits this God – not even himself. Not even his own system. [On my bad days I seek a system – even such a flawed system. But on my even worse days I am so glad there is no system, just the grace and forgiveness of the Holy and wrathful God of the Bible offered to all sinful mankind through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, his eternal Son; during what can only be described as this season of the gospel. This season spans from the moment of the resurrected Christ’s return to the right hand of his eternal Father until his second coming. Or for an individual perspective – that season offering grace, forgiveness and amnesty lasts for you from now until the day of your death and no longer than that].
  24. It has produced people who seem better than the sum of its parts. Some wonderful people.
  25. Did I mention the beards?