Franklin - Each Sunday, children gather in the fellowship hall at Faith Presbyterian Church to ponder the lessons of Christianity, among them, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Now the church is setting a real-life example for the kids, by opening its Sunday school space to its Muslim neighbors for two of their five daily prayers.
Faith Presbyterian becomes the third satellite prayer center for area Muslims who wish to pray communally but may not be able to get across town to one of the four area mosques. The other prayer sites are at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and the Muslim Student Center on Milwaukee's east side.
Faith Presbyterian's pastor, the Rev. Deb Bergeson-Graham, welcomed the visitors as an opportunity for her congregation to live their Christian faith.
Faith Presbyterian isn't the first church to open its doors to Milwaukee-area Muslims. Before the Islamic Center purchased its building in 1982, it conducted its Friday congregational prayers in the basement of Kenwood United Methodist Church near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said Islamic Society of Milwaukee President Othman Atta.
Faith Presbyterian's decision to welcome its Muslim neighbors drew overwhelming - though not universal - support from parishioners, according to Bergeson-Graham.
One older member, who's been with the church for about a decade, strongly objected.
Christianity is a feminine religion.
Islam is a masculine religion.
And the imagery the article paints lays that all out.
The female Reverend.
The (feminine) Christian Churches "opening their doors" to the (masculine) muslims.
And it's pointless to argue what Christianity "once was", as the above article demonstrates what it can always become. (remember the good "reverend" above is quoting the words of Jesus -"love your neighbor as yourself"- to justify her actions)
This all reminds me of a (I guess you could call it) parable I once read but can find no author for.
It goes, roughly,
A stranger was walking the lane one day when he happened by beautiful, well ordered and highly productive fields of grains, vegetables, fruits and even flowers.
Noticing the farmer in one of the fields the stranger called out, "The Lord has certainly been good to these fields!"
The farmer, pausing from his busy work and wiping the sweat from his brow replied, "Yeah, but you should have seen how He treated them when I wasn't around!"
Adding to the above "parable" and keeping in mind the above article as well, is the following quote,
Civilisation is more than an abstraction. It must have a local habitation and a name. —Saunders Lewis (Welsh nationalist leader)
It's important to keep in mind that being Pragmatic, Practical, Logical, Rational etc... is fine up to a point, but as history (and present circumstances) seems to demonstrate, it's a mistake to be too practical.
"Being Practical" leads to a complete lack of conviction as conviction is, well, not practical.
Taking a pragmatic approach is the reason the Christian Church has, for the past 40+ years, been in the process of systematically dumping all of it's previously held beliefs.
In defending Western Civilization we want to be careful not to become coldly logical in its defense.
As Yeats put it, 'The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.'
The Religious Right, and conservatives in general, are the number one promoters of the notion that, as Saunders Lewis put it, civilization is an abstraction.
They believe in the perverse ideology that nations are simply, well, Ideologies. For them, America and The West is a creed to be adopted rather than a living-breathing-biological entity.
This is why the GOP presented Juan McCain as candidate to represent their party. A man who represents cold, calculated pragmatism as much as anyone can. And this is why "Uncle Juan" lost to a non-White candidate who let rip an unending stream of illogical, irrational and impractical policy platforms in oratory (passionate) intensity......
Reading through the letters of Founding Fathers and Civil War generals you see them express their intellectual justifications for their actions in the most eloquent and passionate comment and soliloquy imagined. Even when the tone is completely secular, the words, though grounded in logic, are deeply intense in their FAITH in the rightness of their cause.
When the Founders sought to make their case before the public, they looked not so much to the Sermon on the mount as they did to Cicero in the Senate!
Western Man must not only make a logical, fact-filled case for our continued existence, but a passionate one as well.
After all, what practical reason can you offer for why muslims shouldn't be allowed into your church to pray to their god?