Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Today I met Nikhat. She is a trainee teacher working at one of the schools I teach at. She is also a Muslim. This afternoon Nikhat observed my year 8 lesson on "Who is Jesus?" I was a little bit nervous about this as I wasn't entirely sure what Jesus looked like in Islam and I didn't know how she would respond. Afterwards she approached me and was incredibly encouraging. She said that I had engaged the kids on a spiritual level and she seemed really supportive of everything I was trying to do - both as a teacher and as a Christian. Of course she wanted to challenge my views of an incarnational God but, hey, who doesn't right?

What's more, in my sad pedestrianised state, she offered me a lift back home and so we shared a car journey and what turned out to be one of the most enlightening faith-based conversations I have had in a long time.

Now I have always tried to resist the temptation of getting caught up in and sold out on the media's representation of certain groups and individuals (be it a certain celebrity or an entire faith or ethnic group) but I have to admit to being somewhat surprised that Nikhat wasn't a little bit more, um, how shall I say, aggressive. She didn't seem to have any interest in converting me. In fact, I felt more affirmed in my faith as a Christian after talking to her than I have after most conversations with other Christians. She belongs to a big inter-faith group in Chelmsford and believes that in a world that desperately needs God, why are different faiths so focussed on our differences? Why aren't we working closer together to help develop the spiritual understanding of ourselves, each other and those around us?

And so we spent a good 20/30 minutes talking about what we seperately believe and the differences in our theology but also what we both whole-heartedly subscribe to. I found it fascinating to hear about the various prophets of Islam and she would laugh and smile with joy as I quoted verses from the bible that seemed to sync up so perfectly with certain messages in the Qu'ran. It was incredible. And as I sit here now reflecting on the day and writing this I can't help but feel that I have been a little bit changed by the experience. Do I feel that my theology or my faith has been challenged. Yes but positively. Have I been converted to a more Islamic way of thinking. Not at all. But then that wasn't the point. The point is, when I got out of the car and returned home this afternoon I realised that I wanted to be a Christian like Nikhat is a Muslim. And that maybe, just maybe, God is big enough to listen to both our prayers.

9 days to go!

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