So I guess according to this article at World Net Daily (a quite conservative news forum (read: fundamentalist)) Brian McLaren will be celebrating the Muslim fast of Ramadan which is confirmed here and here on McLaren’s website. Well, Ramadan has already started – Aug 21. It happens on the 9th month of the Muslim year and that is different every with on our calendar.
So what is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting for spiritual renewal and purification. It commemorates the month during which Muslims believe Mohammed received the Quran through divine revelation, and it calls Muslims to self-control, sacrificial generosity and solidarity with the poor, diligent reading of the Quran, and intensified prayer.
Why is McLaren celebrating it? On his website he writes:
We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them. Just as Jesus, a devout Jew, overcame religious prejudice and learned from a Syrophonecian woman and was inspired by her faith two thousand years ago (Matthew 15:21 ff, Mark 7:24 ff), we seek to learn from our Muslim sisters and brothers today.
Here is the question: should McLaren really be doing this in the fashion in which he is going about it, “to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them”?
Now of course there is the 30 Days Prayer Network who encourages Christians to pray for the Muslim world during this time – but that seems to be an altogether different take than what McLaren and whoever else is celebrating Ramadan with him is doing.
While I can understand his approach and see what he is trying to get at, I am not persuaded that his approach is the appropriate one – it is too much of an interfaith approach for my taste. It is one thing talk with your Mislim friends about Ramadan and learn about its variances and nuances, but its entirely different thing to actually participate in it merely just be a nice person and be neighborly. Rather we should be seeking to engage them to point them to Jesus Christ.
What say you? Is this a dangerous trend in the emerging church or is this just a dangerous trend for Brian McLaren?