I haven’t shared many of my other non-political thoughts, ideas and suggestions for awhile. Although this has some political, religious and social aspects to it I wanted to share an experience I had.
On a rare trip and opportunity for an extended lunch break I drove to a mall near where I work. It was a bit out of the way and with gas prices they way they are I really didn’t need to drive this far, but just want some different scenery.
While walking around the “upscale” mall I had the pleasure of running into not one, but two friends from my childhood within seconds of each other. It was like a reunion.
Now you’re probably wondering what the title has to do with this story. Keep reading because my friend’s religious beliefs are rooted in Islam. That doesn’t matter to me, but just keep reading.
As I joked with my long lost friends we noticed we were getting some interesting looks. Perhaps it was the mall we were in was in one of the affluent sections of Nashville. Maybe it was odd for two Black guys and a woman with the traditional Muslim head covering on was interesting for the onlookers. Maybe it was just the people around us just didn’t understand that friendship sees no color and has no belief system other than love, acceptance and respect.
Either way, we got some interesting looks.
It was becoming obvious that we were causing a scene for some reason by our presence in the mall. It wasn’t just from a few snobbish conservative Whites, (OK, I don’t know if they were conservative or not) but by a few curious Blacks too. You knew my man was apart of the Nation.
One of my friends made the remark that everyone maybe thinking that we’re a renegade group of Radical Islamic Extremist. We all laughed, but I noticed the older man sitting near by got up and walked away.
Now I understand the hysteria that some may have with Radical Islamic Extremist, but what about the Radical Christian Extremist?
Couldn’t you call the KKK Radical Christian Extremist? Can some members of the Religious Right (James Dobson) be viewed as Radical Christian extremist?
Hell I could be viewed as a Radical Christian Extremist because I have chosen to practice one of the greatest commandment of Jesus Christ, love. That seems to be an extreme or foreign view in some churches today.
I don’t have to like, believe, subscribe, look like you or even agree with your lifestyle to love you. I have family members who I strongly disagree with on an array of issues, but I still love them. Doesn’t that make you just as bad as the accused? Isn’t that discrimination?
Love is easy. It doesn’t mean it is a romantic love, but love how Jesus commanded, how God commanded. Isn’t this what’s missing with Radical Extremism of any Religion, Affiliation or Culture? Love, Respect and Acceptance.
I can only speak from my experiences as a Black Christian Man. As someone who tries to rightly practice Christian, and someone who is the son, grandson, great-nephew and cousin of Christian ministers I can say that my religious views are firmly planted and influenced by Christianity. But that doesn’t mean that I should socially isolate myself, disregard or reject anyone who is different than me. We don’t have to believe what the other believes in order to have a friendship or to even trust each other. The man you look down upon may be the man you ask to “…dip the tip of his finger in water and cool your tongue, because you’re in agony…”. I’m sorry I just can’t help the Biblical references. (Luke 16:19-31)
You’re not going to find the image of God until you begin to look at people the way he looks at them, and then you’ll find yourself seeing the images of God.
I feel someone “pulling my coat-tail” so let me get back to the story.
We chatted for a few minutes to see what each other has done with their life; family who we’ve ran into, etc. It was just a moment to just enjoy being in each other presence again, not knowing when or if we would run into each other again. We even talked about the election and all agreed on who we’re voting for. (Hint — That’s a good indicator who they’re voting for if we all agreed) Then I had to go. We gave each other a hug and went our ways.
Normally I wouldn’t find the need to say too much about this if two things didn’t happen that got me thinking.
(1) The Radical Islamic Extremist joke.
(2) (2) An older White gentleman that obviously felt comfortable enough to approach me to ask “What’s the nationality of the (his words, not mine) Muslim Girl?”
I politely corrected him by saying, “the woman of Islamic faith” is my friend and her family is from Kurdistan”. Then he asked me was I a Christian. I smiled and said yes I am. Looking a bit confused he started talking about the economy and gas prices, and then wished me a good day a minute later.
People are funny. Why limit yourself socially? I don’t mind the questions, but I find the motivation of the question interesting. Anyway, I got my Chocolate-Chip Shake and headed back to work since I was already late.