The Episcopal New Yorker Fall 2010 : Page 1

NURTURE ISSUE THE EPISCOPAL NEWYORKER THE OFFICIAL NEWS PUBLICATION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NEW YORK FALL 2010 IN THIS ISSUE Imam Shamsi Ali Page 7 NURTURE Roundtable Page 8 EfM Page 10 Community Pages 12 Adult Formation Pages 14 Through Mission Page 19 Through Pilgrimage Page 20 Through Drama Page 22 Mentoring Page 23 Godly Play Page 24 “. . . and who is my neighbor?” T A Call for Episcopalians to Witness to Truth in the Face of Misinformation and Intolerance. he ancient commandment,“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” rep-resents one of the core values of the Bibli-cal tradition. It is the responsibility of the People of God to speak truthfully about oth-ers.To fail to do so compromises our own integrity and moral authority, and does violence to those we misrepresent. By the Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah,TSSF Recently, there have been growing expressions of mistrust and suspicion towards Muslims in this country. Increased,openly public,negative statements and hostile actions suggest that many Americans are wary of the intentions and motives of the Muslims among us, many of whom are also American citi-zens. There seems to be a growing tendency to use broad brush strokes to color (continued on page 5)

A Call For Truth And Tolerance

The Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah, TSSF

<b>Call for Episcopalians to Witness to Truth in the Face of Misinformation and Intolerance.</b><br /> <br /> The ancient commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” represents one of the core values of the Biblical tradition. It is the responsibility of the People of God to speak truthfully about others.To fail to do so compromises our own integrity and moral authority, and does violence to those we misrepresent.<br /> <br /> Recently, there have been growing expressions of mistrust and suspicion towards Muslims in this country. Increased, openly public, negative statements and hostile actions suggest that many Americans are wary of the intentions and motives of the Muslims among us, many of whom are also American citizens.<br /> There seems to be a growing tendency to use broad brush strokes to color A whole people because of the actions of a few.<br /> <br /> The reality is that many Muslims in our community are hardworking, positive contributors to our society. Particularly in this diocese, there are teachers, healthcare professionals, and many others who contribute greatly to our quality of life.<br /> <br /> How can it be that even some Christians in America, tutored in the Way of Jesus, and living in a society that takes great pride in valuing the individual, find themselves swept along in a torrent of vicious verbal, and even physical, attacks against an entire segment of the society?Well, I suppose that tendency is as old as human nature itself.<br /> <br /> When the question was put to Jesus, “who is my neighbor?” that was to ask, “to whom am I obliged to be in relationship, to befriend, to share resources, to accept and relate to as a full member of my community?” Jesus responds with the parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29-37), a story that emphasizes the importance of evaluating the character of individuals, rather than presupposing (pre-judging) the moral uprightness of persons based merely on their religious and social affiliations. This familiar parable makes clear the error of belying someone without knowing the facts.Those to whom Jesus told the story must surely have connected their attitudes of prejudgment with the scriptural injunction forbidding them to “bear false witness.”<br /> <br /> Jesus’ parable is also a way to respond to the question: what does it mean to love? It takes interest, time, And dedication, to learn about another—the truth about the other.That, in itself, is part of what it means to love— to be concerned enough to discover the truth about the other, rather than to maintain (and broadcast) a false image. Fear, however, can influence us in contrary ways.Fear, supported by misinformation and the tendency to generalize, often blocks the way to making an accurate and fair evaluation of persons we do not know.<br /> <br /> This seems to be the case in the current feelings and expressions of suspicion and mistrust regarding Muslims across our nation.There have indeed been increased reports throughout the country of hateful rhetoric and defiant actions concerning the perceived greater presence of Muslims among us. If I were a Muslim, being the recipient of the kinds of negative attitudes being expressed, I think the lines of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If, would seem to make a lot of sense:<br /> <br /> “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you You’ll be a Man, [a mature person] my son!”<br /> <br /> It seems to me that both Jesus and Kipling are pointing us towards mature ways to evaluate and relate to other people. It takes little maturity to make evaluations based on suspicion, mistrust, and fear. Greater maturity demands taking the time and making the effort to learn the facts about persons.<br /> <br /> Few, if any of us, appreciate being evaluated according to the group associated with us. Being a people who Pride ourselves in the value of the individual, we say that we abhor the idea of adjudicating another’s character based on their size, gender, ethnicity, color, etc. Yet, currently there are clear indications that exactly this is being done to judge the character and motives of Muslims in this country.As Christians, committed to the Way of Jesus— the Way of love, truth, and healthy community—I urge us all to take the time and to make the effort to seek the truth about our neighbors and to encourage our friends and associates to do the same.<br /> <br /> What resources are available to us followers of Jesus to make a more accurate evaluation of our Muslim neighbors?In his parable, Jesus goes beyond the mere generalization of the person—of referring to him as a Samaritan— and gives his audience details: facts about the actions of that particular Samaritan. Jesus describes how the Samaritan responded to the man who had been brutally attacked: He dressed his wounds, and provided for his keep. Such facts helped move Jesus’ audience beyond generalized assumptions about the Samaritan, to understanding the facts about him.<br /> <br /> Let us be so committed to love our Muslim neighbors, that we demonstrate it by being actively interested in who they are, and take the time and make the effort to learn the truth about them and spread it for God’s sake, and for the sake of our common life.<br />

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