In preparation for my trip to Morocco, I’ve received a lot of reading material regarding Muslims and overseas work and stuff like that. I haven’t really read much of it but I did read a book that is not on the “required reading” list by Carl Medearis called Muslims, Christians, and Jesus. The Medearis’ are family friends and Carl and my Dad are pretty close. Though I’ve never actually met Carl, I feel like I know him farely well because I’ve listened to him talk numerous times. The Medearis’ lived in Beirut, Lebanon for twelve years trying to follow Jesus, all the while collecting many incredible stories.
Carl is one of the most intriguing story tellers I’ve ever listened to. I’ve heard his stories over and over again and they haven’t gotten old yet. He is all about trying to follow Jesus. Carl is not the smartest or coolest person I’ve ever seen but it doesn’t matter because with him it’s all about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus. Jesus is the answer, not the cliche.
Carl is a refreshing breeze on top of everything that is wrong with the religion of Christianity. Instead of reading biblical texts, he tells stories from his own life that illuminate truth. Instead of trying to convert people to another religion, he builds relationships focused on Jesus and lets God do what He does. Instead of defending his faith with sound theological answers, he speaks to the heart.
The book is kind of an introductory course into the world of Islam. Living in the Middle-East for twelve years has given Carl incredible insight into the religion of Islam and the people it includes. Instead of highlighting the differences between Christianity and Islam, he focuses on the things the two have in common. Namely Jesus (surprise right?) Muslims believe that Jesus (Isa) was a prophet of God (Allah) and that he was sinless, righteous, rose from the dead, was aided by the Holy Spirit, was God’s preferred messenger, was near to God, was blessed, performed miracles, had the title Christ, and is God’s word. God gave Jesus the New Testament, in which is guidance and light. God taught Jesus the Bible and wisdom. All of that is in the Qur’an. WOW!!!
So with all that in mind, why would a Christian (“little Christ”, someone who follows Jesus of Nazareth) skip right to the end of the story when talking to a Muslim (“one who is submitted to God”, someone who respects Jesus very much but does not believe He is God). Why not just talk about Jesus’ life and His teachings and build a relationship on that.
While this book definitely focuses on relationships between Muslims and Christians, it has a message that all Christians need to hear no matter who they have relationships with. Take a time out from the religion of Christianity and discover who Jesus really was and really is. You might be surprised at what you find but you won’t be dissapointed. I don’t think that was the lone message or even the main message of the book but it’s what I remember. If you have the chance, definitely check it out for yourself.