In Reza Aslan’s book, Zealot, he speaks of Jesus in the most practical of ways as he describes his own very personal transformation from evangelicalism to the faith which sustains his journey, Islam. I respect and admire Aslan for owning and sharing the importance of having an authentic resonance with God as he understands God. I also admonish others to do the same.
As I read the text, I continuously reflected on my own journey – not my “faith” journey as though it could be somehow boxed and wrapped, bowed and placed inside my soul as a thing to be commemorated when I felt especially “devoted” or most insecure – rather, my life journey, or as Adler would put it, “style of life” (not to be confused with “lifestyle” – that pejorative way that heteronormative folk seek to discredit queer folk, or, minimally, to remind us that the dominant religious culture still holds most sway)…there I go, digressing. My subjective style of life included and includes the figure, Jesus, as being a crucial part. Aslan’s text had a restorative effect for me. The AMPC describes faith in a few places as, “the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness.” Aslan’s text reminded me of some things and awakened others, part of which is that I have a friend who sticks closer than a brother and why this is true for me. How does a Muslim Academic restore one to a sense of limbic resonance with the progenitor of The Way?? Simply by highlighting the humanity of Jesus.
In 2013, I was completely weary of what I will call Super Hero Theology. Personally, I felt exhausted from the idealization of Jesus’ ontological representation by some who talked boldly about why we needed a super hero. I was yearning to experience a different type of common union. I recognize that some live their entire lives with the super hero narrative, and I regard that highly; I am speaking of my own journey. I needed to become more grounded in my actual rather than my tendency toward the ethereal. Through many tears, and acceptance of my own truths, I experienced great solidarity, which ignited deeper yearning, and the kind of soul satisfaction that I have read and heard it be written and sung, the things of this world have become strangely dim…
Reading this brilliant Muslim Academic’s work activated my mind and heart because it uncovered things I needed to see and know and live and love, in and after the nature of Jesus Christ, as I understand him. Interfaith dialogue has the potential to strengthen us all.
As you go through life ~ learn to be more open than threatened; cultivate awareness that you are sandwiched in this thing with all kinds of folks and it is good; and most importantly, there is NOTHING to prove. Let sacred relationship happen. It might surprise you.