On Sunday evening I was privileged to do a TedX style talk at Knowle Parish Church’s Youth’s Service, speaking about my passion for interfaith. It was fantastic to be able to share, and my talk was gave seven reasons why I was so passionate, although I could have shared even more! I’ve shared below a version of my talk, which was to encourage and inspire Christian young people to also be passionate about interfaith.
Maryam, the winner of this year’s ‘Power of the Pen’ award also shared her blogpost as another of the TedX style talks – she was amazing!
“Reason One: I’m passionate about interfaith because it makes me a better Christian. Relating to people who believe differently to me challenges me to think seriously about my theology, my values and my attitude. It helps me articulate my faith in a more coherent, relevant and respectful way that I believe glorifies God. Not only do I speak about my faith better but I also learn how to live out my faith in a way that is not only obedient to what God has taught. People of other faiths inspire me to take my faith seriously and live my life for Christ.
Reason Two: I’m passionate about interfaith because I see more of God when I engage with diversity. I see the beauty of other cultures, backgrounds and different ways God has made people. I understand more deeply what it means to know a God who made the universe and who made ALL of mankind in His imagine. I get a tiny taste how beautiful and awesome our creator is by encountering those who are different to me.
Reason Three: I’m passionate about interfaith because I want to live the beatitude that Jesus spoke about; blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. When I look around the world and at our own society here in the UK I am grateful for the relative peace that we live in. But I heard a wise lady once say that we should be careful not to take peace for granted, because one day things in the UK could be quite different. So I’m committed not only to knowing and having peaceful relationships with other faiths but also helping other people to so that together we can love, support and stand with one another whatever the future may hold. My prayer is that these friendships will help to sustain peace across our nation and be resilient when events that could shake this peace emerge.
Reason Four: I’m passionate about interfaith because I believe faith is an important part of our culture which is often down-played or discouraged. So often we’re told by society that our faith is personal, so we’re meant to keep it private and not to talk about it. But for so many people in our society faith is important and it’s unnatural not to keep quiet about it. Interfaith gives us an opportunity to share our faith with people who are ready, willing to listen and who want to know. It’s the perfect opportunity to share the things that is dearest to us.
Reason Five: I’m passionate about interfaith because for far too long evangelicals have avoided it, concerned it will dilute or downplay the uniqueness of their faith. Many are concerned it encourages pluralism. Being involved in interfaith doesn’t make you a pluralist – you can talk, listen and even agree without signing up to the theory that all roads lead to God. I believe that only Jesus can bring us salvation, but I love talking to others who think differently and respect them – there’s no need to fear.
Reason Six: I’m passionate about interfaith because God has taught me what it means to love my neighbour by engaging with Muslims and Sikhs. We can’t love our neighbour if we don’t know them and never actually speak to them or spend any time with them. By spending time with people I’ve learnt how to bless others, inspired by their hospitality, love, forgiveness and generosity. This challenges me deeply to love my neighbours the way so many of them love me.”
Reason Seven: I’m passionate about interfaith because Jesus loved the marginalised. He wasn’t afraid to associate with people that mainstream society looks down on. Every day I see and hear such aggression towards the Muslims community and it breaks my heart. To hear people talking about people who God made (in his image) degraded hurts God, and it hurts me to. Spending time with people who society often marginalises shows me how wrong society is because these people are more often than not interesting, fun to be around, kind and not the demons they are perceived to be. Having these sorts of people in my life allows me to practically treat others as I want to be treated and show mercy, which is what Jesus taught in Luke 6.
I’m passionate about interfaith because it’s become a normal part of my life, my being, and I would be devastated if it no longer was. People from other faiths are not to be feared; they’re to be loved.”