There have been some articles lately about an Episcopal priest who says she is both Christian and Muslim. I’ve actually had a few phone calls from people wondering what I think about all that! As I understand it, this priest has recently engaged with Islam, been impressed with its spiritual disciplines, has experienced a new “submission” to God (which is the core of Islam), and how considers herself something of a bridge person between the two faiths — both of which she honors.
I also sense that the “Afro-centric” or at least “people-of-color-centric” ethos of Islam was appealing to this African American woman who, especially in the Episcopal Church, must sometimes feel pretty lonely — even with all our claims of diversity and the fact that we (still) belong to a worldwide Communion which is largely made up of people-of-color.
My opinion? While I honor any honest search for God and truth and believe this woman is embarked on such a journey, my guess is that — sooner or later — she will have to decide. I do not believe it is possible to be both a Christian and a Muslim with integrity…and I believe her to be a person of integrity.
One can honor and explore both traditions and, God knows, we need bridge-builders and interpreters of both faiths, but my experience is that Muslims respect Christians most when we are clear about what we believe, committed to it, yet are able to appreciate and honor their faith as well. Many of us who are Christian would say the same thing about Islam.
I will keep my sister in my prayers — for many reasons. Chief among them will be that she will be granted wisdom, discernment, and knowledge. And that she will remain a person of integrity.