The New Testament expert was talking about redemption to the packed
fellowship hall at Fort Worth's First United Methodist Church.
I struggled to fit what he was saying into my Lutheran understanding of
Christian teachings on the subject.
Daryl Schmidt offered nary a word about the blood of Christ.
This came on the heels of the TCU religion professor's defining
Christianity as a creedal religion. That had Baptists cocking their heads
I had gone to hear a discussion about how Christians can co-exist with
Islam, yet I wondered if the Muslims in the audience were experiencing the
same disconnect with some of what the Islamic scholar said that I was
having with Schmidt. As a Christian, I really wanted to believe everything
that Yushau Sodiq said about Islam.
The only picture that many non-Muslim Americans have of Islam is the one
painted by pop culture, movies and Western media coverage of extremists.
The faith tradition that Sodiq, a Sunni Muslim from Nigeria, explained was
decidedly contrary to the violent, indiscriminate killer so often portrayed
as the face of modern Islam.
"Extremists are found in every religion," said Sodiq, an associate
professor of religion at Texas Christian University. He went on to outline
the commonalities between the two religions -- worship of one deity, heaven
as the ultimate reward for following God's will, the idea that faith should
be put to work for good on Earth