Splashing around in theology.

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Location: Ottawa, Canada

I read lots. I have a cat. I drink coffee. Therefore, I am.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Meeting Manji

Today I finally purchased this one book I have been ogling and flipping through for a long while now.
It’s called The Trouble With Islam Today. Perhaps yesterday’s movie [see previous blog] inspired me to look into it a bit closer today. The book is incredible, and the author [shown here] fascinating as all get out.

Irshad Manji.

She’s been dubbed, “Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare.” She takes that as a compliment.
[I have a hunch that Monsieur Osama has a few nightmares worse than any involving Irshad Manji though…!]
I am just amazed at how fearlessly outspoken Manji is! I am only partway into the book but it seems there is nothing about the Quran or Islam in general that is going to escape criticism of one kind or another. And she is so witty about it, while maintaining a deadly seriousness. One of the things that I find so interesting, is that Manji retains her faith. In other words, she is a Muslim…. but not in a conventional sense. No, she calls herself a Muslim Refusenik.
She makes me think of me.
I call myself a “Christian” still. Yet I am extremely critical of so many aspects of conventional Christianity. Perhaps I am a Christian Refusenik, and I know it not!

One thing, early on in the book, is very worthy of note.
Manji answers the question implied in the title…. she says, “The trouble with Islam today is…..” [I pause… so that you all can say it with me, before even reading on…. come on now, if you’ve been reading this blogpage for any time at all, you will know what she is going to say………]
Manji says that the trouble with Islam today is... “that literalism is going mainstream, worldwide.” [p.3].
There it is again. Literalism.

If someone were to ask me what the biggest trouble with Christianity is today…. I would say the very same thing, for starters.
It’s going mainstream, worldwide.

The Tom Harpur lecture I attended recently was no different. When asked why he calls himself “an uncomfortable Christian” Harpur replied that it was because he is grieved about “the large pond, or lake, or slough of literalism into which Christianity has fallen and cannot extricate itself from.”
I so agree.
[Interestingly, at this same lecture, Harpur directly referred to two authors who should be read in a far greater measure than they are currently being read. One was the iconic Harold Bloom. The other was Irshad Manji]!

In my own outlining of what I call The Three Pillars, my first point is this very thing, concerning literalism.
1) The thoroughgoing literal interpretation of Scripture. That’s got to go.

I am excited about this book.
The next chapter I am about to read is entitled “When Did We Stop Thinking?”
I ask myself this question every day, and endeavor to make it apply to myself as little as possible!

Meet Manji, here.



Blogger RantandRoar said...

Very interesting person, you will have to let me know how the book is.

5/16/2006 5:48 PM  

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