Dan Mefford

I found the concept of the book intriguing but am surprised to find myself struggling with it somewhat. Born and bred Southern Baptist may have something to do with it. The first chapter  was fine, no challenges in reality. I do not wish to battle with anyone over the issue of faith, but I do wish to share my faith with them. I do believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, the life” but am able to allow others their view. I enjoy learning about other religions, not to see where they are wrong, but to see why my faith has a basis for me. It’s not tradition, its faith. I feel the need to believe that Jesus was right and that I am following Him, not out of question, but assurance. Studying the differences in faith helps me to do that.

In the second chapter, I found myself struggling a bit more. I have been to services of other faiths and “observed” never feeling the need to be actively involved in the process. It was surprising to me to feel my visceral response to the students and teacher receiving the almonds at the temple. In some ways it felt like a betrayal of one of the ordinances I hold dear. In another, it was wonderful to “watch” the openness and gifting of the priest to those willing to be a part of the ceremony. It was respectful and yet I still find myself wondering why? Why partake? Why not partake? Is it betrayal or a move to understanding? Do I question too much or do I have a wall that needs to be at least looked over?

I never expected this book to be so challenging, espeilly after 30+ years of ministry. Perhaps I became too comfortable over the years. It will be an interesting journey.