Apparently, my syndication thing works too well, and the first post from the new group blog “From Brent and Aglipay to…” showed up here. I am hoping that this does not show up there!
I think interreligious dialogue goes both ways. We must be more assertive in saying that our belief in the Trinity calls us to bring more people into communion with God, who is not a distant figure, as some assert, but one who is, as Augustine said, “more intimate to me than I to myself.” We must tell people that, indeed, by prevenient grace (thanks John!) they may not know about the saving message of the Gospel, but by doing what is right, the same God who in Christ announced that Good News is helping them attain their salvation.
And I think the Christians of Mindanao should witness not to the hatred of the Crusaders who have since then made Christianity unpalatable to the Muslim world but rather to the radical hospitality of the Christ who laid aside his glory to overcome the world’s evil. I think Christians in Mindanao should also convince Muslims that what they have learned from the Qur’an is really insufficient once they know that following Christ is the definitive way of peace and that Jesus is (for he is alive) the definitive revelation of God. The peace process should uphold the fact that this country, which extends over all 7,107 isles, is firstly Christian and should reflect that aspect of our national identity. Muslims are Filipino too, but in a way, as much as they can teach us something, they should learn not from the violence we Christians have wrought, but from the love which Christ has shown us, so they too can believe.
Islam is, if you think about it, a Christian heresy. They got one thing right at the expense of the others. It is easier to work with heresies than schisms, I suspect.
Now that the bishops are back from Lambeth, the hard work begins. We will walk down from the Mount of Transfiguration, where the Son of Man will be handed over to human evil… and the struggle with the evils of poverty, intolerance, religious polarization, etc. will continue.