De-Otherizing our Neighbors

Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed cross the road?

In his book of the same name, Brian McLaren asks how Christians can fully embrace their unique identity and beliefs while affirming beliefs of Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and people with all other belief systems. While it can be tremendously easy to water down one’s beliefs for the sake of inclusion, it is a much nobler challenge to strengthen one’s identity while embracing another’s.

St. James’s has the privilege to host an event by the Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding, The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, and Hartford Seminary: Honest Conversations with Muslim Neighbors. Please come on June 14th at 3pm. Bring your kids, bring your friends…bring your friends’ kids and your kids’ friends!

Something we are discussion quite intentionally at St. James’s is how to “de-otherize” people. We’re asking questions like, “How can we help feed hungry people and build authentic relationships with them?” It’s quite easy to feed hungry people, but it is another thing to realize that they have as much to offer us as we have to offer them.

The same “de-otherizing” concept applies across religious boundaries. One can truly embrace a Muslim—even acknowledge the Holy Spirit working through that tradition in a unique way—and still be a deeply devout and orthodox Christian. I swear it is possible, and if you don’t believe me, try it!

Read McLaren’s book. Come to St. James’s on June 14th. And be on the lookout for other opportunities to begin de-otherizing our neighbors.

Honest Convos With Muslims

The Reverend Curtis Farr

The Rev’d Curtis A. Farr arrived at St. James’s in May of 2013 to serve as the associate rector. He received his M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2013 and was ordained to the priesthood that June. Before seminary, Curtis earned a B.A. in English from Washington State University in 2009 and spent a year teaching English in Quito, Ecuador. With a passion for equipping Christians for ministry, he spends a great deal of energy in preaching, coordinating formation programs for youth and adults, and connecting parishioners to service and advocacy opportunities.