Saturday, 16 May 2015

Listening to fellow Seekers after Truth

Last week at AFC one of our neighbouring ministers and a good friend of our church, The Revd Dr John Parry, organised a meeting in one of our rooms at which a young Muslim lawyer, Irfan Arif spoke.

Irfan's family are leaders at the Chesham Mosque and he describes himself as a 'man of faith'. His theme that evening was 'Terrorism'.  He spoke of it from a Muslim perspective with great eloquence and grace - defining it, analysing it and condemning it.  His conclusion was not of pat answers but a genuine attempt to explore the theme and do so with insight, compassion and understanding.

After presenting his paper Irfan took questions which kept coming and coming - as an audience made up of Muslim and Christians - and possibly those with no named faith - engaged with him on some of the burning issues of the day.  Time and again this young Cambridge graduate answered with a wisdom above his years and with exemplary grace.

I suspect we all came away grateful to John for organising the evening and to Irfan for being such a splendid speaker.  We had listened to each other, struggled with deep questions and glimpsed new insights into each others understanding of faith.

I think the evening was one of those seminal moments for me when I realised afresh how vital it is for seekers after truth to dialogue with one another - for out of these encounters and conversations so much good can flow built upon a foundation of mutual respect and friendship.

Thank you Irfan for sharing your journey with us.

Ian

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