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Christian. Muslim. Friend: Twelve Paths to Real Relationship (Christians Meeting Muslims) Paperback – November 1, 2014
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Recognizing the friction that can exist between Muslims and Christians, Shenk (A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue) provides ways for Christians to reach across the religious divide. Shenk spent years as a Mennonite missionary in countries with Muslim populations, including Somalia and Kenya, and this direct experience of interfaith dialogue animates his book. Integrity, honesty, respect, hospitality, trust, and peacemaking become his cornerstones for building relationships with Muslims. Shenk uses stories of real encounters to illustrate his concepts, and he includes concrete suggestions for those hoping to introduce Muslims to the Bible. For example, he suggests the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospels as the books most accessible to Muslims interested in learning more about Christianity. Shenk comes from a Christian perspective and includes study questions as well as short appendices with information about Jesus and the Bible in the Qu'ran. Shenk can at times appear highly optimistic in his depiction of bridge-building, but that vision may well be the needed corrective to what sometimes seems an insurmountable difference of worldviews. (Nov.) --Publishers Weekly, Nov 2014 issue
“At a time when relations between Christians and Muslims are more complex than ever, Shenk has given us a wonderfully thoughtful account of how to build relationships. Without giving formulas or reducing Muslims to a single type, Shenk draws on his vast experience in many parts of the world to provide an encouraging way forward for anyone seeking to share the hope of the gospel with their Muslim neighbors.”—Brian Howell, professor of anthropology, Wheaton College--Christianity Today, December 2015
About the Author
David Shenk is global consultant for Eastern Mennonite Missions. His particular focus is developing peacemaking relations with Muslims. Author or coauthor of numerous books, including A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue, Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church, and Teatime in Mogadishu, Shenk visits about fifteen countries a year.
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The twelve points Shenk makes come from his own journey with Muslims. His "approach"--better word is "journey"--is Christ-centered, as an ambassador and friend of "Jesus the Messiah." He does not back off or shy away from saying that all he does is through and for Jesus, which resonates with many Muslims because many are so faith-centered in their lives.
Even so, I think that some of his twelve points (perhaps half of them) can still provide guidance for those who are not as deeply guided by faith as is Shenk. While the book is rooted in Christian theology (of the Anabaptist tradition--Mennonite), it can be helpful to a larger group of people not so faith-inspired.
I came to this book already interested in the topic of dialogue and friendship with Muslims and I meet Muslims through occasional gatherings at a local Muslim community center. The book gave me some good insights on how to grow in my own ability to talk with and hopefully grow in friendship with Muslims, whom I have found to be a delightful and sincere people struggling to make new lives in an unfamiliar and challenging culture.
I have read a number of books on Islam in the past year, and this one has added a new dimension of understanding for me. Shenk has written several other books as well which I hope to turn to before too long.
I know the Author personally for 50 + years. David is an awesome person and he is a fine Christian as well. Blessings to you David & Grace in all of your endeavors. Sandy Leaman