Things may seem to have gone quiet – but – a lot is happening behind the scenes. I was asked to update you now, to tide us over until September, when things pick up again in earnest.
My role in the Mahabba Network is to help implement our core purpose and vision; working with the network to ensure we have what is needed to flourish. A key part of this is to increase connectivity through sharing across the network.
An important felt need in the network seems to be how we respond to the current rise in strident attitudes to Muslims – especially in some Evangelical circles. This is being expressed verbally from some pulpits; online audio/visual materials; and in combative behaviour.
Since the change in political climate in the USA, I have noticed that some Evangelical groups in the UK are openly seeking to discredit Muslims, as though it were a new clause of the Great Commission. What’s more even fellow Christians are being denigrated publicly online and in print, for responding to Muslims with ‘grace and truth’. It would be great to hear from you if you are noticing anything along these lines, where you are.
It was suggested that the network should devise a “position statement” on ministry with ‘grace and truth’. This could be available on the website to point people to. It could be an effective way of dispelling misunderstanding that ‘grace and truth’ is a “soft” option; “naïve” or “liberal”. It would be to clarify where the term ‘grace and truth’ comes from; what the Bible says about it; why it is ‘Christly’; why it is part of historic Christian witness; how it can be modelled in practice; as well as identifying the political issues which are feeding ‘right wing’ strident views.
My sense is that people linked to the Mahabba Network, are engaging with ‘grace and truth’ on a spectrum from the ‘relational’ to the ‘robust’. So over to you – Do you concur? Would such a statement help us? How do you understand the term ‘grace and truth’? How far does it resonate with what you are doing and seeing in your area? My own feeling is that a position statement would also help to profile the unique contribution the Mahabba Network is making to the national conversation.
It would be great if you would add your thoughts to the Discourse discussion thread; or chat about your views to the Regional Facilitator in your area. Please be assured, whatever is important to you is certainly of keen interest to the network. Thanks for reading this and let’s keep one another covered in prayer through August.
Have a great remainder of the summer!
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Steve is a member of the Mahabba team, with a particular focus on development and strategy