By: Jennie Brouse
On February 9 and 10, Eastern University will be hosting Pastor Kevin Brown and Imam Idris Abdul-Zahir for a discussions on how to “Promote Multifaith Relationships on a Christian College Campus.” Pastor Kevin Brown and Imam Idris Abdul-Zahir will have a conversation about Christian-Muslim friendship in a polarized society on Thursday, Feb 9 at 7pm the Warner Library Atrium.
On Friday, Feb 10 at 10am, they will be Windows on the World speakers in McInnis Auditorium to discuss how Christians and Muslims can promote justice together. The events were organized by Chaplain Joseph Modica and Psychology Chair Tara Stoppa.
“Our hope is that students will be inspired by Kevin and Idris to pursue Christ-honoring relationships with Muslims during and after college, and to develop more confidence about what it means to be a faithful Christian in a religiously diverse society,” said Kevin Singer, the co-director of the Neighborly Faith Organization.
Neighborly Faith was started by Dr. Chris Stackaruk and Kevin Singer in 2015 “to address an issue they saw arising in the evangelical community: our inability or an un-willingness to engage with their religious neighbors in a way that is honest and builds trust.” They aim to bring people of different faiths together through conversations and events.
Neighborly Faith holds five core commitments of God, witness, scripture, salvation and sin. They believe in “Jesus is Everything,” “Friends, Not Fears,” and “Truth, in Love.” They have traveled to and spoken at several college campuses across the country, with Eastern being an upcoming stop.
“Not knowing our Muslim neighbors is a missed opportunity. To quote Jesus: we’re putting our lamp under a bush where nobody will see it.” (Neighborly Faith)
Neighborly Faith also recruited 4 Eastern students to assist in the events of their visit, as well as promotional duties.
Sociology and psychology Junior Tomi Alarape is excited to be a part of the team working the events. “I’m looking forward to being a moderator, and meeting with different pastors, both Christian and Muslim,” said Alarape.
Senior psychology and anthropology major Kaitlyn Arrow is also on the team of students recruited to assist with the panel. “I’m looking forward to being able to mediate and promote conversation about Islam, Christianity, and their similarities and differences, and overall creating a more accepting community” said Arrow.
Arrow describes the events as a way to “Allow people to understand how we as Christians can not only live in community with Muslims but also have meaningful relationships and build friendships and have good conversations and learn from each other.”
If you’re feeling on the fence about coming to the events, “Look at it as a learning experience, it’s not boring, but a beautiful conversation between two different religions that are not as different as you think. You may even a little about yourself as well,” says Alarape.
“It’s not a normal opportunity for anyone, especially not on a Christian campus,” said Arrow, encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone to attend the events.
“You’ll learn something about loving your neighbor. It’s in the name: Neighborly Faith,” said Chaplain Modica, also encouraging students to come to the events.
Neighborly Faith aims to take out the intimidation that may come with connecting with other religions, and bring conversations back to the bare bones, with a “common sense” approach. “All that it requires is a desire for genuine friendship, and the friendship takes care of the rest.”
“What is there to lose, because we’re getting an opportunity to hear a perspective we dont hear often,” says Arrow.
“Come and be with us! And love your neighbor more deeply” says Chaplain Modica
If you find yourself looking for something to do on February 9 at 7 pm or February 10 at 10 am, come to the events and get to know your neighbors.
Sources: Neighborly Faith