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Video: Samir Selmanovic – Experiencing Your Neighbor’s Faith

From the The

Let’s step over the threshold of “stalemate” and create new stories, says Samir Selmanovic, in an interview with ThinkFWD host, Spencer Burke. Selmanovic’s book, It’s Really All About God, was born out his faith journey that began with childhood in a Muslim family where belief in God was considered a crutch, although the traditional religious holy days and celebrations were observed. When he became a Christian, he was expelled from his home and spent two years sleeping on the couches of church members who took him in. He confesses he spent many years stridently arguing for the “rightness” of his particular religious beliefs — “My beliefs are true; yours are not.

Today, Samir encourages us to rethink our faith and move from “It’s all about me.” to “It’s all about God.” Muslim, atheist, Jew – these are adjectives to the name “Christian,” he says. Samir is part of a gathering called Faith House which invites the community to share a common space (a living room) and experience their neighbor’s faith. All of our different faiths, and the different “mysteries” that each of us are, affect each other. Learning about my neighbor’s faith and experience, allows me to see new beauty, and poses questions that help me deepen and broaden my faith.

We need to encounter brothers, neighbors, even strangers of different faiths. We need a perspective that says, “There must be more about you, about others, than just to serve MY story.” Samir says, “I cannot argue for the absence of grace and say that YOUR story must be a lie for mine to be true. We are called to judge things by their fruit. Take a close look at our theology and if it sounds reprehensible, then we need to admit that.

For Samir, humility and hospitality IS the doctrine, the dogma, and to practice it is to go deeper, not to water down, our faith. Christianity exists to serve the Kingdom of God, not the other way around. Look around you, says Samir. The Kingdom of God is here — enter it!

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