Spiritual Identity vs. Spiritual Capacity or “Can a Muslim be God’s Voice to Me?”
Today is the Feast of Epiphany. It is the day we celebrate the visit of the Magi (Wise Ones) into the Nativity story.
If you have read my works at all, you already know that I have a special affection for the Magi. Why?
It is mostly because they are spiritual exotics. That’s right, “exotics.” There is zero indication that they are Jews and it is impossible for them to be Christians… and yet God seems so comfortable to invite them into the Nativity story as “gift givers.”
God has space for the outsider, the foreigner and the non-Christian.
I wrote an article for Christianity Today discussing the question, “Can a Muslim Be God’s Voice to Me?”
Here is an excerpt from that article where I process the concept of Spiritual Identity and Spiritual Capacity. Please read and add your thoughts to the comments:
Can anyone be my spiritual teacher?
When I was young, I believed that I had one of two choices when it comes to understanding people as spiritual beings. Option one said that the world is filled by two teams: Christians and non-Christians. The Christians spoke for God and everyone else could not. Option two was to believe that everyone could know spiritual truth. But if that was true, I also had to believe that what one believed didn’t matter and everyone was spiritually the same, regardless of beliefs. I had only two options.
Today, I believe in spiritual identity. I believe that that identity is more than just subjective. The Bible, for instance, uses redeemed and unredeemed categories and links those categories to a person’s destiny.
That being said, I wonder if I have conflated my belief about spiritual identity with my belief about spiritual capacity. To put that another way, maybe I should separate the conversations about identity (whether a person is a Christian or a non-Christian) and capacity (whether or not someone is able to express truth, righteousness and moral goodness.)
In a similar vein, maybe one does not have to be a Christian to recognize and express the ways of God. And if that is true, anyone has the potential to be my spiritual teacher.
To read the entire article which has additional thoughts on the nature of God (Just how “omni” is God?) and on Jesus’ spiritual practices around the “other,” click HERE.
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