Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον [Luke 1. 46b]

Friday, January 11, 2013


   The following dialogue took place in a luxurious and beautifully ornate tent pitched somewhere in the mid-western Arabian desert approximately 100 miles north-northwest of Medina.  This is my transcript of the interview between the man Sheerkohf, (the "Lion of the Mountain") a Kurdistani warlord and great proselytizer by force, and a Christian by the name of Mr. Lutrosis.

Sheerkohf:  Welcome Mr. Lutrosis. Come in and be seated. And tell me just why you have made such  a long and arduous journey...to...evangelize me?  Do you too labor under that great incapacity of ignorance which I find in Americans as to our customs and faith?

Lutrosis:     The fact that I was  born in America means nothing. God's will not geography is why I am here.  I represent One Who lived His whole life in Palestine, an area your are intimately familiar with.  I've made but a humble beginning, a first step, to learn more
about your culture and your belief.

S:  Many of your so-called "leaders" and spokesmen over the years have not done so!  Many of you Europeans have visited great cruelties and violence upon my people.  We are not stereotypes we are men, women and children.

L:  Yes you are correct.  The tragedies of the past are both true and lamentable.  I did not come here to refight the Crusades.

S:  That is most prudent of you for your side lost so miserably.  Do not our victories suggest Allah's  most providential hand?  But now, you do come to "war" for my eternal soul with paternalism and condecension?  But, I do acknowledge your personal courage for coming into an armed camp.  For this bravery I consent to this audience.  In the past, your kind considered only the sword as the tool of contact.  I see however that you bring only your "book" and your talisman necklace.

L:  As your proverb states: "In the desert no man meets a friend," yet I would invite you to judge me and my message with your own good sense and legendary wisdom.  Treat me also as a man, an individual, and not as a stereotype.

S:  Speak quickly then as I am heavily detained by other matters and can give you but a few moments of my time.  You who follow the dead Nazarene, will now speak to this humble servant of the Prophet.  But I fear you are wasting the time of both of us.  Are YOU willing to have the openess of mind to be converted to Islam?  Do you accord me this same reciprocity?

L:  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,  The truth of God fears no confrontation with falsehood or error.  I can tell that you are a confident man and certainly do not fear a brief riposte with a man who respects your beliefs and integrity?

S:  You are not a typical westerner, Nazarene.

L:  I am a Christian.  I would ask you to attempt to distinguish between a westerner and a follower of Christ.

S:   And I am a "person of the Book" - - I too am a descendant of Abraham and Isaac.

L:   Yes, this I recognize.  We share a common spiritual ancestry of names and claimed "fathers," as well as a respect for actual historical antecedents.

S:  Separated brethren, then?? (laughing)

L:  Yes, you are my brother in nature, and I am interested in your eternal welfare, yes!  I am also interested in what you believe and the reasons why.

S:   You are gentle in your speech.  You do not seek to defeat me in verbal battle by employing syllogism and prooftext in the same manner as your spiritual ancestor Richard Coer d'Lion employed steel and fire.

L:  Friend, Richard I is but an interesting Norman and historical anomaly.  He is not my liege.  I represent only my true King, the Lord Christ Jesus Who is the true King of Kings.  He loves you too.

S:  There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.  And yes, you do speak with a tongue that has hope and joy. You would do well to allow your tongue to bow to the wisdom of the head.

L:  You believe Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing, therefore -

S:  (interrupting) And all-merciful and all-compasionate!

L:  And what must YOU DO my friend to be certain that Allah will be merciful to you. How are you certain of his forgiveness?

S:  "Those that accept the true faith and do good works shall be forgiven and richly rewarded" Surah 35.7.  Does not the first Bishop of Jerusalem, your own James, brother of the Nazarene say likewise?

L:  Yes. And yes I will be rewarded eternal life because God love me. I am His child and I do good works.  But I don't do these deeds to win or secure His love.  His love comes first and is generative, much like your own love your children existed long before they were old enough to please you with their obedience or honor.

S:  I too will enter paradise, for I am faithful to the will of Allah and faithful to His commandments as well.

L:  You have no uncertainty as to how many works Allah requires?  How do you know if you've done enough?

S:  Allah is fair and just.  He does not act arbitrarily.  He delivered this Law to Moses, of whom your prophet Jesus spoke of.  The Qur'an accepts this holy law.  Does not your own understanding of the law say that to be saved one must obey the Lord with all the heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love the neighbor as the self?

L:  Yes, that is what the Law commands.  Do you keep such perfectly holy rules as perfectly as God demands...as perfectly as an all-perfect God must demand?

S:  I am but a humble servant of Allah.  I do my best to do all that is within me, trusting Allah to be merciful to me.

L:  But is it "just" for a Holy perfect God to allow a sinful and imperfect creature (regardless of his intentions) to sully and stain a pure and perfect paradise?  Will your Allah be the kind of magistrate that says: "You stole, lied, and cheated...but you tried not to; you hated, lusted, and coveted...but you tried not to; All is well--enter paradise?"

S:  Are you suggesting to me Nazarene, that one NOT "try" to do the will of Allah?

L:  No.  I am suggesting that one, such as your or I, cannot do the perfect will of God.  But Jesus the Anointed One, God Himself in the flesh, could do so, and in fact did.  Jesus kept the will and the Law of God perfectly for you and me and for all of mankind.

S:  Impassioned friend, the prophet Jesus, great and wise as he was, was but a man.  Do not presume to make him, unique as he was, a blasphemer.  To claim for him divinity is the mortal error of you tri-theists!

L:  We now have arrived, as we both knew we would, to that which divides Islam from Christianity. I believe Jesus is True God, and the He loves you Sheerkohf...so much so that He died for you. This God/Man Jesus rose from the dead for you and lives for you!

S:  You speak blasphemy, and you distort the words of a great and good teacher.

L:  Jesus said: "Before Abraham was (born) I AM," and "I and the Father are one."

S:  Your "book" is a false, distorted, and incomplete revelation of Allah.  The Qur'an declares Jesus to be only that which he was: a gifted and blessed prophet!

L:  You believe that Sheerkohf because that is what the Qur'an says; so you can see the legitimacy of my believing the testimony of eye-witness, Saint Matthew of Capernaum, or Saint John, or --

S:   (interrupting) I, WE, believe in Allah and what is revealed to us in the book of his FINAL prophet Muhammad...the self-same prophet that Jesus himself promised would come...as recorded in your "Saint's" own writings [John 14.16]

L:  I am impressed with your knowledge of Scripture. You are well grounded in your beliefs. Despite our profound differences my Lord Jesus constrains me to love you, and I do. But more importantly Jesus loves you.  We have reached an impasse and I will take my leave from your busy schedule.  Attempts at mere point-counterpoint refutations might cause you to infer an arrogance or paternalism on my part wich I would not desire to imply. 

S:  (smiling broadly) As you said earlier dear friend, Allah's truth fears no confrontation; but, as you so desire, it shall be.  Be not a stranger from my encampment.  My faith is a living, breathing, growing fire; it is not going to go away.  But, you, Mr. Lutrosis, come again to visit your humble servant, for you are a man of honor and civility.  Infidel though you may be, you DO have an intangible joy within your breast which is refreshing...and strangely, troubling.

L:  Goodbye Sheerkohf, The Lord be with you.

S;  Goodbye Nazarne. There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.

The above imaginary dialogue between Sheerkohf (one of Sir Walter Scott's protagonists in THE TALISMAN), and Christian traveler Mr. Lutrosis is from the fevered mind of Jay Watson.


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