US Priest Says Islam Christianity Are United: CEN 6.08.07 p1. June 7, 2007Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Islam, The Episcopal Church.
It is possible to be an Episcopal priest while being a Muslim, the former director of faith formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, has claimed in an interview with her diocesan newspaper.
The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding told the Diocese of Olympia’s Episcopal Voice that “the way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam.” While some Christians and Muslims “think I must convert from one to the other, the more I go down this path the more excited I am about both Christianity and Islam,” she said.
“I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam, and he didn’t drop me off at the door. He’s there too,” said Dr. Redding, whose CV states she earned a doctorate in New Testament studies from Union Theological Seminary in New York and was formerly on the staff of the Episcopal Church’s General Theological Seminary and an assistant professor of New Testament Studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta before joining St. Mark’s in 2001.
Islam and Christianity were complementary she suggested and that the Muslim profession of faith, “there is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God,” did not contradict anything in Christianity. Nor did the professions made at a Christian baptism contradict anything in Islam, Dr. Redding said.
“For me to become a human being means to identify solely with the will of God. Islam gives me the tools to do that,” she explained.
The conflicts over the nature and person of Jesus between Christianity and Islam do not hinder Dr. Redding’s profession of both faiths. “We Christians, in struggling to express the beauty and dignity of Jesus and the pattern of life he offers, describe him as the ‘only begotten son of God.’ That’s how wonderful he is to us. But that is not literal,” she told her diocesan newspaper.
“When we say Jesus is the only begotten one, we are saying he’s unique in some way. Islam says the same thing. He’s the only human aside from Adam who is directly created by God, and he’s different from Adam because he has a human mother. So there’s agreement—this person is unique in his relationship to God,” she said.
“I agree with both because I do want to say that Jesus is unique, and for me, Jesus is my spiritual master,” said Dr. Redding.
On March 25 Dr. Redding was made redundant at St. Mark’s Cathedral due to financial pressures. However a spokesman for the diocese told The Church of England Newspaper she remained a priest in good standing within the Episcopal Church and that her views were not problematic for the diocesan bishop.