Thursday, September 15, 2016

Last Night I Met a Christian

Thursday greetings on a beautiful day here in the Midwest.

Last night I met a Christian.

After doing some shopping and running around preparing for a trip I will be taking soon, I realized I was desperately in need of a haircut.

I walked by one of the cheap haircut places in my neighborhood and noticed it was empty of patrons, so in I went and met Mona, a middle-aged woman who was quite talkative. Usually, I just enjoy sitting quietly as my hair is cut; it can be a good time for reflection. But Mona wanted to chat, so I joined her in conversation. We talked about the challenges of living in Chicago; how we both shared our frustrations about our mayor's latest moves to tax us even more through a recent raise in water and sewer taxes.

She talked about her hesitancy to move out of the city, due mainly to the fact that her mother lives here. I asked if her family had lived in Chicago their entire lives and she shared with me that she was from Lebanon. I told her that I had befriended a cab driver on whom I rely for very early morning trips to the airport when I travel. I shared that he, too, was from Lebanon. Her first question, "Is he a Christian?" I said, "No, he is Muslim and we have had very spirited discussions about Islam. He has helped me understand the important place that the Blessed Virgin Mary holds in his faith and how Jesus plays a key role in it as well." She said, "Well, I am a Christian, and a Catholic to boot."

Then came the tirade from this Christian. "Islam was founded by the prophet Mohammed on the sword. Throughout their history they have done nothing but kill Christians." She went on and on. "And don't get me started on Obama; he's one of them."

My reaction? Stunned silence. I wanted to say that the Church had killed in the name of religion over the centuries, but I decided not to engage any further with this Christian. What I had hoped to be a relaxing and meditative few minutes really filled me with disappointment and sadness.

The haircut? Quite fine. Will I return to Mona? Not a chance.

What would you have done in my situation?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


FJH 3rd said...

Probably agreed with her! :-)

Liam said...

I would have put aside my own prejudices and considered that she is a Christian from Lebanon, with a long history of Christian-Muslim interaction that is different from mine.I would not lump her with Americans who lack that history. I would consider how my own prejudices are rooted in my own cultural history, and whether I have a pride in overcoming some of them, a pride that is egoistic.

And it should be noted that the spread of Christianity in its first few centuries was not by conquest, and that Islamic toleration was not quite the same thing as rosy historical glasses would have us believe.

Anonymous said...

I would have done exactly what you did, except my blog post would have been on facebook.