Monday, June 18, 2007

'I am both Muslim and Christian'

The Pacific Northwest is the least religious region of the United States, with less than 40 percent of Washington state residents religiously affiliated. Which makes the story of Ann Holmes Redding all the more surprising.

While most her compatriots can't even pick one religion, Holmes recently chose to affiliate with two starkly different -- and wars throughout history attest to that -- monotheistic faiths. From the Seattle Times:

SEATTLE -- Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Her announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many, raising an obvious question: How can someone be both a Christian and a Muslim?


"There are tenets of the faiths that are very, very different," said Kurt Fredrickson, director of the doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. "The most basic would be: What do you do with Jesus?"

Proving controversial statements by leaders of the Episcopal Church will never cease, Redding's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, told the Seattle Times he accepts her as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, and that he finds the "interfaith possibilities exciting."

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