I’m still pondering over the comments of Bishop Carlton Pearson and Deepak Chopra on last week’s Nightline Face-off – Does Satan Exist? (see an interesting excerpt below). By the way, neither believe Satan exists… Bishop Pearson isn’t new to sharing controversial thoughts as a Christian minister and is joined in the spotlight by Minister Ann Holmes Redding (her story is below). Ms. Redding was recently removed from ministry or defrocked because she has also become a Muslim, though she feels there is no conflict. It makes me question whether religious thoughts are finally merging because people are becoming more enlightened. However, I’m sure some would say that both Pearson and Redding are just blinded. What do you think?
SEATTLE, Washington (CNN)— Ann Holmes Redding has what could be called a crisis of faiths.
For nearly 30 years, Redding has been an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Her priesthood ended Wednesday when she was defrocked.
The reason? For the past three years Redding has been both a practicing Christian and a Muslim.
“Had anyone told me in February 2006 that I would be a Muslim before April rolled around, I would have shaken my head in concern for the person’s mental health,” Redding recently told a crowd at a signing for a book she co-authored on religion.
Redding said her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago. During the meeting, an imam demonstrated Muslim chants and meditation to the group. Redding said the beauty of the moment and the imam’s humbleness before God stuck with her.
“It was much more this overwhelming conviction that I needed to surrender to God and this was the form that my surrender needed to take,” she recalled. “It wasn’t just an episode but …. was a step that I wasn’t going to step back from.”
Ten days later Redding was saying the shahada — the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Mohammad as his prophet.
But Redding said she felt her new Muslim faith did not pose a contradiction to her staying a Christian and minister.
“Both religions say there’s only one God,” Redding said, “and that God is the same God. It’s very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven’t shifted my allegiance.”
The imam at the Islamic Center in Seattle, Washington, where Redding prays said she brings the best of both traditions to her beliefs. Continue reading