It’s Really All About God, by Samir Selmanovic

SelmanovicAt first glace one would think that this book is just another in a long line of publications making the case for Christian pluralism. It isn’t.

Rather, Samir asks, ‘does God have to be absent out there in order to be present in here?” What if God is at work in ‘others’ as well as within my life? Do we need to vilify others in order to be really certain about what we believe? Would the conclusion that God works in the lives of others who believe differently than I do, necessitate that what I believe is erroneous? Does God ‘favor’ me more than others simply because I was lucky enough to be born into and then personally received my particular – and often peculiar – religious faith?

This book is not a call to reconcile all religions, nor even to look for a middle way. It is an invitation to notice and to value the presence of God in the lives of every being on the planet despite tremendous differences in our belief systems. It presents an opportunity to engage the kingdom of God without denying the religion of Christianity – or any other religion.

God is always at work. He has always been at work – even in that which is ordinary, different, and seemingly inimical to self. The kingdom of God is here and yet it is not the same as Christianity. Christianity cannot ‘manage’ God nor contain him. God is ungraspably beyond any creed or ritual. It is humbling to acknowledge that “our speaking of God is never actually speaking of God, but only of our understanding of God”.

The author’s key thesis, in my thinking, might well be captured in the following quotation: ‘when we disagree against one another, destruction or even death results; when we disagree for one another, life happens”. Samir does not encourage us to yield up our current creedal notions, rather he suggests that when we embrace one another in the universal language of love – despite differences – we both confess and proclaim the presence of God in our world. It really is all about God.

Truly, a through provoking book and one that I will need to re-read often.

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