Sunday, June 12, 2016

Our Muslim Teacher--Muhammed Ali

(seen on an athlete's locker)
photo by Exile on Ontario Street / flickr

I was struck by many things during Muhammed Ali's funeral in Louisville this week. I had forgotten so much that he did for so many. I had forgotten the way the whole world felt like they had lost a friend. I had forgotten what a role model he was for his own people--especially the young. I had forgotten how hard it must have been back there when he changed his name,  became a Muslim and refused to serve against Viet Nam in the military service.

What I never knew was his generosity. I never knew his stubborn refusal to give in to Parkinson's--not an easy task for someone who loved his physicality. I never knew that one of his best friends was Billy Crystal--a Jew. I never knew of his inclusiveness until that parade of Buddists, Muslims, Christians and Jews that came together on that platform to honor one of their own. I never really knew he belonged to us all and that under one roof, at least for one day, we were all brothers and sisters and the walls and divisions just faded away--if only for a moment.

I do know the Church of Jesus Christ could learn something from Muhammed Ali. The Lord Jesus stretched out his arms to all--had no qualifications. In this divided time--Muhammed Ali could teach us all something basic and real and human and true. Even we Christians.

photo by Melissa McDermott / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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