This pastor takes no issue with Mukilteo mosque | Worship

By Pastor Paul Sundberg, Pointe of Grace | Mar 19, 2014

A visitor stopped by Pointe of Grace recently and asked for me because he had an issue he “really needed to talk about.” I wasn’t there, but our custodian gave him my number.

When she told me about it the next day she seemed apologetic about the whole thing. I pressed a bit to find out why. Finally, she told me that he had issue with the mosque that is going to be built near the southerly entrance to Harbour Pointe.

She also told me the visitor had been pretty upset about the prospect. I told her I was glad she gave him my number. I’ll tell you I am glad he never called (though this column might change that).

I am not going to rehash the differences that exist between “fundamentalists” and the vast majority of believers. I am not going to talk about the geopolitical and social realities that lead to extreme acts of violence.

All I want to say, frankly, is that I am delighted to see another center of worship and compassion as part of the on-going development of Mukilteo.

It is a reflection of and enhancement to the community. It is recognition of our existing diversity and a statement that its people are willing to invest in being seven-day-a-week members of the community.

When I first moved to Harbour Pointe in the mid-1980s I remember a few conversations with residents who were upset that there was going to be a “Mormon church” built on Harbour Pointe Boulevard.

It would not surprise me at all, if we were able to dig into the details of Mukilteo’s history, to find a time when people complained about the building of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church.

It is all just a sad history of the way we categorize, stigmatize and vilify those who do not look, act, speak or worship in our way.

I am not suggesting for even a moment that we Lutherans have always gotten it right. Our history is filled with more than its share of hurt, hate and horror. But, mindful of that history, we have made concerted efforts to change.

Pointe of Grace is part of a congregation that has sought positive, collaborative relationships with other denominations and faiths for many years now.

On the Friday following 9/11, we stood at the entrance to a local mosque with Roman Catholic brothers and sisters to protect and welcome Muslim worshipers.

As we have developed our local ministries to the underemployed and homeless, we have welcomed collaboration from Christians, Unitarians, Muslims and non-believers.

Over and over we have seen compassion and care from everyone – no proselytizing, pushing or put-downs. Just love.

The world is a complicated, often dangerous place. It is easy to fear. But fear cannot be overcome by exclusion. Only love can do that.

So, we welcome the building of the mosque, and we look forward to sharing with its people compassion and care for this community.

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