Sandals at the Mosque: Christian Presence amid Islam

Sandals at the Mosque: Christian Presence amid Islam

Sandals at the Mosque: Christian Presence amid Islam

Sandals at the Mosque: Christian Presence amid Islam

Excerpt

The father of a pupil of William Blake, the poet-engraver, was, it is recorded, Muster-Master-General of the British Army in the years of the Napoleonic War. The business of his picturesque office was to oversee the work of lesser Muster-Masters who were officers specially charged with the reviewing of regiments. They had to vouch that the names on the pay-roll represented the actual regimental strength, this being a necessary precaution in days when commanders were tempted to swell the ranks with fictitious names.

It is not known that there was ever any effective spiritual counterpart of such an office. The faiths of the world have their characteristic points of muster in temple, mosque or church. But no census of religious allegiance can be taken by merely external means. The problem of integrity of adherence and confession abides in every situation and fictions of belonging inevitably creep into the roll-call of belief and devotion. The underlying idea of this book is that the human situation itself, as it has come to be in this bewildering and exacting time, acts as a searching Muster-Master-General of the worlds of faith. Man reaches ever farther outwards into space and so doing deepens the issues that belong in the inward spaces of the heart. Men with their faiths have more mystery and urgency in common than at any earlier point in history. They are, so to speak, at muster to answer for . . .

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