Religion roundtable: What religious figure most inspires you?
Apr 14, 2012 | 1762 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cotton Patch gospel

Aside from the obvious influence of Jesus Christ and all the well-known heroes and heroines of Christian history, I would say that the religious figure who most inspires me is Clarence Jordan.

Jordan held a Ph.D. in biblical languages (which he used in translating The Cotton Patch Version of the New Testament), yet he spent most of his life on a farm in Americus, Ga., a community he and his wife started with another couple in 1942.

The name of their new community was Koinonia, a Greek word meaning “fellowship” used in the New Testament to describe the gathering of believers.

Koinonia was (and still is) a place where people of all races were welcome to live in a community grounded in the love of Christ. It began during a time when racism was considered a virtue by many in the South.

Jordan understood the gospel as more than a creed by which to judge one’s neighbor. He saw the gospel as a call to love one’s neighbor — and that means everyone — through action: “It is not enough to limit your love to your own nation, to your own race, to your own group. You must respond with love even to those outside of it, respond with love to those who hate you. This concept enables people to live together not as nations, but as the human race.”

— Chris Thomas, pastor, Fairview Heights Northside Baptist Church, Anniston
Muhammad the man

Being a student of world religions, I get most inspired by Prophet Muhammad. His balanced approaches to all the aspects of human life make him a perfect model in my life. He is a devout religious person who worships God at night and prays for all of humanity.

He is a caring family man as a husband, father and grandfather. He loves his grandchildren so much that they enjoy riding on the back of their grandfather.

He is so fair in his dealings that he has been given a nickname by the general public as “the honest” and “the truthful.”

He is so humble that, being a 25-year-old handsome young man of Makkah with very high reputation, he marries a 40-year-old widow and spends the 27 prime years of his age with her as his only wife.

He signs a peace treaty with Jews and Christians.

He is the one who introduced the rights of women, slaves and animals in the world of 7th century C.E.

From among the numerous prophets, Thomas Carlyle chose Muhammad as the best representative of his class because, as he says, he stood up historically against terrible odds, and ultimately overcame all obstacles and brutal opposition.

He left the world after having fulfilled his mission.

— Muhammad Haq, imam, Anniston Islamic Center