The Habit Podcast: Rachel Pieh Jones

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The Habit Podcast is a series of conversations with writers about writing, hosted by Jonathan Rogers. This week, Jonathan Rogers talks with Rachel Pieh Jones, author of Pillars: How Muslim Friends Led Me Closer to Jesus.

Rachel Pieh Jones has been living and writing in the Horn of Africa for the last eighteen years. Her new memoir is Pillars: How Muslim Friends Led Me Closer to Jesus. In this episode, Rachel and Jonathan Rogers discuss the value of being an outsider and what it means to be a witness.

Click here to listen to Season 3, Episode 15 of The Habit Podcast.

Transcripts are now available for The Habit Podcast. Click here to access them.

Special thanks to our Rabbit Room members for making these podcasts possible! If you’re interested in becoming a member, visit RabbitRoom.com/Donate.


3 Comments

  1. Alexandra

    @alexandra

    I agree with what Isaac Nemeth said about Muslims, but The Rabbit Room removed his comment because it disagreed with their view on Islam.

  2. Jonathan Rogers

    @jonathanrogers

    Hello, Alexandra. I saw the comments you’re referring to. And while I’m not involved in the comment moderation process here at the Rabbit Room, I hosted the podcast episode at issue, so it seems appropriate that I should address your concerns.

    The comments weren’t deleted because they disagreed with the Rabbit Room’s “view on Islam.” The Rabbit Room doesn’t have a view on Islam (I suspect people around here have various views on Islam). There is, however, an ethos at the Rabbit Room of engaging human beings as human beings made in the image of God, and not as members of a category—especially when such categorization enables us to dismiss them.

    The spirit of Rachel Pieh Jones’s book is that she had preconceived notions about Muslims, but then when she came to know Muslims personally, those relationships challenged her preconceived notions. The spirit of the deleted comments, it seems to me, is the opposite: Thanks to my preconceived notions, I don’t have to engage with what is being said here; in fact, I can criticize what’s being said here without listening.

    I don’t know if you’ve read Rachel’s book, but she doesn’t become Muslim or lose her Christian faith, nor does she take up some kind of syncretism. Her claim, as her subtitle suggests, is that living among Muslims caused her to take her own faith more seriously. I doubt Rachel and I agree on every jot and tittle of theology, but the idea that living among Muslims might lead a Christian to greater devotion to Christ—that’s a story worth engaging.

    I should address one more thing about the deleted comments. The commenter claimed that God said things in the Bible that God simply does not say in the Bible. I don’t have access to the comment now, but it said something to the effect that God tells us not to seek the peace and prosperity of pagans. This is the exact opposite of what God tells the Israelites who are exiled to the pagan city of Babylon (Jeremiah 29:7). I completely understand the impulse to attribute one’s own opinions to God, but that’s next-level. 

    Having said all that, I see how the deletion of those comments puts you in an awkward position: it looks like you’re giving the thumbs-up to the post, which is the opposite of what you meant. I’ll check in with the moderators about getting it deleted.

  3. Alexandra

    @alexandra

    Thank you for your response, but I spoke to Isaac, and he told me that he was referring to Ezra 9:12. He wasn’t disagreeing about them being humans, but you shouldn’t be promoting Islam, however, I don’t think that was what you were intending to do.
    I didn’t read Rachel Pieh Jones’s book, so I don’t know what she meant about Muslims leading her closer to Jesus. That headline sounds a bit misleading and could lead to incorrect preconceived notions.
    Isaac told me that after his comment was deleted he was unable to post comments, so he promptly left The Rabbit Room. He feels that it wasn’t right that you didn’t let him express his opinion, but he agrees that he didn’t express himself clearly. I think that because this is a Christian website you should have discussed why his comment was incorrect instead of just deleting it. And because people have various views on Islam why wasn’t he allowed to have his? I think his comment and the headline were both misleading.
    Thank you for talking with the moderators, but if my other comments don’t get deleted I think people will know what I meant.

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