Monday, October 30, 2006

Dr. Roland Miller discusses loving your neighbour

Dr. Miller was in Edmonton last week as a guest lecturer at Concordia University College of Alberta on Thursday, October 26. The topic of his lecture was "Christian-Muslim Relations: Dealing with Memories, De-Radicalizing the Present, Constructing the Future". Dr. Miller is an alumnus of Concordia University College of Alberta, a professor emeritus from three institutions and a former missionary in India.

After completing his theological studies in St. Louis, Dr. Miller received M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Islamic Studies from the Hartford Seminary Foundation. Dr. Miller served as an ordained missionary of the Lutheran Church in India from 1953 – 1976, residing in the Muslim-majority community of Malappuram, Kerala. An internationally known Islamicist with a specialization in Indian Islam, he is regarded as the leading authority on the Mappila Muslims of Kerala.

From 1976 – 1993, Dr. Miller was Professor of Religious Studies and Dean of Luther College at the University of Regina. In 1993 he received the university’s Award for Excellence in Under-graduate teaching. From 1993 – 1999, Dr. Miller was a visiting professor at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, where he directed the institutions now well-known graduate program in Islamic Studies. For ten years (1992 – 2002), he chaired the Lutheran World Federation’s Dialogue Program – Islam Section, during which time he traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world.

Dr. Miller is the author of several books and many articles in the fields of Islamics, India Studies, Christian Thought and Missiology. His most recent books include Muslim Friends: Their Faith and Feeling; Christian-Muslim Dialogue; Theological and Practical Issues and Muslims and the Gospel: Bridging the Gap. He is currently working on a volume entitled "Mappila Muslim Culture" which will be published in India.

On Friday morning, faculty and students at the seminary had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Miller and ask him questions in a more intimate setting.






He told the seminarians that his mission felt very unsuccessful for the first 13 years, until a respected teacher asked him, "Do you really love the Muslims?" He didn't mean 'love' as a sociological concept, but real love - the desire to be a friend, to care about them as people. The turning point was when he became interested in their culture and in them as people.

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