A Christian and a Muslim were walking down the road.

Sounds like the start of a bad joke doesn’t it? In fact, this was last Sunday. My newly met Muslim friend genuinely wanted to know whether she would be “allowed” to come to church with me.

I’d not really noticed the headscarf. Looking back, I suppose it was a bit of an odd picture; my gentle and quiet guest in her black hijab, discussing the book of Philippians with the talkative blonde student who thinks she’s a surfer and wears a bright purple bobble hat. It’s not the norm in church culture is it? My friend even flagged it up again at the end of the service: “Are you sure people won’t be offended by me being here? You don’t think they’ll mind that I can’t sing all the songs? Do you think they have a problem with me wearing this?”

In our Western culture of surface-deep philosophy, where the packaging is everything and appearance dictates our snap-judgement first-impressions, it’s no wonder my friend was acutely aware of being written-off for her religious garb that shouted “something different!”

And it only struck me then how it isn’t ok for me as a follower of Jesus not to walk with people from other faiths into Church. I don’t remember Jesus telling me to only invite certain types of people to His party.

In 1 Corinthians 9: 18- 20, Paul has this take on living out our faith:

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.”

If my friend and her hijab don’t feel welcomed and accepted by God’s representatives on earth, then I think I’ve missed the point. If us women don’t sacrifice our own reputations, and change our focus away from each other’s appearances, we might as well go sit in Starbucks on a Sunday and people-watch out the windows.

A Christian and a Muslim were walking down the road. The Muslim turned to the Christian and said… “I’ll see you next Sunday for church.”