Ok, so it’s my first ever jaunt into Africa, north Africa to be exact, Fez to be precise. Difficult to believe, but it’s true – I’ve finally made it. Here I am immersed in a 100% Moslem culture. This 1400 year old city, parts of which appear to be original is a World Heritage Community. The lanes, stalls and buzz blend ancient and modern. A mobile phone stall sits alongside a butcher’s stall, which probably hasn’t changed in 1400 years. One had a camel’s head for sale, nice with chips I’m told.
It can all be quite intimidating, such a masculine noisy culture. People stare at Maria (blond blue eyes), and I’m a dead giveaway in my panama hat. We did consider trying to blend in but realistically; it was never going to happen.
The Imman’s call out at regular intervals from the 420 Mosques and everyone observes the Ramanadan fast, not eating or drinking from 2.45 am through to 7.45 pm – every day. I am of course impressed by the believers adherence to the law, the passionate retort from our cheery guide, Mohammed, “I’m fasting –I’m a good Moslem”. I don’t know if I would so readily suggest I was a good Christian! I guess that’s where these two great mono theistic religions divide, because I am a Christian not by my own goodness (heaven would be very disappointed by my goodness, or lack of it) but by the free gift from God, in Jesus. Meaning, that even if I fasted every day for ten years, it still wouldn’t make me good enough, so with you know who, effectively fasting for me I appear amazingly and truly without shame. Don’t get me wrong, my Moslem brother’s and sister’s are brilliant devout people, who deserve our admiration and respect.
However I’m a Christian, not because I’m religious, but because I’m grateful for Jesus absorbing my shame and delivering me from dogma. Like Mel Gibson in Braveheart shouting “Freedom”. Or maybe, I think I’m free but really I’m full of dogma, answers on a postcard please.