Beginning in 1973, for some years in Nairobi, Professor Badru Kateregga and I taught world religions together in the Kenyatta University College of the University of Nairobi. About 300 students studied in the combined programs of the Nairobi and Kenyatta campuses.
Badru and I became steadfast friends. We taught world religion together. He was a devout Sunni Muslim friend from Uganda. I was an Anabaptist evangelical from the United States. Teaching together meant that the entire class experience became a dynamic interactive dialogue.
Both students and professors were energized as we explored the powerful realities of faith meeting faith.
That classroom became the vision carrier in the creation of a dialogue written by Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk. We agreed that the book would carry forward the congenial spirit in our classroom exchanges. The purpose was to inform, so that Muslims and Christians who read this book would know well the faith of their classroom companion
The book is organized simply. First in twelve chapters Kateregga describes the Muslim faith. In the second half Shenk describes the Christian faith. At the end of each chapter the authors take turns in responding to what his companion has written.
The book is not polemical. Neither is the book an attempt to show that one side or the other side is true. Rather the book is an earnest confession of faith. Each of us authors cherish our faith, and so we seek to confess simply and truthfully what we believe. Each of us writers are witnesses, but we do not attack one another. Rather we share in the spirit of earnest respect.
The Dialogue has been reprinted again and again. It is now in 12 languages and has been especially useful in areas where Muslims and Christians are in conflict. Leaders often find that a cup of tea together while discussing the book with a friend can help to soften spirits and open the door for true dialogue.
Remarkably a couple Muslim leaders have translated the book and they use
it in their attempts to build peace in difficult circumstances. In one
gathering a militia commander asked for 50 Dialogue. He said this approach will help to sow seeds of peace where there has been conflict.
written by David W. Shenk