Ohio Wesleyan University Chaplain Jon R. Powers writes about 'Methodists and Muslims: Better Together' in the new book, 'Displaced Persons: Theological Reflection on Immigration, Refugees, and Marginalization.'

'Better Together'

Ohio Wesleyan Chaplain Contributes ‘Methodists and Muslims’ Chapter to New Book

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University Chaplain Jon R. Powers is one of 10 writers contributing a chapter to the newly published book “Displaced Persons: Theological Reflection on Immigration, Refugees, and Marginalization.”

Published by The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the book “comes from an international dialogue on collegiate and campus ministry in The United Methodist Church and addresses the theological concerns of students on college and university campuses.”

Topics addressed in the 265-page tome include war, poverty, or famine and displacement; immigration and international migration; marginalized communities; and spiritual and personal displacement. Powers, Th.M., contributed a chapter titled “Methodists and Muslims: Better Together.”

“The goal of my essay is to address the problems created by America’s myopic response to our Muslim neighbors,” Powers said. “My hope is that readers will be inspired to learn more about both Methodist and Muslim theology and thinking in relation to their current values and social practices.

“I propose that Methodist theology and Islamic jurisprudence are essentially two sides of the same coin,” Powers continued. “Both are grounded deeply in ancient Jewish and Christian theology, as well as many Christological elements within the Holy Qu’ran.”

His hope for those reading the full book, edited by Matthew W. Charlton and Timothy Moore, also that it also provides deeper understanding and introspection.

“I would hope everyone might pause to study the picture on the cover of ‘Displaced Persons’ (a depiction of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus) to reflect on the historic fact that the Holy Family of Christianity was a refugee family,” Powers said, “as was the Jewish families of our common Abrahamic family and our cousins who were the family of the Prophet Mohammed.

“There is a historic and spiritual common core between refugees, migrants, and marginalized people that calls our current national culture to repentance and reform of our thinking and our practices,” the chaplain said. “My fondest hope is that this book might contribute positively and thoughtfully to that conversation and conversion.”

Powers, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan community in 1988, was selected by The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to contribute to the book based upon his chaplaincy work with refugees, immigrants, and marginalized populations, especially his decades of interfaith ministry as a Christian chaplain working with Muslims and students of other faith traditions.

Powers earned his Bachelor of Arts in public policy and ethnology from James Madison College at Michigan State University and his Master of Theology in Hebraic studies from the Boston University School of Theology. He completed postgraduate work in higher education administration at the School of Education, University of Michigan; Doctor of Ministry studies in campus ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.; and Christian-Muslim studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about Powers and Ohio Wesleyan’s Office of the University Chaplain, including its longstanding support for students of all faith traditions, at www.owu.edu/chaplain.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.