Been a while. My regrets that your internet life has been slightly less shiny.
A word for the day: Henotheism. Several weeks ago, our mid-week study on the Nicene Creed was considering the idea of "one God." In that study, we tossed around nice big words like polytheism, pantheism and atheism. But one word came up that seemed to capture so clearly why monotheism (one God-ness) is a vital piece of the Christian religion.
Henotheism means, according to dictionary.com (sorry, Elizabeth, I can't afford the OED): the worship of a particular god, as by a family or tribe, without disbelieving in the existence of others. When I came across this while studying, it struck me as the perfect word for the state of the church in relationship to other religions. We love to be nice, naturally, and so we more and more like to allow people to remain subjected to their own god or gods. Mind you, we don't deny Jesus as Lord or anything like that, but we don't really mind all that much when others do it.
Believing there is only one God for me is henotheistic. Believing there is only one God for everyone is monotheism. We ought to stand squarely in the latter but so often find ourselves waddling in the former. If we are going to be true believers, we must also be true disbelievers. If we are going to claim that Jesus is Lord, we must also claim that Allah, Buddha, et al, aren't. And this makes a huge difference in our evangelism: we don't do evangelism just to make people's lives better, to bring them from a nice, quaint religion to a really, really good one. We do evangelism because they owe to the Living God their allegiance and we are not satisfied with anything less.