Like Muslims worldwide, Ben Ries has refrained from food and drink from sunrise to sundown in an act of self-restraint during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ends this weekend.
Each evening, the 31-year-old Ries joins Muslim families in a room above a hardware store in Bellingham, Wash., to find fellowship and break the fast with a handful of dates and a welcome glass of water.
Only Ries is not a Muslim. He is pastor of 70-member Sterling Drive Church of Christ and a self-described committed Christian who just a few weeks ago had to turn to Google to find a Muslim in his community.
Ries is among a small group of Christians who've joined well-known evangelical author and speaker Brian McLaren in observing a Ramadan fast, opening a new chapter in interfaith relations between two traditions often at odds.