"I'm coming to this forum after a bit of struggle. I was born and raised a Protestant Christian, . . past 10 years or so . . crisis of faith . . bounced denomination finding each dissatisfying. . hard time reconciling the teachings and actions against what Jesus taught. In fact I don't think I can, ultimately, my belief . . Jesus a prophet leaves me in a difficult place.
Which is what brings me here. After some reading, I understand that Islam accepts Jesus as a prophet, one of many, and doesn't deify him. I have held off seeking out Islam for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I don't know a single Muslim. So asking questions over lunch isn't a possibility. Secondly, it's a little intimidating as there is so much information out there. That's why I'm here. I want to learn, to see if this is something I can find refuge in, to find guidance in learning - so that I'm reading from credible sources.
Anyways, I know its a journey, I hope to make some friends in the mean time. :)
The above is the core of your message. I have put it in 2 parts. Your belief and what brings you here!
Let's start with your belief. I think islam puts Jesus as the top 5 prophets, only Allah knows best. There would be Abraham, Noah, Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, peace be upon them all, and that does not even include the likes of Joseph, Solomon, David, Job, Adam and so on peace again be upon them all. So how do we rank who is most high? We just follow (or not follow) the prophet most recent to us, as what has happened throughout history. Muhammad was the most recent prophet after Jesus (pbuta).
But going back to 'having a hard time reconciling the teachings and actions of what Jesus taught' you really have to be honest to yourself and answer whether you are truly aware of what it is you are saying. Those are heavy words. you make no mention of 'Bible' and specifically picked Jesus (peace be upon him). What most Christian follow inadvertently is the teachings of Paul. Jesus did many different things to what the Christians actually practice to day. A simple example is how Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon them both) is dressed? Very much like the typical muslim women's attire today. Isn't that amazing? Those were the commandments of Allah from the very beginning and the muslims follow the Lord's commands. Jesus ate kosher foods, he was circumcised, he prayed by putting his head to the ground, all still practiced by people who followed the successive messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) as was actually foretold by Jesus in John 16:12 - "I have much to tell you but you cannot yet bear to hear it. But when the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you all into the truth for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come" and Muhammad did come and he did say those things and what were said are kept, verbatim and the traditions established by Abraham are also kept alive until today as it was revealed.
The thing was, the teachings of Paul created a lot of confusion, but the 'spirit' of Christianity in terms of charity and forgiveness is a genuine force to be reckoned with where the institutions cannot intervene.
So coming back to your statement about the reconciliation I am not sure how to view this at I am not sure where you are? As far as all muslims are concerned, we follow all the prophets general teachings. We defy none. People over generations added and deviated from the true path hence constant reminders were sent via messengers. Some fine tuned the messages, or added according to the growth of human as per directed by Allah..
So the thing really is, (now coming to your second part) having to deal with your 'acceptance' of Christianity, and I sincerely feel that it is heavily influenced by Paul. Jesus never claimed divinity. Can you see the real implications behind this belief? What Paul did? If you were to consider why the Quran refers a lot to the Jews and to the Christians? It is because the revelations came to answer those questions posed by the Rabbis and the Priests. To bring them back into the path of Abraham pbuh, but they did not want to listen. Like the people of Noah. . . and what countless other prophets in the past had to deal with.
Just to add further, islam is very different to other faiths in the way that it is knitted together with a firm belief in 'tauheed' (the Oneness of God (Allah)) via the messages sent through the messengers. With that belief firmly established, other things will fall into place.
Just a slight digression here, although I am a born muslim, I was educated in a public school in the UK so I was very exposed to Christianity and to some extent, the Jewish faith too! Still when Jeffrey Lang (YouTube) was mentioned here in this forum, I decided to listen, it was about the Purpose of Life, I found it enlightening. I still refer to it a lot. That helps with the tauheed, too!
I think I will leave it for now, hopefully see where it goes from here..