Monday, September 17

Common Ground

On August 22 I made a rash post every day for 30 days or be forced to donate $100 to the Romney campaign. I did allow myself 3 strikes - and so far have used 2 of them. Now I find myself with about 5 days left before I can relax.

It is amazing how as soon as I am forced to brain dries up into a tired husk. I am not sure I can squeeze any more creativity out. If I sit with friends, I can regale them for hours with highly amusing stories, pithy answers to the problems of the world and highly sought after intelligent discourses on a vast array of topics. Well....perhaps I exaggerate a bit. Or more than a bit.

Why is forced creativity so hard? I recall having the same problems in high school Creative Writing class. Whether it was an assigned topic or just a freestyle, write whatever you feel like writing about assignment - I spend a few minutes staring at the page waiting for inspiration. Or in this case...a computer monitor (that I can see needs cleaning...which distracts me).

One of the difficulties is that several of the topics that I am currently passionate about...are affecting close friends and I do not wish for the wrong people to get an insight into their situation. On the other hand - I want to be fired up and write intelligently about the situations in Libya and Egypt. But I have not done enough research to make a well-balanced post.

I CAN say that I have read quite a bit about Islam. And in the same way that we Christians would not want to be associated with the horrors of the Crusades - most Muslims are not aligned with the extremists who propose violence in response to the insulting "film" or other cowardly attacks on sacred people and symbols. The youth class at Centenary UMC recently spent time studying core beliefs of many World Religions. Through that study we discovered that in the Islam faith, the Qur'an is more than a sacred text. It is believed that the desecration of the Qur'an is blasphemy. When worn out, paper copies of the Qur'an are not repulped, recycled or discarded.

In the United States, we have such ready access to the Bible, I fear that we no longer treat it with the same reverence. (oh...and in case you weren't aware...the Qur'an references Jesus more often than Mohammed. Mary is mentioned more in the Qur'an than in the New Testament). The youth room at Centenary is a general repository of things that people don't want to throw away...but aren't sure where to put them. So in addition to several sketchy pieces of furniture...we also have about 50 Bibles. They are of various translations and many are in rough shape. Bent covers, torn pages...sometimes they can be found in stacks on tables - or even on the floor. It seems like they deserve better.

Perhaps we can learn some of that dedication to reverence of our sacred text from our Muslim friends. We have a shared history...Islam, Judaism and Christianity all trace our roots back to Abraham. There is more common ground than you might think. And in the same way that we would like to be forgiven the arrogant mistakes of Christian crusaders and missionaries in our past...we need to look past the extreme few to embrace the people who desire exactly what we desire - the ability to worship God in peace. And in our own way.

Well - looks like I had a little passion and creativity left after all.

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