I've got so much to say about this, but no time right now. My Tumblr page is down right now, so the video is going up here, without comment for the moment. Other than to say I'm looking forward to this book.
I was struck by a thought as I enjoyed the early morning quiet today. It's nothing dramatic as far as my own beliefs and values go, but it's in a more complete form than I've ever expressed it before. And needless to say, it's a million miles from where I used to be.
As always, feedback appreciated.
I don't believe in coincidences. I also don't believe that God manipulates us like chess pieces.
I believe that life unfolds as it should, given the attitudes of those involved, and the trajectories we are on.
I came across the video below via a Tumblr friend, allicereblogs. Rather than simply reblog it on my on Tumblr page, I thought I'd share it here with a brief personal story.
Ferris Beuller's Day Off is my all-time favorite film. When it was released in June 1986 I was 20 years old, and trying to sort out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. (25 years later I'm still working on that, but I've come to appreciate the fact that the day that quest ends is the day my life is over. Back then I thought there must be a fairly clear and concise answer to the question.)
About 10 years later my life (the one I now refer to as 'my previous life') was underway, and I was in Chicago on business. I was there with several colleagues who were also friends. We loved what we did, and we were starting to get the impression that what we did was pretty important, and that made us important people. We weren't obnoxious, but we enjoyed our rising status.
One atfternoon when we had some free time I sneaked away to the Art Institute of Chicago. I knew Seurat's work was there, and I wanted to have my own Ferris Beuller moment. I wandered the halls admiring the various works there.
Then I walked around a corner and there it was.
Look, I'd be lying if I said I remember exactly how I felt and what I thought as I stood in front of the painting, just like Cameron, but I remember the moment like it was yesterday. Hearing the late great John Hughes describe what he was trying to communicate through that incredible scene makes it all the more powerful. And hearing it now, in the current chapter of my life, brings that moment in the Art Institute of Chicago a lifetime ago full circle.
I've set up a Tumblr site, although at this point I'm not very clear on why. I think it started when I found AZspot.net, who has been an incredible resource--if you're not following you should be. At this stage I think I'll be posting quotes and images without any editorializing. These things may end up here in blog posts eventually, or not. I think it will be a parking lot for ideas.
You're welcome to look in if you like. Meanwhile, if any of you are Tumblr vets, let me know what you use it for.
Today has been all about love. I tweeted a couple of photos from the Great Room, as I was one of a couple of men in a room of about 35 women at the Valentine's Tea.
It was a sacred privilege to be there, as we remembered the missing and murdered women, their families, their children. In short, it was incredible.
As I headed for home on the SkyTrain I listened to more of Richard Rohr, as he explained that Love is the very nature of reality. So, it really came as no surprise when I opened my email and saw this from Hugh MacLeod. Dude gets it:
OK, I admit it. I get excited about books. Often. But this time I really mean it. This one is due out February 15, and here's the publisher's blurb:
From Miroslav Volf, one of the world's foremost Christian theologians—and co-teacher, along with Tony Blair, of a groundbreaking Yale University course on faith and globalization—comes Allah, a timely and provocative argument for a new pluralism between Muslims and Christians. In a penetrating exploration of every side of the issue, from New York Times headlines on terrorism to passages in the Koran and excerpts from the Gospels, Volf makes an unprecedented argument for effecting a unified understanding between Islam and Christianity. In the tradition of Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s Islam in the Modern World, Volf’s Allah is essential reading for students of the evolving political science of the twenty-first century.
Three and a half billion people—the majority of the world’s population—profess Christianity or Islam. Renowned scholar Miroslav Volf’s controversial proposal is that Muslims and Christians do worship the same God—the only God. As Volf reveals, warriors in the “clash of civilizations” have used “religions”—each with its own god and worn as a badge of identity—to divide and oppose, failing to recognize the one God whom Muslims and Christians understand in partly different ways.
Writing from a Christian perspective, and in dialogue with leading Muslim scholars and leaders from around the world, Volf reveals surprising points of intersection and overlap between these two faith traditions:
What the Qur’an denies about God as the Holy Trinity has been denied by every great teacher of the church in the past and ought to be denied by Christians today.
A person can be both a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian without denying core convictions of belief and practice.
How two faiths, worshipping the same God, can work toward the common good under a single government.
Volf explains the hidden agendas behind today’s news stories as he thoughtfully considers the words of religious leaders and parses the crucial passages from the Bible and the Qur’an that continue to ignite passion. Allah offers a constructive way forward by reversing the “our God vs. their God” premise that destroys bridges between neighbors and nations, magnifies fears, and creates strife.
Carl Medearis, whose wisdom on this subject I greatly respect, has this to say about it:
"Just want to give a quick book recommendation. Miroslav Volf’s new book, Allah: A Christian Response is POWERFUL. Just finished it. It should put to rest once and for all the silliness in the arguments about whether or not Christians and Muslims worship the same God. It is deeply theological (no surprise there) and very readable." (via Facebook)
(Those who were concerned that I was asking these kinds of questions will go apoplectic when I say that I'm giving a lot of thought these days to Christianity and civil disobedience. If anyone would like to weigh in on that issue here I can assure you you'll get a fair hearing. Yes? No? It Depends? What do you think?)