It’s A Tough Conversation

I am very lucky because I’ve been able to work a retirement job that takes me around the world, enjoying luxury cruise ships [granted in crew accommodations which aren’t as luxurious as what the paying guests get], meeting folks from all over the world, and getting to work together with folks usually from 30 to 35 different countries, of all and no faith background.

Cambodia, Ankor Wat, Bangkok 094.jpgI enjoy when we visit predominantly Muslim countries and I try to prepare and help guests understand the cultural and religious differences. Most of the Muslims I’ve met are like most of the Christians and Jews I’ve met: they follow their religions to various degrees. There are Jews who celebrate and observe only when their parents are in town. Muslims who work their faith duties into their job schedules as much as possible. If you’re working on a ship it’s not always possible to pray five times a day. And I’ve made some wonderful friends just walking into a Buddhist temple at night. And there are Christians who only “observe” on Christmas and Easter. Most of the people I’ve met of whatever faith are looking for the same things in life, struggling with the same issues … they are people. I guess I’ve been blessed because I haven’t met the radicals … the radical Islamists who want to die and take as many innocent people as they can along with them. The Christians who applaud violence against gays and who blow up abortion clinics. Or the Jews who take out of historical context certain passengers and want to go out and “slay” the oppressor.

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The older I’ve gotten the better relationship I have with God and the more I understand that God is a Spirit and cannot be put in anyone’s box or theological tome. Tillich once preached a sermon, “Your God Is Too Small,” and I’ve always liked that title. I suspect, although I don’t know and am willing to wait a while longer to find out, that we are all going to be surprised by who all we find as neighbors when we get to heaven.

One of the great things for me about Facebook is that I end up with friends from all over. I have a life and so I can’t or choose not to spend my entire life on Facebook. But I do like to sometimes scroll through, remember friends from my past and read their posts and thoughts. I really don’t enjoy seeing every meal they’ve eaten or know in what airport in the world they are bored. Once in a while something jumps out and grabs me and opens up some new worlds, or insights, or forces me to confront something that’s been kicking around in the back of my mind …

And this was such a post. Warning: it’s sobering and a little scary. And it’s by a Muslim woman. Believe me it’s worth watching and you will probably watch it several times.

Watch Raheel Raza BY THE NUMBERS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MUSLIM OPINIONS AND DEMOGRAPHICS.

I hear politicians providing soundbites, but I don’t hear anyone having this conversation.

This is an interesting follow up piece …

Watch FOLLOW UP: BY THE NUMBERS Raheel Raza