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Sabbath Day

October 4, 2012

I was in pajamas until noon today!

After our morning ritual of getting August ready for school, I sent him off and lay back in bed with two cups of coffee and a book. As quickly as I drank the coffee I was asleep again.

Noon saw me up, having finished another chapter in my book, showered and off to the gym. Climbing was an exercise in failure today, pushing myself to more difficult climbs. Having fallen, or cheated, my way through four climbs, my partner and I bouldered until our hands simply could not hold a pinch.

Picked up August from school (on this rainy day) and went home to do homework and play. Since this is the first Thursday of the month, dinner was at Dunne’s Irish Pub for their monthly Octoberfest. Tonight: veal schnitzel, red cabbage, potato pancakes, apple sauce, spaten.

This evening I finished the book I have been reading, outlined a fourteenth century Middle English sermon, outlined my sermon for Sunday, and read from the Quran (Suras 2 and 3).

I commend the book I just finished. It is part of Blackwell’s Brief History of Religion Series and is called A Brief History of Islam, by Tamara Sonn (2004). Sonn teaches Humanities at the College of William and Mary. Especially inspiring is Chapter 1 on “Establishing the Ideals” and most insightful is Chapter 4 on “Colonialism and Reform.”   While I am sure that we in Christian churches need to understand the dynamics of fundamentalist movements as outlined by Karen Armstrong in The Battle for God (which I have also been re-reading), I think Professor Sonn’s book, blending the study of religion and history, would be the single book I would recommend for novices who know nothing about Islam but wish to learn.  (190 pages in a small format – truly brief but surprisingly rich: more than an intro book)

Do any readers have other suggestions?

I thought my reading this week was in preparation for a sermon on religious pluralism. I had planned on linking the gesture of unity which is World Communion Sunday with the actual divisions within the community. Citing Diana Eck on pluralism (that pluralism is not simply the same thing as diversity; that the goal of pluralism is not simply “tolerance” of the other, but rather an active attempt to arrive at an understanding; and that pluralism is not the same thing as relativism but is committed to engaging the very differences  that we have, to gain a deeper sense of each other’s commitments) I wanted to challenge us to look at the pluralistic witness of the church – which is often at odds with itself. This was to serve as a basis for considering interfaith relations as a necessary context for celebrating World Communion, as our encounters with our neighbors of other faiths shape the witness of the church and helps us know ourselves better.

But, since this is a theme emerging in our adult education classes, I will leave it there for now. Instead I will preach on the precious nature of church as inter-generational community, and the difference between getting older and growing up.

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