Note: I am currently seeking representation for Thirty by Thirty, a reverently irreverent memoir of my 365-day, 30 faith journey. If you are an interested literary agent or publisher, please contact me at email@example.com
In honor of my CNN article, I’m inducting the following posts and people into the Thirty by Thirty Hall of Fame. (Drumroll, please!)
Favorite visit: A Warm Baptist Welcome To…
Most controverisal: Unidentified Flying Objectors (Specifically applicable to all the crazy CNN comments!)
Funniest (and only remotely related to faith): My Very Bare-y Christmas ****First inductee: My dear husband, who took all my faith-craziness in stride and wouldn’t let me quit, even when I swore I was going to. He also saved me from a near-death experience this holiday season.
Recent crowd favorite, and my Mother’s favorite: Alcohol vs. Aprons *****Both my parents are already in my Hall of Fame for being so supportive of this Thirty by Thirty journey. They didn’t (and don’t) always agree with me, but they never fail to love and support my path! Also, my best friend Erin was with me every step (and fall) of the way…including Amish Shopping. She deserves a Hall of Fame trophy just for listening to me cry all year….and making me laugh instead.
My mother-in-law’s favorite: Buddhist Temple Part 1 ******She (Becky) enters the Hall of Fame for accompying me to the Drive-in Church (We endured single-serving, coffee-creamer-esque communion), attending the Catholic Cathedral (we almost died of incense poisoning) AND participating in an authentic Native American guided meditation to find our Spirit Animals (She isbuffalo…so strong and mighty! I am a Peacock…the bird that can’t fly.)
Questioning: I AM___________
Reba Riley is a graduate of 15,000 hours of Christian education, the Focus on the Family Institute and the Ohio State University. When she isn’t selling construction materials full-time or freelancing at Reba Riley Ink, she’s writing writing from her home in Columbus, Ohio, where she lives with her wonderful husband and their crazy puppy. Contact Reba via Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Facebook and Twitter (links at top of page).
Imagine two scenarios.
#1 You’re meeting a blind date. Are you nervous? Yes. Uneasy? Sure. But it’s a first date, and the expectations and consequences reflect accordingly. Even if it’s a terrible, horrible, awful, no-good, very bad date, you can still go home, kick off your heels, drink some red wine and call your best friend to laugh it off. Can you even buh-lieve he DID that? OMG! This guy is crazy! You can take him or leave him: no harm, no foul.
#2 You’re meeting The One Who Left You at the Altar (who you are somehow still hopelessly in love with). Are you nervous? No! You’re alternately puking and downing Xanax. Uneasy? Ha, you only wish! Try unbalanced, undone, unnerved…completely unprepared. If this date doesn’t go well, you might spend another six months crying in sweatpants while huddled on the couch with your good friends: Depression, Angst, Ben & Jerry. You can’t take him or leave him, because he’s part of who you are.
So I ask you…which situation requires more guts?
Thinking my crazy adventures take loads and loads of courage, people say things like, “I could NEVER go to a [insert place of worship] by myself!” or “Weren’t you afraid of [insert uncomfortable situation]?”, failing to realize that true chutzpah was only required when facing the familiar.
This is how it went for me, every time I experienced a religion; it was either an exciting first date or a dreaded reunion. There wasn’t much middle ground.
I guess you could say I was brave, but not for the reasons most people think. I was only being courageous when, instead of taking the much easier route of crying on the couch, I walked right up to my former faith and smacked it in the face for leaving me–then began the hard work of trying to get back together—spiritual shock therapy-style.
And I’m happy to say (so far) we’re living happily ever after.
Continued from Beltane
We fear that which we do not understand. But what causes even greater fear? That which we believe ourselves to understand.
The Maypole celebration ended with a ritual wherein the Priest, Priestess, May Queen and May King ceremonially offered cookies and juice to each attendee along with a Blessing. We formed a line, and one at a time went forward to receive a dual blessing: one each from the God and Goddess. I hung back a little, taking in the situation. It looked an awful lot like Holy Communion (if Holy Communion took place in the woods and was offered by people with flower crowns). Granted sprinkle cookies replaced bread, and orange drink the wine, but I couldn’t shake the similarity or decide if I wanted to ingest a Wiccan Blessing (er, Communion?).
I inched forward in the line while giving myself a silent pep-talk: There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s a Blessing Ceremony, silly, not a sacrifice! It’s just cookies and juice, baby, just cookies and juice. I flashed back to some unfamiliar things I’ve done this year (like bowing to idols and medium/psychic readings), and reminded myself that I’ve always come away with something good from every experience. Just as my fears cooled and I was up to bat, I noticed the ritual included the Priest and Priestess drawing Pentagrams on the foreheads of those being blessed, the same way a Catholic Priest would make the sign of the cross over a Christian in communion. It’s just cookies and juice, baby, go forward!
So I stepped up to receive my blessing from the Priest and as he started drawing the first line of the Pentagram on my forehead, everything in me jumped backwards, taking my body, almost unwillingly, with it. Whoa, I said, no Pentagram. I can’t handle the Pentagram. Then the Priest jumped back and almost simultaneously accused, “You the Christian? Someone said there was a Christian here!” Without thinking, I retorted, “I’m not a Christian!” (Meaning: I’m not the kind of Christian you are thinking of!), then realized what I’d said. All four of us were very worked up in a kind of energy gridlock, so it took all I had to step back up to receive the cookie minus the pentagram. The Priestess said she could give me a blessing that wouldn’t offend me, and I was all tears and sniffles and You’re not offending me! I don’t know what’s going on but I just can’t do the Pentagram!
Graciously, she blessed me with a simple hand on my head with a prayer that would be acceptable in any religion: it ended with May you never hunger…May you never thirst. Still teary, I drank the juice, while apologizing profusely for my behavior. It was all very intense, and I had to sit down to consider exactly what in the heck just happened?! I’ve done all kinds of things this year and all the sudden I back down from a Blessing? Great job, Reba, invading their Sacred Space only to ruin their ritual.
We discussed the incident later by the campfire, while the others were drumming and singing, and the both the Priest and Priestess were very kind: more concerned about the balance of my energy than my Blessing breakdown. I, however, took my perceived failure home with me. It took 3 days to sort through exactly what happened in the moment I collided headfirst with the Pentagram…then 8 more to fully process. (Eleven days for an incident that lasted maybe two minutes…like I said, it was intense!) But, eventually, I did figure things out and learn more about myself and this journey in the process.
More to come…
In the course of Thirty by Thirty, I’ve jumped headfirst into many an uncomfortable situation. But never have I been ACTUALLY afraid, nor reduced to shaking, anxious tears in my car until yesterday, directly before the Nemenhah Itsipi Sweat Lodge Ceremony. In entering the lodge, I would be piling into a tiny space with twenty strangers, plunging into darkness and nearly unbearable heat, and thereby be facing several major fears: claustrophobia, severe heat/bodily pain, darkness AND the unknown. (Points of reference: I once had a panic attack in a small, crowded airplane, and I’ve nearly passed out in hot yoga class.)
Now. With 33 experiences and a thirty-day fast behind me, you’d think I’d be ready. Courageous. Able to face any challenge! And you? Would be wrong. Because I was a sniveling mess: cry-dialing my husband, my mother and my best friend for a pep talk (none of whom answered). So, it was between me and God in the car: with the choice to peal outta there, tires squealing… or face my fears and see what the Great Spirit had to say in the Sweat.
So, I dried my eyes and listened. And I could almost hear the Divine sigh. After this entire year, do you not believe I can sustain you through a little heat? Ok, Ok, I get it. Come to the end of myself (again). Blah,blah,blah. See how You miraculously work. Blah, blah, blah. Ugh! For a person of faith, I certainly lack it and am often in need of a Major Spiritual Attitude Adjustment(MSAA).Which I received… approximately five minutes after slamming the car door and marching my scared self straight towards that lodge.
[To explain MSAA Part 1 , I need to back up and explain this: On Day 29 of my fast, I had a revelation of truth...as a disco ball. (I know, I know, a Divine Disco Ball is a total cliché of the type of vision incited by severe hunger.) In reality, the picture was more like a prism, so not quite so dance-club chic. But for ease of use, I've been explaining this to people as a Disco Ball because it's easier to understand. Here's the short version: God is bigger than any one of us can see, because we only view one facet of Spirit (represented by each little mirror), based on all kinds of factors: birth, family, history, experiences, etc. So what we see? It's all valid truth...for us. But it isn't the full picture.]
So. I round the corner, and what, pray tell, is sitting on the Chief’s blanket-altar? A little DISCO BALL. I could hear the Divine laughter. After this entire year, do you not believe I can sustain you through a little heat? So I laughed too, out loud, and all my fear fled. When I told the Chief my story, and he tossed me the Disco Ball. It’s yours.
Then…the Divine laughter got louder. Because another Chief/Shaman showed up, laid out his blanket altar right next to me, and my mouth dropped open.
[To explain MSAA Part 2, I need to back up and explain this: Last month, I was led through a Native American meditation to find my spirit guide. And in my mediation this guy with long, flowing, silver hair, nearly to his waist, standing in a field: I am here to teach you to heal.]
I’ve been confused, because I haven’t seen him again….until yesterday, in the field outside the Sweat Lodge. Because The Chief? He was totally guy with the hair–a dead ringer. Except, I observed to him after relating my meditation, his hair was a lot shorter now. And he laughed: I just cut my hair…it was to my waist.
Of all the foreign (to me) traditions I have experienced this year, I identify most with the Nemenhah. The sweat called to me; it pulled me; it changed me. So…I was supposed to be there yesterday; it was completely incredible. (All of the above was in the first half hour! I hadn’t even crawled into the Lodge yet!)
So the moral for me, which has been a continuing theme this year, is:
The more afraid you are to do something you are called to do, and the more you don’t want to do it—read those emotions as a flashing, neon sign from the Divine–You need this more than anything else. Do it.
(Note: There is absolutely NO reason to be afraid of a Sweat Lodge as long as it is conducted by experienced spiritual leaders who understand the primary importance of health: physical, mental, emotional and, of course, spiritual.)
BY TOTAL ACCIDENT on my part, I am visiting the 28th Place of Worship on the 28th Day of my Super-Secret 30-day Project within the Thirty by Thirty Project. (Project to be finished Monday and revealed Tuesday morning.) Other interesting “Accidental” tidbits:
–15th visit (halfway) was exactly 6 months to the day through the year
– First visit (to a charismatic/pentecostal church) coincided with Pentecost Sunday
– Secret project overlaps Ash Wed., Lent, Nineteen Day Fast (Baha’i), Purim (Jewish fast and celebration “Esther’s Fast”),Magha Puja Day (Celebration of the Buddha and the happening of auspicious events), Holi (Hindu) and (Hola Mohalla – Sikh). [And probably many more I do not know about!)
–30-day project ends TO THE HOUR with the end of my meditation class.
But my personal favorite is:
On the same day I was so discouraged about Thirty by Thirty that I was about to quit, I just happened to be at a forum on religion the Exec. Producer of a major network new shows show was attending, and just happened to ask a question to the panel regarding my project, and just happened to forget to mention that, “Oh, I’m writing a book about this,” which caused the Producer to ask me if I was indeed writing about this because, “It’s the most original book idea I’ve heard in years,” and she just happened to encourage me to, “Keep going. Someone will definitely pick this up.”
Coincidence my friends? I think not.
”I immersed myself as deeply as possible in the rituals, beliefs, practices, and culture of 12 distinct faith systems (one each month for all 2011) and in the process, changed my life forever.”–Andrew Bowen
The house was empty last night; my wife and kids were out of town and I was left to my own devices. I did what any good, observant Jew would do: I said prayers and studied the Torah and other books on Judaism. Right now I’m studying the creation account in Genesis and paying close attention to the relationship between God, Adam, and Eve. We are told of how God visited Adam in the “cool of the day” and basically chatted about…anything and everything. It was a relationship. The Tanakh (Old Testament) is full of them, and they were down right intimate and personal. Rabbi Groner spoke about this relationship as being intellectual, practical, and emotional. We see this dynamic between God and the Children of Israel page after page, yet it seems so foreign, so far removed by all these years. I wondered if the Jewish people feel that intimacy today, if God can be as conspicuously present in their lives as he seems to be in those stories.
So I cracked open a bottle of wine and asked him to come over for a chat. No special prayers (except one specific for consuming wine), no rituals, no religious primer, I just sat down in the fading light of my livingroom and asked God to hang out with me.
Simple enough, right? I’m not asking for money or health or anything selfish, just for God to visit me in the cool of the day. Well, the day became cooler, and darker. I lit my fire pot and poured another glass of wine. I sat quietly and patiently as I stared into the flame. I “called” again. No secretary, no voicemail…nothing, and by this point I’ve got a healthy buzz. Did God just stand me up?
I was disappointed and confused. All I wanted was some company. All I wanted was what those folks in the Tanakh had. Was I asking too much? Did I do something wrong? Does God not like cheap Merlot? Doubt crept in during my weakened state. The rabbis of the Talmud, a commentary and guide on the Torah, recognized two forces within us: the Yetzer Hatov or Good Urge, and the Yetzer Hara or Bad Urge. These forces are constantly at war within us and Judaism states that only good action (as pointed out by the 613 mitzvot) and repentance to God will defeat the Bad Urge.
I thought my invitation to God was a good thing. What’s wrong with asking God to hang out?
“You’re being selfish,” my wife said. After a verbal beating for getting drunk, my wife went on to lambaste me for
forgetting my lessons so far. “Didn’t the Hindus teach you that God is everywhere? So why would you get upset that God didn’t show up where and when you wanted him to when he’s been here the whole time? And you really think he wants to talk to a drunk?”
Wow, no gloves, huh? She was right. It seemed so innocent to ask God to sit down and talk. But what was really going on here?
1) Deep down, I was jealous of the stories in the Tanakh, and we are asked not to covet what others have.
2) I set limits on God. If God is everywhere, why do I need him to sit in my chair? Which leads me to my next point.
3) I wouldn’t need a physical representation if my faith was strong enough to begin with. Let’s face it: when we ask God to “show us a sign” or just show up in general, what we are really saying is that we don’t believe enough by default that he is there. Our fast-paced, materialistic world has conditioned us to only pay attention to what we can immediately see and consume.
God presented himself to the faithful when they had no previous physical representation. It seldom works the other way around. This doesn’t mean that one should increase their faith just for the reward of a divine peep show. I would have done well to remember my Hindu lesson in the Upanishads stating that enlightenment and moksha is reached once we realize the divine in everything and as everything, therefore making representations useless obstacles. Think about it, if God showed last night, my impression of him would be forever cast into that limiting aspect. I would lose all ability to recognize the divine in all of creation because for a split second, he was reduced to a point in space in my living room. This is why God (in many faiths) strictly forbids the creation of idols, not because of jealousy on his part, but because he knows how such an image limits our perception of him. Ironic, isn’t it, that the abstract then becomes a far greater representation than the specificity of a physical form.
I know what you’re thinking: this guy has lost his mind. He’s a crack job. Fair enough, but just remember: I’m not perfect. I’m going to screw up–a lot–and I think we can file this one under “screwed up,” but not before we learn something, and that’s what this is all about.
We remember that every time someone messed up in these stories, God was there. He clothed Adam and Eve after they partook of the fruit (kind of what I did last night) in the Garden. He brought the Children of Israel to the Promised Land after wandering for 40 years. Like a Chinese finger trap, we discover the way out only when we stop struggling. In connecting with the divine, struggling isn’t the answer because we are literally in his presence 24/7. The epiphany only comes once we bring ourselves to rest and open our minds and hearts.
So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t drunk-dial God. He won’t answer, but he will show up in the morning to help you sober up when you’re ready to let him move freely.
Read more on Project Conversion here: http://blog.beliefnet.com/projectconversion/2011/04/drunk-dialing-god.html#ixzz1oIROa3l5
Thanks Andrew! And, speaking of drunk dialing, here is a throw-back article “Digital Hangover“. No God, but a lot of regrets! Enjoy. Blessings to you all in the journey–Reba
Please excuse my short hiatus from the blog. I am working on a serious project that is an extension of Thirty by Thirty, which I will reveal on March 12th. Until then, the Project is taking much of my time and energy, so forgive me if my posts are fewer and shorter (for now). I’ll be back full force in March!
Today I’m disconcerted because I’m searching for an interfaith devotional…and can’t find one. With all the devotional books in the world, wouldn’t at least one contain daily inspirations from global faiths?
I am bothered by the lack of the book I’m looking for…but even moreso by my wavering resolve to continue looking.
Most troubling is my unbidden desire to simply give up the search and instead slip into Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest or Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God–the Christian daily devotionals I have read many times.
I own both of these books, and many more: my dog-eared, underlined copies with accompanying journals showcase my former devotion to daily Christian devotions. If you open these journals to any random page, you will find the desire of a teenage girl, for the very Spirit of the [Evangelical Christian version of the] Lord to descend upon her, reveal Himself to her, use her for his Glory.If you read them cover to cover, you would understand the purity of her heart, follow her unrelenting journey towards the God she knows so well and loves so very much. There are rarely questions, because her faith is absolute. She hears Him in the quiet of the night, in the chaotic hours of the day, and fully believes she is Called. She is Chosen. And her every step is guided by the Invisible hand of the Almighty.
Residing in the darkness of my Mom’s attic, the Rubbermaid tubs that hold these books and journals mirror my life before The Breaking… before I left behind the faith of my youth and, in the wake of that tidal wave of change, lost my identity, my purpose, and my God.
And this morning, as I seek a devotional book, I consider the gravity of my undertaking. The sheer monumental breadth of the task I have set before me: to rediscover my identity, my purpose, my calling. My God.
Yesterday I attended a wonderful Baha’i celebration during which I was asked to explain Thirty by Thirty, and I took questions. The most profound of which was, “What is your religion today?”
Try answering that in one sentence, in front of 150 people when you’re writing an entire book on the subject.
But, unbidden, the answer quickly flowed straight from my heart through my lips, drifting over the room.
“Today? Today I am a Seeker of Divine Love.”
I believe if I was to visit the the teenage girl I once was, the one who wrote so passionately asking God to use her, and tell her all the pain she would go through before being able to utter those words aloud to a crowd of strangers, she would look me straight in the eye and say: I promise to keep searching, no matter the cost. I promise not to give up, even if I do for a time. I promise I will be there, on that day, in that crowd, and tell them.
And she would be proud.
As I am.
Even if I can’t yet find the devotional I seek, or everything I desire to understand.
Friday night is date night, which usually means Trent and I can be found at Studio 35 (only the best historic, independent food-and alcohol-serving cinema!). After taking in a show and a few drinks, we call a taxi because A.) We are committed to obeying the law! Buzzed driving is Drunk Driving! (At least, according to the billboards). and B.) We prefer to avoid jail.
This means most Fridays around 11 pm, I can be found enjoying a fifteen-minute chat with a cab driver. I always make a point to nicely chat up cab drivers because A.) They have great stories hidden under those thick accents B.) I love great stories C.) They hold our lives in their driving little hands. (Ever wear a seat belt in a taxi? Didn’t think so. I, for one, prefer our lives to be held in happy hands!)
Being that I am, well, me, I can never resist inquiring about our driver’s religion after we’ve covered family and interesting stories. (I’m curious, OK? Especially after a few drinks. No buzzed driving remember?) Recently I’ve been fishing for the best Somalian mosque to attend, because Columbus has the second largest Somalian population in the US, and Islam is the religion of the vast majority.
So far, I’ve had one driver tell me, “You are going to hell…” because I’m not Muslim (In his defense, I did ask his opinion. And, he informed me nicely.) Another driver who had a Catholic mother and Muslim father said: “What I am you ask? Maybe…confused?”
Last Friday’s operator is my hands-down favorite though. Not only was he wearing a suit (I always wear suit for driving!), and supporting SEVEN children (Boys give me most trouble; girls, they easy!), but he was very forthcoming about his religious practices. This is the conversation, as close as I can recall.
So…if I may ask, are you Muslim? Yes. What is the best Somalian mosque to attend? It all same. Somali, Pakistani, any race… we not discriminate. Any mosque best place. I pray five times day. In Mosque if possible. What if you’re driving the cab when it’s time to pray? If I drive you to airport, I drop you off then go to close mosque to pray. What if you aren’t near a mosque? I pull over, pray in the cab. I can do this right here, in cab.See? What if you’re sleeping? I pray as soon I get up!
This is where it gets interesting.
The important thing not where pray, but pray in heart. That most important. Yes, I definitely agree with you. You pray, yes? You Christian? Yes.(I took the easy way out here and didn’t explain the whole Thirty by Thirty thing.) See you pray too, you pray in heart? Yes. It same. Very important to pray to God. I am Muslim which mean I honor all prophet and sacred book. Mohammad, Jesus, Qu’ran, Bible…I believe in all prophet and book. So you and me, we not so different. You pray, I pray. This all same. This important thing. So…you are Muslim, you pray to Allah, but it’s OK if I pray to Jesus? Yes, OK, all OK.
The gentleman is highly devout, very devoted to his faith. He prays five times a day! But yet…he holds his beliefs with his mind open to other faiths. I like him, I like him A LOT.
Post-payment and tip, we thanked him and I left the cab spiritually shell-shocked. Here I am: spending a year of my life in 30 thirty places of worship, looking for theology that fits…and I find it. On date night.IN A CAB.
Not from the pulpit: from the front seat. Not from a minister: from a foreign taxi driver. Not while sensitively journaling about my faith: while buzzed after a good film.
I doubt our driver will ever realize the impact he had on me in our short minutes together, but I’ll always remember he added a few sentences to my personal theology. And that was well-worth the cab fare.
This morning, the questions pulling at the hem of my faith are whispering:
What if, when God said I AM, we misunderstood?
What if God simply said I AM to us, to all of humanity, but that wasn’t good enough ? Maybe we wanted more, needed more: like the Jews of the Old Testament, who rejected God as their nation’s leader. We want a King, they cried. They needed more: more than Jehovah, more than Abba, more than I AM.
Perhaps we needed a predicate nominative, a fill-in-the-blank ad-lib in Whom to place our faith. An I AM______________: summed with words that we could understand, we could see…Something we could draw lines around and call our Own.
And what if, after we consumed the _______________,with our utterances, we still needed more?
Did we add to I AM? Did we follow all the nouns with verbs, round out phrases with adjectives? Did we complete all the parts of speech that never really existed? Did we create sentences wrapped into paragraphs which filled up pages and flowed into sacred texts? Did we cry out with words that formed Religions…whole cultures of grammatical dissent?
We fight and war, debating the -ologies with Holy Fervor: today, here, with our Voices; yesterday and elsewhere with our Weapons. All to defend the words that define our beliefs.
What if, What If?, the only phrase, the original origin of the world, was quietly I AM? An affirmation of Divine Existence… of all Creation…of God…of us…and the whole Universe. The whole Godiverse.
The simplest statement of Being, the first noun and verb we learn in any language.
What if all God really said was…
Next Post: The story of my hilarious visit to a historically African-Amercian Baptist Church… who won my Award for Best Talent and tied for Miss Congeniality!
The One-Drop Rule is an historical, colloquial term in the United States that holds that a person with any trace of sub-Saharan ancestry, however small or invisible, cannot be considered White…they must be considered Black… when it was unclear [historically, in South Africa] from a person’s physical appearance which racial classification they belonged to,” the “pencil test” was employed. This test involved inserting a pencil into a person’s hair to determine if the hair was kinky enough for the pencil to get stuck. If the pencil did not fall right out of the person’s hair, that individual was deemed Black. (Source: BlackHistory.com)
What if, pre-Civil rights, you lived your whole life in the North: looking, acting, dressing, identifying as White, only to visit the South and discover that below the Mason-Dixon line, everyone calls you Black. All because you have One-Drop, as little as 1/32nd, “black blood”. Then they refuse to attend school with you, shove you to the back of the bus, and force you to use a different restroom. I’m White! I’ve always been White. Who are you to tell me I’m Black!
How would you feel? Confused by your lost identity? Like you wanted to scream because no one understood?
Religious questioning, especially the bold kind I practice, can land you squarely in the One-Drop of doubt category or marginalized believers. It’s a division no sane, spiritual person would choose to occupy, but many are forced to do just that. Because their doubts place them outside the arbituary line of religion. The one that someone else drew. And God forbid you carry more than 1/32nd of doubt around!
In some families being a Christian is even more intregal to identity than skin color. For me,being a Christian wasn’t part of who I was. It was all of who I was. And I can no more change that heritage than I can the color of my skin. So here is the question: should the drops, or even buckets, of my doubt be allowed to rob me of my identity?
Yes…According to people who think in the same way as racists who didn’t want to share their swimming pool with anyone contaminated by “black blood”. Objection! I can hear the voices rising. Racism was about the color of one’s skin; religion is about the state of one’s soul. One is temporal, the other eternal. It’s not the same at all!
But…is it really so different?
Isn’t banning the doubters and questioners and just-plain disbelievers from God like refusing to serve a group of people in a restaurant? One is temporal, the other eternal.
Isn’t forbidding a shared drinking fountain as bad as withholding a sip from the Water of Eternal Life?One is temporal, the other eternal.
This isn’t racism we’re discussing; we’re certainly much to advanced for that.
At some point in the civil rights movement, the nation’s thinking tipped. They not only gave up the One-Drop rule; they surrendered their hatred. People who had been fundamentally raised to discriminate opened their hearts, and the rest as they say, is history…the history we are commemorating today. I wonder: will there ever come a day when religious-cism will tip? A day when those raised to exclude others from eternity will open their hearts to freedom from condemnation?
Today, in honor of the great Dr. King, I’d like to say this:
I too have a dream.
That one day people of all faiths will join hands: different, distinct…together.