Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FYI - The Muslim Calendar

From Wikipedia:

The Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries (concurrently with the Gregorian calendar), and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic holy days and festivals.

The first year was the year during which the emigration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra, occurred. Each numbered year is designated either H for Hijra or AH for the Latin anno Hegirae (in the year of the Hijra).

Being a purely lunar calendar, it is not synchronized with the seasons. With an annual drift of 11 or 12 days, the seasonal relation is repeated approximately each 33 Islamic years.
This is why Ramadan or the ninth month falls on different days each year a little bit looser than the Christian season of Lent also based on lunar calculations.

I would assume that the Gregorian calendar is used for global scales in Muslim countries. Seems a bit of a time warp but we in the west look at everything through different eyes sometimes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mosque - Definition

From the free on-line dictionary a definition for mosque and its origin.

A Muslim house of worship.

[French mosquée, from Old French mousquaie, from Old Italian moschea, from moscheta, from Old Spanish mezquita, from Arabic masjid; see masjid.]
Mosque is quite a European word and seems to have been in the language forever. Little strange wonder how the idea of a Muslim house of worship anywhere is an idea that offends people.

With empty churches for sale and the like, and a large immigration influx, the nation turns from Christian to multi ethnic and multi cultural and global.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cordoba House - WTC - Columbia College - NYC

College and University is a place to broaden one’s knowledge of the diversity of the world in all its aspects.

Some American universities such as Harvard started out as places to study theology. While a degree in Theology at Harvard is a noteworthy thing, it does not say much about the individual that holds the degree.

Life is about Experience. The experience many had on 911 at the World Trade Center effected all of American culture including its thinking. While the theme behind 911 was anti-American, it was also anti- western Christian Culture. 911 began as a domestic American day. It ended as a day of global reflection.

The Cordoba House/Mosque complex in New York City to be built in an office tower structure of 13-15 stories sits exactly on part of the foundation stones of part of the original King’s College building – later to become Columbia University uptown. Literally, this is true.

It is rather fitting that a place, a Muslim culture place, be part of the world and or global culture and that it is to sit on a place dedicated to learning that goes back almost two hundred and fifty years. The beginnings of a Global Culture, of a new human race, I believe starts at the New World Trade Center rising from the ashes of the old.

So like the secular colleges of today, the Cordoba House/Mosque center will be a place of learning and broadening outlooks from the very narrow focus that began the day of 911. The end of that day sent us looking for many answers.

Sometimes the answers are right there in our midst. A mosque in downtown NYC is as natural as the wind as a place to be. And a place for cultural growth.

Tolerance. Learning. Diversity. Just a few global words to throw out there today.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Deepak Chopra on Cultural Christianity

Anne Rice’s few lines in Facebook has done a lot to make people think. Also, left many searching for new definitions in Spirituality.

Real belief is personal search for truth
Faith lingers, one way or another, in every society. For those who have given up on Christianity, there's a newly coined term, "cultural Christian," to describe the half-hearted believer or the timid atheist who doesn't want to be labeled as such. Unlike being pregnant or dead, which holds no middle ground, fence-sitting about God is so common that it might even be the majority position.

The question is whether being a cultural Christian, accepting the trappings of faith without the substance, is viable. Or must a person take stronger, more positive steps toward a different kind of spirituality?...

The teachings of Jesus are staggeringly difficult to carry out in practice, as anyone knows who has tried to turn the other cheek or loved his enemies. But if you approach Jesus as a guide to higher states of consciousness, which is what he meant by saying that the Kingdom of heaven is within, then being a cultural Christian could open the door to true transformation in body, mind, and soul.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gandhi on Religion and Spiritualism

I am running into opinions about beliefs and believers and how the two exist, co-exist or do not blend together at all.

Gandhi said religion and spiritualism are distinct
According to my grandfather, M. K. Gandhi, religion and spiritualism are distinctly apart -- that is, it is possible to practice one without believing in the other. Religion, as it is commonly understood, is the practice of a set of rituals based on the interpretation made by human beings. Since we humans are imperfect, our interpretation too is imperfect.

On the other hand Spiritualism, according to him, is achieved when one comes to one's own understanding of the Power that we call God. When we truly accept all religions as simply different roads to the same destination and respect them all equally.

Ultimately whichever religious belief we may follow we are all going to the one destination. We call God by different names but that does not mean there are so many different Gods. There is only one God with many names and, according to Gandhi, God is not someone sitting in heaven but in the hearts of every being.
So it goes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Anne Rice Continued...

Anne Rice Continued…

I am not a fan of the author but she is saying some really heart felt emotional statements about religion.

"When does a word (Christian) become unusable?" she asked. "When does it become so burdened with history and horror that it cannot be evoked without destructive controversy?"…

Yesterday, the author reiterated that her faith in Christ was "central" to her life. "My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me," she said. "But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become." Guardian UK, July 30, 2010, Alison Flood
Interesting fodder for thoughts in a faith that has so many sects that it seems sometimes not to be a coherent faith but more of a cultural label.

This follows my own thinking in that you should follow the teachings of Jesus first before you serve any other purpose including organized religion that sometimes only gives lip service to the words and meanings of Jesus.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Etouffee - Anne Rice on Religion

An interesting quote from Anne Rice after her veiled slap at Catholicism (Christians?) in previous days.

Pick a new religion for ex-Catholic Anne Rice?
But maybe Catholic theology was less the problem for Rice that the very human institution, particularly the U.S. Bishops. Rice told the Associated Press:

She was troubled by the child abuse scandals in the church, and the church's defensive reaction, and by the ex-communication of Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and hospital administrator who had approved an abortion for a woman whose life was in danger...

I believed for a long time that the differences, the quarrels among Christians didn't matter a lot for the individual, that you live your life and stay out of it. But then I began to realize that it wasn't an easy thing to do... I came to the conclusion that if I didn't make this declaration, I was going to lose my mind.
It is hard in today’s 24/7 media sabe world to ignore the imperfections of man-made institutions such as the church.

Anne Rice, apparently felt uncomfortable being a card carrying member of a religious body. She should realize that as Jesus said of Peter – “Upon this rock, I build my church” that Peter the rock had many human flaws and so do all institutions.

It takes sometimes an almost mystical strength to see through to the heart of the matter and to the grace at the center of it all, seeing through to the Creator and the Creator’s plan.