Just a quick note as I run from this interfaith meeting to that interfaith program, to this interfaith gathering to that interfaith service. I like to think I sit here as an interfaith journalist, questioning people about their belief in God, Of the Almighty One, the All that Is. Or Yahweh. Or Allah. Doing my best to walk as a neutral interfaith journalist, it has become clear to me, all over again, that interfaith action truly does provide a safe space for people to share their thoughts. I’ve said it before that interfaith action is a safe space, and my belief in this thought has grown only deeper.
This deepening perspective comes from having offended someone from a distant land with my perception of a story that was shared regarding the wearing of Burqas and Hijabs. I had posted a while ago that while I would not care to wear such an article of clothing – I find them too hot and cumbersome for my tomboyish nature. Yet, I had the impression that the story teller deplored that women would even want to wear them. My purpose for my post was to point out that some Muslim women prefer to wear these items, so who is anyone to say it’s an abomination that they should have to wear them.
Regardless, I apologized for the offense, and upon some deep rumination of the whole experience, find myself bemused at the age old dilemma that it’s one thing to interpret someone’s words in a certain way, and quite another to have that interpretation be mis-interpreted. Oh well. For some reason, I continue to find myself on neutral grounds. Such is life, in daily societal affairs, as well as the land of the interfaith activist.
As I continue to walk this path of interfaith, exploring the varied types of religions, I would like use this post to sketch just a few of the other anecdotes I’ve witnessed/heard first hand in the past year, mostly for your reading pleasure, and to know that you too, are not alone in your pursuit to walk the path of the interfaith movement:* the retired Christian minister that swears he’ll go insane if he hears the song, “What a friend we have in Jesus,” just one more time.
* the newly inspired SBNR who after, recently watching the Zeitgeist movie, wants to make her Christian mom watch it. But in time, realizes that to do so would most likely upset her mom, and the act of putting the movie in front of her mom would be as bad as when the Mormons come to the front door.
* Witnessing people declare themselves as spiritual gurus, so their presence offers sacred space.
* My mom sharing her childhood story of thinking it wasn’t fair that her Jewish friend was going to go to hell (at least, that was the thought back in the 50’s).
* Discussion about the word interfaith being too tied to religion, so we’ve got to change the name.
* Listening to my Kabbalah-Jewish friend’s take on certain verses in the Bible. That was a fun Bible-study session!
* Hearing for the first time that cats are like Baptists – that when they’re quiet, you need to wonder what they’re up to. (No offense to Baptists – I LOVE cats! And, I love my mom, who is the most open-minded Baptist I’ve ever met – and I promise that sometimes, when she gets quiet, I do wonder what she’s up to!)
So, that’s all for now. My intent here is to share some of my experiences while walking neutral ground, knowing that when hearing av personal view of a burqa is just as likely to be interpreted as a lamentation as it could be a reverence. One will never know unless one asks the story-teller what they meant with their story.