April 19, 2021

Yesterday, I told you about a word that reminds me of the Creator: subhanallah (glory to God). Today I want to share a few more words with you that are common in Muslim culture – words that also serve to remind one of God in different ways. (Sign up for my newsletter so you won’t miss a post!) Mashallah (ma-sha-LA) While subhanallah is a reminder of God’s splendor, mashallah is a reminder of God’s kindness. As I experienced it, the word… Read more

April 18, 2021

(This is #8 in a month-long series on Ramadan, when Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Go here to read previous posts. Go here to subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks!) In a household that observes the holy month of Ramadan, it’s hard to escape the last-minute scurrying, just before it’s time to break the fast. In your enthusiasm, you committed yourself to making way too much food; there’s always a missing ingredient or a mishap; and the… Read more

April 17, 2021

(Full disclosure: no Ramadan story today. We have bigger fish to fry.) This is a post I didn’t want to write – a post addressed to conservative Christians in a (likely wasted) effort to bring out some awareness in them of the need to use the other side of their brains for a while. I pray that a few will listen. (Progressive Christians, please invest in your conservative loved ones by talking with them about this very serious issue. We… Read more

April 16, 2021

We’ve talked about the jihad (struggle) part of Ramadan, the long hours of fasting that can challenge, build character, and bring one closer to God. Fasting can also make one cranky or sleepy or lethargic – but when the prayer call sounds, all those negatives go by the wayside and the digestive juices flow once more. Because now it’s chow time! I think of iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) as Thanksgiving Day. More precisely, the 30 iftars during… Read more

April 15, 2021

During the course of Ramadan, many Muslims read or listen to the whole Qur’an. Here’s how it works – I observed it while living in the Middle East and in the States:  many mosques host a tarawiyyeh, a time when the imam (spiritual leader of the congregation) reads aloud from the Qur’an each evening after iftar (the sunset meal that breaks the all-day fast). It’s planned out so that by the end of the month, the participants will have made… Read more

April 14, 2021

Prayer is an integral part of the Muslim lifestyle – as I mentioned yesterday, prayer (salat) is one of the five pillars of Islam, and for many, the practice of prayer takes on a special significance during Ramadan. So if we want to understand Islam a little better, it’s worth taking a minute to learn a little about it. When I lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the whole rhythm of every day was built around the five prayer times. Fajr is the… Read more

April 13, 2021

Oooooh, the J-word! Talking about jihad, and it’s only the second day of Ramadan! That escalated quickly. I wanted to talk early on about the five pillars of Islam, to give some foundational info on which to build our understanding. One of those pillars you’ve already read about: the discipline of Ramadan – fasting. Here’s the full list: Shahadah, or creed: “There is no god but God, and Mohammed is his prophet” Salah, or prayer: dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, and night Hajj,… Read more

April 12, 2021

Let’s jump right in and talk about the holy month of Ramadan – a month with greater challenges to the followers of Islam than most Christians could ever endure. I’m talking about getting really hungry. I’m talking about fasting. (Note: my intention here is not to Christian-splain, but to describe my experiences of Ramadan as a Christian – including as I grew from a conservative to a progressive Christian, and to share some of my husband’s views as he also… Read more

April 11, 2021

(Hi, my original “Ramadan for Christians – a modest journey into Islam” ran into technical difficulties, and I removed it. This is identical, except that it works!) The Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts Tuesday! Are you familiar with Ramadan? Would you like to learn a little about it? Ramadan is a month in which Muslims all over the world fast from sunrise to sunset, and feast from sunset to sunrise. It’s a time of introspection and seeking God. And… Read more

April 5, 2021

Dear Christians, let us never forget that the root of our faith is in Palestine, a real place that faces real suffering. Here is a glimpse of one family’s Gethsemane, and a call to stay awake. Since I’ve been married to a Palestinian Muslim for 35+ years, and especially since I’ve been writing and advocating for the people of Palestine, my worldview has evolved dramatically, and my Christian faith experience has been transformed. I’m not being political when I say… Read more

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