March 2006 Archives

Christian convert in Afghanistan

March 27, 2006

I've been meaning to post this for a few days. The following is a combination of a couple of e-mails I sent to URI mailing lists looking for some dialogue on the issue. Since I wrote them, it has been announced that the man in question will be freed, at least for the time being, as they do not yet have sufficient evidence to actually prosecute him. I'm still interested in hearing individual views on the issue.

When I first saw the headlines about a Christian “apostate” a week ago, days ago, I suspected the issue would quickly come up in URI discussions. I too — with all due respect — am curious to hear a response from our Muslims friends and colleagues in this forum.

As a Baha’i I have become aware of Islam’s clear tradition linking apostasy with the punishment of execution. Though I have not personally found any statements in the Qur’an that absolutely advocate execution, there are Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) and commentary linking the crime and punishment (excellent article on the subject:

Happy Naw Ruz!

March 20, 2006

The Iranian new year, whose roots are in Zoroastrianism and which day is considered holy by Bahá'ís, began today at sunset. Called Naw Ruz in Farsi, it is an ancient day of celebration and formally ends the Bahá'í Fast. Though it is not officially condoned in Islam, many Iranians continue to mark Naw Ruz (also spelled Nowruz) with partying and by jumping over fires for good luck. In fact, I received the following beautiful prayer from an Iranian Muslim earlier today:

May Peace prevail on earth.
May all humans live in Justice.
May God enrich our hearts in Love.
May the angles purify our souls from hatred.

Darfur - Current Outlook

March 19, 2006

Over at Save Darfur you can send a postcard to the President as part of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign. A very small positive sign: the House of Representatives included increased funding for Darfur peacekeeping operations in the budget it passed this week.

But Darfur isn't getting any better folks.The International Crisis Group, in a press release, writes:

Lent and the Baha'i Fast

March 14, 2006

Only six more days left in my eleventh year of participating in the Bahá'í Fast. This year I haven't been "jonesing" for caffeine as much as usual, which has been a bit of a pleasant surprise. I think I've been sleeping better and been too busy at work to dwell on it as much as last year.

Last week I was reading the Executive Director's Weekly Reflection from the Reverend Canon Charles Gibbs, ED of the United Religions Initiative, a man whose life (and writing skills!) I admire deeply. He was writing about the Christian season of Lent and how he grew up celebrating it in the Episcopal Church. He concluded his reflections thus,

Reflection on War and Peace (the novel)

March 10, 2006

I first fell in love with Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Illych. Several years later I read Anna Karenina, and with it too I was, figuratively speaking, in love. Sure, it had had its slow moments—and what 19th century novel doesn’t?—and yet his characters were some of the most vivid and moving fictions ever portrayed. Recently I finally finished reading his other magnum opus, War and Peace. And I did not fall in love.

A Travel Poem

March 4, 2006

Travel tends to make me reflective, particularly as most of my travel is to interfaith gatherings or to visit friends and family. There was a time when I wrote poetry, of mixed quality, fairly often. Now the muses only seem to breath poetic stirrings into me through an airplane's compressed oxygen. This one has no title:


Life calls.

Meet her with silence.


Reveal yourself.

Greet him with listening.

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