On Thursday, 1 February 2018, Jamie Dedes honored me by publishing my review of the new book by Paul Moses, The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam, and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace. I found the book engrossing. In fact, even its omissions were engrossing. And Moses' entire text was provocative, touching issues on history, ethics, religion, and the psychology thereof. In fact, Paul Moses' book was too good to keep. So -- with Jamie's permission -- I am taking the liberty of reprinting my review here.
For a religious person who is “seeking God’s will,” the most reliable indicator that you are in serious trouble is the belief that you have found it. Paul Moses has, perhaps unintentionally, written a brief but fascinating account of a case in point: The Saint and the Su...
I have a lot of friends who are immigrants, many of whom are Muslim, and an at-least-equal number of friends who are native-born Americans (several of whom are also Muslim). Among many in both groups are people who express confidence in the US Constitution to serve as a bulwark against any abuse or deprivation of civil rights and constitutional liberties on the part of the new Administration. Without exception, they have an almost religious reverence for the Constitution as the secular equivalent of Martin Luther’s “mighty fortress”. As someone who also reveres the Constitution – a secular faith I came to rather late in life -- and who shares that almost-religious regard for the Document, I have no wish to disabuse them of this attitude. But I want their reverence to be a historical...
“And of His Signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves
that you might find peace of mind in them,
and He put between you love and compassion
With one silent laugh
You tilted the night
And the garden ran with stars.
- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
To love someone, especially someone who doesn’t expect you to love them, may be the most important of the spiritual practices. Love is a grace of God given freely to all and as Oscar Hammerstein wrote “Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.” God put love in our hearts to be shared with all creation, not just humanity but animals, flowers, and yes, even rocks. To truly love is as close as we get to being the image of God.
This week share your love with a family mem...