Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ask Other Mothers

I’d like to meet some Muslim moms
Because I'm so confused.
I was taught that Christians should kill non-Christians,
And that then included Jews.

We were taught about the Crusades;
We sang homages to war.
We seemed to forget the teachings of the man
Born under the Far Eastern Star.

It seems that even he had a temper
When the temples were selling blessings.
Once throwing out the falsehoods,
He left us with many lessons.

Of how to be good people
And create harmony on this earth,
Listening and speaking carefully
To all who had been given birth.

We want our “just” rewards in a hurry,
And we really don’t want to share.
We spend a lot of time in worry
That there are limits to Almighty care.

Jesus was a Jew traveling in Palestine's land.
He did not ask anyone’s faith;
He held out his loving hands,
And asked us to continue to wait.

He never condemned those considered “other.”
He fed and spoke to all in sight;
Encouraging all to act as brothers --
As a loving family might.

We are frightened and impatient;
Instead of walking in love,
We shout at and curse the others
Though they, too, come from above.

Are we to believe that our Creator
Continues to create others
Who will never also meet their Maker?
I’d like to ask other mothers.


  1. Get Right With God #2

    This essay was written in 1996 ….
    Years ago, while traveling through the mountains of Kentucky or Tennessee, I saw a sign nestled in the hills. It said, “Get Right With God.”
    I knew that the region was inhabited by pious people, as small, mostly Protestant churches dotted the landscape. I imagined their congregants were hard-working people of the land, turning to God as part of their daily lives. It would have been God’s will if the harvest was bountiful or poor, if the winter was harsh or mild, and if the people would leave the mountains or stay.
    Earlier this summer, I had reason to think of the sign again. “Get Right With God.” I was not in Kentucky or Tennessee, but in the Colorado mountains. I didn’t see an actual sign there, but I felt its presence. Again, I pondered its meaning.
    “Get Right With God.” Was the phrase meant for penitent souls, who had committed some sin, and were ready to make amends? In that case, getting right with God would mean asking for and receiving forgiveness, and moving on.
    But in the majestic beauty of Colorado, I felt something different. Getting right with God meant getting up close, and feeling the presence of some Higher Being, a Force greater than ourselves. After all, who is responsible for the incredible beauty that is found in every corner of our country -- from the snow-capped Rocky Mountains to the sugar white sands of the Florida Panhandle? Scientists can explain many natural phenomena with theories and facts, and I don’t doubt their wisdom.
    But life -- in its beauty and its terror -- sometimes defies explanation. And nature demands that we confront its majesty and its mayhem every day. We know that a hurricane can devastate a community, and a drought on the Plains can raise the price of bread.
    But do we know enough to stop and marvel at beauty wherever we see it? To me, ignorance of natural beauty is a grievous sin -- and one that demands penitence.
    Walk outside. Smell the flowers. Look up at the sky.
    Get right with God.

  2. Y, In Africa, I've met some Muslim Mothers, both Sunni and Shia. I've met some Sikh Mothers, some Hindu Mothers, and Mothers of other colors. They, like most of us, want what's best for their children. [That would not include killing people of other faiths.] However, In our case - when we moved into a "compound" composed of 26 Maisonettes (French for small houses) we found that the Mothers of one Muslim group would not allow their children to play with the children of another Muslim group. For their children to play with a "servant's" child (housegirl or houseboy) was un-thinkable. After living there for ten years, we, with the help of God, saw them participating together in Christmas programs and also playing together in the "common area" or what we would call a yard. It was the love of Jesus that made us open our home to all the children and through that method we invited all the mothers (and fathers) to come to our home, take meals with us, share their recipes with us and get to know each other. We also accepted invites to their homes with great joy. Respect for others and flexibility are key to doing something of this nature.

  3. "Respect for others and flexibility are key to doing something of this nature."
    Thank you Fred. To paraphrase a Yiddish saying "From your mouth to (the people of) God's ears"

    It sounds like you simply lived as you felt Christ lived and this made all the difference in your ministry.

    I guess we were all brought up to fear and reject those who are seen as "other". It is wonderful that there are people like you and your wife who work to unite all in the Light of The Spirit.

    I'd love to hear more about your experiences in Africa from both you and your wife. Does your wife share recipes?