"If slavery is a manifest and universal evil, why did no one seem to realize this until relatively recently? What does that mean about our traditions of moral reasoning or divine guidance? Why do our scriptures condone slavery and why did our prophets practice it? How can we venerate people and texts-- the prophets, Founding Fathers, a scripture or founding document-- that considered slavery valid or normal? And, if we see clear and egregious moral wrongs that those people and texts so conspicuously missed, why are we venerating or honoring them in the first place?"
A double book review: "Not in God's Name" by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and "The Book of Lemuel" by Mette Harrison. Both challenge dualistic interpretations of scripture that separate a righteous Us and a wicked Them.
11th century Christian from England disguises himself as a Jew so he can train as a physician in a Persian hospital. Historical fiction at its best! It captures an era that I wish we engaged with more.
At the height of anti-Muslim sentiment during the Crusades, Saint Francis discovered the divine mystery of universal brotherhood: Islam too was part of God's pleasure. In our post 9/11 world, Saint Francis is an example of inter-religious dialogue that I hope we can all rediscover.
Your knowledge of the Muslim World was probably Disney's Aladdin before 9/11. Then it became limited to the daily news cycle of the "war on terror." How did such a rich and diverse civilization become relegated to the dustbin of history? Ansary does a masterful job of putting modern conflicts in their historical context from Babylon to the Six Day War.
The Prophet is another book I serendipitously stumbled upon, this time through a reference in another book I recently read. The book When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir of a written by a man as he is dying of cancer. The author is a Catholic, and the book reflects at times upon his spiritual... Continue Reading →