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Columba of IonaNot surprisingly, I’ve been reading about how my fellow bloggers are celebrating Lent. As you know, I’m drawn to interfaith dialogue so I was fascinated when I came across a woman who, for the forty days of Lent, is wearing a hijab.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a hijab is a head covering worn by Muslim women.  It covers the woman’s hair, but not her face.

Jessey is wearing hijab, borrowed from a Muslim friend, as an act of hospitality.  As a blonde, blue-eyed American, she wanted to be fully aware of the hostility experienced by those who are obviously “other.”  So she is walking not in their shoes but in their hijab.  You can read about her experience here on her blog.

Wow.  As much as I support interfaith dialogue, I don’t know that I’d have the nerve to do this.  Not with the things that I’ve heard many of my fellow Christians say about Muslims.

Not that Jessey is without loving support – her husband is 100% behind the decision, obviously her Muslim friend supports her and so do many bloggers who have commented on her posts.  In fact, she’s experienced very little face-to-face hostility.

But, she has also been blasted by commenters who suggest:

  • She is supporting ISIS.
  • She try genital mutilation or acid in the face to truly support Islamic woman.
  • She is shaming Christ and the sacrifice that he made for her.
  • She has, in her ignorance, disregarded the history of Christian women who cover their hair.
  • She is disrespecting Eastern Christians who have been persecuted by Muslim.
  • She is vain.

The part that pierces me is that these people, largely women, for the most part claim to be Christian.  Pray for our enemies.  Bless those that persecute you.  And apparently flame the holy wow out of some woman who dares to go beyond fish on Friday.

May God grant us all the courage needed to heed his call, to follow his star and to walk in Faith where we fear to go.

–SueBE

It’s like this:

You are 1,000 feet up
in the rarefied air
and you step on a cloud
knowing
it will spring up under your feet
like new grass in summer
and bear your weight.

and if not,

Falling, you will reach out
and grasp a branch
of a nearby tree,
and it will stay your plummet.

and if not,

You will find a parachute
on your back
that you did not know you had
and certainly never packed.

and if not,

There will be water beneath you,
a sky-blue invitation,
and you will dive, then rise,
arcing from the waves like a dolphin.

and if not,

You will land lightly as a leaf
in autumn, surprised at the softness of the ground,
and stand, creaky of joint,
but no worse for wear.

and if not,

When the ground is hard,
and your neck snaps like the branch
you could not grab,
even as darkness descends,
your blind eyes will see:
There is a door.
And it will open to you.
 

(First printed in Spiritual Uprising Magazine)

photo-1414446483597-8d8f792bfe39Reality is nothing but a collective hunch.

Jane Wagner, writer of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, as performed by Lily Tomlin.

SueBE and I are really in sync this week – her post was about science, and mine is as well.

I found an interesting documentary called “Particle Fever” on Netflix the other day, and as I was watching physicists brainstorm about the origin of matter, I came up with a theory of my own.

Physics is the flip side of faith.

After all, faith and physics both search for an intangible “something” that has to exist for life to make sense for us. We both focus our energies on finding that missing part that animates all of our theories.

We call this missing part, “God.” They call it “Higgs” – the so-called God particle.

So while I sit here, quite confident that God does exist, and so grateful and glad that God is out there, the scientific community has a vastly different perspective. They think God is “out there.”

To physicists, the very idea of God is wild, ridiculous, far-fetched. How could any thinking human being truly believe there is some deity holding everything together? How would that even work?

But their worldview hinges on similar leaps of faith. The Higgs particle is the theoretical center of each atom, and it must exist, they say. There’s no other explanation!

As the documentary illustrates, even the factions within physics are similar to religious denominations – they have the Theorists vs. the Experimentalists. There are also tensions between those who espouse the theory of Supersymmetry vs. the Multiverse.

Maybe people of faith and scientific die-hards are not so different, when all is said and done. We fight for what we believe and hope to sway the ones we feel are “unenlightened.” We want to find our place in the universe, and while we’re here on planet Earth, we hope to make our lives matter. Even though we seem to live in different worlds, it may well be that we’re on the same side, after all.

CosmosI’m always surprised when someone tells me that science and God are incompatible. The more science, I study, the stronger my belief in God. One recent online class that I took was about the search for life on other planets.

We studied what a planet has to have to support life.  I learned that:

Carbon has to be present but so do several other elements. If any one of these key elements is missing, there can be no life.

There has to be liquid water.  Liquid water supports the chemical reactions needed for life to exist.

The planet has to be within the “habitable zone” for its sun.  Too close and it will be too hot for life.  Too distant and it will be too cold.

There has to be an energy source available.  Again, chemical reactions require energy. This energy can be heat from the sun or volcanic or seismic activity.

If by chance any one of these items is not present, there can be no life.  The search for these elements and life has extended beyond our own solar system.

About one in five stars has an earth-sized planet orbiting around it.  As of February 17, 2015, astronomers have discovered 1890 planets outside our solar system.  This number includes rocky, earth-size planets, puffy planets, super-Jupiters, ice giants, mini-Neptunes, and diamond planets.

Confusing?  You bet.  But the point is that many of these represent problems for potential life.  Ice giants – too cold.  Gas giants puffy planets, and super-Jupiters are often too hot.  Mini-neptunes?  Cold.  Diamond planets.  Hot.

It starts to sound like a cosmic version of the Three Bears.  To hot.  Too cold.  No liquid water.  With all of the factors that have to come together, how can you not believe in something bigger than us and bigger even than chance?

–SueBE

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