Sunday, June 26, 2011

Just another day in Pasadena Paradise

It was a beautiful day in the All Saints neighborhood for "Faith Shared" Day ... the nationwide initiative of people of faith celebrating the common ground that unites Christians and Muslims as children of the same God.

We were honored to have in the our pulpit Dr. Maher Hathout, Founder and Senior Advisor of the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a long-time friend of All Saints Church.

Here were the readings for the day:
A Reading from Qur’an (Chapter 5, Verse 48)For each group of you We made a path to take to God and a manner to go through it. Had it been the will of God to make us all in one group, He would have done that; but He wants to test you in what He has sent to you. Then you will compete with each other in doing goodness. To God you all shall return, only then He will tell you the truth about that which you have been doing in this life.

The Good News of Jesus as written in John (13:34–35)I give you a new commandment: Love one another. And you are to love one another the way I have loved you. This is how all will know that you are my disciples: that you truly love one another.
And here's Dr. Hathout's wonderful message of love as the cement that interconnects us all as members of the same human family.



So with those final words -- "may each person walk out of these doors at the end of the service feeling that he or she is more liberated and energized to do good for others than sticking to the primitiveness of 'my religion is better than the other religion'" -- we walked out of the doors to this:

Crackpot Christians with microphones yelling from across the street -- with a LIFE SIZE Bible ... "by Jesus," no less -- that we were all going to burn in the Lake of Fire. (Note that the picture is actually TWO Crackpot Christians and one hearty All Saintser who had ventured across the street to try to engage them in conversation, hoping that if they were taking to him they wouldn't be yelling through their P.A. system.)

As God is my witness ... I could NOT make this up. If we had decided to spend money to get Central Casting to send over some folks to help make the point of why what Dr. Hathout said in the All Saints pulpit was so critically necessary in this broken world then they'd have sent us these guys. And we would have gotten our money's worth.

I did go over and chat with them. Briefly. It wasn't clear from their hollering whether they had come because they knew we had a Muslim in the pulpit or if they were there because we had a lesbian behind the altar. They were a little nonplussed by my question -- which I'll admit I enjoyed just a little -- and while the one with the microphone was leafing through her Bible looking for Leviticus the police came and asked to see their permit -- so I figured that was probably a good time to end the conversation.

And so I went and joined the 100 folks packed into Sweetland Hall for the Women's Community celebration of Anne Breck Peterson and her 33 years at All Saints Church with a salad luncheon complete with a harpist, Chardonnay and chocolate souffle. Like I said -- just another day in Pasadena Paradise!

Here endeth the report from my day "at work in the fields of the Lord." How was yours?

20 comments:

JCF said...

It's getting to the point that being harrassed by Christianists is PROOF of fidelity to the Gospel of the Prince of PEACE.

Jim said...

"The Holy Bible" by Jesus??? Holy Lord you must love the ignorant as you made so many of them.

FWIW
jimB

Matthew said...

Just a technical question - how does one get permission to read lessons like from the qu'uran that are not appointed for that day? Is that something your bishop lets you do?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Matthew -- Yes. Our bishop gives us that kind of liturgical latitude.

Patricia Brush said...

My work in the fields of the Lord wasn't as news worthy as yours! I didn't have choir duty because we had a blues trio provide the music for service this morning. Very different from the First Nations music we had last Sunday in celebration of National Aboriginal Day of Prayer.

In the evening I was the music director for Evensong. Again, nothing news worthy, just a beautiful reflective service that helped me forget for a tiem how angry I am with the pointy-hatted purple shirt downtown.

uffda51 said...

Do we know from where our amplified and well-propped visitors traveled?

Nixon is Lord said...

You need to celebrate your diversity!

LGMarshall said...

I respect Dr. Hathout and I believe his feelings are real.

Yes, Islam/Judaism/Christianity have common threads.

Islam teaches you need good deeds [the 5 pillars] to attain Salvation.[yet, still not assured until moment of death.]

By contrast, Jesus, the Perfect Jew, teaches, Salvation through Faith alone. No deeds. [100% guaranteed at the moment of Repentence & Belief].

Is one more loving, or merciful, or more full of grace than the other?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

LG ... I think Dr. Hathout's whole point was we're each called to walk our own path and quit worrying about which is "better."

hank wall said...

"Crackpot" Christians? Really?
Back to the age of persecution by those of privilege and enlightenment... by those who can drink from two cups...orthodoxy should never eclipse love- but universalism is such a sweet heresy...but what became of vows and one God... of a church with no teachers?....Kyrie Eleison...Kyrie Eleison

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

"The Holy Bible -- by Jesus"?????

Kyrie eleison, indeed!

hank wall said...

yes, Son of God, Lamb of God, for thou only art Holy...yes, by the one who was and is and yet to come...

a poem for the occasion:

Brightest Morning Star


When privilege becomes a right,
when sacrifice becomes so trite,
a nation, once great, under God does die.


She drinks from two empty cups,
her leaders play like two pups,
run astray and amuck, Lady Liberty, now cheap, she is divisible.


One God, triune still, rules not hearts not to hear,
so many other gods to love first, to Pagan ear,
adulterous for all, with justice for none, she abolishes ten commands.


The lamp of light and proud learning
is but a false light yearning,
for a True King to rise and slay, He is the Faithful One of true liberty.


Returning to his youthful bride, from throne on high mountain,
obedient unto death, yet born and borne again,
Brightest Morning Star, He shows way, the clay pot smashed, and banner, yet, does wave.



A reflection on Psalm 2 and the Letter to Thyatira

uffda51 said...

As long as we're going off the rails, how about those Dodgers? 15 runs, 25 hits, McCourt may be out. Things are looking up.

LGMarshall said...

Jim & SR, I don't think you realize the blasphemy of mocking the statement: 'The Holy Bible, by Jesus'.

[i.e.,'The Holy Bible by Jesus???-Holy Lord, you must love the ignorant as you made many of them'... 'The Holy Bible, by Jesus?????']

Why do you call it The Holy Bible, if it is not holy then?

We understand that TEC no longer believes that The Bible is The WORD [God], but you must know, that you stand alone in the Church with that belief. [and it makes you seem shallow, because, you dance around the periphery of the Bible, and mock it as well.]

I hope to hear a lot more from Hank!

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

LG ... Can't be responsible for the ignorance of other Christians. But can take responsiblity for calling them on their ignorance when we see it.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Sorry, LG. You're done on this one. Go find another blog to trash other peoples' faith on. Not gonna happen here.

(PS -- Jesus didn't write the Bible.)

MarkBrunson said...

You keep saying that Susan, but LG is always allowed back.

MarkBrunson said...

Hank, I wouldn't call them crackpot Christians.

I don't believe they are Christians at all.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Mark ... let me be clear. I don't delete "people" ... I delete comments that don't abide by the standards I set for comments on this blog. If LG can make points or offer observations within the bounds of the parameters I've set (yes ... this is about me ... it is MY blog! :) then I post them. If she can't, I don't. But I'm pretty much out of patience with what has obviously become a game of "gotcha" rather than a genuine effort to discuss or dialogue.

Thanks for your patience. And do keep her in your prayers. As I noted in an earlier post, someone who comes back again and again and AGAIN to a place with the polemic and polarizing comments reaches the "methinks thou dost protest too much" place.

MarkBrunson said...

As I noted in an earlier post, someone who comes back again and again and AGAIN to a place with the polemic and polarizing comments reaches the "methinks thou dost protest too much" place.


Which is why I kept asking "Why are you here, LGMarshall?" No answer. Not even a "To convert you heathens" sort of thing.

And I'm sorry for my churlishness, it just seems that LG only uses any topic as a foot in the door to start the usual "bible believing" hoopla, which is a combination of poor philosophy masquerading as theology, denial of concrete reality, self-absorption and Biblical illiteracy. Perhaps, living in the Deep South, I've just had more of it than others here and know that - in that case - you won't change any minds without a rebuild from the ground up.

That said, you're absolutely right, it is your blog, and I apologize for my rudeness. I just hate to see you keep getting sucked in by someone who has no honest intent. It may be a priest's duty to put themselves out there for every abuse, but it is every Christian's job to try to protect one another from pointless suffering.