There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Local Good News/Bad News

I thought I'd share news from around Austin. I am both disheartened and heartened by it. Here is a link to a newspaper story about how Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin rejected hosting an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on property it owns. This had a couple of disappointing aspects to it. First, they'd originally agreed, so the planners had it set up, ready to go and all publicized. Then, when the church folks discovered the service was being led by local Muslim groups this year, they took away the permission, because no one but their faith can worship on their grounds (I guess it would confuse God or something). Of course they have every right to whatever exclusionary practices they wish to engage in, but it sure would have been nice of them to make that clear in the first place.

The good news, though, is that when the service (which is an annual local event with many different faith traditions participating) was about to be canceled for lack of venue, the largest Jewish synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, offered space, and is including an area where the Muslim participants can do their evening prayers. As the local organizer said, "What a great testimony of inclusion." See, what's so hard about focusing on our common humanity and shared beliefs, rather than on our differences? Gosh, I hope pagans and agnostics are welcome, too--we all eat and like Thanksgiving, too!

It's another small step toward peace when acts of kindness like this get publicity. It reminds us that there are moderates and kind people in ALL cultures and of all religions. Not everyone, and not even a majority, are exclusionist extremists. I hope we can focus on the good part of this event, while always working toward more understanding and less bigotry and intolerance in the world. Little things like this give me glimmers of hope. I am grateful for that, as Thanksgiving approaches.

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