Friday, May 20, 2011

We can see the beauty in the traditions of other - Bowling Green Daily News.

By the Reverend Peter Connolly, Bowling Green Church, Unitarian Universalist Minister
Friday, may 20, 2011 9: 15 am CDT

There is nothing more inspiring to me than when people of good faith, seriously to their religious traditions and full of good will, meeting to share their visions of what is right, which is sacred, and which is enough to establish peace.

It is with a feeling of joy and gratitude that I welcome to our sanctuary on May 12 members and representatives of the Islamic Center of Bowling Green.

The event was announced as an interreligious Conference, an opportunity, primarily, for the Muslims of the region to present the principles of their faith in a room full of people suffer from hunger for more knowledge and full of urgent issues. A Minister trained at the seminar, course, I have had training in Islam and other religions of the world, but, I learned a few of the evening.

There is a danger that each of us can be so devoted to our particular religious tradition we could not in honour of the value of other traditions to the lives of their members. And it may be that too literal an interpretation of whatever our entries can blind us to the poetry that is in them. One evening, as this helps us to see the beauty may be in other traditions.

The evening was organized by Jennifer Gonzalez, Member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She was so moved by a presentation she had heard earlier in the year by Dr. Scott Girdner at University Western Kentucky that she felt sponsors a symposium such as this would allow other people to not only broaden their horizons, but find a way to connect with others in a more personal way.

Five members of the Islamic Centre was used as a Panel, covering topics such as that "what is Islam?" and "who are the Muslims?". We have also learned about the pillars of Islam, Articles of faith, the Quran and hadiths (sayings of Muhammad), the role of women in Islam the relationship between Islam and Christianity, historically as well as theological and life as a Muslim student in America.

We all were impressed by practitioners of religious faith which take time to pray five times a day, every day. What discipline and devotion! Dr. Morsi Nagy, a local physician and frequent spokesman for the Islamic Centre, noted that should be obvious, but perhaps we do not think often of it: If someone is spending time five times a day in their worship of God and his delivery to the will of God, it is highly unlikely that they will be committing acts of violence or deception at other times - life of devotion shape their character.

One tricky question was: "If Islam is a Germanic religion, how some Muslims justify acts of terror?" The answer is that, although there may be some sections of the Q'uran (Holy Book) that might seem to justify a violent act, if you look at the context, you will see the differently. He also noted that the Scriptures of other religions are not defined by their most contentious passages; These passages are included in a message more large, loving. It is good to hear some of the women of Islam to explain that, when they wear a head covering, it's their choice, a choice of devotion rather than submission to the will of men. And it was inspiring hear Muslims to speak so convincingly in their love for their religion and their belief that this is better, more valuable of citizens in society.

Our welcome ceremony in the evening went as follows:

It is a House which welcomes Islam. It is a House that welcomes those who follow the teachings of the Torah. It is a House that welcomes those who follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a House that welcomes all those who sincerely follow their desire to find some meaning and purpose in life they conduct.

We hope that this will not be the last opportunity of our church should foster dialogue and good will among the good people of Bowling Green, how that their religious beliefs.

Shalom, Salaam and blessings of peace to all.

-The Reverend Peter Connolly is Minister of the Unitarian Universalist of Bowling Green Church.

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