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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

October 26, 2012

AMONG THE FAITHFUL

The plan for Confirmation is fairly simple. Gather our 8th graders and study. Dublin Community has had a fine Confirmation program over the years. Currently we are using a curriculum, which examines our faith and looks at the Bible. That is all very good, but we’ve added some visits to various world faiths. It’s easy enough to find their adherents and to ask for a visit. So, the other night we met at the Noor Islamic Center.

We couldn’t have had a better host who not only explained the basics of Islam with a solid Power Point but best of all; he was enthusiastic when answering questions. Our Confirmands appreciated his attentiveness to them and I appreciated their attentiveness to our host.

Besides the basics of the Islamic faith, we were all intrigued by a Pilgrimage to Mecca. It is the goal of all followers of Islam to make the pilgrimage (Haj) to Mecca. Our host had been there a couple years ago.

Of course, that got me thinking about how the religious landscape of America and the world has changed. In my youth, we defined someone who didn’t go to a regular church as someone outside of the Methodist/Lutheran/Presbyterian/Roman Catholic churches of which it seemed all my friends were a part. Indeed, there were many wonderful, smaller Christian churches all over town, but no one thought too much about a friend’s home church.

Today our kids are surrounded by countless Christian Churches and they have friends in religions that I only read about in the Geography book when we studied India or China or Saudi Arabia. Today, the kid sitting next to your child has parents who lived in India, China or Saudi Arabia, and they brought their religion with them (just like my great Grandpa brought his German Reformed Christianity with him from Germany).

Anyway, our host at the Noor Islamic Center spoke of his own personal pilgrimage to Mecca a few years ago. He was justifiably proud to have done so. It takes a lot of time, and money and dedication. And he told us that we can click onto a website and watch the procession in Mecca…in real time on the computer. “You can see the faithful going about the daily ritual right in your own home.”    

I tried it the next day, and sure enough, he was right. There are the Faithful in Mecca going about their prayers, while I sit at my kitchen table drinking coffee. It is surreal. I was reminded how much smaller the world is than in my youth. But it struck me that our Islamic host, who had personally done the Haj but two years ago, felt the same way.

It’s a whole new world out there. Which is precisely why we are visiting the temples, mosques and cathedrals of your kids’ school friends. It is no longer 1957; it’s not even 2010. Something to which our host and I would both heartily agree.

Peace and Salaam,
Rev. Bob Tussing

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