Monday, October 30, 2006
  Weddings and churches and doctors, oh my!
Yes, we've been busy...

My cousin Alan married his high school sweet heart in a scottish/methodist ceremony last Saturday. A very sweet, intimate wedding, with a few Scottish trappings -- men in kilts, a bit of bagpipe music, and lessons Scottish dancing for the American wedding guests.

Amazingly, though our family was seated with complete strangers, we were a relatively good match... the fellow was a jazz guitar player who had performed during the horsduerves session, and a freelance writer as well, which gave us quite a bit to talk about. The woman did the hair for the brides and brides maids and was walking refutation of the notion that one should not go to a hairstylist whose own hair is a fright. The wedding party had elegant dos that lasted all night without even one strand slipping. The hairdressers -- well it was overteased by quite a bit.

Sunday, I spoke again at the Northminster Presbyterian Church. A great group of people with intelligent questions. (Basically, every audience I've met has intelligent questions... although some of the clearly have prepared for the talk by visiting all the vitrolic anti-Islam sites on the web and memorizing the (dis) information there!) I reprieved a topic from WisCon -- both/and in an either/or world. I like the topic because it's a great launching place from which to smash a few misconceptions -- like all Muslims are the same, or, if we want to be a bit more sophisticated, all Sunnis are the same and all Shias are the same. Hate to tell you folks, but it's far more complex than that! It also allows for a frank discussion on what does patriotism mean (I come down on the side of wanting my country to be the best it can be, and doing my darndest to make it so, rather than the support your commander in chief no matter what)(big surprise...) and for the complexities involved in always being called upon to defend or denounce the actions of Muslims overseas, who come from different countries, have different customs and sometimes seem to be following some other Islam than the one I read in the Qur'an.

Of course, non-Muslims want Muslims to stand up everytime something horrible is done by a Muslim and disavow it, but not only is this tiring, distracting from real work that needs to be done, but it also is an admission of guilt by association. If you have to stand up and say, "I hate terrorism" well the implication is that it's not really clear that you would. If you disagree with that premise, you've got a much more complex message to put out -- of course, I don't agree with terrorism, what sane, humane person could? What religion teaches untrammeled violence against innocents? None. Duh. So of course we disavow these acts, and especially the people who would like to twist Islam to support their political ends, that should be unnecessary to say, but since you are so uninformed about Islam (and that's not your fault, our public education system is woefully inadequate -- I knew nothing about Islam before I started studying it. I couldn't have named a Muslim country. I couldn't have named a Muslim tenet. I couldn't have even told you the Crusades were against Muslims -- it was against the infidels, whoever they were. And Spain? It was ruled by the Moors, not Muslims) I will say it.

Anyway, quite a complex message to deliver in the thirteen second sound bite favored by news stations.

And finally, poor Saara visited the doctor today. Her knee has been bothering her. My dad thought it might be torn cartiledge. I'm worried about some form of Chondromalasia, although she's awfully young for that! Either way, doctors offices sure do eat up a lot of time!
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


What I'm reading now



Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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