What is forgiveness, and is it always possible? Are there times when it is unwise? Is it even feasible when someone refuses to repent? These are some of the questions James Voiss takes up in his astute analysis of forgiveness.
We were seated on chairs arranged in a circle in the aptly named Hospitality Room, men and women from Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Japan, and the U.S. We were reading the Qur’an. Some were Muslims who many people would not consider Muslim; others were Christians who many people would not consider Christian.
My words feel small. Like I’m trying to beat back the ocean with a stick. I could command the waves to stop, but the sea will keep pounding the sand. Recent world events have generated a lot of fodder for preachers and writers, and yet I have nothing to say.
In the latest issue of the Century, Philip Jenkins writes about how the veneration of Mary cuts across religious difference in Egypt. Egypt was the place where Mary first lit up the imaginations of Christians, but apparently her appeal is not limited by culture or religious heritage. Lately I’ve come across a couple of enchanting books that illuminate this for me.
Over 50 Muslim employees walked off the job at an Ariens manufacturing plant in Wisconsin after being told they no longer could take prayer breaks during the work day. Ariens, which manufactures lawn mowers and snowblowers, said they want Muslims to pray only during the usual ten-minute breaks that all employees get. “Nobody complained to us about our prayers,” one of the Muslims said. “People take breaks to go to the bathroom and nobody says anything about that.” A company spokesperson said the Muslims’ prayer breaks were disruptive on the assembly line (Daily Mail, January 20).