Today I was riding with Uber. I gave my driver 5 stars. But I completely forgot that it was the long weekend, so the rate was a bit higher than usual, and so was the wait time. But in the end I just barely made it to church on time.
As some of you have noticed this getting to church #67. I have come to a point where I have largely drained my supply of churches that are easily accessible by use of public transit, and I will be resorting to using a lot of "ride for higher" services in the future. Unless someone wants to pick me up and give me a ride to a church. *wink.*wink.
So today I went to a church I have been itching to go to for a while. It is rare that you see an Arabic Church, or at least in this city. And from the outside, you would have no idea what it was any different than any other Catholic church.
However the sign out front was more than worthy of Halloween.
The entry way had a shrine to a saint... am not 100% sure which one it is.
It was a particularly small group today.However, I am not that surprised. Major weekends tend to draw people out of the city and church attendance on those weekends seems to drop dramatically. This appears to be a consistent factor over the duration of my project thus far. There were roughly 25 people in attendance.
The scripture for today was Luke 14:25-33 ESV
The Cost of Discipleship.
25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
There was some big news today. The priest announced that Mother Teresa was being canonized as a saint today in Rome.
"Dear St. Teresa, you take the word of God Seriously!"
"She followed everything Christ taught."
CNN News Coverage Mother Teresa Canonization.
How to become a Saint in the Catholic Church?
Quote of the day:
"The means can not justify the ends."
"The means must be appropriate to the ends".
"A Christian must be ready in the boundless love of Christ!"
One thing I have come to notice, is that even with a tradition as fixed as Catholicism, regional culture always finds a way to seep in. At this Catholics church the priest referred to all the members of the congregation as brothers and sisters, God was sometimes referred to as "Abba Father", and communion was done slightly different. The priest actually got down on his knees and touched his head to the later before starting the communion ritual. And then when it came to actually receiving communion, the priest took the wafer, dipped it in the wine, and placed one on everyone's tongue individually.
That is rare. The whole ritual of being "hand fed" communion, I mean.
And I forget the exact details of it, but there was a small group of people that were visiting from another church in attendance. I think they might have been working on a project together? The priest was very warm and welcoming to everyone in the group, including the guests that were clearly part of the L.G.B.Q. community.
Before I came to this church I was checking out this churches website ( by they way they have a pretty good website) But as I was looking thru some photos, and I was taken back for a moment. This church, being designed for Arabic speaking people, had what I am assuming are the words "Do this is remembrance of me." Written across the alter, in Arabic.
I in the initial moment I saw this, my first reaction was shock and fear. My second reaction was; "Alanna... calm down! You are over-reacting!"
As many of you know, I am a vocal supporter of my brother's and sisters of other faiths. Even if it is a faith that I do not have 100% positive feelings towards. Regardless of that, Christians are still fully bound to obey what Christ described as the most import of all the laws, which is; "love thy neighbor as thy self".
But the point is that my initial reaction meant something. It meant that a person with rational knowledge and love, had still been conditioned to immediately fear anything that might have to do with Muslims.
So wanted to bring a topic to light.
In this post 9-11 period Islamophobia is everywhere. A lot of people start making connections to anything that might be related to Muslims, ex. clothing, language etc. There have been cases of people that have been mistaken for Muslims and have been assaulted because of it. Not to mention all the harassment that actual Muslims have suffered on a regular basis. All and all, the situation has become simply retarded. Let me lay this out.....
Arabic does Not =Muslim
Head Scarf does Not =Muslim
And most of all, Muslim does not =Evil.
As for a simple example of this, let me introduce you to a viral video called "When you speak Arabic in Public."
I have photos of all of my great grandmothers wearing some form of a headscarf.
They were all from eastern Europe, and all of them were either Catholic or Orthodox Christians.
Despite popular belief, Islam doesn't own the headscarf.
And finally, there is one last resource I would like to share with you something called "The Jesus Fatwah". In this project in which a christian scholar breaks down, and DE-bunks Islam. All while helping give context to how Christians can look at their Muslim neighbors, with Christ-like love and understanding. And for the record this material is very long and it is not free, but maybe you might be lucky enough to have it your local library or borrow it from someone. Trust me. Its worth it.
Anyhow, past all that it was a very relaxed little Catholic church, and it definitely had a few interesting Bilingual characteristics to it.
See Y'all Next Week!