Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Passover Vacation

I was invited to preach next Sunday and so I have spent a lot of time over the last two weeks with my friend Thomas, who was my favorite disciple until last year, when Mary Magdalene squeezed in ahead of him. I tried to write about them both, but I do not have the skill to incorporate all the ideas that bubbled up into one 17 or 18 minute piece. So Thomas it is.

I am working on a major paper for the graduate class I am taking, so I have also spent a lot of time with Muslims making the hajj. It turns out that there is a lot more to it than hopping a place to Mecca.

Yesterday I had two separate, but each of them very long, conversations with Christian colleagues, one of them deeply religious and one of them not at all, about the challenges of teaching in a Jewish day school.

And the best time of all has been the four days that I spent with Windy City son, in DC and on the eastern shore of Maryland. He is transforming himself from a student with a couple of pairs of jeans and a sublet room to a young man with an apartment, a car, and a wardrobe of "casual business" clothes. The best part of all is watching the quiet enthusiasm and balance with which he approaches the next adventure in life. No ~ the best part is watching him live out the promise of fourth grade, when his class was asked to discern from a lengthy list the most important of human qualities, and his choice was "kindness."

When I remember to think about it, I am so grateful for this life so overflowing with such a variety of people and ideas.

And also with birds. What kind of world would it be without snowy and great egrets decked out for spring?


Mrs. M said...

This is so neat. Young boys receive so many crappy messages from the media, from their peers, from their elders... it's beautiful to hear about people raising sons well. "Kindness" is a gorgeous answer.

Magdalene6127 said...

I am having a hard time making the transition from Mary Magdalene to Thomas myself... but it is necessary, I know!

Thanks for the update on sons. I have one who is a freshman in college, and it is so exciting to see him blossom.

Peace, Mags

Paul said...

As always, your writing is terrific, but what's with the centered text? It smacks of AOL-J. It's a vexation to my spirit.

Gannet Girl said...

Well, it's a vexation to mine that you stopped blogging.

Kathryn said...

I am impressed by the answer "kindness" and plan to pose the question to my sons this evening.

Good luck on your paper! I am reading "The Faith Club" right now which has me, once again, pondering both the similarities and differences among that Abrahamic religions.

Jodie said...

About your paper...

Have you seen an article in the March 19 issue of Presbyterian Outlook entitled "Cracking the Code With Iran: Meeting Iran's President"?

Wondering about your take on it.

(In trying to reach out to the Bush administration, the president of Iran keeps using the vocabulary of the OT prophets, which I think is imitated in the Koran, but in spite of Bush's claim of being an Evangelical it doesn't seem anybody in his office understands that vocabulary, so they just don't seem to respond at all)

Penny for your thoughts


Gannet Girl said...

Jodie, I seem to have forgotten both my username and password. If you want to email me the article I'd love to see it.

carol said...

What a rich and rewarding vacation time you've enjoyed. The conviction with which you approach life is inspiring. And the Windy City son's life quality is equally so.

lightyears2venus said...

Have done a little research on the Hajj myself and it is a breathtaking pilgrimage. My students were always captivated by circling the Ka'aba, touching the meteorite, and the other steps. Along with stopping everything to get down on one's knees five times daily to pray, it seems to me that Islam;s spiritual mandates keep its followers closer to God in some ways.
I just had a parent e-mail about her son, a special ed student. I had written her about his missing work, but also the dose of honest praise, and she responded she is so proud of him because he 'refuses to be mean.' Your son, too!
I would add birds and flowers.
p.s. I noticed Paul finally has a recent entry--didn't notice the dates of your scolding and the new piece, but maybe your prodding worked!