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Once upon a time...

‘All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story.’

So wrote Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa.

For the last few months, a question has haunted me: Does love drive out fear? (I John 4:18)

It arose when our church was deluged with hate mail following the visit of Dr. Ibrahim, the Grand Mufti, in September.

It has persisted because it is hard to answer.

Politics, fear, and discernment

On election night after the surprising victory of Donald Trump, President Obama said, ‘no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.’ He sought to soothe the fears and antagonisms that have split apart the American community in recent months.

It would be reassuring if the promise of the sun rising were sufficient to achieve that. Sadly, it isn’t. Yesterday, I saw a Latino woman with a little baby interviewed, and she spoke of her deep concern for her child, living in a country recently polarised by race and threats of walls.

Good news from an atheist!

Good news from an atheist? Strangely, yes.

Anyone familiar with the works of a Richard Dawkins or a Christopher Hitchens will find this a surprise. The writings of these well-known atheists are combative, even vitriolic. They are scathing about organised religion.

Alain de Botton is different. I recently read his ‘Religion for Atheists’ and the tone is surprisingly respectful, thoughtful and inquisitive. He appreciates what religions offer.

Jesus, Muhammad, and confession

Several weeks ago, I wrote in this blog about ultimate loyalties.

On Tuesday, I had reason to revisit this topic; I was told a provocative story, a parable:

Question - ‘What would happen if Mohammed and Jesus came back to earth today?’

Answer - ‘They would first embrace one other and then spit on their followers!’

Behind this arresting parable is a recognition that Jesus and Mohammed followed similar paths and that their teachings aligned on many important issues.

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