Feeling blue in the midst of rainy weather and our stressed-out economy? Well, here are some hopeful gems from you — notes from our readers — to light up your day.
Oh, and if you’re missed our earlier invitations: COME ALONG ON THE ADVENTURE: OUR LENT
Inspiration of Interfaith Heroes
Is Spreading Worldwide —
(A Hopeful Letter from the Road)
THE REV. DANIEL BUTTRY, the creator and author of the “Interfaith Heroes” book series, was able to produce such remarkable profiles of brave saints — because Dan lives this kind of life himself. He is the international peace negotiator for American Baptist Churches. Essentially, he does the same kinds of work that Jimmy Carter flies around the world doing, except with less fanfare because he’s not a former U.S. president.
Dan has worked extensively in hot spots in Asia, Africa, Latin America — arriving, in some cases, in dangerous regions of conflict to work with those brave religious leaders who hold out hope of bridging historic gaps between communities.
Since the publication of Volume 2 of “Interfaith Heroes,” Dan has been carrying his books with him on the road as a lesson to reluctant or skeptical men and women that, as we say in our founding principles at ReadTheSpirit — “Peace is possible.”
This week, Dan sent this note about one his global stops:
I was one of the coordinators for a
Global Baptist Peace Conference held in Rome. We had almost 300
participants from 59 countries. Although it was a Baptist conference we had
many other kinds of Christians and one Muslim (we had some Buddhists and two
other Muslims registered but they didn’t get visas to attend).
At the conference, I led a workshop on Interfaith Heroes, focusing on
the Baptist figures in our two books that were examples for our interfaith work
in our various contexts. One conference participant was from Holland. Remember
the global controversy about the publication of the cartoons of Muhammad in
Holland? That’s still an important and troubling issue. I gave the Dutch participant Interfaith Heroes
and Interfaith Heroes 2. He has already shared a lot in his
context, and they are talking about bringing me to Holland to work with people there on these issues. We might even be able to discuss bringing a Christian/Muslim
team to do some interfaith workshops and other events.
The ripples of what we are doing in this work
continue to reach far places.
Our “Northern Pilgrimage”
Touched Many Lives This Week.
Here’s one …
Patricia Chargot’s “Two Weddings and a Funeral” — a Northern Pilgrimage — drew positive response all week. Here’s a special Email from a reader who, it turns out, has a family connection to the part of the world Patricia was exploring:
Dear ReadTheSpirit —
This evening, I finally had the opportunity to curl up with Pactricia Chargot’s “Two Holidays and a Funeral.” I sat and smiled and cried and hungered for more.
You see, my grandmother was born in Aalborg, Denmark, where she lived with her family on a farm. She moved to the U.S. when she was 13. Once in the U.S., she would no longer speak Danish for she said she was now an American.
As I read Patricia’s story, memories came flooding back of the traditions my grandmother did give us: the open-face sandwiches, the dishes with gold trim, the small demitasse coffee spoons, the kitchen with blue and white decor. There was also the picture of Per’s mother, which let me know where my 72-year-old hair color came from — almost a silver but you can still see the blond.
In 1995, I toured the Scandinavian countries and spent a night in Aalborg. How I wish I might have met some of my relatives. I did get to see the Bull in the center of the city. My grandmother had mentioned that as a memorable landmark.
I also enjoyed the spiritual story that was woven through the entire article. You see, I am a Presbyterian Commissioned Lay Pastor. … I know I will go back and read the three parts again from time to time.
Also: My Lenten journey is focusing on The Things We Carry. I am so glad God led me to this web site. How I got here I don’t know. It was God led.
Your friend in Spirit,
Carolyn Neewcomb — Granddaughter of Nicolina, Caarolina, Matilda Woodman Frost Bayley
Finally, a Huge Number of People
Love Rob Bell’s Preaching
Aimed at the Heart of Daily Life …
ROB BELL has appeared in the pages of ReadTheSpirit a number of times over the past year — and he always brings an energetic crowd with him. Of course, his Facebook group alone is made up of 26,000 fans who actually track his online presence on a regular basis and draw inspiration for daily living from his messages.
When we featured news about his upcoming tour on Wednesday, we could feel the excitement welling up around this news story.
Jake, a writer in Portland, Oregon, emailed me: “Lucky dog! You get to go see his early dates on this tour. I may come visit my aunt back home (in Michigan) just to catch one of those dates.”
I get lots of notes from readers, but I’m rarely referred to as a “lucky dog.” There’s that kind of electric excitement around the work of this young preacher-teacher.
On Facebook, Bob wrote, speaking of Rob’s work: “You are my spiritual superstar. Thanks for reconnecting me to God!!!!” (Those were Bob’s 4 exclamation points. We didn’t add them here.)
ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: There seems to be a little confusion about Rob’s tour dates. People are asking why he’s “blowing off California & NW???” (He’s not.) On Facebook, Liania begs: “COME TO SOUTH AFRICA PLEASE!!!!!!!!!” (How many exclamation points is that????)
PLEASE, Tell Us What You Think.
This is a good time to sign up for our Monday-morning ReadTheSpirit Planner by Email—it’s
free and you can cancel it any time you’d like to do so. The Planner
goes out each week to readers who want more of an “inside track” on
what we’re seeing on the horizon, plus it’s got a popular “holidays”
Not only do we welcome your notes, ideas, suggestions and personal
reflections—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Facebook, Digg, Amazon, GoodReads and some of
the other social-networking sites as well, if you’re part of those
(Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)