Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Oompa Loompas and Quaker Meetings

This Sunday morning I awoke with a sense of great excitement - the long awaited day had come. Partner dude and I had pre-booked afternoon tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've been singing the oompa-loompa song around our house now with all the joyful inaneness of a six year old.

It was, however, Sunday morning. Time to laze in bed for a few hours. We have both had a busy few weeks with little time for stopping. Unusually, I woke up first, poked partner dude, 'Yo, oompa loompa zippidy dee, will you go to meeting with me?'

It was, I must admit, with some reluctance that we pulled ourselves out of bed this week, but we did it, deciding that we are almost always glad when we get up in time for meeting. This week was no exception.

It was a wonderful meeting, mainly of sharing our need to find solutions in our world. One woman spoke poignantly of the racist views her daughter's friends had expressed while staying at their house - saying that all Asians should be rounded up and sent to prisons for the terrorist attacks etc.

Such attitudes, I must admit, are alien to me. It further impressed on me how much we need to foster friendships between racial and religious communities.

On the 7th of July, when I heard the news the first person I thought of was a friend of mine who lives and works in London. I rang her - thankfully she wasn't in London at the time. Only afterwards did I realise the possible significance that the first person I had called was both Asian and Muslim, and how precious our friendship is in these troubled times.

The same friend contacted me again last week to say she was going to visit Mecca and before she went wanted to ask that if I had anything against her for my forgiveness and likewise, whatever I had ever done to offend her was forgiven. I was a tad unnerved, wondering what I'd done - but she quickly explained that before Muslims make pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina they ask for and offer forgiveness because God forgives those who forgive others.

I remarked on how similar this was to my own Christian background - afterall Jesus said that when we forgive men who sin against us, God also forgives us.

Perhaps we are not so very different afterall. How much we need to remember that.

And btw, Charlie and the Chocolate factory was very cool. Go see it.


Twyla said...

I agree - the movie was very good. Johnny was so CUTE!

Some good thoughts about the commonality between religious traditions. I admit, when I raise the need for interspiritual dialogue in our meeting I was met with some resistence. I find that so hard to understand.

Peterson Toscano said...

CA, it's about relationships, isn't it? Isn't that when the walls begin to come down, the myths dispelled and healing connections form?

Contemplative Activist said...

Peterson, I think you might just be right :)

Hope alls well with you!

Liz Opp said...

I find I am having daydreams that the next time someone says something racist, classist, or homophobic, I will stand up and declare, "Well, what if I told you that I'm one of 'those people' that you are talking about? Then what?"

I have daydreams of when a draft in the States is reinstated, that I will gather up all the Friends in the metro area and go to a young person's house and have fake ID's made that has the name of that young person, along with our own photo, so that when they come for the young Friend, we might all step forward and say, "I am that person. Here I am."

Sadly, these are only daydreams, and I question my own determination and ability to do these things, if push comes to shove. Fortunately, I read about and hear about everyday heroes now and again, and if there ever truly is a time when solidarity is needed in order to preserve the good order of God's creation, I have these real life people to remember and emulate.

Liz, The Good Raised Up