Wow! It feels like I have been gone for a long time! With the list of things I have to do this week it has been horribly difficult to justify any blogging, and I do appreciate those of you who have kept knocking to see if I am home. 🙂
Actually, we had a fantastic visit in the Wisconsin area this past weekend with the folks in Milwaukee congregation and its guests that weekend. Our Pre-Teen camp meeting up there went very well, and the trip was profitable on a number of levels. My many thanks to our gracious hosts and good friends.
I’m really just checking in here to let you know that I still exist. Once the Feast plans for Branson solidify further hopefully I will be blogging again more profitably (well, at least blogging again!).
In the meantime, let me offer you an article passed on to me by MD (thanks MD!)… Want to ease tensions with Muslim populations in your nation? Then just get everyone in the country to agree to call God “Allah”! No big deal! Problem solved!
Of course, problem not solved, but that didn’t stop Roman Catholic Bishop Tiny Muskens from proposing the change. Read all about it here: “Dutch bishop: Call God ‘Allah’ to ease relations.”
The Dutch aren’t too excited about the idea, and after the Netherlands’ biggest newspaper polled folks about the idea, one fellow named Welmoet Koppenhol wrote in this response: “Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun.”
Overall, the episode is a silly one, and the “good bishop” is known for being a bit “different.” The article implied that even Muslims considered the comment a useless gesture. Still, one objection caught my eye when I read it–that of the chairman of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Gerrit de Fijter, who said, “Calling God ‘Allah’ does no justice to Western identity. I see no benefit in it.” I do believe that the preservation of “Western identity” is ultimately going to play a bigger role in such affairs–even after they have grown much more serious than this little sub-kerfuffle.
(As an added incentive to read the little article, MSNBC boasts a couple of links on the page: an interactive “Islam in Europe” graphic that allows you to view little factoids on a country-by-country basis , and an MSNBC “special report” that is also called “Islam in Europe.” Probably not the most fair and balanced reporting, but a nice introduction to a potentially explosive dynamic.)