Even God Benefits from the F1.

grand mosque gets into the formula one bahrain

The Formula One brings in enthusiastic tourists who slap down millions of dollars in the host countries.  In Bahrain, between races, or when the spectators’ palms and pockets are empty, this ad points out there is another place to visit which offers free Love – the Al-Fateh or Grand Mosque.

Recently, an Italian friend was visiting Bahrain.  A group of us met at the Grand Mosque, left our sandals at the door and donned the required abayas and head scarves.  Our guide, an Egyptian woman named Ghada, gave us the half-hour, building tour.  Knowing my friend loves the Virgin Mary, I asked Ghada to explain Mary’s place within Islam.

Looking at our smiling faces, Ghada suggested, “Why don’t we sit?”

We made a circle of chairs and she pushed up her glasses, smiled and set her hands in her lap.

“In Islam, Mary, Mariam in Arabic, is considered to be a very righteous woman just like Fatima, the Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) daughter.  Mariam is the only women mentioned by name in the Koran.”

“Can you tell us how many times she is named in the Koran,” I asked.

“In the Koran, there is an entire surah (chapter) about Mariam, number Nineteen.  She is mentioned about forty-five times in the Koran.”

“More times than in the Bible,” I added.

Ghada nodded in agreement.  “She was the perfect woman, if not the greatest woman of all time.”

We had a lively discussion about Mary’s virginity, divinity, and dreams.  Several among the group made positive comments about Ghada’s informed and open views.

“Because I want to understand what all people believe, I have read the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament.  After reading them, I still felt more drawn to Islam,” she said.

As we ended our visit, she told us, “You are an unusual group.  Normally, I do not have such discussions.”

“It is because we are women, and we all love Mary.”

The Formula One, which attracts people from around the globe, is a great opportunity for us to meet others who share a common passion.  I go to the F1 to watch the people as much as the race.  I believe events like this help break down cultural stereotypes.

Every time I have visited the Grand Mosque, I have had a delightful docent and have learned something wonderful about Islam.  Visiting the mosque is an excellent way to understand Christianity’s, Islam’s and Judaism’s common beliefs.  It is a quieter venue that, similar to the F1, highlights our common humanity.

ABOUT THE GRAND MOSQUE

The Grand Mosque in Juffair is one of the places I always take my visitors.  It is often the one chance people visiting the Middle East have to see a mosque.   Most mosques in the Gulf limit admittance to Muslims.  The al-Fateh Mosque is open to people of all faiths.  During Ramadan, al-Fateh hosts free events.  During the rest of the year, it is easy to pop in any time and find a multi-lingual docent who will take you on a tour.

There is a library and free materials about Islam.  A good representative for Islam, Ghada has written several interesting pamphlets which are available at the mosque.

Women must wear an abaya and a head scarf to enter.  The mosque has a closet full you can borrow.  Or you can bring your own.

The Grand Mosque is opposite the Gulf Hotel Complex.  Sitting near the sea, it is easy to see from the main ring road.  The trip can be combined with visits to the new Islamic library, the National Museum and the new, National Theater.

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One Billion Dance to Break the Chain – February 14 2013

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Fill your Valentine’s Day with love for all people on the earth.  There are at least, two opportunities tomorrow February 14th in Bahrain to teach your children the power of dance.  Join one billion other people in the world move towards freedom from violence and rape.  Dances are being held everywhere including Ames, Iowa and several in Des Moines.  You can find a dance near you by checking out the map at One Billion Rising.

8:45-11 World Beat Fitness is holding a dance workshop featuring African djembes, Egyptian belly dancing and a dance by internally-recognized, multi-cultural choreographer, Valli Batchelor.  The event is BD 10 for non-members and BD8 for members.  The proceeds will go towards a local center for victims of abuse.

2 pm the Rugby Club has a dance instructor-led event for those that enjoy afternoon activities.  The suggested donation is BD 5.  The proceeds will also go to a local charity dealing with women affected by abuse.

It is half-term for the schools on the British curriculum.  And a great opportunity for us mothers to show our daughters that even while having fun we can help BREAK THE CHAIN and change the world.

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Would Jesus Dance with Women or Stand on the Sidelines and Call Them Prostitutes?

by Lewis Williams

by Lewis Williams

Peter said to Mary, “Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than all the other women.  Tell us the words of the Savior that you remember, the things which you know that we don’t discuss because we haven’t heard them.”
Mary responded, “I will teach you about what is hidden from you.”

– The Gospel According to Mary

Dan Brown revealed to the world what the Catholic Church already knew – Mary Magdalene was never a prostitute.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised 1,378 years of church doctrine to disassociate Mary Magdalene from being a prostitute.  It was during the Dark Ages when a man gave Jesus’ most beloved disciple that label.  In 591AD, “The Great” Pope Gregory combined the three Marys mentioned in the New Testament into one person.  That was where the idea was born.  Pope Gregory’s sermon spread and inflicted pain on women.

Icon-Mary-Magdalene telling the disciples

It seems it was Mary Magdalene who held the answers and teachings the other disciples were not privy to.

Yet despite this “revelation” I ask myself, why is it that many people still call Mary Magdalene a prostitute?  Do these men actually fear that women may have inherited Mary’s favored place among Jesus’ disciples?

I wonder who from Princeton will be standing at the corner of Alexander Road and College Road on February 14th?  Will they help re-tell Mary’s story, so women will no longer be viewed as deserving of violence or abuse simply because they are women?

My feeling is, on Valentine’s Day, Jesus will be dancing with the women, the spiritual teachers who still practice  compassion despite being betrayed and brutalized.  They have proven themselves worthy to transmit his teachings.  Although we might not recognize him, his spirit will Rise and Lead the dance.

As we dance, I think we should take careful note which male clergy from all denominations, all over the world, use their power to state rape and violence is not acceptable behavior.

Ed Bacon Jr, the rector of All Saint’s Church in Pasadena, will be dancing.  If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can join them for V-Day.

As a woman, I can say, with certainty, Mary would have taught the other disciples that inflicting Rape and Violence on women was not part of Jesus’ teachings.

How to Deal with Adam Lanza Within Our Hearts

   

Buddha in Sri Lanka to give hope for the mental and spiritual relief for December 2004 Tsunami victims

Buddha to give hope for the mental and spiritual relief to the December 2004 Sri Lanka Tsunami victims.


Betrayal

Judas the disciple of Christ,

Judas the betrayer of Christ,

Judas who repented for his sin,

Judas who paid for his sin

With his own life.

Can we ever understand or know

The violence and passion of this man –

The violence of his intention

And the passion of his love?

Perhaps more than any other

He recognized Jesus as Messiah;

If he did, how could he believe

The Messiah could die?

Can we ever understand or know

Why Judas was Judas?

And how to deal with him within our hearts?

Nalini Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka

Planting Glory, Abundance and Peace

For Americans, the freedom to say what we want is upheld in the First Amendment.  The amendment gives us legal protection to express our viewpoints and practice our religions.

Just as some use their freedom to plant the invasive weeds of intolerance, there are other Americans who use their freedom to plant olive trees.

I do not despair as the news about the creators of chaos’ antics fills the air.  There are those of us who are ensuring the deep rooted Love of our Mothers takes hold, one olive tree at a time.

“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”    Bible, Mathew 5.3

“Then tell me about the seed that you sow in the ground.”   Koran 56:63

“When words are both kind and true, they will change the world.”  Buddha

“Non-violence in others can be achieved by being firmly rooted in non-violence in yourself.”   2.35 Yoga Sutras, Patanjali

What Looks After You

A Castle Built in our Neighborhood

Knowledge is better than wealth.  You have to look after wealth;

knowledge looks after you.

– Ali

 

From Indries Shah, The Way of the Sufi

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

A preacher comes up to a farmer in his field and remarks,

“Mighty fine farm you and the Lord have made.”

“Yep,” replies the farmer, “but you should have seen it when He had it all to Himself.”

from PS I Love You compiled by H. Jackson Browne Jr.

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