- Faculty & Staff
Yesterday I preached a sermon on the image of God. The death of Osama bin Laden provides an opportunity for me to practice what I preach and proclaim that even he, the mastermind of terrorist attacks on Spain, the United States, Tanzania, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and places that we may never know, responsible for the murders of thousands - more than three thousand on 9/11 alone - even Osama bin Laden was a bearer of the Divine image having been created in the image of God.
I have never been to the Holy Land but my parents have been there several times and brought me back several items from their time there – water from the Jordan River and several wood carvings made from Olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane. Every time I see them I am reminded of the holy ground on which Jesus walked, taught, preached, healed, and prayed. They remind me of the places where he was arrested, tried, beaten and crucified. They remind me of the road he walked carrying the instrument of his death to the hill called Golgotha.
Today’s sermon is Beyond Zombie Theology and More than a Mummy. In the Name of the Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer and Life-Giver. Amen.
Act I: Scene One
I never made it into the soaring and spectacular Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petronas_Towers). A ruthless downpour canceled our excursion. The rain came sideways. Bolts of lightning lit up the afternoon sky. It was only late at night that we approached the brightly illuminated, and truly beautiful, Twin Towers, as they are called. For all of their beauty it’s hard to tell, frankly, whether the tower
Sydney is spectacular. The view of the harbor and skyline from North Sydney is breathtaking. The cultural scene of coffee houses and cafes near the Opera House sings with energy. And the city is full of surprises—one of which is a sacred space I’ll never forget.
Melbourne has mojo. It’s a city of natural beauty. Albert Park, adjacent to the harbor and where the Australian Grand Prix auto race is held, is lovely. The city also has cultural dynamism, with an emphasis on athletics. Our view from the top of Eureka Tower (the tallest spire in the Southern hemisphere) took in the city’s sports complex—at least three football and soccer stadiums that I counted, and Rod Laver Stadium where the Australian Open is played. But the city’s mojo comes from its cosmopolitan conversation—very much in evidence
Jakarta was invigorating and exhausting. It features the worst traffic I’ve ever experienced. And the warmest people. Some of the deepest poverty. And perhaps the finest luxury hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Shanty shacks with tin roofs in row after row, and gleaming high-rises and a glitzy mall called Mall Taman Anggrek www.taman-anggrek-mall.com/index1.php Jakarta was invigorating. And exhausting. A jumble of contradictions.
Singapore, Sweat, and Shopping Malls
I was completely disoriented in Singapore. It was hot, which I expected. It was green and filled with carefully pruned trees that formed canopies over many roadways, which I hadn’t expected. And, the streets were lined with beautiful orchids and azaleas. I wasn’t prepared for such lushness, juxtaposed with high-rise after high-rise. Singapore was also squeakily clean, which is amazing, and just a little creepy, given the population density.
A logic emerged out of the three sacred places in Tirana and Istanbul I was privileged to visited this Sunday. The three took me from the trauma of finitude through the temptation of transcendence to the challenge of interfaith peace.