jpahl's blog

Hizmet from the Heart

Hizmet from the Heart
Jon Pahl
As delivered at “Friendship Dinners” in Portland, Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts

For the past six years, since attending an event very much like this one, I have been fortunate to meet thousands of individuals around the world inspired by a single ideal:  Hizmet.  

Hope for East Africa--Andrew Ayeni (August 30, 2010)

With all the uproar over the "mosque at Ground Zero," it might have been easy to miss how deeply East Africa is, again, in trouble.  Sudan teeters on another civil war.  In Mogadishu, Somalia on August 24, more than two-dozen died in a paramilitary attack on a hotel just a half-mile from the presidential palace.  And the World Cup bombing in Kampala, Uganda killed over 70. 

The Most Acceptable Prejudice (On the Pedophilia Scandal)--October 20, 2005

One sad trend in the current controversy over pedophilia in the church is how it has encouraged yet another rank of people of privilege in America to represent themselves as victims.  Otherwise mature Americans, mostly white, mostly male, mostly well-off, mostly well-educated Catholic leaders--have taken to claiming prejudice.   Let’s cut through this nonsense:  despite the moral panic about pedophilia, and corresponding Catholic

Jesus and Buddha at Live 8 (July 3, 2005)

Jesus and Buddha both made appearances at the July 2 Live 8 concert here in Philadelphia.  The two peacefully coexisted at this pluralistic justice-fest, where ethics of interdependence and love merged with a dash of Protestant missionary revivalism.

The Religious Origins of the Nairobi Violence

I have been to Westgate Mall in Nairobi, the scene of the horrific hostage scenario perpetrated last week by the Somali Islamist organization al-Shabab that killed up to 150. In fact, I ran afoul of the security guards at the mall. I was simply trying to take pictures; something I’ve done in malls all over the world, as profiled in Helene Klodawsky’s documentary film Malls R Us, and in my book Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Spaces.

The Güzel but Zor Turkish Language

From Istanbul. . . .

In 1880, Mark Twain published an essay destined to be famous. “The Awful German Language,” in A Tramp Abroad, lampooned the difficulty Twain experienced learning German. It is very funny. I remember laughing out loud to the point of tears the first time I read it, at Regenstein Library of The University of Chicago.