Sunday, November 23, 2008

slowing down (in the gold country) part 3

i listened to a handsome turkish man in a western suit read sufi poetry this morning in his native language. then in english.

it was truly moving and beautiful.

he's a prof at uc davis. and he was visiting our little unitarian church in the gold country for a service about the gulan movement. fethllulah gulan is known and loved the world over and won the foreign policy magazine peacemaker award and yet we here in the west know nothing of him.

the speaker this morning decided to correct that.

she had visited turkey with a group of 20 other volunteers as part of an interfaith cultural exchange. they stayed with sufi practitioners, in homes of those who embrace moderate islam. they were there for a dialog on western perceptions of the moslem faith.

she was a striking older woman with beautiful silver hair, wrapped in a gray and gold pashmina, who spoke with such passion and tenderness about the turks she'd come to know.

interfaith dialog.

that's what mlk was imagining for our future in his "i have a dream" speech. he painted a picture of a world where "protestant and catholic" (a specific reference to the WASPy prejudice against JFK) and "black and white" get along.

this morning we sang a rumi song and held hands and swayed. we listened to a duet play hauntingly beautiful sufi music on exotic looking instruments.

it was truly wonderful to hear this message of peace and respect for diversity in this small town!

in the south, small towns are associated with poverty, ignorance, intolerance, and racism.

i hadn't realized how much that shaped my view of traveling in rural areas. i always assume it will be like that and am so pleasantly surprised when i'm wrong.

felt so right to sing rumi:

"come, come, whoever you are..

wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.

ours is no caravan of despair.

come, yet again, come."

1 comment:

Hidden Sage said...

That is one of Rumi's poems that always stuck with me. :)