a wizdUUm community blog

Recognizing the Spirit in daily life.

Tree of Kindness

One of my favorite things about the winter holidays is the decorations.  In the darkness of winter, the glitter and lights are all the more appreciated.  And one of my least favorite things about the winter holidays is the fighting over the decorations.  Non-Christians complaining about Christmas trees, as if Christmas trees were actually Christian.  

The solution has been to give equal time to symbols of other faith traditions.  In addition to the Christmas creche, there now stands the Hanukkah menorah, and maybe even a Yule log.  Fine with me.  The more festivity the better.  

But what about atheists who don't espouse any religion?  Will they be offended by any display of faith?  Will they insist that we take down all the decorations, reducing us to the dark dreariness of lowest common denominator?

On Teddy Bears and Tenderness

Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher in Sudan who was sentenced to 15 days in jail for allowing children to name a teddy bear “Mohammed”, was freed on Dec 3rd, after being held for 8 days. Under Sudanese law, the court could have sentenced her to as much as 40 lashes and 6 months in prison.  While there were scary, hateful people in the streets calling for her blood, it was obvious that the court itself did not relish the situation and was trying to find a middle way to appease the angry mobs while still upholding what is just.

In every country, there are always scary, hateful people.  It was comforting to see that the Sudanese legal system did not reflect that.

These Two Things Do Not Mix

The building in which I work has a strange cadre of tenants.  We're on the third floor, along side an International School.  The second floor is shared by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and a rather divey bar.

I'd never really thought about how the bar gets its alcohol, but today as I caught the elevator up I shared the ride with a guy pushing a dolly stacked high with boxes of beer.  He got off the second floor, right into the PLO's reception area, and pushed the abundance of booze passed the picture of Yasser Arafat hanging reverently on the wall. 

Talk about multi-culturalism.

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