Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Challenge

I have written over 20 articles on Christmas, of the hundreds I have written about Christianity under the heading “Festivals of the World” published at Huffington Post, Dallas Morning News and other Newspapers around the world. Most of the links are provided below or you can Google the phrase “Mike Ghouse Christmas”


This time, I want to include quotes from my face book friends in my upcoming article on Christmas. If you can write what Christmas means to you in 30 words or less, I will include one or two best quotes from each major faith or secular practitioner – that is from a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, Sikh, Wicca, Native American, Pagan, Atheist, Jain, Buddhist and other. All the best quotes will be included at the Pluralism Blog though. You can write and rewrite several times until you get it perfect. It will be published in a major News paper including my blogs on Pluralism.

More than likely Pope Francis and I will be delivering a similar message on Christmas. I am in tune with him since he was appointed. He is a genuine religious leader of humanity who will be shaping the religious landscape of the world. Indeed he is my religious mentor. Mahatma Gandhi, my mentor had said, a true Christian is a true Muslim, is a true Jew, is a true Hindu, is a true Sikh or true whatever. Yes, he is a Christian and I am a Muslim and we follow the same path - that of caring for all of God's creation without  undermining or discriminating any, and embracing every one of humanity. 

Pope Francis is a mirror of Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Nanak, the great native shamans and all the other great men and women who did not have walls between them.  May God bless them all. 


"Festivals of the World" is an educational series that I have been writing for the last 20 years. When we live in a community as neighbors and work together as colleagues, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or at least understand each other's' joys and sorrows. A cohesive society, neighborhood or a community shapes up when no one lives in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other.
Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively.
You can write your comments here on facebook at Speaker Mike Ghouse
Let it be known that your quote will be read by thousands, as my articles are copied by multiple news papers and websites. Google the phrase “Mike Ghouse Christmas” and see all my articles.
Festivals of the World: the Essence of Christmas | Mike Ghouse
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/festivals-of-the-world-es_1…

Interfaith Christmas: Making God Boundless | Mike Ghouse
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/interfaith-christmas-making…

The Ghouse Diary: A Muslim’s Christmas, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/a-muslims-christmas_b_11672…

Muslims pray for Christians
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/muslims-to-dedicate-frida_b…

A Muslim's Easter
www.huffingtonpost.com/…/...celebrates-easter_b_2976582.html

Another 30 articles here - Standing up for Christians
http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/…/standing-with-chr…

Thank you
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
.......................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making. He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Peshawar Massacre

 My heart goes out to the innocent children. I have been trying to get my thoughts together about the death of innocent children, what possessed these loonies to take it out on children? How do we rid this ugliness from our societies? Where did we go wrong? I don’t see this as Peshawar’s problem; it is our problem, the problem of the entire world. Terrorism has to be choked, contained and removed, how do we do that?

The Pakistani flag will be flying half and here in Dallas, we are gathering up for a candle light vigil on Saturday. It reminds me of the columbine and new town massacres, loonies opening fire on children. 
How can we stop this?

This is the first time, I have gone completely speechless, did not know what to do. Did not write, unlike the times I have done before including the 9/11 day. 


I will find solutions to this and write about it.



Congratulations to Dr. Vivek Murthy, the new Surgeon General of the United States of America.




It's a great moment of  pride for us, the Indian Americans. Dr. Murthy is one of our own, who has earned the highest honor of becoming the Surgeon General of the United States.

Vivek Hallegere Murthy is the 19th Surgeon General of the United States of America. Murthy is co-founder of Doctors for America and succeeded Acting Surgeon General Boris D.

It was not an easy appointment; he was opposed by the Republicans for his stance on Gun control and national health care. But the strength of his qualifications and strong support from President Obama got him the job of the highest Medical Post in America.    Thanks to the Senate Majority leader Harry Reid in getting the Senate to approve the nomination with a 53 to 46 vote. We have to work the 43 Republican Senators who opposed the nomination.

This gives us three high profile Indians in American politics – 2 State Governors Bobby Jindal and Niki Haley, and the Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. We have several more and hope someone will compile the list.

The American Association of Physicians from India has also worked hard in lobbying for his nomination. Our own Sante Chary, who works with the Association as a consultant has made several rounds in the Senate. Sante also received the Pluralist Award in the 16th Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations for "connecting the international leaders" by America Together Foundation.  
Congratulations Dr. Murthy.

I will be visiting Washington DC frequently to conduct workshops and teach Pluralism, and as a social scientist, that would be my contribution to the fabric of America, and a commitment to build a cohesive America where no American has to live with apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. 

Mike Ghouse
www.TheGhouseDiary.com
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From different sources

Vivek Hallegere Murthy was born to a Kannada (ವಿವೇಕ ಮೂರ್ತಿ) speaking family; his parents are originally from Karnataka, India. He was born in Huddersfield, England, but his family relocated to Miami, Florida when he was three years old.[4] Murthy completed his early education in Miami, graduating as valedictorian fromMiami Palmetto Senior High School in 1994.[5] He then attended college atHarvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in three years with a bachelors degree in Biochemical Sciences.[5] Murthy received an MDfrom Yale School of Medicine and an MBA in Health Care Management fromYale School of Management in 2003, where he was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow.[6][7] He completed his residency in Internal Medicine in 2006 from Brigham and Women's Hospital.[8]

Career

Murthy is the Surgeon General of the United States. Before his confirmation, he was a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and a Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.[9] He is also a founder and president of Doctors for America, a group of 15,000 physicians and medical students supporting comprehensive health reform.[10][11] He has managed staff and hundreds of volunteers, developed and executed strategic plans and national and local initiatives around coverage and prevention. He has also directed fundraising, managed budgets, built a broad array of partnerships with community-based organizations across the country. In 2011, Murthy was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve on the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.[9] The group advises the National Prevention Council on developing strategies and partnerships to advance the nation's health.[12]

He is co-founder and chairman of TrialNetworks, a cloud-based Clinical Trial Optimization System for pharmaceutical andbiotechnology trials that improves the quality and efficiency of clinical trials to bring new drugs to market faster and more safely.[13][14] He founded the company as Epernicus in 2008 to originally be a collaborative networking web platform for scientists to boost research productivity.[15]

He created and served as President and then Chairman of VISIONS, a non-profit organization focused on HIV/AIDS education in the US and India. During his 8 year tenure as head of the organization, VISIONS established 10 chapters with hundreds of volunteers in both countries and impacted over 45,000 youth through direct education programs. He managed volunteers spread across two countries, directed fundraising and program evaluation efforts, and oversaw partnerships.

Murthy has also led and managed medical care teams at Brigham and Women's Hospital for over a decade. He has trained hundreds of medical students and residents and has cared for thousands of patients as an internal medicine physician. He also continues to practice medicine.

Surgeon General of the United States[edit]

In November 2013, Murthy was nominated by President Obama for the post of United States Surgeon General. His nomination met some initial resistance in the Senate by both Democrats and Republicans. The most opposition came from the National Rifle Association regarding previous comments Dr. Murthy made citing gun violence as a threat to public health.[16] However, Murthy said in his confirmation hearings he would not use the office of Surgeon General as a bully pulpit for gun control.[17][18]

Murthy's nomination received broad support from over 100 medical and public health organizations in the U.S., including the American College of Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association.[19] He also received the endorsements of two former Surgeons General, Dr. David Satcher and Dr. Regina Benjamin. However, another former Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmonaopposed the appointment based on the lack of Dr. Murthy's experience in public health and medicine in general.

Nonetheless, Murthy's appointment as Surgeon General was approved on December 15, 2014, in a 51-43 vote.[20]Following his confirmation, Murthy was automatically commissioned as a Vice Admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, of which the Surgeon General is the day to day head.

Happy Hanukkah - essence of Chanukah

ESSENCE OF HANUKKAH | CHANUKAH

Shalom, tonight the giant Minorah will be lit in Dallas in the Galleria Mall in Dallas by Sephora at 5:00 PM. I will  be there, come say hi!
"Festivals of the World" is an educational series by Mike Ghouse developed in 1993. When we live as neighbors and in the same communities, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or at least understand each other's joys and sorrows. Please note, the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively. 
The Festival of Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration, and it is about celebrating the recovery and re-dedication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. Hanukkah is spelled in many different ways in case you want to Google it; Hanukah, Chanukah, Chanuka, Hanukka and other variations.

 

Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
............................................................................................................................... 
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Texas Faith - Is torture ever justified as an instrument of American policy in a dangerous world?

Dick Cheney has no problems if our soldiers are captured and tortured by rogue nations. Did he ask the permission from the folks whose spouse, parent, kid or sibling who is serving in the armed forces can be tortured, should they be caught by the enemy? I hope our veterans will hold him accountable for his irresponsible statements. Shame on our civility, this man has pulled us down.  Mike Ghouse

Note: I have appended two comments from Yoshua Budin and Omar Saleem Peerzada, my facebook friends. The comments are very profound


Continued: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/12/texas-faith-is-torture-ever-justified.html


TEXAS FAITH: Is torture ever justified as an instrument of American policy in a dangerous world?
\
Wayne Slater Follow @WayneSlater Email wslater@dallasnews.com
Published: December 16, 2014 3:21 pm
A new Senate report has rekindled the debate over enhanced interrogation, or torture – an issue of profound political, social and moral implications. We know the context: enhanced interrogation was a desperate attempt to prevent another 9-11. It worked or didn’t. It was used sparingly or wasn’t.
In retrospect, some religious voices make a clear case that torture is immoral and should never be used. Others say that even if immoral in full or in part, the 39 captives subjected to it should be viewed against the larger evil of 3,000 people killed on 9-11.
Mark Tooley, a frequent commentator on matters of religion and politics, writes this: We can be confident of course in God’s love for all people. But until God sets forth the new heavens and new earth, temporal security will indeed require threats of harm or weapons of war.http://juicyecumenism.com/2014/12/10/torture/
He notes that unvarnished torture is practiced by tyrannical regimes and murderous terrorists, often on innocents who don’t share a particular political or religious view. He suggests it’s justified as a necessary evil in order to prevent a greater evil. Obviously, there is a strong, religiously based counterview – some things cross a line, are morally repugnant, never acceptable.
This week’s question is simple, and hard.
What does your faith say about enhanced interrogation – about torture – as an instrument of American policy in a dangerous world?
As expected, our Texas Faith panel of theologians, clergy, activists and experts take a dim view of torture — but come to their views from various traditions that are guaranteed to provoke thought. 
MIKE GHOUSE: President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
Torture is reprehensible and should not be an instrument of American policy. We are a civil society and to remain civil, we should act civil.
After the battle of Trenton, General Washington issued an order to his troops regarding prisoners of war: “Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren who have fallen into their hands,” he wrote. In all respects the prisoners were to be treated no worse than American soldiers; and in some respects, better. Through this approach, Washington sought to shame his British adversaries, and to demonstrate the moral superiority of the American cause.
By legitimizing, “he would do it again” VP Dick Cheney has shamelessly approved other nations torturing our soldiers. Did he ask permission from the folks that the rogue nations can torture their spouse, parent, kid or sibling caught by the enemy? He has the guts to say they would rather “behead.” The VP indicates his bias towards one ignoring other nations. I hope our veterans will hold him accountable for his thoughtless statements.
We are also a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of prisoners of war.
What does Quran say about torture?
Finding the truth is one’s own responsibility, it gives clarity and peace of mind knowing that the causer of life, the creator God is kind and merciful.
Verse 9:5 is projected in the market as, “When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”
The story goes like this, when you hear me say, “I will kill you” you get all worked up and become aggressive. What an intelligent human would have done was recall what I said before “I will kill you”, and that would be, “don’t rob me or don’t dare to throw me out of my home.” If he keeps coming after you; you repeat the warning and add if you do that, I will kill you” followed by these words, “If you back off or repent, I will not attack back at you, and the bonus, if you ask for forgiveness, I will forgive you.”
This is the formula in Quran for literally every such verse.
9:5  And so, when the sacred months are over , slay those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God wherever you may come upon them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place! Yet if they repent, and take to prayer, and render the purifying dues, let them go their way: for, behold, God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace.
What was said before verse 9:5?
9:4 But excepted shall be from among those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God – [people] with whom you [O believers] have made a covenant and who thereafter have in no wise failed to fulfill their obligations towards you, and neither have aided anyone against you: observe, then, your covenant with them until the end of the term agreed with them.  Verily, God loves those who are conscious of Him.
After verse 9:5
9:6 And if any of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God seeks thy protection,  grant him protection, so that he might [be able to] hear the word of God [from thee]; and thereupon convey him to a place where he can feel secure: this, because they [may be] people who [sin only because they] do not know [the truth].
Beware:
1. The Quran had been purposely mistranslated down through history. In the middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders. Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews. It was all for politics.  Thank God the Arabic version has remained intact and better translations are produced now – the best one is by Muhammad Asad. www.QuraanConference.com
2. The biggest Muslim problem is they have equated the words of a few medieval scholars as word of God. Muslims have started denouncing their work. Two Islams – Mangled up and Pristine – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/two-islams-the-mangledup-_b_5748280.html
3.  Prophet Muhammad was called a mercy to mankind, meaning he was kind and merciful to humanity, all humanity, not just Muslims. The bad things about him are “cooked up” and Muslims are becoming increasingly aware of it, and resorting to just Quran as the source of guidance. Quran is not for Muslimshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/quran-is-not-for-muslims_b_6174940.html#es_share_ended

To read the take of other panelists, please to go to Dallas Morning News at: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/12/texas-faith-is-torture-ever-justified-as-an-instrument-of-american-policy-in-a-dangerous-world.html/#more-48473
2 Scholarly Facebook Comments:

Yoshua Budin Those who are in favour of torture (for whatever reason) should realise that one day they may end up at the wrong side of this system as well. A government, that is so obsessed with national security that it allows torture, is likely to apply it to its own citizens too. In a society that continuously shifts boundaries there are no certainties.

Mike Ghouse Yoshua Budin - Thanks for sharing your wisdom, I am always encouraged by your thoughts and notes.

Omar Saleem Peerzada Torture is both dangerous and wrong, not only as a matter of practice, but as a matter of national morality.

Omar Saleem Peerzada , I read somewhere that experienced and professional interrogators eschew torture as unlawful, unnecessary and unreliable....The net strategic effect of torture was zero intelligence and the immense loss of moral stature. One cannot lecture the world about the rule of law or moral imperative when we abandon it and pretend nothing was amiss. I want to add the observation through Polling data collected by the Pew Center and Investor’s Business Daily/Christian Science Monitored between 2001-2011 shows a decline of those who believe torture is “never” or “rarely” justified from 66% to 42%, and an increase of those who believe torture is “sometimes” or “often” justified from 32% to 53%.

Mike Ghouse  
Yes, it is the 2nd part that is worrisome, that is regressive or coming to a point of not wanting to solve but bulldoze it. Omar, a very thoughtful statement, with our permission I would like to add this to the article as your quote. It is very profound. Thank you. 


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............................................................................................................................... Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Aga Khan's 78th birthday celebrations; Khushali Mubarak

He was born on December 13, and today he is 78! Happy birthday ! Khushali is a week long birth celebration of HH Aga Khan, he is the Imam (spiritual leader like the Pope for Catholics) of Ismaili Shia Imami Muslims, a branch of Shia Islam. 

Ismaili Muslim community meets in the Jamaat Khana (community center) for the whole week, extolling his work and his service to humanity. 


Indeed, His Highness Aga Khan has pleased God of all people (Aalameen) with his work. His work is not limited to one community, but the whole humanity as God wanted and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had reiterated.

His Highness Aga Khan is one Muslim figure that is respected around the world for his work in uplifting fellow beings; the very foundational duty of a Muslim. Quran is inundated with verses that always emphasize on taking care of fellow beings over everything else. In simple words, a mother or a father would be happier if their kids get along, and they would be even happier if the one doing well were to lift up the other siblings who were not doing well. Similarly God will be most pleased if we take care our fellow beings;his creation.

INCREDIBLE:  To write a new piece today, I placed “khushali greetings”  and “Khushali Mubarak” in Google search,  what pops up is pages and pages of my writings.  People have copied and reposted it over the years. I wrote about 25 articles on HH, but hundreds have been populated from that. That made  me happy.  The www.WorldMuslimCongress.com is an inclusive and a pluralistic site for all Muslims, you’ll find article s on every Muslim denomination.

Just place “Aga Khan” and or “Khushali” in the search box atwww.WorldMuslimCongress.com or  www.TheGhousediary.com and you will find plenty of articles.

On the last Imamat Day at Huffington Post - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/happy-khushali-a-ramadan_b_5577420.html 

His highness is one of my mentors in defining, speaking, writing, thinking and giving it a action on Pluralism. www.Foundationforpluralism.com 

............................................................................................................................... Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Relevance of Friday Sermons at Mosques

Imam Zia Sheikh and Imam Yaseen

You two are exceptions! You live and breathe the deen (religion) and duniya (world),  and I connect with you two, both of you are open minded and respect the God-given life in here now, and take care of the Amana (Life is a trust),  and not sacrifice it for the Aakhira (hereafter).  

However, your concerns are legitimate, yes, many of the Khutbas (sermons) are irrelevant, and have nothing to do with my day to day life. Some of them are downright stupid, as a Muslim, I don’t want to mince the words; A Khateeb was telling in a mosque that Aids is not a Muslim issue, because we are so pious we don’t get Aids – there were several medical doctors in the congregation… I don’t know if they dove into the cell phone or did not have the balls to speak up, but I went to read stuff in my cell phone.  I communicated that in my note a few weeks later, and guess what happened - well of course, you believe the Imam. 
The issue is relevance of Khutba.


I would love to give a Khutba in your mosque, on the topic of how we connect with the Prophet, and what it means to us on a day to day basis. How can we become the Rahmat to our fellow beings without distinction? Being Amin is the first requirement of being a Muslim that is the foundation model Prophet gave us – instead we chose the others Sunna’s as our brand recognition.

By the way, I give talks on the topic " Muhammad the Peacemaker" along with MLK and Gandhi during the season of peace. Here are a few articles to indicate what it would entail:


Connecting with the Prophet -
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/how-i-connect-with-prophet-muhammad_b_2547782.html


American Muslim Agenda -
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/american-muslim-agenda-a-_b_5528706.html

Imam Yaseen, I will be in DC on Friday January 16, please let me know if that will work for you.

Let me know if I can.


Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress, a think tank

Fox News is good entertainment, is it not?

As long as it acknowledges that Fox News is an expression of the agenda of Roger Ailes, I am fine with it, it is good entertainment. But to call it fair and balanced works for those who do not want to see or hear another point of view.


Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly have good shows, you may disagree with them, and I do, but they are a necessity, they keep the government on their toes. Now, I have to see if they will do the same with Republican Majority in Senate and the house.

I have been on their shows. In fact, I will be doing my 98th show on Hannity this week. Let me wish this – I hope every country in the world has shows like Hannity, bold, dare and a pain in the ass, but he fulfills his duty to the public by relentlessly questioning the government, and that to me is very patriotic. Hannity is a great American.

Thank you
mike

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Texas Faith: A cup of coffee and other holy rituals

A good cup of Coffee or Tea in itself is not divine, but it has the ingredients to offer that blissful moment that connects us with ourselves. There is nothing like it.

Texas Faith: A cup of coffee and other holy rituals

Every faith has its rituals. Hopefully these help put us in the mind of being with God and make us more present in our prayer. Our lives have their little rituals too.
In a recent article,Rabbi Patrick “Aleph” Beaulier wrote about the ritual of a morning cup of coffee.
The coffee is a pleasure certainly, but it is also a moment set aside, at best, for a little peace, perhaps silence and reflection. These moments apart are important to our lives as people of faith, as people who are trying to draw ourselves nearer to God. We have our rituals in our religious ceremonies too, often freighted or filled with symbolism and intended, in their own way, to draw us away from the run of our thoughts and into the peace we hope faith will bring.
How can our little daily rituals bring us closer to God? How can we make sure that, in everyday moments, we are building our path to the divine?
(This question was inspired by panelist Cynthia Rigby.)
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas

A good cup of Coffee or Tea in itself is not divine, but it has the ingredients to offer that blissful moment that connects us with ourselves. There is nothing like it.
I just finished drinking a cup of tea and what a joy it was! Every now and then I give myself a 100 for making that perfect cup of tea. Tea is about color, taste, looks, texture, cup and the whole shebang! It gives me the same joy that my grandson expresses when he walked a few steps for the first time.
Indeed a good cup of Tea is divine if we make a ritual out of it, and that is how the ritual prayers have evolved; to dedicate the time and bring peace to oneself.
A few minutes of meditation or a prayer unclutters the mind, and a few minutes of silence restores the mind whether on believes in God or not. It frees us from momentary chaos and prepares us to be collected and help us refocus on what is important to us. It is good to be free.
To get the maximum benefit out of Tea on a daily basis, we have to dedicate a few minutes to sipping it instead of rushing it. I have watched a few friends who say, “I have to drink this cup to get my day going” and dash to the car and resort to expletives if someone cuts them off or slams the break ahead of them. Where is the joy in it? How much time does it take to sit down and smell the coffee? It takes no more than 5 minutes but the return on it is immense.
I compare this to rebooting my computer. When everything slows down due to multiple programs running on it, we get frustrated to wait to see the words appear on the screen after typing… even if it were a split second it is not worth the frustration, reboot it, and see how it functions!
Those of us, who can free ourselves from tension, pain, anxiety, apprehension, hostility, malice, pressure, stress, strain and conflicts, are showered with blessings of peace and joy. The Spiritual freedom is indeed the greatest achievement in one’s life and it sticks to you if you practice dedicating time to everything you do including drinking a cup of Coffee or Tea, it is worth it and you deserve it, just do it!
To read the other Panelist's take, go to Dallas Morning News at http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/12/texas-faith-a-cup-of-coffee-and-other-holy-rituals.html/
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post.  All about him is listed in several links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Obama's foreign policy talk to Indian Students.

It was a joy to hear him out, he and I speak the same language, to be inclusive and not to push people to dig in their heels. Indeed, it is in India's interest to have a safe, secure and stable Pakistan. A nation or individual's peace hinges on the peace around him or it.  

I hope our kids will not be poisoned by some of us with hatred for others. It is no good.

If you threaten others, I will guarantee you, you are not going to sleep in peace, and both sides will live in apprehensions. These stinky attitudes were part of the humanoids when they were hunters and gatherers, we don't need them. 


I hope Mr. Modi understands this along with those children, he has a chance to prove to be better than Nehru and he should strive for it. I hope and pray that he will demonstrate his abilities by pulling a peace agreement between the two nations. If we do that, our world would become bigger - we can seek the UN Security council seat.  

http://www.zemtv.com/2014/12/07/indian-student-questions-obama-why-doesnt-america-consider-pakistan-a-terrorist-state-watch-obamas-excellent-reply/

Bolo Barack Obama ki - Jai!

Mike Ghouse