Sacred Earth Sacred Self: Festival of Faiths

 

I am soooo freaking excited about this!!!! I love my community because we are a big hodgepodge of people from a variety of backgrounds, religions, politics, cultures, etc. Unlike most places, in the south and especially Kentucky, it is quite acceptable to talk about politics and religion… we are not much on shying away from the taboo. In our great community, we have the Center for Interfaith Relations. They work tirelessly to restore places of worship, and promote understanding and cooperation among the various faiths in our city.

They have a yearly interfaith event with practitioners from different faiths come and share the heart of their own faith and to work together for the betterment of humanity. This year I am so stoked because some of my favorite people in the world will be here to work on healing ourselves while healing our earth. One such person is Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. He is an American convert to Islam. He takes a strong stance against the salafi/wahhabi types and enjoins Muslims to purify their hearts instead of concerning themselves with other people’s lifestyles. He advocates for an American Islam… one that takes the goodness of our culture and practice Islam. He is well read of classics, politics, social issues and has an in depth understanding of the human psyche.

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My other absolute favorite person is Wendell Berry. He is a Kentuckian, poet, novelist, farmer and environmental activist. His poetry stirs something primal in me to fight for our earth. The earth is a gift for us to be cherished, not to be raped and abused. One of my favorite poems of his is as follows:

The Peace of Wild Things

BY WENDELL BERRY

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Needless to say, I am excited for this week long festival. It will have guided meditations with Gerrardo Abboud and lectures from the above mentioned men as well as from Monica Weiss, SSJ professor of Nazareth College and expert of Thomas Merton, along with many others. I am in need of a spiritual reboot and am confident that this will be just what I need. For more information, click here. They are on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe to their youtube to watch videos of previous festival lectures.

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