Friday, May 04, 2007

MIC Celebrates National Day of Prayer

Thursday was National Day of Prayer. For the eighth year, my local Marin Interfaith Council has held a prayer breakfast, produced by our sterling Director, the Rev. Carol Hovis.

I note with disappointment that the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which calls itself the Official Website for National Day of Prayer. In part, is says:
The National Day of Prayer Task Force exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership. [Emphasis added.]
Under "Who We Are," it says:

We are the Judeo-Christian expression of the National Day of Prayer which was established in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. The United States was born in prayer and founded on a relationship with God while instituting His biblical principles and moral values. [Emphasis added.]
MIC's prayer breakfast had nothing of the flavor that the the task force's "official" site has. One wonders if they are self-designated and how they view interfaith activities.

Last year's speakers were from diverse religions. See this Broomstick Chronicle. This year's breakfast was held at the same venue, Congregation Rodef Shalom, and our speakers were just as diverse, with Caleb Klinge, Senior Pastor of New Life Christian Center in Novato, a Pentacostal Christian; Clerk Linda Lang of the Quakers Marin Friends Meeting; and Ebrahim Nanan a Sunni Muslim from the Islamic Center of Mill Valley *

Although I do not resonate with Christian belief, I was able to find common ground with Pastor Klinge when he spoke of the joy of being filled with the love of God, in the sense that I think this parallels some of the ecstatic practices found in some Pagan paths, particularly my own Reclaiming and Faery/Feri. He claimed that his Christian life is lived and experienced rather than written about and debated. More experiential than scripture-based.

Clerk Lang spoke modestly yet knowledgeably about how Quakers worship. She told some of the history of their religion, which began as a type of Christianity, and moved on to the "consensus process" used in their meetings. Individuals speak at the spirit moves them rather than just to be filling up air space. Some meetings are silent ones while others, when many are moved to speak, may fill with locquacity. Her words found resonance in my soul.

Mr. Ebrahim spoke in a straightforward way about how Muslims practice and their reliance on the Koran. As you might expect, he fielded several questions about the differences between Sunnis and Shiites, yet he refused to be drawn into what he sees as political differences. He said the beliefs and practices of the two Islamic lines are identical, and that the only thing they differed on was lineage.

I had an opportunity to chat with Sister Elizabeth Padilla of Brahma Kumaris at breakfast. She's active in the URI and the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, where knows and works with Don Frew. Afterwards I was approached by a woman who is a Religious Science minister and also a member of the Fellowship of Isis. She wanted to circulate notice of the upcoming pentacle quest event in Lafayette. I find interfaith events more enjoyable as I continue to participate.

* Mr. Ebrahim knew John Walker Linde from his time of seeking when he began to attend this mosque.

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