Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 6

Just before my big departure to Korea so many years ago, I had the opportunity to take a multi-state drive with my uncle. He had come to visit me and my sister in Cincinnati -the city I called home for a fun-filled nine-months. He was much closer to my sister than he was to me, but it didn't have to be that way. He was always open to a closer relationship. I could have taken advantage of that during my university days since he was (and still is) a French Literature professor at my alma mater. I'm not sure why I didn't, but that time has passed and I can only look forward now. I plan to get start rebuilding a lot of familial relationships when I return to the US. 

The ride wasn't wasn't more than a few hours, but in that time I felt like we accomplished a lot. The conversation glided from politics, crime and social problems with ease. We both shared our opinions and histories. We traded advice and concerns with each other. The road was long that day, but not long enough. It eventually came to an end and with it, our conversation. I don't remember the details of what we discussed that day, but I remember something that he did say. I'm paraphrasing as well. There's been too much soju between that conversation and this entry.
"I don't worry myself with the minor details. I loved how Jesus lived and I want to try to live the same way."
It was simple, yet eloquent. You never know what people are going to remember from a conversation. And sometimes, it's the smallest things that make a lasting impression. This is not the first time I've recalled this conversation. In fact, this line has made me willing to defend Christians from unfair criticism. Regardless of his title or lineage, Jesus was an excellent man. We can all learn from him. Just a few moments ago, my amazing wife made a comment to me. With all this religion in the house and in our conversation, she's been thinking about her own spirituality. 
"I don't want to understand religion with my head. Not yet, at least. I've got to feel it with my heart first."
She's right. For the last few days, I've been digging through the Bible with a closed heart and when it comes to religion, that pretty much equates to a closed mind. An great old friend of mine from Nashville named Chris chimed in the other day and left a comment (at least, I think it was him).  He said some good stuff, but the thing that really struck me was this:
"Having nearly finished the Gospels, ask yourself if you believe it's true." 
Chris was always a good guy. In fact, he just returned from Israel and will be starting his graduate studies in Theology at Cambridge. I'll make sure to catch up with him when the wife and I are there. So, I have finished the Gospels and I would be lying if I said that I believed them to be true. I need to find the heart and soul of Christianity before I start claiming to be a convert or even spiritually inspired. I found the heart of Buddhism without reaching Enlightenment and I can do the same with this religion. Essentially, I've got to get to know Jesus as a human before I can accept him as a god or Son of God.

I think this sermon is a good place to start.



  1. I do remember that drive, plus one we made to Nashville when Greg had a cross country event. I always enjoyed our drives together. The time passed so very quickly. Here's to renewing those family ties!

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