From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Banned burkinis: What next?

Woman in Burkini  (Photo by Giorgio Montersino)
Imagine if the wearing of cross necklaces or yarmulkes was banned within the United States.  A mighty outcry regarding religious freedom would hopefully ensue.

Now imagine that you are a Muslim woman on a beach in Nice, France.  You are comfortably resting in your burkini (a religious garment that “covers the body and head”).  Police suddenly arrive and force you to remove this significant outfit.

You not only feel religiously violated, but also publicly humiliated.  To make matters worse, hostile onlookers are shouting, “Go home!”

France may have been your home for years, but now you feel like a stranger in a strange land.  This is not only happening in Nice, but also in Corsica and 15 other French towns.

Such an extreme measure is deemed necessary in order to “protect the population.”  But at what expense?  With religious freedom up for grabs, anything and anyone could be next to go. 


Copyright August 25, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

All Lives Matter: PC or not

(Photo by Coyau)
In a tit-for-tat move, “White Lives Matter” demonstrators recently gathered outside the Houston offices of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

These 20-or-so protestors did not come empty-handed.  They bore assault rifles and Confederate flags. A spokesperson for the group explained that “the Confederate flags were being flown to symbolize Southern heritage” (as in lynch mobs?).  

This protest was in response to the NAACP’s alleged failure “to condemn the perceived role of Black Lives Matter in relation to the deaths of white police officers.”

There is nothing wrong with thinking that Black Lives Matter and/or that White Lives Matter.  But until we act as though All Lives Matter, injustice will violently rule.


Copyright August 24, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'Adonis' lives on

Venus and Adonis  (Painting by Francois Lemoyne)
The name "Adonis" is ironically related to the Hebrew word “Adonai,” which is one of the names for the Supreme Deity of the Hebrew Bible.

This is ironic because Adonis was "originally a Phoenician god of fertility representing the spirit of vegetation.”  He might have also been directly associated with the worship of Ba’al.  Torah adherents would therefore have scorned him as a lesser god.

The Ancient Greeks added quite a bit of their own mythology to the Adonis story.  They had explained that Adonis was physically beautiful, to such an extent that both Aphrodite (Venus) and Persephone fell in love with him.  He was later killed by a wild boar, perhaps sent by Aphrodite’s jealous lover Ares.

Nevertheless, the legacy of Adonis continues.  A research team was recently able to determine that “a Bosnian pine located in northern Greece” is a whopping 1,075 years old (at least!).  This youthful tree has been dubbed “Adonis” because of its ongoing beauty and fertility.


Copyright August 23, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved