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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mahershala Ali: What's in a name?

Mahershala Ali   (Photo by jfer21)
Mahershala Ali, the first openly-professed Muslim to win an Oscar, was recently honored for his stellar performance in Moonlight.

Born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore, the actor was named after “a biblical prophetic name-child” from the Book of Isaiah, chapters 7-9.  His mother, an ordained minister, raised him as a Christian.

Gilmore later converted to Islam and “joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.”  He then changed his surname, and was known as Mahershalalhashbaz Ali until 2010.  His professional name was later shortened to Mahershala Ali.

The Ahmadiyya movement began in Punjab, India during the late 1800s.  Its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad “claimed to have been divinely appointed as the Mujaddid (renewer) of Islam.” His emphasis was to bring about this renewal by peaceful means.

As of 2016, this movement has grown within “209 countries and territories… with concentrations in South Asia, West Africa, East Africa and Indonesia."  Ahmadis have often faced persecution from mainstream Muslims, some of whom consider the Ahamdiyya Muslim Community to be heretical.   


Copyright February 28, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 27, 2017

Entombed artist carves himself a niche

(Photo by Ahodges7)
There have long been extreme sports, and now there’s extreme art.  French performer Abraham Poincheval is a fan of the latter.

Not content to simply sculpt the innards of a 12-ton boulder, Poincheval decided to entomb himself within them.  He therefore carved out a Poincheval-shaped niche to call home for three whole days.

The good artist did not embark upon this journey empty-handed.  As did pharaohs of old, he entered the darkness well-prepared.  Poincheval’s “carry-in” included soup, water, dried meat, and an empty bottle (with all that water and soup, guess what that was for).

Lest it become lonely in the middle, people have been speaking with Poincheval through a crack in the rock.  They regard him as sort of a father confessor, sharing dreams and nightmares alike.  The artist stated:  They are not so much talking to me, I think, as to the stone.  I am very happy that the stone has got into their heads.

Being buried alive is a tough act to follow, but Poincheval has the perfect encore in mind: walking on clouds.  He hasn’t quite figured out the logistics yet, but Faith says that he will.


Copyright February 27, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kneeling is Believing

(Public Domain)
The word “kneel” is closely related to the word “knee.”  In fact, it means “to go down or rest on one or both knees.”  The Latin term for “knee” is genu, as in the verb “genuflect.”  

Ashley Lewis of Readers Digest points out that many religions closely associate kneeling with prayer.  Dropping down in this manner expresses “devoted service and everlasting respect.”  It symbolizes submission to God’s eternal will.

It has become fashionable to kneel during marriage proposals.  This harkens back to the days of medieval courtship, when knights would genuflect before noblewomen and feudal lords.  Such displays of romanticism can be fine, so long as the line between worldly passion and idol worship is not breached.


Copyright February 26, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved