A voice of peace 4


By Tom Quiner

Is an Islamic mosque a good idea at Ground Zero?

Is there a single voice today who speaks for Christianity? Obviously the Pope speaks for the Catholic world.  But in a sense he is the de facto Christian voice to the world on “big picture” issues even if all Christians don’t agree with all Catholic doctrines.

So in 1985 when Pope John Paul II traveled to Morocco, the world paid attention. There in the Casablanca Stadium, he said to the gathered Islamic youth “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God.”

What a powerful symbolic gesture.  He was extending the hand of peace from the world of Christianity to the world of Islam.

His Papacy was marked by repeated ecumenical outreach.  In 2000, he visited the Holy Land and arranged a ceremony which included an Islamic Imam and Jewish Rabbi.  The purpose of the ceremony, complete with songs from children of the three faiths, was to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The ceremony unraveled.  A Rabbi offended an Imam when he characterized Jerusalem as the “united eternal capital” of Israel.  The Imam walked out.

Nonetheless, the Pope, a world-wide voice for the Christian world, was seen as a voice of reason, as a leader for peace and understanding between the world’s religions.

There is no comparable voice for Islam.  That presents a problem when it comes to the Ground Zero mosque.

Americans aren’t hearing enough voices of peace coming from the world of Islam.

Americans are concerned about what is actually being said inside of mosques in this country.  They may be voices of peace.  Most probably are.  It’s the uncertainty that worries Americans.

How many mosques in this country advocate Sharia law, for example?  It doesn’t help when you hear about a study done by The Center for Security Policy that states that only 20% of mosques have no taint of Sharia.  Only 20%.  Is that really true?  It’s the doubt that bothers us.

The world hungers to hear loud voices raised in the Islamic world that proclaim their desire for peace.

The world so very much hungers for Islam to check the violent tendencies of the most extreme elements of their faith.

Until that happens, America is going to be uncomfortable with a mosque located at Ground Zero.

“The world will be won by beauty.” Part 1 Reply


By Tom Quiner

I am exactly like you.  I love beauty.

Every human soul is instinctively attracted to beauty.  This modern world needs more beauty.  To that aim, Quiner’s Diner will begin a regular feature titled “The world will be won by beauty.”  We will occasionally post a work of art that transcends this world, that allows us to imagine the divine, namely God’s pure love.

I heard the quote above on the radio once.  I did a little digging and discovered it is a variation of Dostoevsky’s quote:  “beauty will save the world.”  The 19th century Russian philosopher, Vladimir Solovyov, had this to say about Dostoevsky’s words:

Dostoevsky

“Dostoevsky not only preached, but, to a certain degree also demonstrated in his own activity this reunification of concerns common to humanity–at least of the highest among these concerns–in one Christian idea.

Being a religious person, he was at the same time a free thinker and a powerful artist. These three aspects , these three higher concerns were not differentiated in him and did not exclude one another, but entered indivisibly into all his activity.

In his convictions he never separated truth from good and beauty; in his artistic creativity he never placed beauty apart from the good and the true.

And he was right, because these three live only in their unity. The good, taken separately from truth and beauty, is only an indistinct feeling, a powerless upwelling; truth taken abstractly is an empty word; and beauty without truth and the good is an idol.

For Dostoevsky, these were three inseparable forms of one absolute Idea. The infinity of the human soul–having been revealed in Christ and capable of fitting into itself all the boundlessness of divinity–is at one and the same time both the greatest good, the highest truth, and the most perfect beauty.

Truth is good, perceived by the human mind; beauty is the same good and the same truth, corporeally embodied in solid living form. And its full embodiment–the end, the goal, and the perfection–already exists in everything, and this is why Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world” (Vladimir Soloviev, The Heart of Reality, trans V. Wozniuk, p. 16).

Schubert

What is beautiful?  Schubert’s Ave Maria, composed by the legendary composer in 1825, three years before his untimely death at thirty-one.

The version sung in the video above is by “The Priests,” a trio of Irish priests who have gained popularity in recent years.  They sing the traditional Latin version:

Ave Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum

Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui Jesus

Ave Maria
Ave Maria Mater dei
Ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis pecatoribus

Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, mortis nostrae
In hora mortis nostrae
Ave Maria

Here is the well-known English translation:

Mother Mary

Hail Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Schubert’s melody is beautiful, a perfect tribute to the second most beautiful human being God ever created:  Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Christ.

The Summer of Hope Reply


By Tom Quiner

As seen in the Des Moines Register on Saturday, July 24, 2010

Millions turned out to see the Man in White

It began on June 2nd.  The year was 1979 when the Alitalia jetliner set down in a land that history forgot for 123 years of its thousand year history.  A Man in White with kind eyes stepped onto the tarmac.  He knelt and kissed the earth.

His next nine days in Poland would change the world.  For objective reporters on the scene, he would spark a revolution with 37 well-crafted speeches, delivered with the intelligence of a scholar and the heart of a poet.  [Continued here …]

Was Jesus Real? 1


By Tom Quiner

Lee Strobel was an atheist who came to believe in Jesus after spending two years trying to disprove His divinity.

Be sure to watch the video from my previous post where Mr. Strobel, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, talks about his surprising findings about Christ.

C.S. Lewis was another atheist who did not want to believe in Jesus.

His friend, J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, presented compelling arguments in defense of Christ that began to persuade Mr. Lewis to reconsider his atheism.  Mr. Lewis was further persuaded to believe in God, and eventually Jesus, after reading “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton.

Lewis’ conversion was a reluctant one:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

Mr. Lewis was transformed from an atheist into a theist and eventually into the most persuasive Christian apologist of the 20th century.

C.S. Lewis famously framed the debate on Jesus this way:  either he was lord, liar, or a lunatic.  There’s no middle ground.  He spent the rest of his life making the case for Christ.  It is a compelling case.

I put up a video in my previous post by comedienne Janeane Garafalo who dismissed Christianity as a myth.  I have listened to a little of Ms. Garafalo on TV.  I’ve read some C.S. Lewis.  Mr. Lewis comes across as the more intelligent of the two.  (Nothing against Ms. Garafalo, C.S. Lewis is smarter than most people I know!)  In fact, he was in agreement with Ms. Garafolo until he began to truly study and think … and eventually pray … about this Man who walked the earth two-thousand years named Jesus.

So why does a former atheist and crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune now believe Jesus and His claims are real? Because of the evidence.

Why did an atheistic Oxford literary academic change his mind and become one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century?  Because of the evidence.

There are two exciting paths to Jesus:  reason and revelation.  Stubborn men like Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis were lead to Christ through the path of reason.  The upside of the journey is off the charts!

Is the Bible true? 1


By Tom Quiner

Liberal comedienne, Janeane Garofalo, recently called the Bible a “work of fiction.”  Watch …

I don’t know how much Ms. Garofalo has read, studied, or even contemplated the Bible.  But I mention her quote because she will influence a certain segment of her audience with her dismissive attitude of the most fascinating book ever written.

Is it true, though?

Is the drama of God’s gradual revelation of Himself to man really on the level?

Can we trust that the texts are accurate;  that the four Gospels that talk about Christ aren’t agenda-driven works of fiction?

I believe that the bible is God’s revelation of Himself to man.  I don’t say that casually.  I’ve come to this belief through two paths:  revelation and reason.

I read a series of books by former Chicago Tribune reporter, Lee Strobel, who wrote about his journey from atheism to Christianity.  His first book, called “The Case for Christ,” was written as if he were a reporter.   He wrote the book in an attempt to disprove Christ’s existence and His claims.

Strobel was stunned to discover that there’s a mountain of evidence to support the miraculous underpinnings of Christianity.  Watch his video below to learn more.  Then go pick up your Bible.  Read the Gospel of John to whet your appetite for a message of hope that can change your life.