Blog Roundup: November
This is the second of our Blog Roundups, which come around the end of every month and highlight 3-5 of our articulate, impassioned leaders and writers. If you like this, can’t stand it, or generally have concerns or questions, feel free to post them on Facebook. We love hearing from you.
The end of November brings turkey, potatoes and—applications, at least for graduate programs. I’ve been mired in apps for a couple months now. Like many young people, I’m discerning my career goals (or what I’d call “vocation,” which has specific religious connotations of being “called”). And like many young people, I feel like Robert Frost’s famous forest-roamer, standing astride two diverging roads: one route leads to a doctorate in history, another to a Masters of Divinity and a likely career in ministry.
This season of contemplation and discernment coincides with Advent, when Christians believe that God comes into the world as a man. In his birth, Christ upends everything. His contemporaries expected a messiah who would overthrow an empire; instead, they got a humble infant born to poor parents. The powerful Yahweh of the Old Testament comes to man in a form of complete lowliness, servanthood, and love. I’m reminded of the roots of the word ministry: the Latin word for “less,” minus. By any modern-day marker of success (wealth, home ownership), Christ was a failure. Yet, as Mother Teresa once said, we are called to be faithful, not successful. Christ overturns our every expectation and preconception. Shouldn’t following him be just as radical? Nothing about faith in God seems easy to me.
It’s tempting to look for the less demanding road, the one more traveled. But the challenging one is more gratifying. Several of our November bloggers touched on this theme. For Ola Mohamed, you get more by giving more; the difficult decisions made by Rola Alkatout’s family made for a stable life in the U.S.; and Mary Slebodnik points to the vulnerability required for true interfaith dialogue. In these situations, the alternative might have been easier; you might hold on to a Kit Kat rather than share it, or keep your guard up rather than invite people in. But anything rewarding—and interfaith cooperation is certainly that—demands more of us.
In my personal life, I’m leaning toward the road less traveled. Interfaith leaders of the world, I ask—which will you take?
“Kit Kat Bars, Spirituality, and Eid al-Adha” by Ola Mohamed
Getting Closer by Rola Alkatout
This Sounds Like a Joke by Mary Slebodnik
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