Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas (for real this time!)

I know it's not quite Christmas for many of you yet, but it's Christmas here. Therefore...


I ask that God bless, inspire, and keep you all today and in the coming year, and that He makes us all aware of the blessings that we have. I know that my eyes have been opened, more than ever before, to the abundance of provision God has made for me. I have so much to be grateful for. Even here. Especially here.


Monday, December 13, 2010

A New Perspective.

Well.... This is very interesting. I'm intrigued. And I've learned some things in the last couple of days that make me say "Wow". I'm looking at Islam with new eyes, eyes that aren't clouded up with all the convoluted and confusing cultural things that people mistake for true Islam. And I like what I see. Who knows what the future holds? God does. All my faith in Him! : )

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know it's early. No, I haven't lost my marbles. LOL! I just wanted to go ahead and wish you all and your families joy this Christmas season (if you celebrate Christmas. If not, I wish you a lovely December and new year.).

There's scarcely more than two weeks left until Christmas, but I must confess that it doesn't quite seem like that time of year (other than the cold, right, Amber?). This will be a very difficult Christmas for me because it will be the first time I haven't been home. If nothing else, I was always able to be with my family at this time.

I ask for all of your prayers at this time, for me and my family, and for all of you as well. I hope that the New Year finds you all healthy and happy, and pray that God bestows more blessings upon you in the coming year than last year.

The Qur'an (Koran) that I read.

This is the version of the Qur'an/Koran that I have. Well, I have several, but this is my favorite.

The translation is clear and modern English, the font is a good size, and it even has an index in the back that helps me find verses on certain topics. : )

I don't know what the general consensus is on this translation, but I like it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jesus and God in Islam and Christianity.

I know, I've posted about some of this before. This was in large part in response to Banana Queen, who said that you don't have to believe anything in particular about Jesus to be a Muslim -- you just have to believe the shahada, in response to my comment that I could be Muslim if it weren't for what I call "the Jesus debate". BQ, please forgive me if I don't do your very interesting comments justice! (I'm so pleased that the quiz link I posted is generating discussion! YAY!)

The belief about Jesus is most often the biggest dividing point between Islam and Christianity. As much as I love 2:136 in the Qur'an - it's a gorgeous verse, and definitely a favorite - it does place Jesus firmly in the Prophet category. While that is dandy with Christians - Jesus as prophet, agreed - in Islam the Christian view of Jesus as the Son of God (as taught by my church) or God in human form is totally off. "Worship the Creator, not the creation", etc. There are other differences, too, but Jesus' role is the biggie.

In what I think to be an interesting contradiction of...something... I do believe in the Christian faith with Jesus as the sacrifice for sin, but I also believe that God is generous in ways we can't begin to fathom, and being God, He has no limitations on what He can do, including forgiving us for our wrongdoings out of love for us, with no need for a sacrificial Lamb in order to do so. Doesn't requiring Jesus to be sacrificed in order for God to be able to forgive us for sin and allow us into Heaven impose a limitation on God -- that He can't forgive and reward whom He pleases, as He pleases, through His Own power? It seems so to me.

Regarding "Son of God" or "God as man", I've gotten the "you're going to Hell" look from people several times - especially the evangelist Pentecostal types - before when discussing religion and how my church taught that Jesus was the Son of God, not God Himself. : P

The Church of Christ isn't so much "traditional", I suppose, as it is literal. At least the one I was raised in was. That means all the scary stuff in Revelations, as well as all the other stuff sometimes taught as metaphorical in other denominations, was, is, and will be real. That there will be multi-headed dragons, etc, in a very physical sense.

Well, this was fun, but I need to be off to bed. I meant to go to sleep an hour ago, but you smart ladies lure me back to the debate. : D Continue on!

Army Basic Combat Training: The End of Sir/Ma'am

This was prompted by Susanne's love of cultural...snippets, I guess. I totally forgot the word (sorry, Susanne!), but it's a funny story. I'll continue them if you guys are interested. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about "the Army way". Chances are pretty decent I'll have a story for it. : P

Basic Combat Training: The End of Sir/Ma'am

My whole life I'd been taught by my mama that men and women who are older than me and/or in positions of authority are to be addressed as sir or ma'am. It's a Southern thing. (Yes, I am totally Southern, although maybe a little teensy more "redneck" Southern (thanks, Dad) than Scarlett O'Hara Southern.) It's The Rule and if I was a rude little brat at times and wouldn't say it as a kid, she'd tan my hide when we got home to adjust my attitude.

Anyhoo, by the time I enlisted in the Army I had over two decades of Sir/Ma'am ingrained in my brain. This would put me in an uncomfortable spot a time or two come Basic Training. Let me explain just why.

In the Army, Sir/Ma'am is a title of respect reserved strictly for officers and warrant officers. You never EVER call an enlisted person sir or ma'am.

Particularly if said enlisted person is a drill sergeant.

The general response of a drill sergeant to being called sir or ma'am goes something like as follows:

Dumb-private-who-knows-no-better: "Yes, sir/ma'am!"

Drill Sergeant: "What did you just call me, Private? What? You see any bling on my uniform? My name is Drill SERGEANT! I work for a living!" ** (The shouting gets a little louder as he/she goes on.) The joke in this is that there is a popular belief in the Army that officers don't work -- the enlisted do all the work, the officers get the pay and the recognition. Thus, by calling an enlisted Soldier "sir" or "ma'am", you are implying that they don't do any work. ** As this line was used by every single drill sergeant I've had (roughly 10 of them, at least) , I think they teach it in Drill Sergeant School as part of the curriculum. "Drill Sergeant One Liners 101".

Now, if said Private is too dumb for words ups the ante.... well. This is hilarious for everyone in the general vicinity who is not the unfortunate private with the drill sergeant's undivided attention.

Dumb-private-who-just-keeps-digging-the-hole-deeper: "Sorry, Drill Sergeant!"

Madder Drill Sergeant: "WHAT? So NOW I'm a SORRY DRILL SERGEANT???" This is usually accompanied by more shouting and general DS grumpiness and push ups for the hapless private who has drawn the drill sergeant's ire, as well as the battle buddy of said private. (Soldiers - especially in basic - never go anywhere alone, particularly to see the Drill Sergeant/Platoon Sergeant/First Sergeant/Commander, and will suffer the same punishment as their idiot buddy.)

Needless to say, a Southerner will often get in a lot of trouble for saying sir/ma'am. I had the worst time trying to break myself of the habit. : P

Interesting quiz

I found a link to this interesting quiz while browsing through the Kindle library on Amazon looking at books about Islam.

According to the results it gave me, I'm 93% - extremely compatible. If you take the quiz, would you post your results here so I can see? I'm curious, especially about all my non-Muslim sisters out there. I know all my Muslimah sisters agree already, but I have love for all of you, too. : )

You know, if it weren't for the whole Jesus debate, I could be Muslim. I really believe I could.

Happy December!

Happy December, everyone! I hope this first day of the last month of the year went well for you. To my excitement we got snow flurries today - they collected a bit, but not enough to put even a sheet's worth of blanket on the ground. I'll cross my fingers for it!