By Peter Heath
I live in a Middle Eastern (Muslim) country, and currently I have 12 days off work due to National Day and Eid Al Adha celebrations. We enjoyed the National Day fireworks from the roof of our apartment building (45 minutes of dual-source synchronized fireworks!). And then we put ear plugs in so we could go to sleep with all the young guys driving/honking//backfiring till 3 AM on our street. We remind our kids that this qualifies as a cultural experience!
Eid Al Adha is the Muslim festival that comes at the end of the Hajj (required journey to Mecca) and about 6 weeks after the end of Ramadan. It also commemorates Allah providing a ram so that Abraham didn’t actually have to sacrifice Ishmael. (That is the Muslim take on it.) Muslims normally slaughter and eat a sheep as part of the festival. In years past, apartment staircases here have run red with the blood of slaughtered sheep, but now residents must take their sheep to authorized slaughter-centres that are set up for the occasion. (Sort of reminds me of polling places appearing and disappearing over elections.) So, a couple of days ago, i discovered a sheep in the parking lot of my building! Didn’t take too much imagination to figure out what was going on. This morning, Mr Sheepy was gone, and it looked like the short-term owner took the legal route on preparing his meal. Fortunately for Mr. Sheepy, he didn’t have any clue what was waiting for him. Sort of reminds me of many of my friends.
Like my hockey buddies (yes, ice hockey). A couple of nights ago, HockeyGuy turned to me on the bench and says “I think Jesus showed us the ultimate example of humanity.” I pulled out my CS Lewis Handbook and replied that Jesus claimed to be God, so either he was loony or else he was/is God. Either way, you can’t take the “great man” approach. HockeyGuy basically said to me “I don’t think the I-am-God stuff matters. I just like the Great Moral Man stuff.” Must be that post-modern mindset kicking in, i guess, that someone can pick and choose what they like or dislike about Jesus and totally ignore the rest. Or is that just human nature? Isn’t that what the Gnostics did so very long ago? Anyway HockeyGuy, who *is* a good guy, doesn’t believe he needs a Saviour and misses out on Jesus as the Eternal Sacrifice. Hmmm, kind of reminds me of all the Muslims i know…