Moon, Mandela, Muslims

Today the moon is round again — we have been liv­ing in Gilling­ham for three months. I have not exact­ly expe­ri­enced them very con­cious­ly. Espe­cial­ly since I work in the office, my life is a bit lim­it­ed and not very excit­ing. An overview of the high­lights: Fred­dy and I sang in a gospel choir dur­ing the ‘Christ­mas Lights On’ event in Gilling­ham. My best time for the 5km run is now 25:09 min­utes. And I am read­ing a hefty the­o­log­i­cal book which I do not expect to fin­ish before 2015.

The fact that when I am in a shop I can keep apart the British coins with­out think­ing very hard is an indi­ca­tion of the pas­sage of time. Anoth­er one is the announce­ment of the new James Bond movie. I still remem­ber like yes­ter­day how we went to see Sky­fall here in Gilling­ham. In fact, in Kenya we watched a lot of James Bond, because you could buy a DVD with 20 movies for one euro.

It is a year since Nel­son Man­dela died. Desmond Tutu com­mem­o­rates him with these words:

We thank God for him, and the exam­ple he gave us, he taught us about the worth of a human being , all human beings. He nev­er looked at your dress or eth­nic­i­ty or your class. He respect­ed every­one for who they were.

I think that today we can real­ly use the exam­ple of Man­dela in Europe. Racism in pol­i­tics keeps cross­ing the line of the unthink­able, whether it is about immi­grants or Mus­lims. The Dutch pro­gramme Nieuw­su­ur inter­viewed a num­ber of Dutch Mus­lims this week. A woman who was tired of every­one ask­ing her if she sup­port­ed IS, made an inter­est­ing com­par­i­son with the Ku Klux Klan. This group saw them­selves as the defend­ers of Amer­i­can val­ues and Chris­t­ian moral­i­ty, but was con­demned by vir­tu­al­ly all Chris­t­ian denom­i­na­tions. It always amazes me how peo­ple gen­er­al­ize about Mus­lims. A Dutch news mes­sage about accep­tance of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty speaks about ‘Mus­lims and strict­ly reli­gious Protes­tants’, so it nuances only the Chris­t­ian sub­cul­tures. By the way, accep­tance of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty is anoth­er area where the val­ue of each human being should be cel­e­brat­ed — not just a Rain­bow nation but a Rain­bow world!

This blog is almost even fuller than the moon and rotates faster. I am afraid that I am not liable for dizzi­ness, headaches, or oth­er symp­toms that can occur when read­ing it. I wish you a peace­ful week­end.

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