Christian Ashram

Dear R.,

Great to see you and meet you at the Religion Communication Congress in Chicago. Great event!

Really enjoyed the article on the Christian Ashram: “Ashram draws followers from across country” by Mallory McCall, Apr 23, 2010.

I recently spent the night at a retreat center/monastery with my son. It was a little spooky AND very peaceful. Here is my blog about it.

Retreats! I love the Women’s Division-sponsored Schools of Christian Mission. For me — to learn, to pray, to sing, to share meals, to worship, to simply be! It is so restorative!

Also, I’ve recently been thinking about retreats as an authentic experience with God. We often hear about Eastern faiths that include meditative practices. Yet Christian faith has a long history of meditation as a spiritual practice as well. We all need that direct and unfiltered time with God. I believe this is the reason that world religions which include and encourage retreats are so popular – in this multitasking world, people need time apart.

In the United Methodist Reporter article, Sandra Hancock says she waited until her children were grown to experience the Christian ashram. Yet, I encourage and invite women and parents with children of all ages not to wait. Consider a retreat with their local United Methodist Women or Conference School of Mission now. I’ve taken all three of my kids to schools of mission. They love them. Tons of schools of mission happen all over the United States, often in June – at retreat centers, college campuses, church basements – and they are awesome.

To learn more about School of Christian Mission in your area, ask your local United Methodist Woman or United Methodist Conference leader. – mb

PS I’m cc’ing colleagues who might be interested in the UMReporter article.

Power of Interfaith

“Mercy and compassion of the Christian community,” Ingrid Mattson says. She refers to the National Council of Churches republishing of a book on Islam by Marston Speight shortly after 9/11.

Also, Ms. Mattson spoke of how many Jewish leaders supported Muslims after 9/11 because they could relate to being the marginalized. Not all people of faith were supportive. Some saw the terrorist act as an opportunity to evangelize or condemn Muslims.

Interfaith engagement was an avenue for growth for the Muslim communiity after 9/11.

Ms. Mattson leads the Islamic Society of North America. She is the plenary speaker at the Religion Communication Congress 2010.

Another outcome of the attack was that Muslim leaders built consensus across diversity. She concluded her remarks with hope and optimism on new ways to build relationships. “When our plans are shifted, we should not mourn too long.”

Ms. Mattson quoted from the Koran, “You may hate something and it may be good for you.”