How can I overcome my fear when hearing a Muslim say, Allahu Akbar?Rabbi Rami: Whenever you hear Allahu Akbar, affirm it: Yes! God is great! Greater than my fear; greater than my xenophobia; and greater than anything keeping me from being a strong, loving, and prophetic voice for compassion and justice. Allahu Akbar!My daughter came home from Sunday school telling me God created her the way a potter creates a pot. Where do they get this stuff? Something about this bothers me. What’s your take?The metaphor comes from Isaiah 64:8. Comparing God to a potter and your daughter to a pot separates your daughter from God. I think God created your daughter the way an ocean creates a wave. Your daughter is never apart from and is always a part of God, the source and substance of all reality.I’m a Bible believer and feel called to love. But what does it mean to love?Love is “being a blessing to all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:3) by seeing to the welfare of all the families of the earth, human and otherwise. Love is expanding your circle of compassion to include “the other” without erasing that which mak …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
To comment on this installment of One For the Road or submit a question, email the editors. Questions may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.