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Faith & Reason

How about this for the Nov 6 annoucements which you and Leslie will probably write Wednesday 11/3 “Science vs. Religion has seemed important in recent years. Several of us including Jack Dawson, Frank Moore and Carl House will engage this and report in our December Steeple News. Their first step will be to attend a lecture and discussion at the FIU Center for the Study of Spirituality on Wed., Nov. 10 in Miami at 7:00 pm. Anyone wishing to join this enquiry should speak to any of the three and, if possible, join the trip to Miami.” (revise any way you wish) Andrew, it is very important that we have a means to put things like this on our website and that we work to get people to go to our website. Also Ron Knowlton should put it in Happenings and Happenings should constantly urge that people go to our website and our Facebook pages. Of course, we need permission from Jack and Frank. It is ok for people to participate without going to Miami as we can say that’s among my tasks. For anyone to participate it simply means that they will review and maybe edit or add to whatever text we write. Their names will be included among “sources” or “authors”. There will be no differing levels of importance among the sources, just 2, 3, 4 or 5 names. Let’s plan for a one page report for Dec Steeple News. My major message to Nathan and Karen will be to begin outreach to the 5000 faith communities in S.E. Florida to get their participation in the activities of the Center. St. Gregory’s E.C. can be an example. We should urge that Mary Cox at the diocese give it some attention and we should create some informal communication among E.C.’s to encourage other faith communities. Facebook can be how we do it and that means, of course, that the discussion isn’t limited to E.C.’s, they are simply leaders as in Family Promise. The Center uses Facebook very well. We will learn from them how to use it. There needs to be a S.E. Florida calendar where activities of StG, B’nai Torah, Temple Emmanu-El and the Center and lots more appear when they are relevant to this movement that is based on love, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. I’m also liking the word “mindfulness”. I see this as a response to the sad state of affairs in American discourse. We’ll need to write a mission statement to guide what gets included. Maybe Karen will write that. It may be that we should use the name “Interfaith Engagement” and say it is an outreach of the Center and its partners or members. This means that the Center and B’nai Torah and the UU’s and the UMC’s will all be participating in promoting each other’s lectures and events that relate to our shared mission (which Karen might write). When you have a chance, please let Noemi Marin know about this as Barbara Schmidt says Noemi is presently in contact with the Center.

Ishmael Khaldi spoke very well at St. Gregory’s today. He is in his 40’s, Bedouin, Muslim, deputy consol for the State of Israel assigned to San Francisco consulate but probably constantly travelling. Has just written a 130 page book called “A Shepherd’s Journey”, ($18 from, I will mail a copy to Karen at her Miami Beach address tomorrow unless somebody tells me different). I read the book today and it is really, really good. He was accompanied visiting St. Gregory’s by Nancy (and Mark) Gilbert of B’nai Torah Congregation (who may well be giving him considerable support) and by Barbara Schmidt. Barbara was at HHDL event on 10/26 at Temple Emmanu-El. I’ll guess she is a founder of Peace Institute at FAU and she said their leader is in touch with the Center (Nathan). I have been pondering muchly since hearing HHDL. I’ve had lots of thoughts that this was nice for me but of dubious meaning, but I keep coming back to the universal message of love, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude that cannot be forgotten by anyone with HHDL on his mind. You had 7 faiths on the dias (+HHDL). I know considerable about several of them, see their merit for making life work, but I also know that in each of them it is not difficult to lose sight of that message love, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude. A rabbi friend discounts the Buddhists as they aren’t likely to help him on his social justice commitment; I say that HHDL isn’t likely to help us Type A personalities in the direction we think we’re going, and for some of us good minded people anger and distrust are part of us (beloved though we be). Some of us deeply believe in our distrust and depend on our anger for energy. Karen has helped me know that I am not the only person for whom this is true. I am also very aware that we are entering into a time that has lots of descriptors that start with “post----“. Post Christian, Post American, Post Western. We get glimpses of this from dozens of prominent writers; for me the best are Gideon Rachman and Fareed Zakaria . I believe that faith and spirituality and whatever similar words we use are about finding our best selves, our best possibilities. Our best possibilities always include family expressed in ever expanding concentric circles, and always include love, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude. It seems to me that your Center has something very important to do in this very troubled time that has to do with our openness, our belief in possibilities, our resisting the persistent invitation we have to distrust (fear, anger, self justification). Mitch Cheffitz came to B’nai Torah a few years ago and struck this Episcopalian to the core. Nathan spoke at the Anatolian Cultural Center and reached my Rector. You have awesome affirmation from HHDL. I’m sure there is more energy to harness to this purpose. I’d think it would be fun to talk about it.

From: Carl House [] Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 1:32 PM To: KarenHershDubitsky (; 'DrNathanKatz' Subject: Muslim from Israel's Foreign Service to speak at St. Gregory's Karen, maybe you’d like to visit St. Gregory’s on Sunday. Love to see you here. And anyone else interested. Perhaps a student. My land line is 561-368-7445 and cell is 561-302-2326. See you tomorrow 7:45 at Temple Emanu-El, even if only across the room. I have not received a ticket by mail, but I’m sure we can handle that.

From: Carl House [] Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 1:21 PM To: 'JimDavis (' Cc: AndrewSherman ( Subject: Muslim from Israel's Foreign Service to speak at St. Gregory's Jim, you may already have this, but I wanted to make sure. For more info, call Fr. Andrew Sherman at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Boca Raton, 100 N.E. Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton, (561) 395-8285 ISHMAEL KHALDI, first Bedouin deputy consul of the State of Israel and the nation's first high ranking Muslim in Israel's foreign service, will speak at St. Gregory's Episcopal Church on Sunday, October 31, 11:45 a.m. Until age 8, he lived in a Bedouin tent and tended flocks of sheep. Khaldi says there is a long way to go before the Bedouin minority achieves full equality in Israel, but the situation is improving. Ishmael holds a Masters Degree in Political Science from Tel. Aviv Univ. He served in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Israel Police, and in the Israel Defense Forces as a political analyst. His topic will be his personal story about being Israel's first Bedouin-diplomat. Shepherd's Journal is his recent book A Q&A session will follow a brief address. Bring your questions.

The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong.
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.
The Greatest Show on Earth (Evolution), by Richard Dawkins.
The Moral Landscape, How Science Can Determine Human Values, by Sam Harris.
The Honor Code, How Moral Revolutions Happen, by Kwame Anthony Appiah.
Religious Revival, by Hanna Rosin.
Faith & Reason Quotes (atypical Christianity)
Faith & Reason Quotes (blog)

Megatrends 2010, by Patricia Aburdene.
The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.
Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams.

Beliefs: ‘Spiritual Realities' in Service of Science and Vice Versa 3/17/07Peter SteinfelsNYT
Beliefs: Books on Atheism Are Raising Hackles in Unlikely Places 3/ 3/07Peter SteinfelsNYT
A Free-for-All on Science and Religion11/21/06George JohnsonNYT
Faith, Reason, God and Other Imponderables 7/25/06Cornelia DeanNYT
Scientists Speak Up on Mix of God and Science 8/23/05Cornelia DeanNYT

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