We now are less than two weeks away from the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which, as we know, was a horrendous example of religion run amok.
As you might imagine, I've been moving toward this anniversary with both dread and anticipation because I'm part of a 9/11 family. The only son of one of my sisters perished that day as a passenger on American Flight 11.
I dread every 9/11 anniversary just because I loved my nephew so much and because his death has been so hard on my family. But I anticipate this anniversary more than previous ones because I think this may be the last major one our nation will commemorate in such a public and sweeping way.
I will have three columns on this subject in three different publications -- the Sept. 5 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook, the Sept. 7 online edition of The National Catholic Reporter and the Sept. 11 editorial pages of The Kansas City Star. I'll have links to each of them here on the blog as they are available.
As for how you might want to commemorate this date, I have just a couple of suggestions. First, if you're in the Kansas City area, I hope you'll attend the 9/11 memorial service at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, at Community Christian Church, 46th and Main. I'll be there and will be one of the readers, though the centerpiece of the event will be a performance of a wonderful piece of music. Tickets are required, but free, and you can arrange for them at the Web site to which I've linked you in this paragraph.
Next, I invite you to look at the 9/11-related material put together by my friends at ReadTheSpirit.com. That includes this good piece by Philip Gulley, whose new book I reviewed recently here. And there are some other 9/11 resources at RTS.com, too. Also, in case you missed it, click here for a 9/11 TV coverage wrapup by The KC Star's Aaron Barnhart.
In all of this, let's remember the damage toxic religion can do, compared with the good that healthy religion can bring to individuals and to society.
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TAKING ISLAM'S TEMPERATURE
As Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr commemorations, CNN reports decidedly mixed feelings of both joy and apprehensions in various countries around the world. These major holidays provide an opportunity to check in on the vibes coming from various religious traditions. And it's good to keep track of those vibes.