Motorcycle rides and Baha’i temples

I’m sorry I missed you on the telephone, but the lectio divina (contemplative reading) was so good.  It has been each time I’ve done it – really stilling, grounding, centering, a time to connect with people in a really deep and meaningful way.  Thanks for your email.  It’s good to hear from you. Smile.  I think of you often when I’m in social settings; often how I’m happy being with who I’m with but what it would be like to do x, y or z with you.  I thought of you as I rode the motorcycle through the city today.  What it would be like to have been behind you speeding down Lakeshore Drive with the lake to our left and the city sprawling before us to the right, the buildings scraping the clouds with their corners.  Grin.  It would be great fun!  Perhaps one day.
Christian, with whom I rode the motorcycle, asked about you today, and I really had a wonderful time sharing.  I’m eager for you to meet him and to see what you think.  He’s a small man, perhaps 5’7″ or so and just turned 30, about which he is not happy at all.  Christian is Mormon and believes in so much of what Mormonism teaches in terms of the Book of Mormon, and the prophet Joseph Smith, and the Code of Health.  While being very committed to the Mormon Church, Christian has also led an incredibly varied life in so many different places I don’t think I could even list all of them.  He struggles, however, with feeling like the church has no place for him – an unmarried 30-year old man who is interested in asking big questions about religion and who has lived so many different kinds of lifestyles.  He’s an interesting guy.  And very caring and respectful.  A gentle soul.  Smile.  And also pretty funny.
Oh!  I went to the Baha’i temple up in Willmette/Evanston (up north near Northwestern University) with Christian this afternoon.  You and I will have to go there at some point. It is so very beautiful.  I really like the Baha’i faith a lot and actually thought somewhat seriously about converting to Baha’i back when I was in high school – they do a lot that recognizes the truth in all religious traditions, the unity of all humanity, equality between men and women, work to end prejudice of various forms, lots of service, lots about unity.  Just really cool stuff I think.  However I learned that they’re okay with LGBTQ folks only if they’re “not practicing.”  Even that language is problematic.   Basically it’s okay to BE gay as long as you don’t ACT gay.  And that did it for me.  That was that.  Wry smile.
Anyway, the temple is magnificent – a white, nine-sided building whose sides meet in a central dome.  It is built of white cement and quartz over a metal frame, and the white building material, dome, and intricately designed exterior was vaguely reminiscent of the taj mahal (have you ever been?  another place to visit together, perhaps).  The inside is equally ornate in terms of intricate white lace-like designing, and the dome has the lace up against glass, so you can see the sun shining through all of this.  Really just breathtaking.  Surrounding it are gardens with a fountain at the head of each. There is one Baha’i temple on each continent, I think (I don’t know about Antarctica), but the one in Asia is in Delhi, I think. It is the Lotus Temple and the design is sort of similar to the Sydney Opera House except that it looks like a lotus flower instead of a sail.  Another place on my list of places to go.
Tomorrow I’m planning to go for a 6:00 am swim in the lake with a couple of friends from Disciples Divinity House.  And then there’s an architectural boat tour of the city in the evening to which I’ve invited my cousin, Jenny.  It should be fun.

About Thandiwe

Hopeful cynic, creative, seriously silly, lover of people and places, hypocrite, third-culture kid, queer, life-long learner, white woman, Christ follower, outdoor enthusiast: I am a seeker of justice and truth who has re-found my spiritual home in progressive Christianity. I serve as the Associate Pastor at a small Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation near the mountains of Colorado where I live with my beloved.
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