Tuesday, September 29, 2009


At our last church, the associate pastor did a really interesting class on world religions that involved field trips to different sacred sites. One Saturday morning, about a dozen of us found ourselves gathered in a downtown mosque, looking around, waiting for the tour to start. My friend and I were gazing appreciatively at the ornately carved wooden ceiling, admiring its intricacy and beauty, remembering that we learned in class that Muslims don't create art of images of people or animals or other created things but that their art tends to be geometric or symbolic. We thought that the mosque's ceiling was a perfect example of how lovely that kind of art can be. During the tour, I raised my hand and said, "Please tell us more about the carving of this beautiful ceiling." The tour guide looked at me, perplexed, glanced up, and shrugged. "I dunno; this building used to be a bank."

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