Pope Endorses ¬Å“The Kindlings Muse’’¦uh’¦ Kind of.

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The topic at Monday night’s “The Kindlings Muse-Live at Hales Ales Brewery and Pub” was “ “Where Was God on 911: A Rabbi, A Pastor and a Muslim Cleric.” (Listen to the latest Dick Staub podcast today: Where was God: On 911?)

This week marked the fifth anniversary of 911, one of the most horrific events in modern history. Where was God: On 911? During the Holocaust or Katrina? Rabbi Mark Glickman (Congregation Kol Shalom and Congregation Kol Ami), Reverend Earl Palmer (University Presbyterian Church) and Hisham Farajallah (President of the Islamic Center of Washington) discuss the imponderables that cause us to either lose or deepen our faith in God.

The next day Pope Benedict XVI weighed in on the issue of Islam and the West, emphasizing the need for a “geniune dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.” Indirectly he was endorsing “The Kindlings Muse” because what we aspire to be is an “intelligent, imaginative, hospitable exploration of ideas that matter in contemporary life.”

I am a Christian whose mission is to “rekindle the holistic spiritual, intellectual and creative legacy of Christians in culture;” but I want to hear from more than Christians we make it our practice to include the irreligious and other religions at our roundtable and in the audience.

Everybody I tell about this venture gets excited and agree it is needed and they love it. However, and forgive me for bringing this up again, very few people are motivated enough to actually support it financially. I feel like JFK who said of Columbus, Ohio, “I’ve never been anywhere where I got a warmer welcome and fewer votes!”

This came to mind when I read of three new major initiatives by large foundations (Gates, Rockefeller and Soros) in Africa. Charity for basic humanitarian causes is important and popular today and in Christian circles you can add to that major donations for evangelism and world missions. Our initiatives seem somehow less important to some people. One intelligent friend told me last week, I’ve been wracking my brain to think of well heeled Christians in Seattle who would “get” what you are talking about¢â‚¬¦and I can’t think of one.” (He insist it is not that what I am saying is important or “unintelligible–” It is just different and outside the box.)

Our initiatives include sparking conversation through “The Kindlings Muse,” building community through a aeries of by-invitation retreats for thoughtful Christian creatives, and cultivating the next generation through educational initiatives aimed at helping them become Culturally Savvy Christians.” Our not-for-profit, The Center for Faith and Culture has been around since 1998, but these three new initiatives require NEW funding. We need ($)100,000 by December 31, 2006 just to finish this year in the black.

If you or others you know, are in a position to help with donations (we NEED big ones and Small ones too!) Please give it careful consideration¢â‚¬¦ If you are catholic we welcome your contributions too, because after all the Pope endorse “The Kindlings Muse”¢â‚¬¦ sort of. Not literally.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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