The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

on opening mosques, minds and hearts


I’m following the multiple lines of thought around building a Muslim Mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

My initial reaction was to bristle. I feel this is natural. But, soon I had to at least try and think the matter through like a Jeffersonian. Mind you, Thomas Jefferson studied the Qur’ran in earnest. In fact, loyal readers of this blog know that I’ve chronicled that Jefferson bequeathed his own copy of the Qur’an to the Library of Congress upon his death. That was a great bargain. And, he understood the importance of making a public spectacle of executing wrong-doing Extremist Muslims with pigs blood-drenched ordinance. However, this raises some thoughts, and possible misconceptions driving misinterpretations of all manner of scripture around Lex Talionis, or the principles pertaining to: “an-eye-for-an-eye” /1.

Meanwhile, President Obama is being both public and clear that his position is: every American has the right to practice their religion freely anywhere on American soil. In many ways we all observe one another’s traditions. We are smack in the middle of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Yesterday he told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House:

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country”. He added: “That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

And, I’ll stand in agreement with that.

I don’t know, yet, if it’s a good idea.

There are sure to be some logistical concerns. And, the Muslims intent on establishing the Mosque might be a bit insensitive, I think. There is a lot of opposition that appears to think this is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah. Or, maybe these are plucky Muslims hoping to set an example of some sort that might inspire positive feelings going forward.

I’m thinking we need to be open-minded, here. Once the Mosque is built and operational, tolerating activities in-and-amongst it will be a terrific example of “turning the other cheek”. Just to be clear, according to Luke 6:29 (English Standard Version from 2001):

“To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.”

Time and again, the American people have demonstrated a rich history of rallying back, working through issues, and staying true to our core values and emerge stronger for it.

And, this is where we turn the tide on the Extremist Muslim terrorists.

When we bogged down our own airports with hyper-security measures and fear we gave the terrorists a form of victory with our inconvenience. And, we are creating enormous debt waging a global war against them on multiple theaters of battle. But, Rep. Ellison’s afore-referenced platform was one of tolerance and the requisite open-mind.

“Terrorist”, “Muslim terrorist”, “fanatical Muslim”, “fundamentalist”, and “devout Muslim” are not synonymous (we hope, any way). This is an opportunity to walk amongst and with Muslims and understand them better – and, they us. Also, if your friend is also your enemy, and is in your front yard, we have an opportunity to embrace him (and, pat him down). If he breaks faith, rank or rules, we can then offer him a round-house kick al-la Chuck Norris, or thump him soundly with an olive branch until he understands what Teddy Roosevelt meant when he advised everyone to: “speak softly and carry a big stick”.

Meanwhile, in the sprit of all this and that, both good and uncertain, I’m listening to Jaron and the Long Road to Love’s Pray for You.

Check out more of their work on iTunes. Tell’m Cork said: “hey”.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


/1 – In Islam the Qur’an permits exact and equivalent retribution. The Qur’an, however, softens the law of an eye-for-an-eye by urging mankind to accept less compensation than that inflicted upon him or her by a Muslim, or to forgive altogether. In other words, Islam does not deny Muslims the ability to seek retaliation in the equal measure. But it does, however, promote forgiveness and the acceptance of blood money not as a mandatory requisite, but rather as a good deed that will be eventually rewarded (Qur’an 5:45).

On occasions, however, the “eye-for-an-eye” rule is applied quite literally.

The phrase, “an-eye-for-an-eye” is, in truth, a quotation from several passages of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 24:19–21Exodus 21:22–25, and Deuteronomy 19:21), and not the Qur’an, in which a person who has injured the eye of another is instructed to give the value of his or her own eye in compensation. At the root of this principle is that one of the purposes of the law is to provide equitable retribution for an offended party. It defined and restricted the extent of retribution in the laws of the Torah.

In modern times, the phrase still loosely applies. Should a person commit a tort that results in personal injury of the plaintiff, they must pay for the repairing of the injury (e.g. an eye transplant). This is called compensatory damages.

The English word talion means a punishment identical to the offense, from the Latin talio. The principle of “an-eye-for-an-eye” is often referred to using the Latin phrase lex talionis, the law of talion.


many bridges


I met Jarrett at our local AT&T store.

I was impressed by his maturity and product knowledge. I also deeply appreciated the extra effort he took in working with my daughter Haley Anne over her latest cellular telephone. He was very patient and technically relevant.

Jarrett also noticed that a good many people visiting the store knew me. He had the presence of mind to Google me while we were still in the store, and asked if he could meet with me for instruction and career advice.

We did meet a few weeks later. That exchange offered me some insight into the mind and life of a young Muslim family man in our community. I gave him a list of three things that I wanted him to do in the form of research. This was, certainly, a test. I’m always curious to see who God has gifted with both the situational awareness and discernment to take advantage of this type of opportunity.

Jarrett, and somewhat to my disappointment, came back with a long email that invoked more pity on my part than admiration and hope. But, that can certainly change with encouragement. and, I will be sure to follow up with him.

Meanwhile, I’ll share a few paragraphs from his original communique, and then my response to him, in it’s completeness – with vital expectations to be had around lessons to be learned…

Here we go:

“I’d been debating on getting back to you. Wondering what are the true benefits of doing so. All in all I respect and appreciate you for giving me the free time to talk. You quickly assessed me and gave me instructions on going forward.”


“I was left feeling like I was getting in too deep with the  commodities, or I had no clue what was going on and should leave it alone. On the other hand feeling like I was just as deserving of reaping the benefits of bringing two sides together to do business.”


“I think about your question a lot. “My Passion”.”


“I appreciate your rational, but I find it hard for you to really understand my point of view. I find it hard for any two people from our two different worlds to see the others point of view. Yet there is still room for respect and mutual agreements, and appreciation. Allah has created soooooooooo many different characters, its amazing amd beautiful to learn them if you can. Take it easy  Brian. let me know you got this God willing.”


“Good morning Jarrett.

I’ve given this email from you some thought for awhile now.

You are a young man with a younger family. That is a tough position and point in life from whence to venture into commodities. That business requires very specialized training, and is best approached when you are surrounded by professional people committed to mentoring and teaching you. It’s definitely not something novices or faint-of-heart can or should wade into unprepared.

So, this will always take me to the “passion” element.  Given your stage in life I’ll recommend that you interview leaders of any sort in your community. Ask them where they see the emerging trends over the next five years. Sort out a way to integrate those growing needs with talents you have and skills you could develop. Then allow your heart (passion) to tell you which of those trends can best intersect. That nexus is where you will find your affirmation and a career foundation.

Meanwhile, and I add this with compassion and and open-heartedness, your final paragraph only demonstrates your youth and inexperience. I’ve been mentored by men of several different faiths, numerous nationalities, and all walks of life. What I found is that the most successful of them shared many of the same qualities and traits. They had high standards for integrity. They were responsible and accountable. They worked hard. Most importantly, they NEVER, not once, felt sorry for themselves. And, they always had a plan. Always. And, they stuck to it.

So… Do your research. Develop a plan. Find good men to quantify that plan. Don’t get defensive if they push-back. Be open-minded, and open-hearted. In the end, prey that your example can be a lens through which your own children see a world that is open and full of naught but opportunity and promise.”

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell

photos by John Campbell


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