The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

on opening mosques, minds and hearts

August18

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.

change Commodities

January8

Perhaps it’s only the calm before the storm.

Storms do, after all, tend to clear the air, and make things feel more alive.

It seems like President Obama is making some headway. But, alternative leadership will declare this is an illusion created by the “obamacratic” media.

What happens when people finally come to the ugly terms that Obama has led the Fed in cutting a deal with banks that favors foreclosing on tax-payers homes by subsidizing the difference? He is also touting healthcare reform that he, along with members of the House and Senate, are exempt from. Is that when people rise up? Or, is that Byzantine (Of, relating to, or characterized by intrigue; scheming or devious: “a fine hand for Byzantine deals and cozy arrangements”) example the harbinger of change?

I don’t feel like bashing Obama any more.

I am, in fact, I am a proven patriot; and, willing to be a freedom fighter. But, what does that mean? For today and tomorrow? The winds of change are blowing stiffly through the country, and around the globe.

It’s storm-like because of the upheaval around shared economic pain that is historically unprecedented (but, certainly nothing new from a Biblical perspective).

I’ve been using a central “commodities” based thinking in some of my recent posts, coaching, and public speaking. Interpreting or defining losers and winners is challenging, but that investigation might prove rewarding.

So… Once I allowed myself to surrender to that notion, God jumped me with a different line of thinking:

Assuming God has the plan (and I do). What if He is using Obama, in an unexpected way – to break this country so it can begin to heal itself, later?

Apparently the Muslims have a saying: “the Promise is in the punishment, or the punishment is in the promise”.

I can’t say with absolute certainty such a line of thought actually exists in the Qur’An. …I better go investigate that as well. Or, perhaps one of my Muslim brothers can wade-in (even though I’m not Muslim, that person is likely still my brother). But, it certainly offers a dramatic platform for thought.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

i find my Brothers in the strangest places

December20

I prefer to spend what might be defined as spare time doing interesting things. Or, perhaps being an interesting fellow. I’ll allow for history to determine if any part of it qualifies as “chinese interesting”.

I like to sing badly (interpret that as you will). So, I do it a lot. I deeply (I prefer that word over really) enjoy music, and various interpretations of art, as well. I’ll admit, here, the music I like only need move me.

That aside, I’m working through a lot of Hootie and the Blowfish. I’ll add Darius Ruckers: History In The Making. I’m enjoying that with gusto, and to the mild amusement of my family, and the odd friend that happens to drop by.

In any event, I found myself thinking about my friend Earnesto. You might as well face it now, there’s a story around this; and, it’s just below!

The thought was triggered by the tune: I Want To Know What Love Is, as performed by Down Low & Friends Best & More (and, the Scream Factory) for Rappers Against Racism (that event was a lot of fun). You can find it on iTunes. And, you can also view it here:

I think the visuals off the video somewhat detract from the impact of the actual message. But, there you have it nonetheless.

Lift it UP! I may not be a Christian… But, this is my religion.

In any event, I first met Earnesto in the city of Sarajevo in early 1989. He was an artist of some repute. My team needed to escort a veritable troupe out of the city, and harms way. I was not surprised to learn that Earnesto knew Father Jim, my Catholic mentor (he would never approve of Christian). And, this was before Father Jim disappeared. Earnesto looked a lot older than his fifty-one years. Born in El Salvador, he had lost one young family in a FARC guerilla cross-fire. He literally painted his way to Yugoslavia where he earned citizenship largely on the grounds of his artistic genius (I had found myself standing mesmerized before a bullet-riddled mural painted by his hand on the south wall of a quaint little restaurant off Titova street [aka: Street of Marshal Tito]). He was still dazed and ruined from losing another wife (this one a Muslim) and young daughter.

Years later I was pleasantly surprised to find Earnesto, oddly no older in appearance, but clearly bent by life, standing amidst a group of hapless workers, right here in Alpharetta. He needed to work. I had that around my yard. I made sure he had hot thick coffee and cheese sandwiches. In a strange way I felt as though he was both grateful for me, and accusing of me. More importantly, in the scheme of things, I sorted out that he was gravely ill. In less than three months he was too weak to work. I found him an apartment, discreetly covered the rent, and made sure there was a bag of groceries on the kitchen counter each Sunday afternoon. In some fanciful way I’m sure I was hoping he would do something charming – like paint the walls with some brilliant story. But, that never happened. The magic was gone from his heart, hand and eyes. His english was broken, but his hearing was good. I found myself telling him stories about my own life, with a focus on Grandad, my girls, soccer and theories about politics.

In the last week he could not rise from his bed and his complete care was left to me.  I thought he smelled good. Rather like cinnamon. But, I also recognized the scent of death with the hollowness of his cheeks. As the darkness closed around him, and he fiercely gripped my numbing hand, he hoarsely whispered that he was not alone, and grateful. He seemingly had no fear; perhaps only resignation, if not relief. His only request: “you no forget me”.

By the way… That mural in Sarajevo is gone. But, it was an image of men of many faiths and color standing on a hillside on the outskirts of the city with their faces raised up to the sun.

I can’t and won’t forget that. It was a gift from Earnesto. And, it’s another lesson for me. As I remember the face of my father, Earnesto’s suffering, the bounty of my life’s experience – and, the potential that I have yet unrealized to make a greater difference in this life, I will continue to find more ways to learn what love is.

Happy Holidays.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

furious resolve if not Survival

December10

Of course it was Rusty Linquist that had to get me thinking.

I felt like I had no other choice but to offer the following (you’ll need to venture back towards yesterdays post and explore the comments if there’s a hope you’ll understand what this means):

I’ll ponder if the greater risk comes in not taking the action to prepare for the summit, overcome my fear, and achieve a milestone shared with few others that breathe all manner of “rare air”.

The demise element takes it’s pivotal form in whether it happens as a surprise, and less so an eventuality. So, I must train my body and prepare my mind to blend courage, furious resolve,/1 and planning into a best option – survival.

I love the development behind the potential that Raison d’etre represents. So, much promise reflected in an ever broadening sea of opportunity. It’s like the subjective meaning(s) attributed to Gare du Nord – another French play on words. It’s both a place (that takes people to other destinations) while also serving as a kind of battle cry /2 for a warrior code that may longer exist in that evolving culture (the French Foreign Legion in Africa facing Muslim hordes). God… the irony. And, the lessons to be learned over what might define heroism, and a reconciliation with my own soul.

Thanks for chipping in Rusty.

Brian Patrick Cork

1/ If I ever own another boat, I’ll name her Furious Resolve. And, by God, I’ll sail her around the word, nestled in her womb while raising my arms (and often) to (again) God and all His elements!

2/ “We make our stand here!”

« Older Entries

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

 

Share this Blog with friends or enemies (via Twitter). Do it!:

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Archives

Email Subscription

Linkedin

View Brian Cork's profile on LinkedIn

Categories



%d bloggers like this: