July 12, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

The Holiday Spirit, as Told by Several of Brentwood’s Religious Leaders

The Hanukkiyah is the most important historic symbol of the Jewish people. As we celebrate this wonderful Festival of Lights for eight days beginning Saturday night December 8, Jews will gather in their homes to kindle the tapers of the candles on the Hanukkiyah. The candelabra and its history show the strength of the Jewish people.

The Hanukkiyah is not closed. It is like a relationship which must remain ever open to new ideas and fresh beginnings, learning to adapt to change and growth. It means recognizing that we are on the road to become the people we are meant to be. Our religious outlook may also evolve over time; something we once rejected may have new meaning for us today.

The glow of the Hanukkiyah brightens each of our days and sheds light on all who see it. Each of us is a child of God, and the light of life is a divine flame. The lights of the Hanukkiyah are also fragile. Any small breeze can topple the flames, just as a word spoken out in anger, or a thoughtless act can damage a relationship. Friends and family members must always work to strengthen the bonds between them, especially at this festive time.

The Hanukkiyah is a symbol of the here and now, this moment in time, frozen in memory and forever established with hope. And it takes us back to our ancestors who fought with courage to achieve the first victory for religious freedom. The Hanukkiyah links us to our past, and stands at the beginning of our future. Let the generations yet to come know how we cherish this holiday!

From Susan Jackson,
Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist:
Holidays occur in late fall and early winter for many faith traditions. These celebrations frequently arrive after eager anticipation accompanied by some trepidation … we look forward to family gatherings, fasting and feasting, fancy decorations, festive music, fun shopping, while maybe simultaneously sighing over the same gatherings, fasting and feasting, decorating, music, shopping! Ah, the holidays! As a Christian I look forward to spending Christmas with Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Baha’i family and friends. To me this is a natural time to include, and feel included by many families, many traditions. This is a gift of the season.

Another wonderful gift of this season is that many stop to remember those in need, making financial donations, offering gifts, lending a helping hand or listening ear, and much more. We also pause to reflect on another year of joys and disasters, some personal, others community-wide, national or global, hoping and praying for healing progress in the new year.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, said of the holiday season, “I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth’s appearing.â€

People of all faiths can agree with these desires and join together in praying/meditating to see “Truth’s appearing†experienced today in more healthful, joyful, peaceful, selfless, productive lives, individually and collectively. May everyone feel and share this deep spirit of the holiday season.

[quote from a collection of writings entitled First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany]

A Poem by Father Donie,
St. Martin of Tours:

“He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man†Lk 2,51-52

BOYHOOD
At twelve, excited to travel south,
First time to leave his village far behind.
Imagined Jerusalem ahead,
Awesome temple realized.
Noisy animals, throngs of people from afar,
Vastly catholic in word and dress.
Smoke of sacrifice, scent of incense;
A world not known to him ‘till now.
Lost in wonder, he stayed behind
Seeking answers from temple elders
Because of stirring questions.
Anxious searching parents found him there;
Puzzled by his puzzling answer.
With him they journeyed home to Nazareth;
To scripture silence for many years, for us
To wonder how he thought and lived.
How did you fill your days?
Did Sabbath synagogue strike a chord?
Was it a joy to saw and shape the wood?
Did you plant potatoes and crush the grapes
And did you like to row a boat and fish?
Did you play at games with other kids,
And did you enjoy a donkey ride?
Were you excited to hear of
Samson, Esther, David and the boat of Noah?
As a shepherd of sheep and goats,
Had you premonitions of things to come?
You must have loved your mother very much,
While she wondered what you would be
Aware of Simeon’s prophesy of piercing sword.
These questions come to mind
As we again remember you a child
In a stable long ago.
Donal Keohane

From David Carpenter,
Brentwood Presbyterian Church:

May I extend my, and my congregation’s, warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this blessed holiday season. A few weeks ago we had the privilege of hosting author, scholar, theologian, Brian McLaren as part of a nation-wide tour promoting his new book on inter-faith dialogue and understanding, “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?†Named by Time Magazine as one of America’s top 25 most influential Christian leaders, Brian’s book wades into one of the most crucial questions our world faces at the dawn of the 21st century, “Why do so many of our faith institutions (beginning with the Christian Church) measure the level of commitment, among their adherents, by the degree of animosity and dismissiveness they display toward those of differing faiths and beliefs?

Why do we often feel such pressure, when it comes to interfaith dialogue, to move toward one of two opposite but equally unhelpful extremes; either vilifying and dismissing those of other faiths, or watering down our own beliefs to pretend our differences don’t exist or aren’t important?
In this timely book, McLaren does a masterful job arguing that it’s possible to be thoroughly and authentically committed to our own faith while still loving and respecting those of other beliefs, not despite what they believe but because of it.

To illustrate, Brian asks us to imagine Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and the Buddha, sitting down around a table together. Can any of us imagine anything less than a deep, lively, rich discussion, full of mutual love and respect, genuine interest and caring, lively and passionate debate, to be sure, but all in a spirit of camaraderie and shared inquiry?

In recent years people like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens have argued that religion is responsible for much of the world’s violence and hatred. While McLaren doesn’t deny the accusation, he points out that it is not so much the faiths themselves as this universal human temptation, that plagues all human institutions, to foster unity and cohesion among our adherents by identifying an “enemy†to join in opposition against.

From cliques in junior high (think jocks vs. band geeks), to ethnic groups, colleges and universities (think Bruins vs. Trojans), nations, religions, even sects within religions (think Catholics vs. Protestants in Ireland or Shiite vs. Sunni in the Middle East) wherever humans gather, we are quick to discover the intrinsic, economic and motivational rallying value of the loyalty created by identifying an outsider.

I commend Brian’s book to you as an important offering at an important time in perhaps the most religiously diverse city in the world. However you welcome the peace, grace and hope of this sacred season, know that we at Brentwood Presbyterian love and respect you not “despite†what you believe but because of it!

Grace and Peace,
Reverend David G. Carpenter
Rabbi Morley T. Feinstein
Susan Jackson
Father Donie
David Carpenter

in News
Related Posts

Summer at Annenberg:Swim Daily and Watch the Sunset

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

By Susan Payne A unique, inclusive community destination along the Pacific Coast Highway of Santa Monica is inviting you to...

(Video) Two Different Angles of a Firecracker Being Tossed Into a Garage in Brentwood

July 12, 2024

July 12, 2024

A series of incidents where teens threw firecrackers have been happening in Brentwood since April. In this case, the firework...

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s Daughter Advocates for Long Covid Awareness and Safety Measures

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Brentwood Resident Speaks Out Opposing Mask Bans, Calling for Covid Protections in County Facilities Violet Affleck, daughter of actors Ben...

Enjoy Weekly Concerts Every Thursday Evening Until August 29 at The Culver Steps

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Culver City Free Summer Music Series Returns for the Summer The City of Culver City will host a free summer...

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Have Formally Listed Their $68 Million Beverly Hills Mansion For Sale

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Amid Rumors, the Actors Have Placed Their Family Home on the Market Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have officially put...

Kroger and Albertsons Reveal List of Stores to be Divested in $25 Billion Merger

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Eleven Stores in West Los Angeles Among Locations to be Sold  The Kroger Company and Albertsons Companies Inc. have announced...

(Video) Renowned Soprano Singer to Make L.A. Homecoming at Broad Stage

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Golda is scheduled to perform on July 13 at 8 p.m. @culvercitywlanews This Saprano singer is set to take the...

UCLA Student Housing Break-In Leads to Sexual Assault Charges

July 11, 2024

July 11, 2024

Suspect Faces Up to 25 Years to Life in Prison if Convicted Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced...

Culver City Police Arrest Two Suspects in Late Night Armed ATM Robbery

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Suspects Identified and Apprehended Following Investigation Two suspects have been arrested in connection with an armed robbery that occurred on...

Dine LA Restaurant Week Returns to Celebrate Culinary Diversity With Amazing Deals

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Special Menus at Hundreds of Local Restaurants from July 12 to July 26 Dine LA Restaurant Week will be returning...

Viral Tweet Spurs Screening of Michael Mann’s Miami Vice at the Lumiere Cinema in Beverly Hills

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Independent Theater to Showcase 2006 Film on July 13 Following Online Debate By Dolores Quintana Following an unexpected turn of...

LAPD and LASD Collaborate to Nab Group Responsible for Over 30 Residential Burglaries

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

“Reflector Vest Crew” Burglary Suspects Arrested in Los Angeles In collaboration with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Major Crimes...

Santa Monica Artist Dave Quick’s “Return from the Burn” Exhibition to Open at Bergamot’s Lois Lambert Gallery

July 10, 2024

July 10, 2024

Pre-Burning Man Showcase Features Kinetic Art and Sculptures Coated with Playa Dust, Opens July 13 With upwards of 80,000 attendees,...

(Video) Newly Rebranded Santa Monica Hotel Shines a New Light on the Neighborhood

July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

The Revitalized Business is Also Available For Events @culvercitywlanews The newly rebranded Santa Monica Hotel casts a new light on...

Award-Winning Soprano Makes Broad Stage Debut

July 9, 2024

July 9, 2024

Golda Zahra to Perform in LA July 13 By Susan Payne Renowned Soprano Golda Zahra is making her homecoming back...