Tim Peters

In chapter on Vishnu’s Almonds I could identify with Dr. Acharya’s concern about her grandchildren losing their religion.   I have three stepchildren who are all active in the Seventh-day Adventist church.  The youngest is 20 and he is the one who likes to play devil’s advocate.  I don’t mind him doing that, but sometimes it is hard to distinguish when he is or if he expressing his own doubts about God.  He likes authenticity which I strive for and he helps me work on it.  He is dating a Baptist who is a very nice young lady.  I do have some concern about them working out their religious differences, but more concerning is that both of them don’t seem too interested in spirituality.  The book reminds me that young people need freedom to think for themselves and I have the tendency to be more concerned about my family checking off the boxes to do the right things than I do for others.  So I continue to pray for my kids, love them and am reminded that God’s grace is abundant to them as it is toward everyone else.

About the story of the Almonds, I think Dr. Acharya had a good heart in asking the priest to perform a prayer ritual for the student group.  It seemed she wanted the students to get an experience that would be meaningful for their visit. I think of all the times that I go Catholic masses for funerals or other events.  When people go forward for the communion I stay standing where I am.  It feels like that is for Catholics to partake of.  But if the priest were walking down my row and offered me the wafer and the wine I would probably take it.  There is a difference when someone gives a personal gesture to give you something than making a call to a large group to come forward.  I do not see harm in partaking of a ritual of another group of faith.

When I worked in hospitals in the past I helped distribute ashes two years to hospital employees on Ash Wednesday.  That may open another can of worms whether I was right to do that when I am not Catholic.

I understand the tension that Taylor described about idol worship and feeling uneasy in the temple of idols.  But my feeling is there is room to respect other’s rituals and even participate without compromising our own faith.   But I also like how BBT chose not to try to change the student’s mind who ran outside crying.  Some convictions that are not harming others that I don’t agree don’t need to be shot down.  I hope and pray for more ability to live together in diference and love each other for the difference instead of in spite of it.