Tonight, I tried Episode 2 of Oprah Winfrey’s “Belief” on her OWN network, called “Love’s Story”. The link is here. There are detailed journals at the sublinks.
The episode presented four challenging situations.
Ian and Larissa Murphy, as evangelical Christians, are challenged when, before marriage, Ian is severely brain-injured in an automobile accident. He seems to be slowly recovering speech in the episode. I understand the strict idea of reserving sexuality until after marriage. But would I be willing to even start an intimate relationship with someone disabled? This will sound crass, but the answer for me is no.
The second segment of the hour presents two Hassidic Jews in Brooklyn, NY, Yermi Udkoff and Rena Greenberg, who enter an almost arranged marriage which defines their entire new identity.
The third part presents Jordan Richter, who grew up in California as the only son of a couple with drug issues. He was emotionally neglected but had become a competitive skateboarder. At around age 20, he looked for something to give him love and meaning and found the practice of Islam. The episode shows him joining the Hajj. The grand mosque with the Kaaba at night, with the green colors, is spectacularly shown. It's not clear from the show whether he has his own family, or whether the kids he is playing role model for are another family's.
The last part shows two former enemies in northern Nigeria: Christian pastor James Wuye, who had lost a hand and had it re-attached after a battle, and Muhammad Ashafa, former enemies, preaching forgiveness to their constituencies. This had come from a reverse persecution of Muslims by Christians rather than from Boko Haram.
My own experience of God is connected to my perception of how the Universe (or multi-verse) must work. The law of karma is usually impersonal, but in rare times it gets very personal. That could be true of the Hajj, or of being born again. Yet, I cannot simply surrender my own self-defined purpose.
Wikipedia attribution link for map of the Hajj, by Ascetic Rose, under Creative Commons 3.0 Share-Alike License. Second picture is mine, Red Hook in Brooklyn at night. Feb. 2013.