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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dove World: An interesting week in my hometown

I'm sorry to go dormant on you, my faithful readers.  Among many other time-eating factors, my mother's health took a significant downturn recently, and I'm frankly not getting much done.  If anybody wants to come down here and do my laundry and mop my kitchen floor, I won't argue with you.  :)

Never fear, I'm not going to stop making sausage here.  The excitement of a new book's publication is right around the corner, and I wouldn't miss sharing it with you.  This past week, however, I witnessed some things here in Gainesville that played out on the world stage and I thought I'd share them with you.

Usually when worldwide media outlets focus on this town, they're talking about the antics of large young people on the football field or baseball diamond or basketball court or lacrosse field. Not last week.

I do not believe that a single media organization on the planet failed to send someone to report on the antics of a single idiot with 30 congregants and a loud mouth and a book of matches. The population of Gainesville, minus 30 benighted members of Dove World, was remarkably unified against Terry Jones and his inflammatory behavior, and I'm proud of that.

My minister has always been socially and politically active, and he was very involved in the organization of an interfaith worship service held earlier this week. He and several other ministers and rabbis and priests signed a letter printed in a full-page ad protesting the planned Koran burning. Some of the flock of media folk found him on Thursday, and he was interviewed in three languages that apparently included English, since he appeared on CNN Friday morning.

Everyone I encountered last week was talking about this brouhaha, from tbe conservative wealthy elderly white folks at my mother's assisted living facility to the probably-less-wealthy African American nursing assistants taking care of them. I didn't hear the first person support Dove World's plans, which gives me hope for mankind.

On Sunday, I attended our church service, and plans to feature readings from the New Testament, the Torah, and the Koran had been widely publicized.
The media kept a low profile. It was, after all, a church service. Representatives of various newspapers, CNN, and the ACLU sat quietly in the congregation. Al-Jazeera sent a cameraman, and I hope that their viewers see that Dove World has 30 people who wish them ill, but just across town from them, we have 300 who are reaching out.

I've never been much of a rabble-rousing protester, choosing instead to express my political views by rearing three children with strong moral values, but I was glad to be part of this event.  And I hope we all one thing away from the response to one man's actions:  We live in a small world, and we're not that different from each other.  It's really important to love each other.
Mary Anna


  1. It *is* important to love each other. But it's easy to love those who love us, and more difficult to love those who seem to be unlovable. Even Mr. Dove. But that's what we're charged to do, even while disagreeing with his actions.

  2. Yes, Michele. You're completely right.

    I really struggle with things like loving Mr. Dove. I'd never do anything to harm him and I'd never burn *his* holy book, even if it weren't the same as mine, but loving him is something else again. Still, what's in a person's heart does matter, even when that person thinks resentments don't show. Love is transformative.

    So I'll keep working on the loving Mr. Dove stuff. I think it's gonna take a while...

  3. "All good that a person does to another returns three fold in this life; harm is also returned three fold." Need I say more?

    Aliens & Alibis Books

  4. Yes, it's going to take me a while, too. I just happened to have this in my head yesterday because the youth are presenting the worship service at our church on Sunday, and I was working on the order of worship with the youth director. The reading this week is Matthew 5:43-48, the whole love your enemies thing. Timely.

  5. Timely indeed.

    Today's front page says that Dove World is going to be presented with a $200,000 bill for the expenses incurred by local government. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.