One of the great joys of February 29 is that it reminds us that life cannot be fitted into a system. Something - thank God - always bursts out. What good news is that for all that is weird and wonderful in us, our lives ans relationships! The Gregorian calendar does its best to calibrate and control us. Yet having an extra day every four years can't even fix time then. So, on 29 February, we have a great opportunity really to celebrate all that is weird and wonderful in ourselves, in others, and in the amazing diversity of our world - vive la difference. So what will you do today to make it a weird day, with all the weird people and places you know?
When some people question me about religion and violence, and especially Islamist related violence, I often think and talk to them about Azim Khamisa, one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. A successful international financier and Sufi Muslim, Azim's life was turned upside down when his twenty year old son Tariq was shot and killed, for the price of the pizza he was delivering. Yet, out of the midst of his terrible anguish, an amazing compassion, rather than commitment to vengeance, arose. Azim came to realise, as he puts it, that there were 'victims at both ends of the gun' that killed his son, and this spirit-led understanding drove him to contact the family of his son's killer (whom he then later met and has lobbied for) and to commit his life to sharing the power of forgiveness, particularly among millions of young people vulnerable to gang culture and other pathways to violence. His mission is especially embodied in the Tariq Khamissa Foundation but has also been exercised internationally through books and other communications tools and events of various kinds (including his own website found by clicking here). When I think of the message and example of Jesus, Azim is an amazing contemporary model. A little of his story can be found in this video clip:
Jo Inkpin an Anglican priest, trans woman, theologian and justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice and sustainable creation.