It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’d hoped that graduate school wouldn’t really impede regular posts on this blog, but while I continue to try and figure out the tempo and rhythm of graduate study, I’ve obviously gotten distracted from this site. Thankfully something came along to necessitate a post. I want to direct your attention to a podcast two of my friends have put together, aptly titled An Old Old Story. The first episode goes up tonight at midnight.
Primarily stationed out of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas (my alma mater), the themes dealt with on this monthly podcast will not be secluded to that tiny area of the map. Far from it. They’re really quite large, international, global even, and will encompass the supernatural. Case in point, the inaugural post that goes up tonight at midnight deals with Christian and Muslim relations. Obviously we are all aware the tenth anniversary of the September 11attacks is Sunday. An Old Old Story wants to look at what has changed in those ten years.
This is typical of this podcast. My friends construct every episode with such preliminary questions as, “What story do we find ourselves in? How much truth is contained within these stories? How long have they been around?” If this is beginning to sound something like deconstruction, it should. There’s a rather healthy tinge of such unearthing going on here. Sometimes our own fear and ignorance heaps on detrimental viewpoints that need to be sloughed off.
Though the first episode is titled “Ground Zero Sum,” don’t expect thirty-plus minutes devoted to commemorating September 11. Based off of the introduction, it could be easy to think that’s what you’re getting, what with the voices of people from my generation recalling how they were affected that day. But beyond that the Twin Towers falling is hardly even noticeable in this episode, the bulk of time being devoted to Christian and Muslim relations. I believe this was intentional—the podcast functioning as a microcosm of what we see in society. September 11 may have been the impetus for this episode (and cultural/spiritual polarization), but it’s no longer in the dialogue of everything. If we’re completely honest with ourselves, September 11 itself is practically invisible now to most of us; we’ve let it fade from our memories because we’re now so distracted by what we’ve allowed it to spawn: stereotypes, black-and-white labeling, fear, psychological terrorization. The list is vast.
My aim is not to summarize the episode because I want you to listen to it for yourself. An interview comprises most of it; Kyle Holton, a Christian missionary to Muslims in Mozambique discusses what it means to consider a follower of Islam as your neighbor. His insight is crucial for us to listen to. Even if you don’t agree with everything he says, it’s important to keep in mind he has a place of authority from which to speak that most white Americans do not. When Holton says he believes much of what we do in our relations with Muslims here in America is “too intentional,” we need to really pay attention to why he believes everything is abstracted and nothing will be accomplished by our current mindset and agendas. If you’re interested in learning about (and loving) your neighbor, mull over Holton’s perspective. He gives some exceptionally meaty food for thought.
A nonfiction story follows the interview, written by a former classmate of mine, Jonathan McRay. I wish I could say I know him very well, but I’ve only met him from time to time in passing. Even so, I greatly respect what he has to say, largely in part because, while many people talk about what Jesus set out to do, McRay actually seeks to do it with his life and actions. I heard his short nonfiction piece a few months ago and enjoyed it just as much the second time through this morning. Listen to the subtleties of the story; pay attention to the ease and facility with which a spiritual conversation is had between two supposedly “explosive” sides.
As aforementioned, An Old Old Story will be a monthly podcast. I strongly encourage you to do three things. One, listen to “Ground Zero Sum” when it goes up at midnight; two, come back for next month’s episode; and three, pass the link on to others. We want as many people to listen to this as possible, to be challenged by these rather alternative perspectives, and to hopefully continue the ripple effect of generating respectful dialogue on these issues. September 11 is ten years in the past, but the detrimental cultural divide issued from it continues to grow every day. There is simply no place for that—especially amongst the people of God.
If you want to get in touch directly with An Old Old Story, you can e-mail them (email@example.com), follow them on Twitter (@anoldoldstory), like them on Facebook by searching An Old Old Story, or you can even leave them a comment on Soundcloud.