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According to Si Hamza Boubakeur “Sufism itself is not a theological-juridical school, nor a schism, nor a sect, since puts itself above any obedience. It’s primarily an Islamic method of inner improvement, of balance, it’s a fount of fervour intensely lived and gradually ascending. Far form being an innovation or a divergent way, parallel to canonic practices, above all it’s a risolute march of a category of privileged souls, captured, thirsty of God, moved by the shock of His Grace, to live only for Him and thanks to him inside His law meditated, interiorized, proved”. Again according to Si Hamza Boubakeur the components of sufi doctrin are: total love of God; gnosis, which getting over detective and incomplete intellectual knowledge directly unites the sufi to divine, so the certitude of His existance and of impossibility to understand Him with human forces alone; the intuitive knowledge achievement; the Mystic ascent thorugh a series of  states and stations, integrated by remembrance of God and ecstasy.
The path which a sufi follows is made of ten stages, each of them having ten learning-understanding stations, for a total by consequence of terms-representations remembering the thread of the path to follow. Each of them has corresponding verses of Koran to lighten its values. In this way the sufi reaches seven subtle grades emblematically corresponding – according to Simnani’s description – to seven great prophets.
The ten stages are: beginnings, doors, behaviours, virtuous habits, principles, valleys, mystic states, sanctity, reality, supreme abodes.

The seven grades

In the descending arc, form macrocosm to microcosm, from divine to soul, are divine essence, divine nature, the world of informal, the world of imaginal, the world of spiritual perception, the world of forms, the world of nature and human being.
In the ascending arc, that which sufi performs to get from self to God, the seven evolutive grades are simbolized by seven prophets and by relevant descriptions of Holy Koran. The matrix of the body, in acquiring an embrional matrix of a new not physycal form, is represented by Adam.

Second grade (vital sense) corresponds to animal spirit, or psyche, field of struggles as proved Noah with his people.

Third grade (heart) is that of spiritual heart, pearl inside the shell, comprehension of authentic self at embrional state. This spiritual self is simbolyzed by Abraham, since Abraham was close to God.

The fourth grade (limit of overconscious) is the Secret, the point of overconscious, of spiritual monologues as those of Moses.

Fifth grade (the spirit) is the noble reaching of spirituality, as divine otherness, and is David of existing.

The sixth grade (inspiration) is properly oneself receiving of inspiration, and is symbolized by Jesus, beacuse was Jesus which announced the Name.

 Seventh grade (the Truth), that of last one subtle organ, activated at the end of this path, corresponds to divine centre of Being, to ethernal Seal, to transcendent and immanent reality of every human being, and is symbolized by Prophet Muhammad (S.a.S.), since he was the Profecy Seal.

 The seven colours.
Each of these seven stages of the journey has his relevant color, which corresponds to light color which the sufi sometimes sees during the dhikr (remembrance). Seven colours are, starting from the base: black, grey, light blue, red, white, yellow, black light, emerald green.

 The seven symbols
The seven grades have relative symbols, whose study and elaboration during sessions helps its comprehension: sound, light, number (geometry, construction, golden section), letter (secret meanings of names, grammatical construction), word (dhikr, Names of God, Holy Koran), symbol, rythm and symmetry.

Anyway, this brief description is imperfect and limited. Describing the journey step by step is not enough to express what experienced and its actualization. So we resort to other terms, to define an acquired psychic reality: states, stations, presences.

Ahl (plural ahwâl). Pivot moments, transitory. As a metaphor they could be so described: “The terrain hit by sound is itself undulatory movement. The wave is the measure, rhythm comes out from tones’ combination along this wave […]. Tones are divided by measure, regular or not regular; they can fill it rapidly following one another, or on the countrary leaving huge empty intervals. Sometimes they tie up in bundles themselves, sometimes they space out themselves […]. Due to this reason of freedom in dividing and priming, tones can give to the basic form, constantly sinuos, a noble profile, continuosly different. […]. These tone’s games along the sound wave, this self-modelling of the wave substance, coincidence and opposition of these two components, their reciprocal tension and their mutual continuous adaptation, here what we call, in musica, rythm. Tone’s ripetion has a double aim: to satisfy needs of simmetry wich pretends to be fulfilled, and to play role of connection in the amplification chain. Spritual states and music tones, which costitute varying and unpermanent qualities pretending to meet, or a place, where get down to modify the rythm, are symbolically expressed by human works of art”.
Spitual state itself is complementary to the meeting moment and to the inverse of stability. It translates multiple indescribable, unitary, emotions, whose seating is soul; it’s mutable and permanent at the same time, since search is struggle but mysticism is quiet.

Maqâmat. Spiritual stations, are definitively acquired conquests. They have both an active and a passive one attitude: introiection/dilatation; union/separation; sobriety/drunkennes; annihilation/total subsistence; presence/absence. To be in the world but not taken by world.

Hadrat. The presences. For sample multiple realities of calligraphy. It’s the complete human being, âlInsân âlKâmil.
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 Text of  Gabriele Mandel, translation by Massimo Failoni

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From Brad Tricola , USA

It used to be people were most likely to listen their way into the kingdom… now people are more likely to talk and watch their way in.” -Todd Hunter

A few weeks ago I carpooled to the NWYM Focus Conference in Hood River with a few other pastors. We had a great time celebrating and commiserating the joys and challenges of pastoral ministry. We were able to share our prayer requests pray for one another (the driver kept his eyes open).

The speaker for our conference was Todd Hunter, author, speaker and former president of the Vineyard denomination. His task was to immerse us in the world of postmodern culture: what is it and how do we communicate, engage, and minister within this emerging culture? For many of us this might have been review or common sense, as this is the “water in which many of us swim.”  He talked about how people are becoming more skeptical and are requiring more and different evidences for our truth claims.  And people are asking different questions than they were even a decade ago. Questions like Is it true? And can it be proven are being replaced by questions like – Is it good? Is it helpful? Is it beautiful? In the premodern era, truth was revealed, in the modern era (the past 500 years or so) truth was discovered (logic, critical thinking, scientific method) now, people’s experience of truth is…well…experienced. Todd said it this way, “It used to be people were most likely to listen their way into the kingdom… now people are more likely to talk and watch their way in. We need to be ready to respond by becoming people who listen and demonstrate.” 

What amazed me most about my time at this conference was that the pastors and leaders were not anxious or threatened by any of this. It’s like they truly believed that they could trust God to be in control and to continue to speak and work in this world.

On the last day part of the dialogue was, how are we as Friends especially equipped and prepared to minister within a post-modern culture. Leading Christian thinkers like Leonard Sweet, (and Todd Hunter) believe that Quakers, as antiquated as they may seem, are uniquely positioned to speak truth to this emerging culture. Our values of Peace, Justice, Simplicity, Hospitality, Kingdom of God Theology, and Spirit Theology, and our emphasis on the life and teachings of Jesus really connect and resonate. 

We ended our time together with a session in which Gar Michelson asked, “what are we (Northwest Friends) good at?” As an aside, I like that we can have that conservation and not be in danger of thinking we are better than other “tribes” (we know that we are a small, quirky bunch – what some might call a “peculiar people”). 

Here are a few of the highlights from that discussion:

  • We care for the broken. People who don’t have it all together, whose lives are messy, who have had addictions, who have been divorced, who need emotional healing – we welcome them and journey with them. We allow people to be who they are.
  • We are good stewards of our resources. As people give to NorthwestFriends causes and local churches they trust that we have a record of using resources in a fiscally responsible way. And more than that, we seek to use our resources in generous ways as we look outward at the needs of our communities and world.
  • We are visionary in our ministry expressions. We have more local outreaches in the Northwest Friends Network than we do churches. Homeless ministries, skateboarding ministries, addiction ministries, coffee shop ministries. Missional outreach is in our DNA.
  • We have concern for justice issues. When it comes to equality, peace, justice, and rights for the oppressed, perhaps no smaller group has had a greater impact in the world than Quakers. We are sometimes surprised by how good a reputation we have.
  • Listening. We have built into our church culture and rhythms listening as an act of worship. This has power to change and challenge the way we interact with the world (becoming better and deeper listeners, helping us understand before being understood), and the way we do church business (taking the emphasis off of what we think and want and onto what God thinks and wants). 

 

Todd’s encouragement to us, his main piece of advice was this – don’t be anxious. In every culture, in every era of history there have been challenges and opportunities to share God’s truth and to invite people to live the Jesus Way. Our time in history is no different. It will have its own challenges and opportunities. So after spending three days with Todd and the other pastors of the NWYM, I have been forced to ponder…

  • How can I better love people with a different worldview than me?
  • How can I become more aware of which parts of my Christian faith are cultural and which transcend time and culture?
  • Am I really ready to evangelize with my ears?

Practical Mystics

When I came to Quakers, some fifteen years ago, it was in answer to an insistent inner call, to assuage a turmoil that I did not understand, but that would not be denied. I had not been looking for a community and it was not until later that I realised that I had found one. Not wishing my social self to trample on the eggshells of something so tender and new, I didn’t engage with others for the first few weeks. But I borrowed books, and what I found amazed me. I had not realised religion could be like this. Not a dogma to sign up to, not the repeating of words written by others, but simply – and crucially – a requirement to be my authentic self. It was a dark time in my life, and a time when I was increasingly uneasy in the world of publishing in which I had worked for many years, the last fourteen as an independent literary agent. The celebrity culture and bottom-line mentality were eroding the ethos that had originally drawn me. As I gradually found a home among Quakers, it became clear that I needed to sell my business. I had no idea what I would do, and, for the first time in my life, it didn’t matter. Letting go of the need to know, allowing trust to replace control, was a new way of living. I wondered why it had taken so long. And meeting individual Quakers revived my youthful idealism. Always upset by poverty and injustice, my childish suggestions of sending tins of food to Africa by boat had been met by the insistence of friends, family and society that such things were beyond our power to change. ‘We can’t make a difference; there’s nothing we can do.’ But the people I was now meeting believed otherwise. In small, local ways, most were at work: volunteering for this, campaigning for that. And I was liberated to believe that in my own way I too might make some difference. I was electrified, released from the dead hand of hopelessness. Quakers are sometimes called ‘practical mystics’. It was a sense of the ‘mystic’ – a direct relationship with the Divine – that had called me, but the practical, in ways entirely new to me, was not long in catching up. For the Spirit we listen for, are waiting on, in Meeting for Worship is a dynamic one: its whispers are promptings to take love and truth out into the world, to heal it. As saint James wrote: ‘What good is it, my Friends, for someone to say he has faith when his actions do nothing to show it?’ (James 2:14). The relationship between worship and our witness in the world is indivisible; we all stand on a spectrum between contemplation and engagement, the balance renegotiated by each of us at different times of our lives. It is not that having faith leads us to action: each feeds the other. Indeed, it could be said that there is no separation. Prayer is action; faith is inherent in our engagement in the world. We express our faith in how we live our lives, how we are in the world, as patterns and examples. The Quaker way is a holistic one: faith consumes our lives. Jennifer Kavanagh is a member of London West Area Meeting, and the author of The World is our Cloister and The O of Home. She will co-facilitate a workshop on ‘Finding the Balance’ at Woodbrooke Study Centre over the New Year. From: The Friend, UK

Who we are
Agape international ecumenical centre is a place of encounter where one lives an intense experience of community in beautiful natural surroundings. Agape was and is an important point of reference in Italian Protestantism, for 50 years a place of education and development, theological exploration, political engagement, of acceptance and validation of differences. Every year many people, diverse in their religion, culture, ages, political thinking, come to Agape for one week to discuss and to be challenged, to get to know themselves and each other and to exchange experiences around a particular theme.
Agape was built after the Second World War as a sign of hope and of reconciliation between people, thanks to the voluntary labour of many young men and women; a resident group of 12 people still lives at Agape throughout the year and the dimensions of community and voluntary service remain central. The name Agape indicates the love of God for humankind that “never fails” (1 Corinthians, 13). Agape expresses a strong lay spirituality, where believers and non-believers feel equally at home.
Agape rises in the Cottian Alps nearly 1600 metres above sea level, encircled by fir trees and south-facing meadows, with an architecture that is rich in symbols. The materials are typical of the Waldensian Valleys, wood and stone, with large expanses of glass and wide open spaces. The building offers 100 beds, with bathrooms on each floor, a great hall, a modern kitchen, a fair-trade bar and a library.
Around twenty conferences are organised in the course of the year including camps, seminars and study weekends. Agape offers educational programmes to schools and is also open to individuals and groups who provide their own programme of events.

Pls visitthis link for more infos: http://www.agapecentroecumenico.org/sito/index.php?name=EZCMS&menu=10&page_id=41

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Agape offers opportuinities of stage for students of interpreters. Work of INTERPRETERS is fundamental for Agape and for the good succes of these camps. For this year the political camp is from 1 to 8 august , as the theological camp will be from 8 to 15 july. This year we also have a new international camp, the workcamp camp, from 16 to 21 august.

The type of work that we ask is voluntary: food, accomodation and naturally the price of your journey will all be paid by Agape. The kinds of interpretation that we require are: consecutive interpretation, simultaneous interpretation and chuchotage. Beforehand the work will no longer be than six or seven hours a day. There will be three sessions: morning (9.30-12.30), afternoon (15.30-19.30) and evening.

For any camp there will be somebody from the staff who prepares the work of the interpreters. Day of work are: monday and tuesday; wensday is free and also part of sunday; thursday and fridays are also session days. Agape also offers tea and coffe. Agape provides sheets and balanquets, but you should bring your own towel. You will sleep in a 3 places room. Toilets are at the floor.

Interpreters are wellcome any free time to join partecipants. Partecipants and speakers of AGAPE INTERNATIONAL CAMPS come from 5 continents of the planet Earth. Interpreters will receive a CERTIFICATE of stage if needed.

If you’re interested, write to vicedirezione@agapecentroecumenico.org  
or call 0039 0121 807514

From Will T, Quaker in Arlington, Massachusetts

Oh God,

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

When men flew to the moon, you were with them. When they beheld the beautiful and delicate home that you have made us, rising over the moonscape, their hearts were filled with joy and awe.

If men and women fly to Mars, you will greet them there.

If the aliens from Alpha Centauri land in their flying saucers, when they disembark, we will behold the faces of your children.

Your hold us and comfort us in our deepest grief. In our joy, you laugh with us.

God, help us to find you and feel you and know you in the most difficult place of all, in the ordinariness and routine of our daily lives.

Amen.

In the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), people from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs embark together on a spiritual journey. Although their individual beliefs may vary, Quakers share an understanding of a Divine presence in all people.
This presence is the source from which we draw our strength to witness to human dignity, and to work for peace and justice. Though some Quaker meetings continue to struggle for unity around gender and sexual diversity, many Quaker meetings have found unity in welcoming and supporting gender and sexual minorities.
The Religious Society of Friends began in England in the 17th Century. Early Friends sought to revive a form of primitive Christianity, without creed, outward sacraments, or paid clergy. In the course of Quaker history a variety of spiritual practices evolved as Friends followed the inward leadings of the Divine presence.
Today those spiritual practices include both programmed and unprogrammed Meetings for Worship. Programmed meetings may include pastoral prayer, responsive readings, music, scripture, and prepared messages, while in unprogrammed meetings for Worship worshippers gather together in silence to seek the Divine presence, speaking out of the silence when led to do so by the movement of Spirit.
Quakers believe that all are called to minister to one another. We believe that each person has direct access to the Divine—an inner light present within. Individuals must search and come to a personal understanding of their own spiritualities, which may or may not be Christ-centered. During the past three centuries, consistent testimonies have emerged which bear witness that the Spirit can be trusted to lead toward simplicity, equality, justice, nonviolence, peace, and stewardship.

From our web site http://www.ecumenici.eu you can visit the very interesting page…

Sabarmati Ashram
Back to India, Gandhi decided to found an “ashram” like his farm in Phoenix and Tolstoi’s Farm. He settled in Ahmedabar, in the Indian state of Gujarat, 460 kilometres far from Porbandar, the town on the Arabic Coast where he was born. He would serve his country using “gujarati”, his mother tongue. The first “aspram” was built in 1915. Gandhi called it Satyagraha Ashram, because – he explained – “I wanted to let know our method used in South Africa and see if, in India, would be the conditions to do something similar”. His life in the new ashram was quite peaceful until the day there was a pestilence in the village of Kocharab. Then Gandhi decided to leave the place where he was living and moved to a northern place respect to Ahmedabar, placed on the right bank of the river Sabarmati. There he found a new ashram known as Sabarmati Ashtram.
It was opened by Gandhi himself on 17th June 1917. At that time, he was supported by 40 people , more or less. At the beginning, they lived in a small camp altogether, although there were lots of dangerous snakes around that place. At the entrance of the ashram we can still find, listed in English, all the duties that the people who lived in the ashram had to follow: “Thruth, Non-violence or Love, Chastity (Brahmacharia), Control of the Palate, Non-stealing, Non-possession or Poverty, Swadeshi, Fearlessness, Removal of Untouchability, Equality of Religions, Physical Labour”. Gandhi’s followers still live in that house and its area and they sometimes find peace resting in its garden.
We can find a notice on an outer wall: “I wouldn’t like to see my home bricked up, neither the windows. I would like to see that all the cultures all over the world may enter freely into my home. But I will never accept that anybody tries to throw me out of my home. Mahatma Gandhi. It seems as Gandhi gave some suggestions to nowadays Indian society and how it has to face the challenge of modernization.
It is in this way that we begin our visit to this Indian Museum, fight emblem of spirituality. The shots were taken a few hours ago by an Indian friend and they will be spread on this site with the advice to show always the origin: http://www.facebook.com/l/e94f2sxaZRQYdc3WjFilP16RaKw;www.ecumenici.eu We think that will be the best way to begin the celebrations about Gandhi’s birthday, on next 2nd October, called by the great Indian poet Tagore Mahatma (or Great Soul in Sanskrit), Every year, on 2nd October, we celebrate the world day of Non-violence.
Gandhi is known as one of the main pioneers fighting against any form of tyranny applying the massive civil disobedience, which drove India to its Indipendence.

(translation by Antonio Pinto – Photos in website by Sushmit, from Indien)

Our logo is made by our Induist Friend too: Suschmit

World day for the abolition of the death penalty

Friday 8th October:

• 20:30 Faenza  • Palazzo Manfredi, Piazza del Popolo 31, Sala Bigari

 

A strange fruit, a bitter crop.

The death penalty in the USA and Japan

and strategies towards the abolition.

 

Conversation with Yukari Saito

(member of the Japanese abolitionist association Forum 90 and of the centre of documentation “Semi Sotto la Neve”)

and Claudio Giusti (co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty)

Organized by Claudio Giusti, Claudia Caroli, Alessia Bruni, Cristiana Bruni in collaboration with Group Italy 193 of Amnesty International Imola and with Legambiente Faenza

 

 

 

Friday 8th October:

• 10:00 Faenza • Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche viale Baccarini 19

A strange fruit, a bitter crop.

The death penalty in Italy, the US and Japan

 

Talks by:

Christine Weise

President of the Italian Section of Amnesty international

“The death penalty in the world “

 

Alessandro Luparini

from Centro Archivi del Novecento of Ravenna

“The abolition of death penalty in the Kingdom of Italy (1861-1890)”

 

Claudio Giusti

member of  Comitato Scientifico dell’Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti

“United States of America: from lynching to the death penalty”

 

Yukari Saito

member of the Japanese abolitionist association Forum 90

and of the documentation centre Semi Sotto la Neve

and Claudia Caroli

Secretariat of the abolitionist association PeACE

“The Japanese noose: a knot  of power difficult to loose”

 

Readings, dances and music by:

Roberto Bartoli, Marco Boschi, Valentina Caggio, Andrea Pedna,

Paola Sabbatani, Renato Ciccarelli, Sabrina Ciani, Fabrizio Morselli

Organized by Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche of Faenza (MIC)

together with Claudio Giusti, Claudia Caroli, Alessia Bruni, Cristiana Bruni.

 

 In cooperation with:

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia 
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522
e-mail  giusticlaudio@alice.it

http://www.osservatoriosullalegalita.org/special/penam.htm

 

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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