Thought for the Day: God is Setting Us a Big Challenge

“God is setting us a big challenge, a really big challenge — how we are living so close to difference  with such powers of destruction, but He is really giving us very little choice.

You know, to quote that great line from W.H. Auden, ‘We must love one another or die.’  And that is where we are, I think, at the beginning of the 21st Century, and since we really can love one another, I have a great deal of hope,” says Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

In the Krista Tippett interview The Dignity of Difference, Sacks  says, “The faithful can and must cultivate their own deepest truth while finding God in the face of the stranger and the religious other.”

To hear the complete interview, go to

You may want to read Rabbi Sacks’ new book, Not in God’s Name:  Confronting Religious Violence.

In Love & Aloha,


Not in God's Name

Not in God’s Name

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

3 responses to “Thought for the Day: God is Setting Us a Big Challenge”

  1. Rosita says :

    I’m replying to your last ask… I don’t know if I had any mystical experience, but, yes, I have my religious side. Despite the fact of that I don’t take part in none specific religious cult, I believe in God, in karma, who can be influenced of good and bad actions, I believe also that dogs can guide good persons to the pearly gates of Heaven and if don’t have dogs in Heaven, I wouldn’t go to Paradise. I also believe in reincarnation and I’m tolerant, as most people of my hometown, but, sadly, we’re losing our own religious and social values, as tolerance and peace, and our society (in a general view) is becoming more and more intolerant, and I believe that don’t exist none reason to justify all those stupid wars and violence who’re occurring in world, specially in Middle East, and it make me sad 😦 they says that it’s due to “religious reasons”, but, what God will accept it? Obviously, this’s a sick perception of God who came up from psychopaths minds, because the God who I believe is compassionate and good, not cruel and will not accept wars. Obviously, all those wars are occurring by reasons who extend up to religious reasons, and I think that petrol can be one aggravating, so, we have to stop, or, at least, minimize the consequences of wars 😉 and as you asked, I don’t take part of none specific religious cult neither usually frequent church, but I believe in God, in Heaven, and I also believe in karma, who can be influenced by our good and bad acts, I believe reincarnation and that dogs can guide good persons to the Heaven. I don’t had none mystical experience, but I have to admit that some strange things occurred with me, but none that I can consider as mystical.

  2. reneeriley says :

    Hi Rosita: I agree with you that using religious reasons for war goes against the essential teachings of traditional religions. How can we follow the very basic rule to love one another if we kill? Jesus wouldn’t do it. Buddha wouldn’t. . . I like the idea of reincarnation because it’s wonderful to be alive, and we can’t have all experiences or become really wise in one short life.

    And although some people say they can remember past lives, I certainly don’t. I would think that we would all be more evolved if we had lived before. Certainly we would have learned to live without all the greed, violence, and war that we see every day in the world.

    Also, we could learn unconditional love from the way most dogs act, so it’s no wonder you love your dogs and want to be with them always. That quality of love is a religious concept that seems beyond many humans.

    If we were all riding bicycles, we wouldn’t need to use so much oil – and we’d be much healthier. (We also wouldn’t get to travel as much as we can 😦 either).

    As for mystical experiences, I think we can count our being here at all as mystical, magical. What are we doing on this little speck of planet, the Earth? If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.

    Thanks for writing. I hope your days are filled with all that you love to do.
    Aloha, Renée

    • Rosita says :

      Yes, yes, I think you’re correct. Terima kasih for being too comprehensive with me and my beliefs. Namaste and keep with God 😀

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