Mahmoud, Stone, Abraham and Isaac


| 1/17/2012 11:20:36 AM


Tags: Beautiful and Abundant, Meditations, Goats, Bryan Welch,

The Africans showed up at our door on a sunny, chilly November afternoon. Two men introduced themselves as “Stone” and “Abraham.” In the background stood a young woman with a gregarious little boy, Henry, about 2 years old. They were looking for goats.

Goats are relatively rare in our area. Beef cattle and pampered horses are the most common animals in the local pastures. So Stone and Abraham had been driving around the countryside asking farmers if they knew someone with goats. They were directed to our house. We had goats.

The Africans wanted to throw a party. In Ghana, their home country, goats provide the meat for celebratory events. I walked the visitors out to the pasture to look at two bucks we didn’t intend to keep over the winter. They agreed to buy both.

We arranged for them to come back Thursday morning – Thanksgiving by coincidence – and I would haul the goats, the men and their equipment out to an isolated pasture where the Ghanaians would take the first, mortal steps toward preparing their celebration.

Most of our young goats and sheep are sold in the fall before we start feeding hay. We deliver them to farms or slaughterhouses. For our own meat, we take them to a small, family-operated slaughterhouse where they are handled humanely and killed instantly by a blow to the head.

Either for tradition or to save money, the Ghanaians wanted to dispatch the animals themselves.


bryan welch
3/6/2012 11:53:01 PM

I don't see that you've actually objected to any of the facts in my piece, Jennifer, only that you object to my drawing parallels between the religions. I wonder why you find that so threatening. I've not claimed that the story, or the religions, are identical. However, the stories have the same source and the experience of reading them - from the perspective of someone who has done so in the Bible and the Koran - is very similar. I still find it a disturbing and profound story, in either Gospel.


bryan welch
3/6/2012 11:44:42 PM

Thanks, Heidi. I appreciate that.


mohammad ročka
2/29/2012 7:07:27 AM

Peace be upon you Jennifer, Bryan did NOT say he had little faith but said his faith would not be up to the challenge of being ordered to kill his own child. I would bet that all of us would find our faith wavering if we faced the same test as the Prophet Abraham, whether we were born & raised Jewish, Christian or Muslim. You may want to consider toning done your judgmental response. Two sayings of Jesus come to mind, May God's Peace and blessings always be upon him. Do not judge so that you will not be judged” Matthew 7:1 & Remove the log from your own eye before you remove the splinter from your neighbor/brother Matthew 7:3-5


erica binns
2/20/2012 8:49:59 PM

Jennifer, thanks for your clarifying comments. Just pointing out, though, that this isn't an article in Mother Earth News - just a blog post.


jennifer bass
1/30/2012 5:16:56 PM

in your article you stated: "Dec. 8, 2008, marked the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, when families worldwide commemorate Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, in obedience to Allah. In Christian Sunday School we called Ibrahim Abraham and Ishmael Isaac, but the story is the same and the queasy feeling we get when we consider a father putting the knife to the throat of his tiny son must be shared among Christians, Jews and Muslims worldwide. It’s one of the Bible’s–and the Koran’s–most disturbing images. Eid al-Adha is timed according to the Islamic calendar, so it moves around on our own Gregorian timeline. In 2009 it landed in late November, the day after Thanksgiving. Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice his little boy? The story’s usually told as if He was just testing Abraham’s faith. As soon as it was obvious that Abraham was going through with it, God said something like, “Never mind. I was just testing you. Go get that young ram that’s tangled up in those bushes over there. Sacrifice him instead.” I’ve never been completely satisfied with that interpretation. If God, our creator, were omniscient, why would he need to test Abraham? God knew what was going to happen. Like all sacred stories, this one is supposed to teach us something. What are we supposed to learn from Abraham’s gruesome trial? Is it as simple as, “Obey God, no matter what you are told to do,” or is it something more complicated? I don’t believe I could follow Abraham’s example of obedience. My faith, if you call it that, is nowhere near that strong. Mahmoud’s faith directs him to kill his Eid al-Adha sacrifice with his own hands, to separate the meat into three shares and to give away a third of it to the poor, the other third to members of his community. Only one third is retained for his own feast with family and friends." Not quite sure where you got the data for this article - guess this is how history gets re-written. Am I in your 'church' while you preach inconsistent information? Please do your homework on the differences between the three religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and sacrifices as well as the genealogy differences between Christianity and Judaism verses Islam. Islam continues to sacrifice as they pray and offer the animal to their 'god' as they face mecca. Judaism no longer performs sacrifices since their Temple was destroyed, and Christians believe sacrifices are no longer necessary since Jesus offered himself as the final sacrifice for the sins of man. As far as geneaology - Jews and Christians believe that it was Abrahams son, Isaac, that was offered as a sacrifice and God stopped him...NOT Ismael. Ismael is the child of Abraham and Hagar...handmaid of Sarah, Abrahams' wife. The reason God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son (even though He is omniscient) was to test Abraham's faith (which as you state, you have little of). This article belongs in some interfaith newsletter - as it teaches that all three religions are the same. I am VERY disappointed that MotherEarth Magazine would allow an inaccurate article to be published. Makes me wonder what else is purely opinion and what is fact in this magazine.


heidi hunt
1/18/2012 2:57:24 PM

Bryan, this was eloquent, thank you for sharing your story and yourself. You do so, well!!




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