By C.B. Hanif
To tweet or not to tweet was the question for this essay, following last month’s which featured reflections of gratitude, in the form of those text-based Internet posts of up to 140 characters found at Twitter.com.
Once again the response to my call for colleagues’ tweets — this time reflecting the winter holiday season — was gratifying.
Among those I am happy to share is a message from Tom O’Brien. He is known for his stellar interfaith work, not the least of which includes his Hebrew books and New Testament Bible classes that I have taken at Bethesda-By-The-Sea Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, and written about on these pages.
“As a non-tweeter,” he said in sharing 54 characters, “here goes:
B/C JESUS WZ A BBY, U CAN’T B AFRD OF A LOVG, LIVG GD.”
I encourage readers to look at that again, remembering that with Twitter (where I confess I do not do tweet often @CBHanif ) the spontaneity is part of the fun.
The Rev. Paula Hayward, our secretary and my fellow member of the Delray Beach Interfaith Clergy
Association, also responded to my appeal for seasonal wisdom — this time with two tweetable offerings. First came her beautiful reminder:
Rev. Paula Hayward
“No one else can give the ‘gift’ that you are.”
And in another, she added: “I invite you to affirm and practice the following during this season of Holy Awareness: I intend to radiate peace from the greatness within me.”
It’s worth mentioning that the latter was three over the 140 characters-and-spaces limit when I plugged it in at Twitter.com, again underscoring the medium’s challenges. That does not diminish its value as another fine seasonal comment.
Alas, in this busy season, not enough friends had responded by my deadline to have them … er, write this column for me. So, I needed to do what writers do: Be creative.
W. Deen Mohammed
With Muslims this winter having recently celebrated the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city Mecca that I was blessed to complete in 2001, it seemed appropriate to tweet a comment from my favorite imam, W. Deen Mohammed, eulogized as “America’s imam” when he passed in 2008:
“We are connected by faith in the same G-d and faith in the Plan for mankind that our Creator gave us when He created us. For even more variety, I next went to … First here’s the comment, then the source:
“Love’s in need of love today. Don’t delay, send yours in right away.”
And: “Hate’s going round, breaking many many hearts. Stop it please, before it’s gone too far.”
For those who may not recognize them, those lyrics are among the classics from all-American musical icon Stevie Wonder. The first two sentences comfortably allowed room for 77 more characters. Twitter would not have allowed the rest, at 11 characters over. But for the sake of the season, I allowed it here.
The last word is from Roberta Popara, a Dominican sister and associate director of Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach:
“Peace-Salaam-Shalom-Paz. In one word, in every language, the holy seasons of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany, for Christians, is one of peace.”
As Jesus says in the Gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you.”
And: “In the midst of these seasons I call holy, will I truly believe in God’s way of peace?”
Individually those came comfortably within the Twitter limit. But ultimately, in a season such as this, who’s counting?
C.B. Hanif is a freelance writer and inter-religious affairs consultant. Find him at www.interfaith21.com.