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Q & R: beauty of God

Here's the Q:

I have read many of your books, and I loved the "On Being" interview. Towards the end of that conversation, are these words:
And then there was discussion and a long line of people came to the mic and then one Muslim scholar came to the mic and he said, "We have heard brilliant lectures about the love of God and brilliant lectures about the justice of God, but no one has yet spoken of the beauty of God." Then he spoke for a few minutes about God and beauty and I can just tell you that, for those next few minutes, I forgot whether I was a Christian or a Muslim.

The closest I have found so far in looking again in some of your books for more about this concept is in the "Why did Jesus...cross the road" book, in your reflections with Sol.

I wonder if you could say more about this interchange from the conference? I especially would like to know if there are any written resources (from Islam, say) that would illuminate what this speaker what saying.
Many thanks, and blessings.


Here's the R:
Thanks for this question. I wish I had additional contemporary resources to recommend on this subject. The one thing I can point to is the poetry of Rumi. Rumi was a 13th century Persian mystic. He was a Muslim of the Sufi tradition - broadly speaking, a Muslim contemplative movement. His poetry celebrates (often playfully) the beauty of God in many ways. Here are a few samples of short poems from "The Essential Rumi":
“Soul, if you want to learn secrets,

your heart must forget about
shame
 and dignity.
You are God's lover,

yet you worry
what people
are saying.”


“You're water. We're the millstone.
You're wind. We're dust blown up into shapes.
You're spirit. We're the opening and closing
of our hands. You're the clarity.
We're the language that tries to say it.
You're joy. We're all the different kinds of laughing.”


“Knowledge that is acquired
is not like this. Those who have it worry if
audiences like it or not.
It's a bait for popularity.
Disputational knowing wants customers.
It has no soul...
The only real customer is God.
Chew quietly
your sweet sugarcane God-Love, and stay
playfully childish.”