Friday, February 17, 2006

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin

I've been wasting my time and energy at Habakkuk's Watchpost again, and as such have not written anything here in a couple of days. Since I'm heading out of town for the weekend, it will probably be another couple of days before I write a new piece.

I'm preaching at the 8:45 communion service at my church (4th Ave UMC, Louisville, KY) this Sunday, so I might put that sermon, or some observations about it, here. Or, I might not. Either way, it will mark only the third time since I resigned my pastorate and left professional ministry that I will stand behind a pulpit.

Since I've got nothing else to say at the moment, I'll leave you with this story from The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin, by Idries Shah (quoted in Ken McLeod's Wake Up to Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention):

One day the villagers thought they would play a joke on Nasrudin. As he was supposed to be a holy man of some indefinable sort, they went to him and asked him to preach a sermon in their mosque. He agreed.

When the day came, Nasrudin mounted to the pulpit and spoke:

"O people! Do you know what I am going to tell you?"

"No, we don't know," they cried.

"Until you know, I cannot say. You are too ignorant to make a start on," said the Mulla, overcome with indignation that such ignorant people should waste his time. He descended from the pulpit and went home.

Slightly chagrined, a deputation went to his house again, and asked him to preach the following Friday, the day of prayer.

Nasrudin started his sermon with the same question as before.

This time the congregation answered, as one man:

"Yes, we know."

"In that case," said the Mulla, "there is no need for me to detain you longer. You may go." And he returned home.

Having been prevailed upon to preach for the third Friday in succession, he started his address as before:

"Do you know or do you not?"

The congregation was ready.

"Some of us do, others do not."

"Excellent," said Nasrudin, "then let those who know communicate their knowledge to those who do not."

And he went home.

3 comments:

Brian Cubbage said...

I want to start teaching class like this. If the university would keep paying me, I could make all the money and do nothing! (I might even get memorialized as a holy man of some indefinable sort!)

Sandalstraps said...

I know! I'm preaching in the morning, and I'm thinking that I've got to try that!

goddess_rl said...

I think he was a rude and no wonder muslems are angry people. Wait I am just bitter about my husband sitting in the middle of thier "almost civil war" because of on decendant of a dead prophet being chosen as leader over another. Or some other silly thing. I still hold with the Onion who published God's press release clarifying the Don't kill commandment.

Sorry for the racist bent. I really try not to fall into those traps. I know I am missing the point, but gracious.