I’d post the whole video of the talk I gave on reading the Quran at TEDxRainier last weekend, but since it will apparently be a week or two until it’s available, here’s a couple of still shots for now.
You may have heard about the Quran’s idea of paradise being seventy-two virgins, and I promise I will come back to those virgins. But in fact here in the Northwest we’re living pretty close to the real Quranic idea of paradise, defined thirty-six times as “gardens watered by running streams.”
Since I live on a houseboat on the running stream of Lake Union, this makes perfect sense to me. But the thing is, how come it’s news to most people…?
I did come back to the virgins in the end. And the audience gave me a standing O. Which felt great. How great? This is me after the talk, hugged by chef provocateur Michael Hebb of One Pot.
The video will be up on The Accidental Theologist as soon as the TEDxRainier folks have it ready, along with the terrific one that followed mine. That was an impassioned and superbly reasoned argument for welcoming immigration from Pramila Jayapal, the executive director of We Are One America — so great that even as I watched it on the monitor backstage, I was cheering her on and waving my arms and applauding as though she could see me. We’ve been hearing so much nonsense about immigration for so long, her talk was like… well, gardens watered by running streams.
[For the nine-minute video, released 12/5/10, click here.]