book 2.jpg

Informal gatherings

A time for informal discussion of things that really matter.  Sometimes, participants are invited to open up subjects for conversation: sometimes, we focus on a particular topic.
We meet at 1722 Rice Blvd every Tuesday, 1830-2130.  We need to restrict numbers in order to maintain social distancing, so please email us if you wish to come.

Topic for Tuesday 2nd November:  Intentions

For the next 2 weeks, we will be using texts from CMCS Oxford's Qur'an and Bible studies.

The Bible texts are here.  The Qur'an texts are here

Topic for Tuesdays 19th and 26th October:  Repentance and Capital Punishment

How does the idea of capital punishment relate to the ideas about repentance and forgiveness that we were discussing last week?   If we execute someone, does that not deprive them of the opportunity for repentance?  And, if they repent, maybe they should be forgiven and not punished?

The texts are here.

Topic for Tuesday 12th October:  Repentance

After studying 'judgement', what better to study than 'repentance'? 

Where English has the translation 'repentance', the Old Testament and the Qur'an generally have words meaning 'turning', and the New Testament usually has a word meaning 'change of mind'.  Is that significant?   

The texts are here.


Topic for Tuesday 5th October:  Wealth and Judgement

Discussions about food led us to thinking about food production, and what we should and should not eat in today's USA.   The underlying issue here has to do with how we use the biological riches of the world.  So this has to do with responsibility/irresponsibility and its consequences.

The texts are here.

Topic for Tuesday 28th September:  What can we eat?

It seems appropriate to look at this topic as we change our pattern and follow the discussion by a meal together!

The texts are here.


Topic for Tuesdays 14th and 21st September: Responsibility

Last Tuesday's conversation led to the observation that a major reason for the Qur'anic injunctions about women's dress is that the women needed protection against predatory men.  The question then arose as to why the problem was to be solved by covering the women, and the discussion turned to the responsibility of men both then and now.   So we decided that we needed to address the question of male responsibility.  We will do this over two sessions.  First, we will look at human responsibility more broadly, and then we will be ready to think more specifically about male responsibility

Human responsibility texts are here

Texts on male responsibility are here

Topic for Tues 31st August:  Interpreting ancient texts in today’s world.

The questions:  How do we deal with rules which were set down in our scriptures in very different contexts?   Do we simply follow the same rules today?  Or do we give priority to the wider ethical principles given in the same scriptures?  How far and in what way do we take account of the culture in which the rules were given?  How far and in what way do we take account of the histories of interpretation and action in our various traditions?  What might be our criteria for deciding?  

The example:   Head-covering in the New Testament and the Qur’an.

Find the texts and comments here

Topic for Tuesday 24th August: Why gender imbalance?

The most famous 'equality' verses (taken out of their contexts!):


Genesis 1: 26-27, Galatians 3:28

Surah 4:1; 33:35


The most famous 'inequality' verses (taken out of their contexts!):


Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:22-24

Surah 4:34

Chapter 4 (and others if you like!) of Ida Glaser's (with Napoleon John) Partners or Prisoners? Christians thinking about women and Islam, Paternoster, 1998

Some of the texts studied in previous 'Tea and Texts' meetings:


'Light amidst Darkness in the Bible'

'Darkness and Light in the Qur'an'

'God is Light' 

1 John 1:5-7

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 

Καὶ αὕτη ἔστιν ἡ ἐπαγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ' αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία.

Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετ' αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ σκότει περιπατῶμεν ψευδόμεθα καὶ οὐ ποιοῦμεν τὴν ἀλήθειαν· ἐὰν δὲ ἐν τῷ φωτὶ περιπατῶμεν ὡς αὐτός ἐστιν ἐν τῷ φωτί κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετ' ἀλλήλων καὶ τὸ αἷμα Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ καθαρίζει ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἁμαρτίας  

Surah 24:35

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.

‏ ٱللَّهُ نُورُ ٱلسَّمَوَتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِۦ كَمِشْكَوٰةٍۢ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ ٱلْمِصْبَاحُ فِى زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ ٱلزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌۭ دُرِّىٌّۭ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍۢ مُّبَرَكَةٍۢ زَيْتُونَةٍۢ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍۢ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍۢ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِىٓءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌۭ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍۢ ۗ يَهْدِى ٱللَّهُ لِنُورِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْأَمْثَلَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌۭ

Gp. pic. of textual study.png

"The tea and text with CMCS has provided me with a practical means to build meaningful relationships across religious difference. The guided conversation rooted in each faith’s religious text has offered a rich source for mutual understanding in a welcoming environment."

Esmeralda Sánchez Salazar

Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, Rice University

Transforming Muslim & Christian relationships through shared study