Today I met with Fari for lunch. Up until a month ago, this was almost like a scheduled appointment. We meet at the Indonesian Embassy, pray Jum'ah together, have lunch, and then explore DC. Before today, I tried setting up a similar meeting again in mid-July and it didn't work out very good. I ended up coming late for the prayer, scrambling for a fast-food lunch, and rushing to get back to work, all in the middle of an afternoon rain.
So, I tried something new today. I scheduled to meet up with Fari for lunch in Georgetown. He happened to plan on visiting Banana Republic. Since the store is just 2 blocks away from where I work, I can easily meet up for lunch. And instead of doing the prayer at the Indonesian Embassy, I did it at the basement of the Presbyterian Church near George Washington University (intersection 24th and G). Turns out that the MSA of GW has organized it regularly for the whole summer. I don't know if they always had it there or is it just for the summer. Regardless, I could come in just 30 minutes from my workplace, instead of almost an hour trying to get to the Embassy.
I found the khutba (sermon) here to be intellectually stimulating. The speakers talk about contemporary and philosophical issues instead of repetitive ideologies and dogmas. So, I found it very refreshing and engaging to listen to what the speakers had to say. It's been awhile since I listen to khutbas of this type. I am not sure if it's indicative of DC sermons in general, or if it's an isolated case. Consider this speech from last khutba, "...Islam has lost its heart, its conscience, its morality... why is it that when people face crises, they turn to the trivialities of religion such as hudud laws..." Hmmm...
Anyway, the lunch went through albeit a slight hitch (Fari took the wrong bus in the opposite direction, but he made it nonetheless).