Tag Archives: Interfaith

Interfaith Inspiration Abounds at Parliament

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We can’t make religion a scapegoat for the secular sins of the 21st century.
~ Dr. Karen Armstrong, British Author and Commentator

It is time churches put as much time, energy and resources into
reconstructing the indigenous culture as they have/do trying to destroy it.
~ Steven Newcomb, Indigenous Law Institute, Shawnee and Lanape

If you have an ego on your heart, you can’t love.
If you don’t have compassion in your heart, you’ve done nothing.
~ Gurbax Singh Gulshan, Sikh

It doesn’t matter who hurts you, surround them in love.
~ Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pare, New Zealand, Traditional Maori Elder

Find the least respectable black person you know, and become their friend.
Then ask them what you should do about racism in America.
~ Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor, The Way Christian Center

We need more than allies. We need accomplices.
~ Rev. Jim Wallis, Founder and Editor Sojourners magazine

Where are your wounds? If you have none,
I must ask was there nothing worth fighting for?
~ Allan Boesak, South African Dutch Reformed Church

If you want to turn the world around, you need to turn it upside down. We all got to unify.
~ Ta’Kaiy Blaney, 13 yr old actress and environmental activist

Mass incarceration in US isn’t an indictment on one group but an indictment on all.
~ Dr. Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network

Sexism is the first original sin and we’ve had enough of it.
~ Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Co-founder Interfaith Peace Builders

Let this be the year the Parliament/Women of Faith put corporate dominance on notice.
~ Dr. Vandana Shiva, Delhi, India, Hindu author

What you see above are a few of my favorite quotes tweeted from the Parliament of World’s Religions: the Global Interfaith Movement. For five days this past month, I walked among 10,000 people of faith from 70 countries representing 50 religions. I traveled with two colleagues from New England. I am told 500 Unitarian Universalists attended this gathering.

Every day, as I entered the convention center, I walked by the sacred fire being tended by the local Ute Nation, the sand mandala being created before our very eyes by Tibetan Buddhist Monks, and the construction of the Derasar (temple) of the Jains; ate Langar (lunch) with the Sikhs; prayed with the indigenous Grandmothers, Pagan Priestesses, Buddhist Monks, Swamis, Rabbis, Pastors, Imams, Chiefs; and listened to global religious leaders inspire the faithful. With a spotlight on women, emerging leaders, economic inequality, climate change and indigenous people, it was hard to pause from a multitude of provocative options to let the body, mind and spirit rest.

Some called it a religious disney land, and it could have been, but that was not my experience. With a personal focus on women’s workshop, walking with the ancestors and indigenous people, I found  spiritual direction, intellectual stimulation, healing and inspiration to guide my justice ministries. Time well spent with colleagues offered time for deeper personal reflection and connections that sustain, as well as conversations to inspire and challenge. I arrived home heartbroken, grieving, and overwhelmed. I arrived home inspired, joyful, and hopeful. I arrived home exhausted!

Parliament was one of those game changers, a watershed moment. I am not the same person, the same minister who walked onto the Great Salt Lake Desert on October 14th. No doubt the magic, mystery and wonder of transformation will reveal itself in the days and months ahead. No doubt my ministry will be guided by those five days I spent quenching my thirst with spiritual sustenance to sustain a ministry that helps and heals and holds the ache and inspires the people to live generously, compassionately and lovingly. May it be so.

A Religious Paradigm for a Diverse America

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“Even when we feel like we have found theological common ground—like Abraham as the patriarch of Jews, Christians, and Muslims—we quickly discover that even those paradigms have their limits. There are a million Hindus in this country, and over three million Buddhists, and neither of those communities would be called Abrahamic. But they live in America, too, and we have to have a paradigm that includes them.” ~Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation

 

 

With open heart and inquiring mind, I have gathered over the years in various religious halls with leaders from diverse traditions. It is always a privilege to be at the table with my Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Baha’i, Pagan and Humanist/Atheist colleagues. As religious leaders, we bear witness everyday to the destructive power of divided individuals, families, communities, states, nations and countries. In our commitment for unity and our longing for wholeness, we strive to offer wisdom and action that is loving, inclusive and pluralistic.

Whether it is the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination (RCAD), the Winthrop Area Ministers Association (WAMA) or Capital Area Multi-faith Association (CAMA), or Maine Council of Churches (MCC), the conversation is always didactic and dynamic. We arrive with varied worldviews and belief systems to guide our living. Foundational to our relationship building is a conviction that no one person or faith tradition has cornered the market on God or mystery. We arrive with a deep hunger to be connected across our differences and to be part of something greater together. We arrive with a willingness to suspend absolute knowing, engage ultimate questions and confront the pervasive nature of evil. We arrive with an eagerness to speak truth to our own experiences, all the while leaving room for others to do the same. It is our commitment to that inclusive paradigm Patel speaks of that brings us together to lead meaningful and responsive multi-faith ministries in our communities.

As a Minister in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, I turn to Francis David, the founder of the first Unitarian church, for an inclusive theology and unified response. In 1568, as King of Transylvania, David issued the Edict of Religious Toleration proclaiming, “You do not need to think alike to love alike.” In calling for toleration, acceptance and celebration among the theologically divergent and contradictory traditions, David opened the door to collaborative ministries. Some 450 years later, the multi-faith or interfaith movements are transforming the religious landscape across nations. Learning to stand together and pray together and sing together and act together is uniting people of differing faiths in a vision where Love leads us on.

In October 2015, I will attend the World Parliament of Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. With 10,000 international religious leaders from 50 faith traditions from 80 countries… the Parliament is the oldest, largest, and most inclusive gathering of faith and traditions working in harmony with each other for the good of humanity. It is an understatement to say, I will arrive humbled, honored and privileged to walk alongside  great aspiring and inspiring leaders.