Inter-Faith Dialogue and the Other

I am seeking to enter ordained ministry after three years of theological training. If seen fit I shall be called to pastor a congregation some time after this fall. I enter this vocation with the conviction that I am called to serve, accept, and love everyone. This is a difficult proposition at times.  As I do not always see eye to eye to with those I serve as pastor.  It does not excuse me from the obligation to serve, accept, and love all.  Rather, the diversity of conviction, interpretation, political view, socio-economic experience lends to a beautiful array of created order.  No one a greater priority to the divine than the other.

I have been part of inter-faith dialogue and have been benefactor of its wisdom. We must collectively condemn violence in our streets, in our country, and in our world.  This destruction knows no boundary.  It knows many languages and wields many religious convictions. There is no place for violence in the Gospel message that is the hallmark of Jesus the Christ. We are not immune to the apathy and blank stares of inaction. We slow down to see the train wreck and gawk at its carnage, making sure not to get involved.

Religious practice is on a rise. The southern hemisphere is now the center of the Christian practice. We are witnessing the power base of Christendom with black, brown, and yellow faces.  The world stage is set in the framwork of Christian, Muslim, and Hindu practice.  Some many say polotics is stained with the religious idealism of the west as tolerance is demanded absent of western acceptance of the exotic eastern faiths.  It seems to me that tolerance in most models is code for you practice your false and unfulfilling little religion and I will help you along to see the error of your ways and lead you to the real religion and practice of American Christianity.

We must continue to work towards reconciliation with the hope and grace and love that is at the basic level of humanity.  We must allow for the diversity of voices at the table.  No more token bullshite.  I pray that inter-faith dialogue becomes a staple of the new Spirit that is moving in our denomination [PCUSA].  In response to Jin Kim and his calling us out on our self-centered one way denominationalism, we must open our hearts, minds, and communities to witness the Spirit moving in our communities other than the bland, vanilla pudding flavor of the church today.  Reconciliation is not possible as we point fingers and look at each other in mistrust. Pride only breeds another generation of violence and bloodshed convicted that they have “THE” only and righteous way to the divine.  Making them protector of “THE” truth and righteous wielders of divine power.

A lasting peace cannot be reached in the oppression or marginalization of any group. Look to the colonizing efforts of Great Britain, France, and Belgium in the early 1900’s. Division leads to resent and resent breeds anger. Anger, if left unresolved, begets violence.

It is my hope that my fellow colleagues in ministry, of all faiths, will commit to dialogue. We must set the example of tolerance and understanding. We must sit together and denounce this violence. It is my understanding prophesying or teaching ought to denounce violence as the way to exist.

If we can sit together at the table and talk, then we can live together in a culture that is not fearful of the unknown. We must invest in each other as a people, as a society. If one is scared, than we all are scared. Dominance and power are not a place to be peaceful.

All the “Red Campaigns”, relief efforts, and “storms” will never achieve peace until they emerge from an invested seat as we speak up for each other. The other must not be ignored.  The other must be present at the table as reconciliation and hope blossom into the fruits of the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Inter-Faith Dialogue and the Other

  1. To have that dialogue, though, we have to recognize that real and challenging difference exists. Ever talked about the ordination of women with a Ghanaian Christian? Or done a bible study on homosexuality with a roomful of evangelical Koreans?

    You’ve got to have the Holy Ghost turned up to eleven to git ‘er done there…and progressives in the church need to recognize that.

  2. i’m glad you’re doin’ the ordination thing….i think that will bless us all.

    your inter-faith post reminded me of how you introduced yourself at the emerging church conference as “Islamatarian,” HA! I hope you continue to make business-as-usual folks furrow their brows. Peace, K

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