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State of Formation Weighs in on Meaning


from the State of Formation 

State of Formation (SoF), which publishes a weekly newsletter, is a forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. SoF draws from more than 100 young adult writers representing all sorts of religious, spiritual, philosophic backgrounds. Founded by the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, it is run in partnership with Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School, in collaboration with the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

While interfaith dialogue seeks to increase understanding among groups of people from different traditions, too often the work itself occurs in silos. Frequently, even with the most open minded dialogue partners, barriers exist between people of different ethic and cultural traditions, generations, socioeconomic classes, genders, and educational backgrounds. 

Part of the work of State of Formation is to deconstruct silos and dismantle barriers to foster conversation where it once challenged to survive. To that end, “Meaning Making” is a multi-generational collaboration between two internet publications. Over the past few months, SoF staff have been in conversation with the editors of The Interfaith Observer (TIO) to produce a inter-generational conversation around focused on meaning making.

How do you make meaning out of life? Seven State of Formation scholars answered this way:

The Ocean of My Words by Phillipe Copeland, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D candidate in social work at Simmons College, Baha’i’

Making Sense of the Bible: What Grandma and Seminary Taught Me by Kit Evans, Master of Divinity candidate at the Pacific School of Religion, Christian

The Search for Meaning by Myriam Francois-Cerrah, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at Oxford University, Muslim

Meaning and meaning: An Important Difference by Kile Johnes, a Ph.D. student at Claremont Lincoln University, Unitarian Universalist Secular Humanist Atheist

The Religion that Lets You Live and Let Live by Sai Santosh Kolluru, a senior at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Hindu

Meaning vs. Hope by Yaira Robinson, Coordinator, Texas Interfaith Power & Light and Master of Theological Studies student at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Jewish

Internal Diversity & Intra-Faith Conversations by Simran Jeet Singh, a doctoral student in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, Sikh

Finding Meaning Within Judaism by Lauren Tuchman, M.A., Jewish Theological Seminary