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Identifying Interfaith’s Collaborative Imperative

By Paul Chaffee


A year ago “Social Justice” was chosen as the theme for the May 2012 issue of TIO. That developed into “The Big Issues – Peace, the Earth, Economics, and…” As we gathered material for this vast, still imprecise, amorphous arena, new issues emerged, along with the confirmation, over and over, that the big issues facing humankind and our future are interwoven, even interdependent.

We never did identify a subject category, such as social justice, for containing all the issues unpacked this month. But there is a common theme, a critical learning that underlies the whole issue: successfully working to heal the Earth, to engender peace and justice, to end poverty, and so much more, depends on collaborating with those who were strangers, even enemies till now.

May’s issue is full of stories about people being collaborative in imaginative ways. But their anecdotal successes shouldn’t keep us from the bigger picture. Marcus Braybrooke once again sketches the historical context of interfaith peace and justice efforts over the past hundred years. And Thich Naht Hanh’s interview about our future in the near term is the kind of cold shower we need to wake up and become more active. Our loyalties to family, faith, and nation must grow to include the whole human family and the Earth, the home we share with each other and our descendents, if we hope to survive.

As usual, several dozen links in this month’s issue go to places where you can bring your own imagination and energy to improve this world collaboratively and garner wonderful new friendships along the way.