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Looking Back, Looking Forward

By Paul Chaffee


This is the third “Best of TIO” issue we’ve published since launching in September 2011, and it is a treasure. These are tumultuous times for religion and for humankind, keeping us bombarded with terrible stories, week after week. But the articles in this issue are proof positive that good things can happen in bad times, that heroic behavior is championing a more peaceful, equitable world, and that our capacity to network and collaborate for the good is growing every day.

The Guadalajara workshop that lasted till past ten at night left this little one in dreamland. – Photo: Rachael Watcher

The Guadalajara workshop that lasted till past ten at night left this little one in dreamland. – Photo: Rachael Watcher

Spring has been busy at TIO. Last month Crossroads was launched, a special edition of TIO designed for the Graduate Theological Union. GTU is an interfaith consortium of seminaries and centers from different traditions, most recently growing to include a graduate program in Hindu studies. GTU subscribers will get the full issue of TIO each month, supplemented by GTU’s own interfaith news, features, and announcements. You’ll be able to access GTU’s special edition, as well as the long-standing Religions for Peace USA special edition, at the bottom of the table-of-contents in each month’s post.

This is TIO’s 42nd issue. Most months we’ve explored a particular theme. Back-issues are all accessible from TIO’s homepage. So far in 2015 we’ve focused on The Evolution of Interfaith Collaboration, Indigenous Traditions in a Modern World, Interfaith and the Arts, and Interfaith in South Asia. Starting in September, this year’s themes will include Interreligious Education, World Development and Religion, New Religious Movements, and in December, Good News Interfaith Stories, a respite from so much troubling news all year!

Possible themes bouncing around for 2016 include Religious Freedom, Faith & Food, Multiple Religious Identity, Interfaith in Africa, Proselytizing, and Religion, Water, and Spirit. If you are particularly interested or expert in one of these arenas, feel free to send me your story ideas at info@theinterfaithobserver.org.

And a change – forthwith we will have nine themes a year rather than ten or 11. The coming June and July issues will be open-ended, and in August TIO happily goes on vacation. This new approach will give us a wider scope, leave room for more reviews and reports, and treat summer a bit more like what academics enjoy.

This year’s “best-of” issue comes a couple of months earlier than last year, making it possible for your editor to attend the Universal Multicultural Dialogue II in Guadalajara this month, a remarkable interfaith festival. You'll find a report here