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The Gift of These Voices

A TIO Editorial

The Gift of These Voices

by Paul Chaffee

Those of you who have followed TIO since it launched in September 2011 know that a major motivation for creating this publication was to tell the untold interfaith stories proliferating around the world. That much has begun, with 1,500 articles in TIO’s archive now being programmed with new software that should make them much more accessible by subject, theme, and author. We hope to launch TIO’s renovated website this September, with TIO’s whole library available to you in just a few clicks.

The unexpected pleasure in all this is the group of about 350 writers and artists who have contributed their work to the cause. We’ve never met together. Every age-group has contributed, representatives from every ethnicity, race, and religion, including ‘Nones,’ the Spiritual but Not Religious, humanists, and scientists, progressive and conservative, from around the world.

We are a tiny microcosm of the spontaneous emergence of people from all walks of life who want to turn humankind away from conflict and into friendly collaboration, where every person is respected. And the Earth repaired. For all the richness in TIO’s contributor folder, it is a tiny sliver of the community-at-large everywhere striving for these goals. It is heartening to see what is possible.

The time has come to take each other into account, to know each other and nurture mutual respect. We will be weak and ineffective when failing to reach out, to bridge the important differences among us. As someone who monitors interfaith work, there seems to be a growing acknowledgement throughout interfaith communities and organizations, indeed within organized religion, that the task ahead is collaborative. We can’t get done what needs to get done without each other.

For about half a year TIO has stepped back from its usual format to focus on those who have contributed the most to our monthly table-of-contents. The ones who stood out from the pack included Marcus Braybrooke, Ruth Broyde Sharone, Vicki Garlock, Bud Heckman, Eboo Patel, and Don Frew, who is profiled in this month’s issue. What’s important, though, is not that they’ve collectively written more than 100 stories for TIO. Rather, it is being able to witness ‘up close’ the work of leaders who are changing the face of interfaith for the good. In totally different ways they have improved the world with their positive pluralism, their ability to promote diversity as a vital, creative opportunity in a whole variety of contexts. They are helping create an inherently interfaith-friendly culture for our children and grandchildren.

If you haven’t read their work, click one of the links above and enjoy what they have to offer. Let’s share a prayer of thanks for them and all the other TIO contributors and our colleagues everywhere for what is beginning to happen.  May peace prevail on Earth!

Header Photo: J. Trotter