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Past Gifts for Tough Times


Past Gifts for Tough Times

by Paul Chaffee

Eight years ago, on September 15, 2011, TIO was launched. That makes this the 89th monthly issue. (We skip August.) Since then this publication has featured more than 1,000 interfaith stories along with another 1,300 aggregated interfaith news summaries. The stories are all available on this site, but the sheer number of them means that most of our readers have only read a small portion and not known how to identify the best. We’d like to help.

At the same time a second issue has been raised. In considering the most important subject matter to explore in coming months, we keep bumping into themes TIO addressed in the past.

A New Approach

Photo:    Unsplash

Photo: Unsplash

So we’re trying a new approach, seeking to join past highlights with new voices. The theme this month is redefining interfaith hospitality. We’ve delved into the archives and selected four of the best articles TIO published on the subject in the past. This month those four stories are being reposted, contributions from Thomas Bonnaci, Don Frew, Dawn Anihid MacKeen, and Chris Stedman. Their offerings, respectively, came in 2011, 2012, 2018, and 2013, and they remain as fresh and compelling today as when they first appeared.  

Five new stories about interfaith hospitality fill out this month’s table of contents, along with two articles, listed above the theme articles, about the 10th Assembly of Religions for Peace in Germany last month. Bottom line, revisiting exemplary stories from TIO’s past and adding new articles should improve the publication, in this case honing our hospitality skills.

In a time when conflict and crisis infect the lives of billions of people, choosing hospitality to initiate TIO’s new approach was no accident. Being hospitable, after all, is frequently the critical first step in initiating interfaith relationships.

A Washington Post story last week was headlined “Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world.” It documents places on Earth which are already exceeding the 2 degree Celsius growth, after which life becomes increasingly uncomfortable, as the Post story reveals. This is not about the coming but the current crisis. Hospitality becomes more than pleasantness, becomes a gesture of caring for each other in tough times.

Header Photo: Unsplash