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Meaning Making

Matthew Fox & Lama Tsomo Explore Compassion

Matthew Fox & Lama Tsomo Explore Compassion

A TIO Interview by Megan Anderson

This month, TIO “sat” down via Zoom with Matthew Fox and Lama Tsomo to talk about compassion and the role it plays in our world today.

My Dad Didn’t Like Religion, but He Prepared Me for Religious Diversity

My Dad Didn’t Like Religion, but He Prepared Me for Religious Diversity

by Kevin Singer

My Dad grew up in a Jewish family. When he was a child, he was targeted with insults because of his family’s background. As a result, he was not fond of religion.

Bridging the Chasm of the Heart

Bridging the Chasm of the Heart

by Michael Reid Trice

Our age is the story of seismic shifts in the guiding, normative ways for how life is lived on this planet. We experience these shifts as seismic because they pulsate and tear at the foundations of…

How Interfaith Relations Have Shaped My Life

How Interfaith Relations Have Shaped My Life

by Rob Sellers

As a new university graduate, I was fortunate to spend 11 weeks as a student missionary in the Philippines in the summer of 1967.

The Day My Grandparents Left Our Ancestral Home

The Day My Grandparents Left Our Ancestral Home

by Tarunjit Singh Butalia

As a kid growing up in North India, I was thrilled whenever both my parents went out since I would have the full attention of my frail and aging grandmother.

Finding Faith, Then Interfaith

Finding Faith, Then Interfaith

by Ruth Broyde Sharone

Her lineage offers no clues. Martha Alice Perkins was born in La Fayette, Indiana in 1947, the daughter of a state policeman and devoted church-going Methodist mother, as well as the granddaughter of a member of the local Ku Klux Klan.

God With(in) the World

God With(in) the World

by Diana Butler Bass
Here in the labyrinth, I struggle to find words to describe what I feel. Up on the mountaintop, I knew the language to describe God: majestic, transcendent, all-powerful, heavenly Father, Lord, and King. In this vocabulary, God remains stubbornly located in a few select places, mostly in external realms above or beyond: heaven, the church, doctrine, or the sacraments.

Reassessing the Role of the "Senses"

Reassessing the Role of the "Senses"

by Donald Miller

We often make the mistake of identifying religious vitality with assent to particular beliefs. In this process, we forget that intellectual assent to beliefs is merely one element of religious experience. I was reminded of this fact recently when I observed the Procession of Santa Ana in Antigua, Guatemala.

What if Animals Believe in God?

What if Animals Believe in God?

by Andrew Aghapour

Chimpanzees believe in God. This news, widely reported last year, is only a slight exaggeration. Using hidden cameras, scientists have indeed captured footage of chimpanzee behavior that resembles religious ritual.

An Unexpected Vocation

An Unexpected Vocation

by Kevin Singer

I remember like it was yesterday; cracking open an old Baptist hymnal to the first hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (Robinson and Wyeth, 1759). “Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace” the first verse begins. The final refrain ends in resounding fashion: “Take my heart Lord, take a seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

Sailing Through a Storm

Sailing Through a Storm

by Ameena Naqvi

The waves crashed softly against the boat, pushing it towards the shore. My grandfather stepped off the boat and tied the rope to the dock. That day my grandfather was going to teach me how to sail. He described sailing as flying over water. It was like freedom to him, to set sail into the wide blue sea and leave his responsibilities on shore. However, I did not see the appeal of sailing as he did.

The Unlikely Vegetarian

The Unlikely Vegetarian

by Charles P. Gibbs

It seems unlikely that someone who co-founded Tulsa Beef and Feed, a motorcycle “gang,” would become a vegetarian. And, yet, I did; and I did. Here’s the story of an unlikely vegetarian. I was born and raised in the great southwest of the United States – born in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment; and mostly raised in Oklahoma, the Sooner State, puzzlingly named after...

Fostering Wisdom in Children (and the Rest of Us)

Fostering Wisdom in Children (and the Rest of Us)

by Vicki Garlock

Some decades ago a friend of mine, a college senior way back then, was attending a conference at a large, distinguished university of “pre-faculty” students, collegians who hoped to pursue a higher-education vocation in the next few years. The three-day gathering culminated in a large banquet, some final comments on the benefits of professordom from several university presidents, and a question & answer session. 

Following the Path of Transformation

Following the Path of Transformation

by Weston Pew

On my path over this past year my work for The Sacred Door Trail has taken me to the melting glaciers of Greenland where gigantic ice walls fall into rivers every 20 minutes, shaking ground and bone as a warning call of the coming rising seas.

“I’d Like to Help” – A Conversation with Charles Gibbs

What can we learn from a pioneer who co-created the largest grassroots interfaith organization in the world? A conversation with Charles Gibbs gifted us with answers to this question.

Apocalyptic Prophecy: A Brief Cross-Cultural History – 1

What is apocalyptic prophecy? The Greek term apocalypse refers to the end of time and is an idea that has haunted humanity for centuries across cultures. There are Hopi, Mayan, Hindu, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Zoroastrian, Islamic, Jewish, and Christian versions of the end of the world, to name a few. Jewish prophets such as Daniel foretold an apocalyptic future, using “light vs. dark” imagery and haunting descriptions of the end in the Book of Daniel (a part of the Jewish scriptures). The Dead Sea Scrolls, traditionally ascribed to the Essenes, a Jewish monastic sect that retreated into the wilderness at Qumran to await the end of the world, also describe a final confrontation between the armies of God and demonic forces. These writings make it clear that apocalyptic theology was a potent force in their struggle against Roman oppression.

The United Methodist Church – Rocky Mountain Conference

The United Methodist Church (UMC) was one of the three founding religious communities of Religions for Peace, along with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Rissho Kosei Kai Buddhist community. Occasionally, Religions for Peace USA gets the chance to interview a leader from one of our member communities and highlight their good work. Suzy Lamoreaux, project coordinator of Religions for Peace USA, sat down with Rev. Dr. Youngsook Kang, director of Missions and Ministry for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UMC.

The Middle East & the West – Building Bridges through the Arts

“Art is the conversation … Art offers an opening for the heart ... Art is, at least, the knowledge of where we are standing … In this Wonderland … we are partners straddling the universe.’”

A Prayer in the Beginning

Last week I was in a Moroccan restaurant in Seattle and had a unique experience: The very nice Palestinian man who ran the restaurant started speaking to me in his Shammi (Eastern) Arabic, and I responded in my good Moroccan Darija over mint tea and cookies. He was shocked to hear a non-Arab speak Arabic in a proper dialect, and when I told him I was Russian he said “No, no it can’t be! Arab blood runs in your veins!”

“How Do Hinduism and Buddhism Influence Me as a Rabbi?”

Finding Common Ground