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gaining a historical perspective

Recovering Interfaith History, Recovering Ourselves

The sad wisdom claiming “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it” is much more interesting turned upside down: Those who remember the best of the past are freed to live into a better future. Choosing interfaith history as TIO’s second theme had to do with reclaiming remarkable stories, mostly unknown, of men and women building friendship among strangers centuries, even millennia ago.

A Dream That Is Contagious

Once after a lecture on the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, I was asked by a sleepy student, ‘Were you there yourself?’ No one, I assume, who was at the 1993 Parliament of World Religions (note the slight change of name) had been in Chicago, a hundred years before. Yet because of its continuing influence, it is worthwhile to glance back to the pioneers of the interfaith pilgrimage. I can remember my own excitement when, looking in the library for another book, I chanced on Barrows’ two volume record of that historic event.

Looking Back to Light Our Future

While a worldwide interfaith movement blossoms, looking back through history to discover glimpses of hospitable multi-religious interaction is instructive. Though few in number, ancient and medieval glimpses can be found of communities that embraced cooperative interreligious relations.

Crossing the Ocean & Changing the World

The story line is utterly improbable – an unknown, uninvited 30-year-old monk from a small monastic community in India provides the spark which lights the modern interfaith movement at a world fair in Chicago 118 years ago. All true, though, and it gets stranger.

Religiously Motivated Peacemaking – a Report Card

Millions of people this month, representing hundreds of religious traditions, are joining parades, festivals, sporting events, broadcasts, workshops, and all manner of activities championing peace in a broken world. Still, this hopeful global interfaith wave cannot silence the biblical rage, voiced centuries ago, when the prophet, pointing his finger at greed and deceit, cried, “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:13-14)