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Interreligious Wherewithal

Interreligious Wherewithal

by Hans Gustafson

The term “wherewithal” is a curious word, especially given the fluidity with which we use (and abuse) the English language today. The term has been in usage since the 16th century and can now function as a pronoun, noun, conjunction, and perhaps more. 

Saying Yes to a New Kind of Collaboration

We are living in a remarkable time for humanity. The old order is indeed crumbling around us. We are being faced daily with new and alarming consequences of our degradation of the Earth, a greed-based value system that undermines human dignity, and a culture of fear that fuels violence and hatred of the ‘other.’

Honoring our Spiritual Foremothers

On November 3, University of Chicago’s magnificent Rockefeller Chapel hosted the inaugural event of the Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The evening was dedicated to Bearing the Light: Honoring our Spiritual Foremothers. A gathering of 500 witnessed women representing diverse faiths sharing stories honoring a woman from their spiritual tradition during an evening punctuated by drumming, ethereal chants, and Indian dance.

[“Bearing the Light” at Rockefeller Chapel Photo: 8 Eyes Photography]

NAIN Takes Interfaith Culture the Next Level

North American Interfaith Network’s (NAIN) annual conferences, held since 1988, are a family affair, a time to deepen old relationships and start new ones, a laboratory for innovative interfaith interaction, and a place to learn professional skill-sets you can’t find anywhere else. NAINConnects in recent years have been hosted by Vancouver, Richmond, San Francisco, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix. Each site comes with its own flavor and special gifts. Each introduces NAIN to vital, unique interfaith communities with multiple programs and collaborative interaction.

Creating the Order of Universal Interfaith

Since its inception, leaders in the interfaith movement have asserted that interfaith is about bridge-building, not creating a new tradition; and that we treasure our differences as well as the values we share. Not everyone agrees though, and there have always been minority opinions.

The Power of Interfaith-Based Community Organizing

“Community Organizing” made it into national news when Barack Obama’s work history was vetted in 2008. Though the pundits made quick judgments, precious few know about the scope and power that interfaith-based community organizing generates in America today. PICO National Network is one of the largest players. It was founded in 1972 as a regional training institute to help support neighborhood organizations in California through an interfaith congregation-community approach. Rather than bring people together around particular issues such as housing or education, one model, this broad-based approach makes values and relationships the glue that holds community together. Today PICO has 44 affiliated federations, including LA Voice, and eight statewide networks working in 150 cities and towns and 17 states. More than one million families and one thousand congregations from 40 different denominations and faiths participate in PICO.