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Reimagining Interfaith: Taking Our Lead from Kids

Reimagining Interfaith: Taking Our Lead from Kids

by Vicki Garlock

The interfaith movement is all about bringing people together. Most of the time we focus on adults, and social justice issues. Don’t get me wrong. I fully support any and all interfaith efforts. But we need to do more, and we need to do it better.

Reimagining Interfaith: Taking Our Lead from Kids

Reimagining Interfaith: Taking Our Lead from Kids

by Vicki Garlock

The interfaith movement is all about bringing people together. Most of the time we focus on adults, and social justice issues. Don’t get me wrong. I fully support any and all interfaith efforts. But we need to do more, and we need to do it better.

A Surprising Surge of Hope

A Surprising Surge of Hope

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

On November 8, 2016 an already divided America was further fractured. For many of us who are working to make America a more welcoming, just, and inclusive nation – to make the America that never was, but that we pray must someday be...

Rabbi David Rosen: Building Global Interfaith Communities

Rabbi David Rosen: Building Global Interfaith Communities

by Ruth Broyde Sharone

Tension can be at a rolling boil during interfaith encounters, but Rabbi David Rosen, a modern Orthodox Rabbi, born and educated in England, who lives with his family in Israel, has never been intimidated by the heat.

They Found Faith in Interfaith Lives

They Found Faith in Interfaith Lives

by Lucy Gellman

Sitting in a drafty, castle-like Presbyterian church on Easter Sunday with my partner’s family, I could feel anxiety bubbling up with each hymn I didn’t know. Around us, the white walls of his church stretched out toward the ceiling like long, sinister fingers. The organ struck a round note. A light wind pressed at the side door, rattling its heavy handles.

From Collaboration to Co-Creation

What’s the most exciting experience you’ve had collaborating across differences in faith, culture, and ideology? Have you ever entered into collaborative relationships and been truly surprised by the result? What enabled those experiences to happen?

This Unlimited Energy of Joy that Will Be Our Power

These lyrics from an old time romantic favorite, “You Mean the World to Me,” express the joy experienced in the interfaith movement. Starting as the movement did: acknowledging people from different religions with curiosity and respect, being fascinated by different practices and customs, meeting, speaking, listening, and learning together, the interfaith movement grew.

Why Young Adults Are Disappearing from Our Congregations

My work life so far has focused on the youth and young adult communities in Muslim and Unitarian Universalist (UU) settings, and this essay is about the challenges they face. Many American faith communities face the problem of large elderly populations and small to non-existent populations of young people from 18 to 30. The Pew Forum reports that a third of the U.S. population under 30 now identifies as religiously unaffiliated. Clearly, faith communities are having trouble maintaining relationships with their estranged youth communities.

Education that Really Means Something

I decided to be a teacher when still in high school. One could do the most good for people, I felt, when they are still children. As my own education progressed, I grew to feel a profound dissatisfaction with the conventions and expectations around me. Why were so many people obsessed with “making it” in a world that is so flawed and crazy?

Healing as an Interfaith Practice

The practice of healing is present in all of the great religions of the world today. I have taught a healing practice for the past three decades that I learned from Humanistic psychologist Lawrence LeShan. The practice is described in his book, The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist. In the healing training Dr. LeShan taught us spiritual exercises drawn from Hinduism, Theraveda and Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, Judaism, and Christianity. I have adapted LeShan’s method for my training, which is presented in the context of Progressive Christianity. It has been offered to more than a thousand people, a dozen at a time, over the past thirty-seven [Dr. Lawrence LeShan] years in classes, workshops, and five-day retreats. I call it Contemplative Healing, which is also the title of my book on the subject, published in 2011.

Faith and the Journey towards Meaning

In thinking about this short article, I struggled with the question: How do I make meaning out of life? It can be read and answered in many ways from one person to the next. What is meaning, exactly? Still, I admit to being pleased at the invitation, but also for being acknowledged for the six-year journey since converting to Islam, the journey to find and define what brings meaning to my life.

Rita Semel’s 90th Birthday

San Francisco’s new mayor came to the 7:00 am interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast this year. So did the city police chief, the fire chief, half the city’s supervisors, San Francisco’s own Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and 400 clergy and lay leaders. For a prayer breakfast in San Francisco?!

It was also the 90th year birthday party for the woman who made such an event possible. The theme for the day tells the story – “Healing the World: Honoring the Work of Rita Semel.”

Global Interfaith Grassroots Organizing: The Record So Far

Since its Charter was signed in 2000, United Religions Initiative (URI) has grown to include more than 530 grassroots groups and organizations in 78 countries. Each Cooperation Circle has its own name, size, governance and mission, but they all share in their commitment to and practice of diversity, and to advancing the central purpose and principles of URI. As URI’s director of Organizational Development for over 15 years, I’ve had a good seat from which observe and participate in developing an institution that believes in the power of people to self-organize in order to fulfill their aspirations for peace, justice and healing.

Lessons from 21 Years with the Parliament

When Rev. Dr. David Ramage recruited me in 1990 to serve on the Board of Trustees leading up to the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, I was not engaged in or much aware of the inter-religious movement.

Why We Need An Interfaith Observer

Interreligious demographics in neighborhoods around the world and on the internet have changed life for us all. This shift arrived without planning or foresight, raising dozens of questions and not offering easy answers. It can arrive with a jolt. When a son or daughter brings home a fiancé from a different religion, for example, brand new questions and feelings are fairly well guaranteed.

North American Interfaith Network Explores the Golden Rule

Seventy interfaith leaders from across Canada and the United States met in Phoenix, Arizona for NAINConnect 2011, July 24-26, the annual gathering of the North America Interfaith Network. This year’s theme: “Many People, Many Faiths, One Common Principle: The Golden Rule.”

The Lost Art of Listening


The North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) gathering in Phoenix, Arizona, last July included a visit to a Hindu temple where a meal was shared along with questions, stories, and new friendships, all depending on everyone listening very carefully to each other.

Respectful communication is at the heart of all interfaith gatherings. We know that it is one of the most important components for building relationships of peace and harmony across faith traditions and belief systems. The focus of this essay is on the importance of the art of listening in interfaith dialogue and practices that support us in becoming more effective listeners.

If we think of speaking and listening as two of the major elements of communication, most often speaking is thought of as the more powerful role; it certainly gets the most attention. My experience is that the role of listening is even more powerful, although one seldom recognized or understood. For example, we often hear someone comment “That was a really powerful speech.”  I’ve never heard anyone say: “That was a really powerful way to listen.

Rights, Responsibilities, and Skills of Dialogue

For true dialogue to occur it needs to take place within a protective environment of mutually accepted rights and responsibilities, rooted in two fundamental values: respect for the human person and trust in the process of dialogue. Dialogue works best when the participants are willing to develop certain skills that facilitate the process.