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April 2012

How a Samoan Mormon Became a Global Interfaith Activist

Laura Ava-Tesimale, 47, remembers the moment she became an interfaith peace activist. “When it happened, I was changed forever. I prayed fervently to God. Tell me what to do, where to go, whom to meet.”

Finding Your Voice in an Interfaith World

I was sitting in my apartment in Jerusalem, hiding from the world. A war was raging a hundred miles south of me, and another seemed likely to start a hundred miles to the north. I felt unable to impact the situation at all.

Remembering John Hick (1922-2012)

John Hick, a pioneering interfaith theologian, died February 9, 2012, at the age of 90. This brief summary of his work is taken from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and the link at the end of the article takes you to David Cramer’s biography and overview of Professor Hick’s contribution to philosophy and interfaith thinking.

Exploring Religious Identity in Omaha and Beyond

“Wait, you’re a Muslim? But you’re not even brown!”

Emina was setting up a video blog for her interfaith youth service project two years ago. Instead of a tart response to her fellow-student, Emina videotaped her answer, using the opportunity to explain the diversity within Islam and her own identity as a Muslim.

Making Interfaith Cooperation a Social Norm

Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) seeks to make interfaith cooperation a social norm – a world where individuals have positive relationships across lines of faith and an appreciative understanding of the diverse traditions in our society. IFYC focuses our efforts on a mutually enriching higher education strategy working with colleges and universities. The goal is to transform their campus ecologies, making interfaith cooperation a priority and engaging students through a dynamic national Better Together campaign that trains a new generation of interfaith leaders.

Interfaith Women Exploring New Ways to Lead

The impact of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is hard to quantify. Each gathering sparks action in the personal lives of the attendees, but also in the creation of interfaith groups and organizations around the world. This story is about a new network of women who were inspired by the December 2009 Parliament in Melbourne, Australia.

Hearing the Emerging Voices, Including Your Own

Dynamic grassroots interfaith activities depend on our hearing the ‘voice’ of everyone participating. This can seem tedious and unnecessary in communities which have depended on clergy, teachers, experts, and trustees to do most of the talking and make most of the decisions. Without participatory inclusion, though, do not expect any sustainable vitality to develop. This learning about inclusivity surfaces in a number of this month’s stories.

Global Gathering of Indigenous and Pagan Elders

“Nourishing the Balance of the Universe” was held March 3rd through 7th in north-central India’s city of Haridwar, which means “Gateway to God” in Hindustani. Sponsored by the International Center for Cultural Studies and others, the gathering was by, for, and about Pagan and Indigenous peoples and their issues. For me it was unique – attending a conference where most participants were indigenous peoples from around the world, including a large number of European Pagans, but no Christians, Muslims, or Jews.

A Review of My Neighbor’s Faith

Seasoned workers in the interfaith vineyard rarely deviate when asked what has been most valuable in their interreligious journey – “It’s the relationships” comes back again and again. My Neighbor’s Faith – Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis), published this month, takes us into those deep interfaith relationships with 53 religious leaders, teachers, theologians, community leaders, and activists. We’ve heard many of these voices before in their public, academic, or professional roles. In My Neighbor’s Faith, though, we get to hear their personal stories of encountering ‘the other’ and finding their lives transformed.

A Review of Golden States of Grace by Rick Nahmias

The following “Exhibit Introduction” accompanies the photography exhibit Golden States of Grace – Prayers of the Disinherited and was published in the book by the same name in 2010 by the University of New Mexico Press.

Double-Edged Daggers

This essay is based on an excerpt from the author’s journal when she was sixteen years old.

Protecting the Sacred in a Shattered World

The following is a keynote address delivered by Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. of the Ihanktowan, Dakota, Chickasaw Nation. He was speaking to the 3rd Annual International Indigenous Leaders Gathering focused on the theme “Protecting the Sacred.” It was held in Lillooet, British Columbia, May 30-June 5, 2011.