World Spirituality Class
World Spirituality Class
We don’t seem to challenge one another in the Interfaith movement.
Being challenged by other faith traditions has deepened my decidedly Christian faith.
This class is about finding a shared language to make those generative conversations happen.
I’ve been noticing something about the Interfaith movement. By and large, and I know it is not always the case, but by and large, we get together and talk about anything other than our faith. Oh, we might educate one another concerning what we do or don’t believe, but challenge each other? Debate our faith on its merits? No, we’re way too polite for that. Mind you I’m actually not criticizing here. It’s been important for us to just get together and find out that those of different faiths don’t actually have horns, that people of faith generally have open hearts, and share a deep desire for justice. But it’s time to move on from here because there is a tremendous amount to be gained from a deeper conversation. Each of our religious traditions provides a framework of meaning and practice as we live in relation to – what word shall I use? – let’s say, Mystery.
In fact it is the different ways we describe and experience these depth structures that give each religion its unique and beautiful character. If we can get at the core structures within each of our traditions, see how they unfold, and provide an understanding of our faiths beyond the inevitable modernist deconstruction, we have an opportunity to offer wisdom and insight to one another while remaining faithful to our own tradition.
This is what my friend Marc Gafni and I refer to as the “dual-citizenship” model of faith. Marc is steeped in an Orthodox Jewish tradition. Another friend of ours, Sally Kempton, is steeped in the Hindu tradition. My wife Barbara seeks to be faithful to her development in what is called a “translineage” tradition. When we talk we challenge one another to grow and develop and sometimes that means critiquing another tradition. I find those conversations rather than pushing me to leave my faith instead deepen my decidedly Christian faith. That is the value of a World Spirituality. But in order to have those conversations we need to find a shared language, a way to talk about the depth structures of creation that can be understood, albeit differently, from within a variety of traditions. This class is about finding that shared language.