One of our group bloggers, Jason Derr, recently emailed me a news release (see below) about the launch of an interfaith partnership for action and justice work called FaithsUnited. I was so moved by the initiative — especially the opening program called the Scripture Exchange Program — I thought it worth sharing here. As I read the plans for their interfaith scripture-sharing, I was reminded of many of my own experiences of “lectio divina” (divine reading) with a theologically-diverse group of individuals, and the power those times of prayer had for melting away the usual divides, and instead building bridges of understanding between folks of radically different perspectives.
In group lectio divina, one scripture passage is read aloud, and meditated on silently, followed by each person sharing how the scripture has spoken to them, personally and particularly. In this group prayer practice, one very important “rule” is that when each person talks, the rest of the group listens without interrupting, correcting or reflecting back. And as each person ends, the group returns to prayer, holding that person’s experience as sacred. When we hear each other speak of the Holy in our lives from a deeply personal place, I’ve more than not found that compassion replaces judgement and hearts are softened and opened. We see the other as one with an equally valid and important faith experience, however different it may from ours.
I look forward to hearing from Jason about how the program went, and what was “learned” from this communal scripture-sharing with other faiths. And if you’ve had a similar positive (or negative) experience of sharing scripture with others of different perspectives, I invite you to share your experience below so that we all might benefit from your learnings.