Talking Our Way to Understanding

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The living room dialogue went swimmingly.  We started by going around the circle, first person sharing with the person to their left something about their religion that they think is different from everyone else, second person reflecting back what they heard the first person say.  Then the second person turned to the third person in the circle, and so forth.  No big surprises or problems here.Then I asked the group to think about the people who do not understand their religion, perhaps even f … [Read more...]

People Like Me

"We know we all believe in the same god."I sighed as a couple of friends around the table caught my eye with a knowing look. The new people at last week’s interfaith meeting were introducing themselves, and their use of this tired, inaccurate aphorism was, no doubt, their way of stating that they were in harmony with all the others present. As often as I refer to plural “gods” or say out loud that we are not all the same, I have come to accept that most people cannot hear that message. They d … [Read more...]

Cynicism, Solidarity & Communitas

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Do Pagans have a basic misunderstanding of what is meant by the term “interfaith”?Comments to a recent Wild Hunt blog were disturbingly juxtaposed with evening news reports of horrible sectarian violence in the Middle East. A sampling:“Interfaith work is often just another way for other people to try and convert us” “No thank you. Pagans need to focus on Pagans and leave others to do their thing.” “I'm sure at those meetings it's rainbows and butterflies. When the rubber hits the road t … [Read more...]

Same and Different

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Respect for our differences is our common ground. – Don FrewThis was just one nugget of wisdom gleaned during an interfaith panel at last week’s Covenant of the Goddess annual Leadership Workshop, “Standing On Common Ground,” held this year at the beautiful Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Georgia. CoG interfaith representatives spoke from a panel during the morning session, and in the afternoon they were joined by community representatives of several faiths: Baha’i’, Unity, Buddhist, … [Read more...]

Journey to Ithaca: Remembering Dr. Hal French

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“When you start on your journey to Ithaca, then pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.” (from “Ithaca” by Constantine Cavafy)On Wednesday I attended the funeral of my venerable friend, Dr. Hal French, along with 400 or more others.  The ceremony was grand, loving, thought-provoking and tender, with three lovely hymns, three eulogies and a magnificent organ-recital piece at the close. The line to greet family stretched through and in and out of several buildings; wai … [Read more...]

Sensitivity How-To’s

(Here is a handout I wrote for our S.C. folks to use.  It's been very handy.  Please feel free to copy and use it yourself.)Religious and Cultural Sensitivity Demonstrating appropriate sensitivity for cultures different from our own is arguably the topic which creates the most anxiety in those new to interfaith dialog. In the past, we have simply avoided discussions which might bring up uncomfortable differences, hoping to prevent possible misunderstandings. And yet, it is these very di … [Read more...]

Cherry Hill Seminary Stands Behind Student Embroiled in Controversy

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For Immediate Release on June 27, 2014COLUMBIA - Cherry Hill Seminary supports Master of Divinity student Carol Kirk and her husband Blake Kirk as they unexpectedly find themselves in the midst of a media flurry over Blake’s removal from last night’s Huntsville, Alabama, City Council agenda.Widespread publicity over council’s decision to “uninvite” Blake from delivering an opening invocation as he did in January of this year took the Kirks by surprise yesterday when they were contacted by … [Read more...]

When Tolerance Is Unacceptable

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You have two kinds of people in interfaith, says my friend Jack. Some people join up because they want to prove to everyone else that their religion is valid. The rest of us are interfaith junkies; we really love the whole scene, however quirky it may at times seem. I do take seriously my role in the first category because somebody has to stand up for Paganism. Whether I like it or not, people will judge me based on the only satanic-panic speaker they heard one time, so I might as well put my … [Read more...]


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