Epou theo: A Hellenic argument for interfaith work

Parthenon

The Delphic Maxims, as you may or may not be aware, were a set of almost 150 commandments written in the early 6th century BCE by seven wise men from all over the Greek-speaking world. They had been carved into stone and set in front of the holy Temple at Delphi and were used to teach some of the basics of the Greek language as well as to impart some wisdom to the public. I can imagine that its placement near the Temple allowed some who visited seeking wisdom could do so without needing to ask … [Read more...]

Journey to Ithaca: Remembering Dr. Hal French

HalFrench

“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 … [Read more...]

Here I Stand!

Zena

I think most of us start out in our interfaith work with the expectation that our work will proceed smoothly and that we will find tolerance and acceptance in our relations with those of other faiths.  And for the most part that is probably the case.  At least those with whom we work are willing to respect those of other faiths than their own, and even offer their cooperation and support in projects that are aimed at improving their communities. But sometimes our best intentions go awry and … [Read more...]

The Hobby Lobby Chills

a male sillouhette with a flag standing in front of the words "Religious Freedom, Hobby Lobby."

It's been a little over a week since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) made its decision in the so-called Hobby Lobby case which determined that closely-held corporations shall be afforded similar accommodations as religious non-profits with respect to the contraceptive mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  It should be stated that I disagree fully with this ruling but I sympathize with the basis of the argument,  that the Green family, the … [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 … [Read more...]

Interfaith, Intrafaith, Multifaith–All in the Cornfields of Illinois

Last week, I spent some hot days and some rainy days at one of the longest running, largest pan-Pagan festivals in the country. It's called Pagan Spirit Gathering and I was invited to attend and do some teaching and speaking. The Earth religions community, as you probably know by now, is diverse in belief and practice. Any gathering of Pagans and Heathens will have lush variations in spiritual experience, in political opinion and in standards of dress. PSG is no exception there and, in … [Read more...]

One River, Many Wells

fountains

In my work as a hospital chaplain I never know from day to day what I may be called upon to work with as I step into a patient’s room.  Huntsville, Alabama is a religiously diverse community which includes Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians of many denominations, Pagans, Baha'i and others.  While most of my patient encounters to date have been with Christian families, I have also been called upon to act as chaplain in grief work with other faiths as well.  Such encounters demand … [Read more...]

When Tolerance Is Unacceptable

photo14

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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