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...]

A Call to Activism

Skelligs - 2009

On the 8th of May we mark the 69th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied Forces. The horror and the tragedy of the rise of the Nazi party and the Nazi ideology in Germany is that so much of what happened might have been preventable if people had been willing to stand up and say “This is wrong!” when it was first noticed that the powers that be were imprisoning, killing, and discriminating against their own citizens. The Holocaust did not happen overnight, it happened in … [Read more...]

Speaking for Others: Part Two

Used via creative commons license.

In Part One of this series, I talked about the difficulties and dilemmas in being asked to talk about a tradition or faith that is not your own.  This week in Part Two, I'd like to offer some suggestions to those who find themselves in this situation. I must imagine that the monists or soft polytheists who attend interfaith events and work with those of other faiths want to accurately convey the great diversity within Paganism.  I don't believe that anyone is out there honestly trying to … [Read more...]

Speaking for Others: Part One

Used via Creative Commons license

In the recent discussions that have gone on in the Pagan community about 'Wiccanate privilege', a large number have mentioned interfaith gatherings.  Some have asked for more Heathens and devotional polytheists to come to the table, and others have expressed frustration that their views are being misrepresented by Pagans who tend towards a duotheistic or monist worldview.  Now, this brings us to an interesting question - is it okay to talk about the beliefs of others (even if they fall under … [Read more...]

Religious Shop Talk

Formal Language in Ritual

Social media is such a wondrous tool.  I graduated from an Evangelical Lutheran high school, and so I still have a number of very conservative Christians on my friend's list.  This past week, I was able to have a discussion with a friend I haven't seen in years, who is a student of theology and is heavily active in his church (a non-denominational, but strongly Evangelical organization).  He posted a question about the use of language in prayer - specifically, why many Christians use … [Read more...]

Who Are We Kidding?

Interfaith2

All right, I admit it.  I am off on a bit of a rant this week.  At the moment I am feeling more than a bit frustrated.  Many of us are active in community interfaith work because we sincerely believe that it is important that we open honest discussions with people of other spiritual practices because understanding and openness can and will lead to better communities.  Since moving here to Huntsville, my husband and I have been active with both the Interfaith Mission Service and more recently … [Read more...]

The Problem with Proselytization

Assimilation is not just something that happens in Star Trek.

I wrote some time back about how it is imperative for me to be courteous to those who come to my door. This is part of my upbringing as well as a moral obligation stemming from my religious convictions. By and large, I see proselytization efforts as futile and mostly harmless, but the practice has certain assumptions at its core that can lead to behaviors and attitudes that can be quite harmful to those of us in the minority. The assumptions are as follows: There is one true way. Because … [Read more...]

What to say when they come to your door

Mormons in the wild (Nicest people you'll ever meet; not a rude missionary among them).

I was struggling with what to write this week, when an interfaith encounter came to my door. The gods work in obvious and unsubtle ways. And, as a side note, I'm a day late and a dollar short in posting this week. I had a thesis defense on Monday, so I hope you will all forgive me for the delay. I'm sure a lot of you have had similar experiences and have likely even devised a method of handling the door to door religion salespeople. I've heard a number of different ways of dealing with … [Read more...]


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