Why I am committed to building relationships with those from different religious and ethical traditions

As a committed Christian, I have experienced both open-mindness and closed thinking when it comes to how the church deals with varying moral and ethical convictions. Unfortunately, all too often, I have seen barriers put up which prohibit free thinkers from entering in. I believe that this is contrary to the true Christian way which seeks to include all people and to corporately grow as a body through integrating various faith practices.

I grew up as a “third culture kid” – juxtaposed between two different religious and cultural identities. These experiences, although challenging at times, taught me the importance of bridging ethical and cultural realities into a common bond of peace. They also served as a way of mentally preparing myself for the reality of living in the most multicultural city in the world – Toronto, as I completed my undergrad degree. It was through attending school in the biggest city in Canada that I was introduced to virtually every religion I could imagine and created deep friendships with others who shared limited religious or ethical commonalities or worldviews with me.

University also was the birth place of my peace activism which has since morphed into deeply committed pacifism, and it was with the encouragement of select faculty and peers that I began to pursue peace and theology at the graduate level. Throughout my time exploring various scholarship and through internship work, I have discovered that building bridges with people from various religious and ethical backgrounds and expressions is paramount to cultivating a deeper understanding of one’s global reality as co-creator with the earth. My understanding of peace has then gone on to include a need to stop focusing so much on differences and instead to embrace and try to enhance the common bond that all of humanity shares.

In order to embrace this common bond, I see a need for me to grow alongside others academically, philosophically, and socially, through hearing and articulating ethical and religious thoughts in various ways. I am excited about the prospect of reading, writing, and researching through State of Formation as I continue to learn from and hopefully also aid others in their pursuits of becoming more acquainted with Christian understandings of ethics and religion.

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