Interfaith

Michael Elam, MDiv and DeShannon Barnes-Bowens

The Power of Being Seen

I remember the scene in my head like it was yesterday. I walked up to a stranger, looked her in the eye and said, “I am here to be seen.” Her response was, “And I see you.” Then I proceeded to approach several other people in the room – one at a time, repeating the […]

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Religious Freedom?

Last Monday, I spent the first part of my day at the Indiana State House. Hoosiers gathered both in support and in opposition to Senate Bill 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. SB 101 would allow businesses in Indiana to refuse service to certain customers based on religious beliefs. The specific language […]

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Courtesy: Women of Reform Judaism

Celebrating Women’s Interfaith History

March is women’s history month and usually that means a celebration of women from a national or cultural perspective. In the United States that implies celebrating American women of independence, courage and fortitude, whether they are white, black or Latina. More importantly, however, I believe that we must also celebrate women from an interfaith perspective, […]

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Musings on a Winter Night: Religious Tolerance and Inclusivism in Our Scriptures

Recently, I got some much-needed time off from seminary for the holiday break. Not only was I able to catch up on my rest and recharge my batteries during the downtime, but I was finally able to, at least for a moment, return to my own scholarly pursuits and read some books that didn’t have […]

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Relationship, Integrity, and the Religious Other

As far back as I can remember, I have been curious about the beliefs of the religious Other. I can recall instances at age 7 or 8 in grocery stores asking men wearing the kippah what they believed happened to them when they died. Not out of morbidity, but a genuine sense of curiosity and wonder. I have no clear memory of their answers, ironically enough. Perhaps owing to the fact that these are challenging answers to articulate even in adult terms. But I remember their kind indulgence toward my questioning of them. It has always been my assumption that their generosity in answering my queries laid the foundation for the belief that it was safe to ask questions of the religious Other; that they would be happy to answer and not at all insulted by my lack of knowledge. In these moments I began a deep and trusting curiosity of other faiths.

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Gestures Matter

I wrote this while I was out of the country away from internet, away from television, away from radio, away from news of any kind—while I was somewhat ill-informed about what was currently happening in the world. The news of the murder of three Muslim students by an atheist managed to cross my radar when […]

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Art and Soul?

The world is a hard place. Too many hours in front of the 24-hour News Networks and one can feel desolate in the face of Sisyphean problems in the world. ISIS in Iraq. Boko Haram in Nigeria. The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Strife between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar. Israel and Palestine on the […]

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Walking Together Through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”

It seems almost a cliché to be sitting here writing about death, here in Boston with eight feet of snow pressing in on all sides, the bitter winter winds howling just outside my windows. But if seemingly endless winter can inspire the Russians to create such darkly beautiful literature, perhaps it can work its magic […]

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Holy Day Solidarity

I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything for Lent. It’s a little bit of an awkward season for Unitarian Universalists, anyway. As I said to my partner, “For Christians, it’s all: ok, let’s be sad and somber until Easter, and then—surprise!—Jesus is alive again!” And cue the choruses of “Christ the Lord is Risen […]

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Image from Wikimedia Commons. "Day 12 Occupy Wall Street September 28 2011 Shankbone 33" by David Shankbone - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Day_12_Occupy_Wall_Street_September_28_2011_Shankbone_33.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Day_12_Occupy_Wall_Street_September_28_2011_Shankbone_33.JPG

The Kaleidoscope of Activism (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1) Below is a catalogue of activist methodologies, defined and listed according to aims, vulnerabilities, recommendations, and real-world examples. This categorization may help you to develop some ideas about how to advance your movement, and to locate your efforts within the many types of activism. JOURNALISTIC ACTIVISM Methodologies: Write and report arguments and […]

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