To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Last night I attended a meeting with Neighbor-to-Neighbor (N2N), after having reached out to the Christian arm of the organization. We watched a short documentary film called “An American Mosque” broke into small groups and discussed how the film makes us feel in light of recent events and what we can do from here to bring us together more often. That’s the short of the evening, but really there was so much more…
From last night until now, I have been mulling over the events of the evening and how I can best put into words my experience. I have a bevy of thoughts buzzing through my mind to share with you and I’m struggling to put them into some sort of order. I guess I can begin with an excerpt of some feelings I hurriedly jotted down on a piece of paper straight after the event:
Tonight was one of the most fulfilling evenings I’ve experience in a long while. Tonight was an evening where I felt immense joy for the future and a feeling that I was part of something larger than myself. I felt inside of me that while I might not be able to change the world as a whole, I might be able to evoke change in my little piece of earth.
Hope is a word that is so vacantly used nowadays but is somehow the only word that can describe what I have growing inside me. This tiny flicker of a thought that landed itself in my head months ago was ignited into a fire from what I saw last night. To walk into this event and see Pastors, Rabbis and Imams embracing as each one of their respective followers filed into the room and followed suit was certainly one of the most beautiful images of humanity I have witnessed in a long while. This is where my optimism for the future of our community comes from. This room was filled with about 200 people, 200 people who desire what I do, who crave a unity amongst believers in an ever increasingly secular society. This room was filled with individuals who are tired of the discord between us three big monotheists and who desire unity based on the idea that we can find a shared ground to stand on and connect within our community, not to disregard our differences mind you, but to embrace our commonality.
So, where do we go from here? How do we break down these walls? No matter what, it involves breaching our comfort zones and who likes to do that?!? My goodness, Lord knows I’m notorious for not wanting to leave my comfort zone, but no change comes with comfort.
I know that I am green in this, and that my dream will be fraught with harsh realities and that my burning passion will be burdened with the weight of the sin of man. Still, I can’t help but feel that we’re onto something here and we need to ignite this fire. We need to ignite this fire so that when the depravity of human nature rears it’s ugly head, we can show the world the hope of God and the unity we have created with one another.
I’ll leave you with this to chew on, what can you do in your community to break down stereotypes and walls you have built up towards members of Christianity, Judaism or Islam? And when will you begin?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time…
I am hoping that you, the reader, will be part of that dialogue with me, but if you choose not to be, I hope you learn with me.
Now, before we begin this journey, you must know one thing about me and that is that I am an idealist rather than a realist. I am driven by an idea of how things should be, a dream, rather than how they are. Now, while I do have characteristics of a realist within me and I am capable of seeing a situation for what it is, my driving force always reverberates back to idealism. So, really, I am so sorry for you realists who choose to take this journey with me and get frustrated with my tendencies. :-) but please know, I welcome your thoughts.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a short blog entry about the longing I, as a Christian, have been feeling knocking in my heart for peace or at least some sort of understanding between the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). A few months back, we watched The Square, which is a documentary about the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. One scene from this film dug itself into my mind and planted a seed. A demonstrator had been killed during the protests and this man was a Christian. In this scene, Muslims came and comforted the distraught parents of the victim and I saw something that my very western mind hadn’t conceived of before. Unity between Muslims and Christians. As small as that scene may have been in the bigger picture of the film, it has embedded itself in my mind and I have been consumed with this thought.
The thought is this:
How can I as a Christian be a peacemaker in the way of Christ?
How can we open a dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims that can break down stereotypes and misconceptions while uniting over social initiatives and the commonalities that we do share?
Now, with the above thoughts pinging around in my mind over the last couple months, I decided I needed to start exploring this idea.
This is where the journey comes in. I have found two organizations that seem to share the same idea as I, at least from what I can tell, one is The Global Immersion Project, from which I learned about from a dear friend of mine who partook in their trip and the other is more local (East Bay, San Francisco). It is called N2N which is an interfaith discussion that takes place between Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian, Temple Isaiah and the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center. I have contacted both of these organizations, and am hoping that this is the first step to an enlightening journey.
For my own well being, I decided to journal this down just the get the thoughts out of my head and put….somewhere. I will share my path with reaching out to different communities, my own questions about faith and God and the questions I have in regards to our relations together. I’ll do my best to keep this updated, and I would really love to hear from you and get the discussion going!
Here we go!
There was no fog over the Bay…for once…and I was able to watch the sunset on the first day of the year. This is taken in the Marin Headlands, one of my favorite areas in the San Francisco Bay Area, I wish I could bottle the smell there and bring it home with me.
I’m not one for marking the significance of a new year, but 2014 had some pretty rough spots for me that I’m happy to say goodbye to….2015 just seems brighter. Here’s to 2015!!
As a Christian, my thoughts have been consumed with the question of how Christians, Muslims and Jews can in some way draw upon what connects us and not what divides us.
I know this is happening in some parts of the world and I long for it to be the norm and not an anomaly.
How can peace become what we are accustomed to among the “big three” and not animosity?
“But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those that we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.”
-Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer
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