Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two Books - One Stand

In a place where the religious differences are easy handles used to manipulate communities to perpetrate violence, inter-religious dialogue is critical. When faith communities come together, they can dispel biases, clarify misconceptions and denounce outright lies that some spoilers use to derail peace processes.

I have been meeting with a few groups who have taken the risk to come together across, sometimes large, divides. These leaders are demonstrating that your religious neighbor is still your neighbor and each faith has an imperative on how to treat them.

Inter-religious dialogue does not mean giving up our faith to meet the other. Rather, it sharpens our own beliefs as we articulate why we believe what we believe. Dialogue is not about least common denominators and brushing aside differences, but rather respecting the differences which opens up the possibility of learning from the other.

The picture is of a holy book stand. It is made out of one piece of wood, carved to open like a clam shell. It was made to hold one book, but this one is holding the Bible and the Koran. It is a symbol of dialogue.