Skip to main content

Ecumenical Work is No Disgrace

Tuesday I had the honor to participate in a panel discussion at Five Towns College, https://www.ftc.edu/.  Their Performing Arts Center is showing Disgraced, a 2012 play by Ayad Akhtar.  The one-act play features a religiously and ethincally diverse cast of characters who come to learn just how complex their shared and conflicting identities really are.  
For the event today,  the actors performed excerpts from the show for the students and others in attendance, and then an array of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish clergy and professionals spoke about some of the themes in the play and common misperceptions, particularly regarding Islam, which plays a major role in the plot.
This was one of the times participating in ecumenical programs made me proud.  The students and others present seemed really moved by what was presented.  Some important points about the nature of Islam in particular and religion in general came out, and above all, the lesson that nothing can take the place of dialogue with those we don't understand and might even disagree with, was the message of the day.  
In times like ours, where people in our country are split over so many things, that FTC should be staging such a play (it's apparently all sold out - sorry) and that local religious leaders can come together to talk and share about challenging things should be a small source of hope, and certainly no disgrace.  
- Rabbi Aaron Benson

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Next steps?

At last night's community forum, Belief and Truth from a Multifaith Perspective: Finding Unity in Diversity, many expressed a desire to continue these kinds of conversations and to take action together for building bridges in our community. These are some of the ideas that were shared for next steps:

Find something concrete that we can work on together in our communityCome out with a statement to the community about this gatheringHave clergy visit other houses of worship for teaching and conversation Invite people of other faiths or no faith traditions into our houses of worshipBring younger people into our interfaith programsAsk elected officials to talk about this kind of workIdentify root causes of hatred and address themEncourage media coverage of our programs What other ideas do you have for next steps? Please share them in the comments.

I am a Friend ...

I am a Friend, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, known as Quakers.I hope you are not surprised to know that Quakers are still around, but I will not be surprised if you are.
Beginning in England in the 1650s, Quakerism grew out of the Protestant Christian tradition, and spread to the American colonies soon after. Known for our testimonies of pacifism, equality, and simple living, we are sometimes considered to have a contrarian point of view on matters of foreign policy and social justice issues.When I was growing up, we were sometimes confused with Amish, Puritans, Shakers, and oatmeal makers and I thought that we were an odd group far out of the mainstream.
What I have learned as I have gotten older and more deeply confirmed in my faith is the many ways that we are similar to other religions, in our beliefs and in what we value.
I think you will find that some Quaker beliefs will resonate with you, whatever your spiritual language or orientation: - We believe that there is …