Tuesday, April 30, 2013

love.this.post. -- the interfaith effort

Last week, in the midst of the media aftermath of the Boston tragedy, I received an email from an organization I follow: Interfaith Youth Core.  This is an "interfaith movement" that strives to build "religious pluralism."  My interaction with Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) goes back to college.  Angie received a fellowship from IFYC, based out of Chicago, and had the opportunity to participate in a global interfaith youth effort to promote religious pluralism and peace.  Much of what Angie did was in line with our efforts on campus with Interfaith Circle, the student organization we ran.  IFYC is a very active organization that I admire.

Eboo Patel is the founder and Executive Director of IFYC.  In the email that I received, he attached an entry he had written from the Huffington Post: 3 Reasons Interfaith Efforts Matter More Than Ever.

I won't ruin the post for you - you really should click on the link and read it yourself, but I thought it was a brilliant post for the current religious climate here in the United States.  Here are his three reasons:

1.  Interfaith helps harmonize people's various identities.

2.  Interfaith efforts help us to separate the worst elements of communities from the rest.

3.  Interfaith efforts remind us America is about welcoming the contributions of all communities and nurturing cooperation between them.

Interfaith work has been very important to me.  It has taught me to appreciate all faiths and has aided in the quest to find my spiritual home.  Interfaith work has instilled in me a sense of peace and cooperation that can be attained provided there are people who are willing to work together despite their differences.  In the wake of such sensitive issues surrounding the events in Boston, I think it is important to bring these points up again.  I think the last time we really had to think about this, and think very hard, was 9/11.

Eboo Patel has also written a couple of books:

Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation - Angie gave me this book as a birthday gift after we graduated from Miami.  I have yet to read it, but I have seen it on book club lists recently, much to my happiness.  It is on my list of summer reading, which I plan to get to after I complete a few major projects in my life.  I've had to put a halt to my reading streak of joy.

Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America - This is Patel's latest book that came out in August of last year.  I will also be putting this on my summer reading list.

Here is a great speech by Eboo Patel.  It's about 20 minutes, but worth the watch.

Interfaith work continues to be important to me and I agree that it is more important than ever.  Our country is very sensitive to issues of religion and faith and unless we continue to make positive efforts in uniting people of different faiths, in reaching a degree of understanding, the religious climate won't get any better.

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