Today I arose at 5:30 AM so that I could go to breakfast with a remarkable spirituality group in Beverley Hills. I was invited by my Catholic brother Thomas Hedberg, one of the guiding lights of this fascinating group of professionals who meet together weekly to deepen their spiritual life.
This week's speaker was my dear Jewish friend Ruth ("God and Allah Need to Talk") Sharone. She spoke eloquently about her work with the Parliament of World's Religions and discribed her travels to such far-flung places as Morocco and Argentina, where she labored to bring together Muslims and Jews. Her presentation was quite impressive and deepened my conviction that the Spirit has led me to be part of the Parliament's work to bring together people of the world's religions. (See http://sccpwr.org/).
After this enlightening breakfast, we met at Thomas' place to discuss the Parliament's Gandhi event at USC, of which I am the chair. More will be said about this later.
There are lots of interesting interfaith events to look forward to this month:
On Sunday, July 12, at 10:30 AM I will be giving a talk about "Interfaith Peacemaking: Challenges and Opportunities" (with a focus on Middle East and Afghanistan) at Grace First Presbyterian, 3955 Studebaker Rd, Long Beach. I will also give a talk about a "Nuclear Free World" on Sunday July 19 at the same church and time.
There will also be an Interfaith Cafe on Sunday, July 12, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. sponsored by the South Coast Interfaith Council (http://www.scinterfaith.org/) at Bixby Knolls Christian Church, 1240 E. Carson St. Long Beach Co-host: Long Beach Islamic Center. The purpose of these cafes is to foster greater understanding about different faith traditions; inform the South Bay community about the work of SCIC; and encourage greater participation in our communities in opportunities of serving others. Refreshments will be served. A free-will donation will be accepted.For more information please Call (M-Th) 562-983-1665or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be an event focusing on "War, Violence & Religion" on Monday, July 20th, 2009, from 7:00 p.m - 9:30 p.m, sponsored by Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (http://icujp.org/). The speakers will be Rev. Dr. James Lawson ...whom Dr. Martin Luther King called "the leading theorist and strategist on non-violence in the world" and Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr. Emeritus Professor, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate School, Co-founder, Progressive Christians Uniting. The speakers will address the question: Is war and violence justified by any of our Religious/Spiritual traditions when done in the service of combating oppression, tyranny, injustice or in self defense?
If you want to find out more about ICUJP, you are welcome to join us every Friday morning 7:00-9:00 AM at same location:: Immanuel Presbyterian Church (side entrance) 3300 Wilshire Blvd. L.A. 90010 @ Berendo St. FREE, Limited Early Bird Parking in Rear (Alternative Parking @ UTLA Structure - Berendo St. - North of Wilshire)
I am grateful to God that so many opportunities are available for people of different faith traditions to work together for peace, justice and reconciliation. I feel as if we are the dawn of a new era--similar to what happened just before the Berlin Wall fell down. Only when the walls separating people of different faiths come down, the world will be even more dramatically changed. This is the legacy I hope to pass on to the next generation--a world in which people of different religious faiths appreciate and respect each other, and therefore have no reason to resort to violence.