A Rabbi, A Sheikh, and A Pastor…

…waited for the room to fill.  They had a story to tell.

Don Mackenzie, Jamal Rahman, and Ted Falcon were leading a break-out session at the 2010 Spiritual Directors International Conference in Atlanta based on their book, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi & a SheikhThese three men came together in their community after 9/11.  First they got to know each other;  then they  included others in their interfaith discussions.

I could have listened to them all day.  Their well-practiced “act” was informative and funny.  They laughed at each others’ jokes and listened carefully to each other as they taught. The speakers described their faiths, emphasizing how each incorporates compassion (the theme of the conference).

The Book of Mormon Girl  filled my morning reading time last week.  Joanna Brooks, the author, is a Mormon mom who supports a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage, not the usual Mormon positions.  Her book describes her childhood as a Mormon in Southern California and the evolution of her faith as she matured.

Julie Peeples, my pastor, suggested  Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong.  These Twelve Steps include:  (3) Compassion for Yourself, (4) Empathy, (5) Mindfulness, (8) How Should We Speak to One Another?, (11) Recognition, (12) Love Your Enemies.  Armstrong never says the Steps are easy, just necessary.

I watched the Republican convention and the Democratic convention is on as I write.  I know who I will vote for in November and why.  As a lifelong learner, I enjoy listening to and reading about others’ values and beliefs, even when I strongly disagree.

We are all children of God doing the best we can.  We may worship differently (or not at all).  We may take different stands on issues.  We must all live together on this planet and in this nation.

Everyone has a story to tell.  Listening leads us to our commonalities rather than the contentious issues.

Please, listen to each other, respect each other, get to know each other.  We can and should let go of the anger.

Children are watching and listening.

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yes; amen; may it be so!

  2. I feel like I’m throwing words into the atmosphere hoping someone, anyone hears. Thanks for listening.

  3. I don’t know whether respect was one of the twelve steps, but we have to stop denigrating the opposition. We can call them on falsehoods or try to change their minds, but others should not be disrespected just because they’ve looked at the evidence and drawn different conclusions.

    Compassion and empathy are also needed, now more than ever in a world that is increasingly crowded–that and a good dose of respect and we could get by.

    • I so agree with you. And I wonder how parents counteract the messages of fear and anger and judgment.

  4. I have no problem with people who have looked at the evidence and drawn different conclusions, I have problems with people who don’t look at the evidence and people who post and email slanderous messages without making any effort to check out their veracity. Yes, I’m all for civil discourse, but everyone has to do their part.

    • You are SO right, Susan. Each person needs to register and then vote, hopefully after looking at something besides FOX news or MSNBC (one is as bad as the other. No vote, no voice.

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