Christians, Jews, Muslims – all are members of faiths that claim descent from Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, by whose family God promised “all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Five thousand years later their spiritual descendants are often trapped in mutual suspicion, misunderstanding and conflict. What can we do, as followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to encourage safety and peace in our own locations?
I had little knowledge of Islam, besides negative media, before this class….I really learned from each module. Perhaps what I liked the least were the questions that made me think the most, which were the best in the long run for me and my understanding.
- Sharon Saulmon, 2016
Nooo! ... I am going to miss this class. The spiritual discipline of the class was re-newing and re-invigorating, … The course became more than the creator intended. I used it as a mirror to understand other areas of misunderstanding and conflict in my life.
- Shannon Sixbey, 2016
This class is a beginning, an opportunity to explore the mutual roots in story of the three “Abrahamic religions.” It will focus on what we have in common, how each faith’s wisdom can enrich our own, and how to begin having interfaith conversations. This 5-week spiritual journey into friendship is scheduled as a Lenten journey, or to finish just before Advent.
Besides some detailed looks at our own Scripture and the sacred stories of Islam, the course will follow the post-9/11 journey of three New Yorkers who found that learning about one another's faiths also drew them closer to God through their own faith traditions. The text is The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew - Three Women Search for Understanding, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner.
For Such a Time as This
In our world, in our nation, in our neighborhoods, in our schools and businesses, even in our congregations, there is too much fear. The bruising political campaign we endured last year is only the most obvious expression of it. What can we do, as followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to encourage safety and peace in our own locations, beginning with our own hearts?
This short course (two weeks) is not directly about interfaith understanding. It's an invitation to theological thought about fear, both its positive and negative effects on individuals and communities. It's a beginning, considering Jesus’ call to love, not fear, not tolerate, but love Others, because Jesus has loved us. It is a journey that is very relevant to today’s world.
The text for the course is Bishop William H. Willimon's Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love.