Posted by: smstrouse | August 30, 2014

Goodbye (Interfaith) Summer!

I can insigoodbye-summerst all I want that summer isn’t officially over until September 22nd. But it won’t do me any good. For all intents and purposes, another wonderful summer season is coming to a close.

At First United, that means our second summer of interfaith encounters is also at an end. Just one more guest speaker and “Deeper Connections:  an interfaith exploration of our relationship with the earth” is history.

It seems like I was just working on setting it all up again. I was wondering if I’d be able to convince people to come to a little Lutheran church on a Sunday evening and share their perspectives on ecology from their particular tradition. And now I’m looking back at the visits – from representatives of Judaism, Hinduism, Wicca, Buddhism, Humanism, Islam, Brahma Kumaris and Naturalist Freethinking (and Baha’i closing us out tomorrow) – with much gratitude. 

Each and every one of our guests gave us a thoughtful, insightful and personal take on the subject. It’s obvious that caring for our environment is part of all the great traditions. And since I know we’ll get criticized again for having people who are not Christian speaking at our church, let me say that part of the summer series was also thinking about what Christianity has to say about caring for creation. Members of the congregation were asked to fill out questionnaire each week: 

  • What did you hear that you didn’t know before?
  • What did you hear that was similar to Christianity (as you understand it)?              
  • What did you heat that was different from your understanding of Christianity?      
  • How do you answer the question: how does being a Christian inform your thoughts about creation care? Your practice?

As I hear and read about the damage we’ve done to our environment, dire warnings about climate change and the seeming unwillingness of world lclimate_street_art_1eaders to do what is necessary, I look even more to the spiritual/ethical traditions to lead the way. If we’re going to motivate people to hope and to care and to act, it will have to come from the place deep within our shared humanity – whether you call it God, the universe, the Tao or our cosmic consciousness. We’re all in this together. 

Politicians discussing global warming” – Isaac Cordal

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