As an interfaith minister, I study the very best teachings of the world’s religions and honor the spiritual wisdom of their beliefs and traditions.
I believe all paths lead to one God, the Divine, the Sacred. Each path reflects the rich diversity of our collective human experience. Religion is one strand of the fabric of who we are as a species.
Differences abound. Different gene pools, cultures, histories, geographical and climactic adaptations… we seem to have mastered our differences quite well.
But so many of our difference represent nothing more than different groups of people in collective search of a bit of purpose and meaning in their often chaotic, unpredictable and uncontrollable lives. Indeed, we cherish our joys but also mourn our sorrows.
We don’t have to look very far to realize that people are people with varying degrees of successes and failures when it comes to coexistence. Some individuals coexist better than others. Some couples coexist better than others. Some families/tribes coexist better than others. Some groups/nations coexist better than others. Some religions coexist better than others. Often, coexistence is not easy but it can be accomplished and it can flourish.
The ongoing intolerance, fear and vengeful behavior between Jews and Muslims is tragic and painful. It’s ungodly and despite its pretenses has nothing to do with spirituality… little to do with religion… and everything to do with both subtle and overt politics throughout millennia. It is, as I understand it, a stain upon our human evolution on this planet. (Christianity’s contribution to the terror will be the topic of another blog post).
I am committed to coexistence personally and professionally. I love my Jewish friends. I love my Muslim friends. I love having them to vegan brunch or lunch or dinner together… as I orchestrate opportunities to shake hands, see their bodies and souls and listen to each other as they share healthy, cruelty-free food and drink… over my glass-top table… my profane alter where “God and man at table are sat down.”
Regardless of that which is declared politically correct these days, I have come to believe that both Judaism and Islam are valid pathways to the Sacred. I believe that Israel is right. I believe that Palestine is right. I believe that Israel is wrong. I believe that Palestine is also wrong.
If war is to be the ultimate result of the Abrahamic religions’ coexistence… if the tribes of Abraham – Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot coexist – a friend says – then God has failed us.
I choose not to live that way. If Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot coexist, I believe that we have failed God.
Bluntly, I look for hope where ever I can find it. I choose to find hope here. Read with me:
As 2014 draws to a close we wanted to honor some of the inspirational individuals that rose above the political tensions that divide Jews and Muslims and extended a hand of friendship. (Courtesy of the Interfaith Council of Southern NV, of which I am a member).