Yes, times are hard, interfaith events have been cancelled and large dialogue programs are out of the question, but there are still things we can do. Here are several ideas that are worth pursuing. Please, share additional ideas in the comment section.
Things To Do In-Person
Even though interfaith work is congregational by nature, there are things we can do on our own to prepare for improved relations once the pandemic is over (and it will be over… it’s just a matter of when not whether).
1. Study Other Religions
Gandhi insisted that it was the sacred duty of every conscientious and peace loving human being to carefully study the religions of the world. Here are two great books to get you started:
2. Practice Your Own Spiritual Path
In Varieties of Religious Experience, Willam James came to the conclusion that even though the content of religious practices might be different, there was almost no difference between the lived actions of saints and spiritual masters of all religions. The end products of sincere spiritual practice seemed to be peace of mind and altruism. With this in mind, you can practice the experiential aspects of your religion or spiritual path, such as prayer, meditation, contemplation, service, and compassion to prepare for future interfaith interactions.
3. Cultivate Inner Harmony
Furthermore, harmony begins within. If you want to improve relations between you and other people, why not use this time of isolation to harmonize thought, word and deed?
Things To Do Together
Thanks to modern technology, we are not totally cut off from each other. Here are activities that have worked well before.
1. Dialogue to Learn
After I was ordained as an interfaith minister in 2017, I called religious leaders and interfaith organizations all around the nation to learn more about their beliefs and the activities they were engaged in. With very few exceptions, people were happy to talk with me—especially because my only goal was to learn from them. Whether you do this with one person or many, use technology to reach beyond the boundaries of your group and learn about others.
2. Plan Events for 2021
If you belong to a faith-based group, start planning for 2021. Sure, plans may change, but it is very important to start envisioning what the world will look like when the pandemic is over.
3. Congregate Online
There are so many ways to create online groups, be they ecumenical, interfaith, interspiritual, or simply ways to alleviate loneliness and boredom. If you do gather online and are open to inviting strangers, please share the information with us here at Harmony—either in the comment section or via email firstname.lastname@example.org—and we will include those activities in our newsletter and add them to our website.
That’s it… for now.
Blessings and peace,
Rev. Gudjon Bergmann
Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Author of Co-Human Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity to Bridge Divides and Experifaith: At the Heart of Every Religion
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Our mission is to train and support people who want to do good in the world. We do this by providing access to strategies, methods, and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge-building across divides. Our primary goal is to help others create harmony in diverse communities.
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Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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