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We Will Thrive: The Future of Interfaith

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Guest Column by Gen Heywood

We will thrive. We will surround each other with hope, curiosity, and solidarity, and we will all thrive. With hope we will work together to build a better community. With curiosity, we will listen and learn about other practices of spiritual development. With solidarity, we will make our communities places where all of creation is healed.

This hope, curiosity, and solidarity can feel dangerous as it challenges long held beliefs. To gain spiritual fluency and maturity, some beliefs must transform. Shattered beliefs leave people feeling like they have lost their faith. In truth, they have lost a belief and some beliefs must be shattered or transformed in order to mature in spirit. New beliefs will develop that will suit the new awareness. Even these new beliefs may evolve throughout the spiritual journey.

The future of interfaith includes people of faith and nonfaith practices who move beyond belief to build relationships. We will:

  1. Support each other with hope for a better world by living the golden rule best known in the phrase: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” All of our faith and nonfaith traditions hold this to be part of why we are here. Our lives are meant to live in relationship with each other and all of creation. We are designed for community. In the future of interfaith relationships, we will model what it means to live the golden rule
  2. In the building of interfaith and nonfaith relationships that mature our spiritual growth, we listen, and learn. The God I know needs no defense. A god that needs human protection or unquestioning obedience is a very small god. Rather, when we hold that the Divine is with us to fulfill the Golden Rule, we build a common ground.  Upon this ground, we do good for all of creation. In the process, we become, in Christian metaphor, adult children of God.
  3. Buildup, in solidarity, the Beloved Community envisioned by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The future of interfaith is in nonviolent coalitions dedicated to overcoming racism, militarism, poverty, and ecological devastation. This means, we must show up. Each of our traditions have stories about the temptations that keep us from living the Golden Rule.  When we unite together to overcome the evils of racism, militarism, poverty, and ecological devastation, our spirits mature, our communities are strengthened, and our planet is healed.

There are different ways to exercise our bodies, there are different ways to exercise our spirits. They are not greater or better — only different.  With hope, curiosity, and solidarity, we can all mature on this life journey. One day, in the near future, we will not co-Exist as the bumper stickers say — instead — we will all thrive.

Join us for a Coffee Talk forum on “The Future of Interfaith” on Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. at Origin Church, 5115 S. Freya St. Heywood is a panelist.

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About Gen Heywood

Rev. Gen Heywood has been active in parish ministry for more than 30 years. From small towns to big cities, she always lets the needs of the community and the congregation be her guide. Gen credits the supportive leadership of Veradale United Church of Christ for including her work to overcome racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation as part of her ministry. “Veradale UCC is a small church with a powerful faith. They are the reason I can be a witness for a world where we do justice, live with compassion, and walk humbly with the Divine.”

Gen grow up in rural Maine. She received a BA in Music Therapy and German from Emmanuel College in Boston, MA and her M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA. She is a life long learner who lives in Spokane Valley, WA with her three dogs as well as, sometimes, with her amazing young adult children.

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