I’m really excited about the upcoming Global Faith Forum at Northwood next week. I can’t begin to explain how much I’m looking forward to it. I’m very tired of living in my Christian Ghetto, sequestered from the rest of the world. I’m looking forward to hearing some different accents and experiencing some different types of people. I’m one of those persons that desires to be a part of a larger conversation. I want to be stretched, pushed, confronted about my beliefs. At times I feel that I’ve gotten mushy theologically, getting little push back from those of a really different back ground. As I understand it, a Multi-Faith conversation is one of honesty and respect. We honestly disagree, we openly disagree, everyone knows where we disagree, but we do so with mutual respect. Even in the midst of disagreement we can work together towards common goals. We are not against each other, but trying to make life better for each other.
I’m also of the belief that I’m not supposed to wait around and let life happen. If I wait around for someone to ask me to a multi-faith dialogue; I’ll be waiting a very long time. If I think that the Lord has placed into my heart a desire to be a part of such a thing, then it is very possible that I’m his man to get it started.
I sent two emails today and made one phone call along these lines. I googled “synagogue, fort worth, tx.” Up came two Synagogues. I perused their websites, found the email to the Rabbis, and sent them both an email inviting them to help me start a multi-faith small group. I also googled “mosque, fort worth, tx.” I found only one related site in Fort Worth. It was an Islamic Center for the county. Some others popped up in the Mid-Cities area, but only one in Fort Worth. I couldn’t find an email, but I did find a telephone number. So, I gave it a call. They have an automated answering service, and I ended up leaving a message on an Imam’s voice mail.
I can only imagine how odd it was to read those seemingly random emails, and random phone call.
Here is what I wrote to one of the Rabbis:
My name is Tim Dahl. I’m a Southern Baptist minister in Lake Worth, the NW side of Fort Worth. I would like to be a part of a multi-faith group. I would like to start a group that would be focused on honest dialogue, peacemaking, mutual respect, and mutual encouragement. Ideally, this group would be made up of Rabbis, Imams and Christian Ministers, and other religious professional types. I envision it being no larger than 5 or so people. My ultimate aim would be make some actual friends in the group, broaden my own religious experience, and hopefully add to the life of the others in a positive way.
Would you like to be a part of such a group? Do you know anyone that might desire to be a part of such a group.
Well, believe it or not I actually got a call from one of the Rabbis!!!!! He said that “he is in with both feet!” Boy, that made me feel good. Now, if only we could have a couple of more people be willing to be a part of it. I must admit that I’m excited about the possibility of it. I don’t have everything figured out in what I would like it to be. To be honest, this is new territory for me; and I don’t know what I’m doing. But, I have a hope. I have a hope that people of divergent faiths can get along. I have a hope that even though we can’t agree on everything, not even on things that we see as supremely important, that we can still work together towards a common good. If we can’t really be partners, perhaps we can be co-belligerents against a common enemy: such as oppression, poverty, hunger, curable diseases, etc.
For me, I’m supposed to love God with all that I am and my neighbor as myself. I can’t begin to really love them until I get the chance to understand them. I pray that this might be a vehicle of understanding that leads to my loving my neighbor more fully. Perhaps, just maybe, God will use me for a greater good than I am able to comprehend.
P.s. If you live in the greater DFW Metroplex, please take the time to check out the Global Faith Forum at Northwood. It seems to be a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons without compromising your beliefs.