Several months ago, the newsletter of the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) put out a call for workshop proposals for this summer’s annual conference. I have attended only one NAIN gathering, in 2008 when it was held here in San Francisco.
I was on the planning team that year, and attended as a participant, not a presenter.
But this year, it just so happens that I have a new book that deals with matters both interfaith and intrafaith. And the conference will be in Guadalajara! So I thought, “Why not?”
Well, my proposal was accepted – and now my challenge has begun.
When I first started working on my doctoral project – “What does it mean to be a Christian in an interfaith world?” – many in the interfaith community suggested that I broaden my scope to include all religions. And indeed, I agreed that there are intrafaith issues within all traditions (even atheists don’t always agree with one another!) But I’m a Christian, and I felt that I could speak only to the issues that arise within my own tradition when we engage in interfaith relationships. I still feel that way, even though I’ve talked with friends from other religions about their particular challenges.
But now, since I made the proposal (what was I thinking?!), it’s time to broaden the scope in a way that has integrity both for me in my own tradition and for those of other traditions who will attend my workshop. The really great thing is that the session will be an hour and 45 minutes and the expectation is that workshops will be activity focused and participatory. In other words, it can be a real workshop, not the usual quick presentation with no time for interaction.
So, while I don’t have the workshop fleshed out yet, I know that it will be flexible enough so that no matter what the makeup is of the group that shows up, we’ll work together on finding commonalities, differences, and shared wisdom.
And – I am more than happy to hear from those who want to let me know about the intrafaith issues they’ve observed or experienced. In other words: HELP!!!
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