Well, it’s over. The 28th annual gathering of the North American Interfaith Network at the Convento Esclavas de Cristo Rey in Guadalajara was the first (and hopefully not the last) NAIN Connect in Mexico.
The theme was “Sacred Space” and much attention was rightly given to the indigenous people of Mexico. But there were other expressions of sacred space – both internal and external. I myself was privileged to lead a workshop on creating safe and sacred space in which intrafaith conversations can happen.
My workshop was on Tuesday, but on Monday I got some great publicity. During the discussion at a workshop on interfaith hospitality, someone spoke up and said, “What we really need to have is an intrafaith dialogue.” I almost jumped out of my seat as I raised my hand to jump in and tell everyone about the opportunity to do just that – and buy the book as well!
Going in, I had no idea how many religions might be represented. This was my first venture with a potentially interfaith group. It turned out that the group was largely Christian, with a smattering of Buddhists, Religious Science adherents, a Jewish/Buddhist, and a “none.”
I started off with a personal intrafaith story. Then I shared a resource I had just learned at the hospitality workshop: The Differences Between Dialogue and Debate. This was part of the presentation about how to create a safe space for difficult dialogue to happen – and we all agreed that these can be very difficult conversations for us to be part of. Too often our buttons get pushed and our “non-anxious presence” (I prefer “non-reactive presence”) goes out the window.
Then we broke into small groups and everyone got a chance to share their own stories and struggles with members of their own tradition. Finally, we began to strategize about how to create an intrafaith conversation when we got back home.
I don’t know if anyone will do that. But I believe that, at the very least, the issue was put out onto the table, and participants went away with some resources and hopefully lots to think about.
And that’s a start.
Check out my web site at https://intrafaithconversation.com
Follow my blog at https://intrafaithconversation.com/blog-2/
Buy my book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sagrada Sacred Arts in Oakland, CA
Kindle edition is also available on Amazon