March 4, 2014
FRANKLIN — Three groups of three Sikhs, three Muslims and three Christians met Sunday to share their faith and then, like any good gathering, share a meal.
The session was the final in a series of interfaith scripture dialogue circles — a structured time to share scriptures from each tradition. “This was very powerful,” said Harjeev Lahil, a Sikh from Brentwood. “All three meetings were all about God and being closer to him.” Members of the Islamic Center of Williamson County on Carothers Parkway, as host for Sunday’s session, chose the final topic: forgiveness.
The Rev. Tracy Wells Miller, associate pastor at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Franklin, set up the sessions with Chance Dillon, a youth pastor at Harpeth Presbyterian, who has facilitated similar interfaith dialogue circles at Hillsboro Presbyterian and Brentwood United Methodist Church.
“All of us are biologically programmed to see something different from us as a threat,” she said. The sessions aren’t about agreement, but education and understanding.
The Tennessean: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140304/WILLIAMSON01/303040039?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1
January 12, 2014
While world events play out around the globe, it can be hard to fully grasp the role that religion plays. One local church is helping people better understand the world around them, but not exclusively through Christianity. “Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church if you’re visiting. This is our Tour of Islam,” said Adult Formation Leader at Christ Episcopal Church Charles Crawley. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions, accounting for about 20 % of the earth’s population. But, “people are just trying to understand what it is, because we just don’t have a good basic understanding,” said Crawley.
Kirkwood Professor of Religion Dr. Peter Jauhiainen says people often narrowly define the religion. “That provides a distorted understanding of what it’s all about,” said Dr. Jauhiainen. So Christ Episcopal Church organized its Tour of Islam. The idea is to help people of all faiths have a better understanding of world events and other religions. “We, it seems to me, operate on rumors, on information from people who don’t have a complete understanding,” said Doug Anderson.
Those misconceptions can easily affect how we understand the world around us, both past and present. “The other thing I remember from ’73 is the Arab Oil Embargo. Most of us are old enough to remember 25-cent gas,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
Organizers say knowing more about our surroundings often leads to knowing more about other people, but simple tolerance isn’t enough. “Tolerance is lower on the diversity scale if you want to speak that way. But to move to acceptance, approval and affirmation of people that are different than us,” said Crawley. “I’m more concerned about understanding broad ideas and movements and changing attitudes, that’s more important,” said Dr. Jauhiainen.
CBS Iowa: http://www.cbs2iowa.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/church-dialogue-islam-24459.shtml
Former Episcopal minister Ann Holmes Redding has been ordained in the Episcopal Church for nearly 30 years, but her ordainment came to an end when she was defrocked this week.
According to a report, Redding has been both a practicing Christian and Muslim for the past three years. “Had anyone told me in February 2006 that I would be a Muslim before April rolled around, I would have shaken my head in concern for the person’s mental health,” Redding recently told a crowd at a signing for a book she co-authored on religion.
Redding said that her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago, citing an overwhelming conviction to surrender to God. Redding said that she did not feel that her new Muslim faith posed a contradiction to her staying a Christian and minister: “Both religions say there’s only one God,” Redding said, “and that God is the same God. It’s very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven’t shifted my allegiance.”
The Episcopal church rejected Redding’s religious church, saying it is tantamount to abandonment of the church. The Diocese of Rhode Island, where Redding was ordained, told her to leave either her new Muslim faith or the ministry. A diocese statement said Bishop Geralyn Wolf found Redding to be “a woman of utmost integrity. However, the Bishop believes that a priest of the Church cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim.