The Call to Interfaith: Democracy, Interfaith, and the Individual
This is the introductory chapter from my new book, “The Call to Interfaith: Democracy, Interfaith, and the Individual”.
- The Calling
In 2011, at the age of 65, I was ordained by Leland P. Stewart, founder and Central Coordinator of UDC, as an Interfaith Minister. The calling is an inner prompting, a stirring in the soul, a spiritual conviction that rises out of the course and experience of one’s life. The calling is the longing for a deeper connectivity with the transcendent source we call the various names of God, and the ability to express and convey that relationship through ministry. In the acceptance of this ministry, I have sought to understand its meaning and so this writing is about identifying the Interfaith idea and the path that I and others may choose to follow in the name of Interfaith.
Accelerating changes in religious, cultural, economic, political, environmental, and social realities worldwide are forcing the rethinking and restructuring of the very way in which we as the human family live and interact on our planet. We are in the increasingly arduous contractions of birthing new revolutionary ideas and a new vision of how to build a sustainable and peaceful future. In the end, it is a revolution of consciousness.
In this global era of rapid and mind-boggling technological advances, out of necessity for our very survival, we must call forth a commensurate acceleration of wisdom to oversee and manage these changes. We can no longer be waring, and embattled nations, tribes, religions, and factions built around the old model of dominance and colonization, of enmity and battling competitive wills. We can no longer treat our planet as an endless resource pool to plunder, desecrate and rape. We can no longer be drugged and mesmerized by the material values of monied interests concerned more with profit than with people’s real needs and rights. We can no longer do business as usual being led by an inherited system that is not sustainable. We can no longer act as innocent bystanders and allow ourselves to be victims of suicidal policies. Yet, we continue to be divided and devastated by the ongoing destruction of our environment, and by the worldwide war economy and banking system which creates and supports an adversarial and weapons-based culture that threatens our very existence.
This is a time of extraordinary and challenging transition, struggling to embrace a new paradigm where interdependence, cooperation, honest dialogue, respect across differences, non-violence and earth stewardship are the pillars of a new global identity. The Interfaith Movement, born on the fertile ground of democratic principles, is at the forefront of building this new identity. The new identity must be built around recognizing the old narratives that no longer serve us, and by articulating new narratives that best answer a higher calling.
The new excerpt will examine Interfaith and its values…. to be continued
Stephen is the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Project (JPP). You can learn more about JPP, by clicking HERE.