When I was at the Everything Must Change Tour, I got the chance to speak with Samir Selmanovic. I’ve run across Samir’s writings before, as he has a chapter in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope entitled “The Sweet Problem of Inclusiveness: Finding Our God in the Other.” He’s also currently working on a book for Baker Books entitled Losing My Religion and Finding the Kingdom of God.” Samir is beginning a faith community in Manhattan called Faith House Manhattan. I got a chance to speak with Samir about the community a little bit, and found his hopes for the community incredibly inspiring and hopeful myself. The mission of Faith House Manhattan is below:
OUR MISSION: We want to start a new kind of community in which we can discover The Other (individuals or groups other than those we belong to), deepen our personal and corporate journeys, and together participate in repairing the world. In this endeavor we will honor and learn from teachings, practices, and suffering of people from religions, philosophies, and worldviews, different from our own. Instead of isolating ourselves into like-minded groups or melting together into a single-minded organization, we will learn to live together with our differences and in a way that contributes to the wellbeing, peace, joy, and justice in the world. In this endeavor we will always be a courageous, hospitable and learning community.
I think this is a beautiful portrait of the kingdom of God and I only wish I lived in Manhattan and could take part in such an experiment. Certainly it will not be without its own challenges and difficulties, but what a wonderful possibility for community, hope and working together for the kingdom. Of course, Samir and this faith project will obviously (and unfortunately) be criticized by folks like those at Apprising Ministries, but I hope they are able to find encouragement within their community and from those who aren’t able to be a part of the community but support their goals of learning from the other, deepening their lives and healing the world.