Erin Williams on Plurality 2.0

This piece is part of an on-going blog series called Plurality 2.0 (watch video here). Full schedule of guest authors throughout April and May is available here.

Erin Williams is the Media Coordinator at the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international non-profit that builds mutual respect and pluralism among people from different religious and moral traditions by empowering them to work together to serve others. Erin has lived and worked in documentary, media, research, and outreach capacities in Chicago, Barcelona, Boston, D.C., and Johannesburg.

We will not forget, and we will not forgive…

circle

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star…

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give – yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

– William Stafford, A Ritual to Read to Each Other

“We will not forget, and we will not forgive,” read the t-shirt of a man who walked into the Chicago subway car where I was sitting one morning. The words were boldly printed in slanted black cursive over an image of the burning Twin Towers, with a large Bald Eagle flying in front of the collapsing buildings.

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Eboo Patel on Plurality 2.0

This piece is part of an on-going blog series called Plurality 2.0 (watch video here). Full schedule of guest authors throughout April and May is available here.

Eboo Patel is founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international non-profit building a movement of young people committed to religious pluralism. Recently appointed to President Obama’s White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, he writes The Faith Divide, a Washington Post blog, and is author of Acts of Faith.

Diversity and its Discontent

Eboo PatelThe first thing my wife and I comment on when we go to a restaurant or a park is the diversity. We generally want more. We’re part of a generation of Americans raised on the “celebrate diversity” mantra. Our elementary school books were illustrated with pictures of kids of different colors. We read Toni Morrison and Richard Wright in college.

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Stand up, sit down, prostrate, sign the cross…

I spent the evening tonight with many Orthodox Christians, including Fr Patrick and Bishop Joseph (who is the Bishop of the West Coast Chancery of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North American). I attended the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (which, I was told, was one of the longer Orthodox services – about two and a half hours). It was my first Orthodox service, and it was definitely a multisensory worship service; the music, the chanting, the icons, the incense, the priestly garments. We stood for most of the 2.5 hrs and read through an enormous amount of Scripture. It took a while for me to figure out when to stand, to sit, to get myself prostrate, to make the sign of the cross (which, incidentally, Orthodox Christians do it the opposite direction from Western Christians who do the sign of the cross, does anyone know a theological reason for that?

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