Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seeking Peace through "Building Hope"? Muslims, Christians and Jews at Yale

There is too much to reflect on coherently at this time, but a couple of thoughts about how to relate to the Other, in a way that might lead to something positive:

* We were encouraged last night that for deeper understanding, we must go beyond study of texts (history, etc.), and focus on developing friendship with others (the others we might be suspicious or afraid or ignorant of, in conflict with, etc.). In fact, that's why 30 of us - Muslims, Christians and Jews - are spending 10 days together, sharing life, sharing meals, sharing faith, and discussing difficult issues.

* We were also encouraged that the path to understanding usually leads through times of non-understanding. If we think we "understand" the Other from the start, what we really understand are just our own stereotypes of the Other, relating to an image rather than reality. 

* Today, one of the Jewish speakers reminded us that Muslims and Christians both tend to think they understand Judaism, but what we really understand are our own versions of Judaism, based on our textual traditions. If we really want to understand Judaism (and Jews), we need to let them speak, and listen, to come to know them, and their version. The challenge, the speaker pointed out, is to hold our texts and images in one hand, and to create space for understanding Judaism on its own terms, at the same time. 

What we experienced, today, was Muslims and Jews sharing about their beliefs and practices, and significant question and answer times (that were too short, but very significant); and lots of relational time, as well, over meals and breaks, interacting, getting to know each other, and - I hope - moving toward more of an understanding of Each Other as we really are (not as images). 

This definitely seems like steps on the path toward peace. I'm hopeful...

No comments: