What is Interfaith Practice?
The religions of the world are uniquely different spiritual paths, yet they share in common certain virtues regarding our relationships with others – the virtues of compassion, cooperation, hospitality, service, and justice come to mind. Interfaith Practice is the form of religious expression which concerns itself with our relationships with our neighbors of other faiths and the greater community as a whole, as mandated by our own personal religion, and as expressed in cooperative actions.
I. Religiological Reflection is a foundational skill developed by Dr. Alan Godlas of the University of Georgia, a coherent systematic method for both knowing ourselves and knowing the other which increases the likelihood of understanding, respect and cooperative action, and decreases the likelihood of misunderstanding and violence.
II. Emotional Intelligence for the Interfaith/ Multifaith Intercultural World
Emotional Intelligence skills help us to know ourselves and understand others. Emotional Intelligence cultivates empathy and the ability to step out of the comfort zone, as well as enhancing our ability to successfully create and develop diverse working teams.
III. Interfaith Communication Skills help in understanding our own bias, and developing increased abilities of listening, clarifying, pacing and responding. They address cross cultural communication techniques, and identifying and using language that supports not hinders communication.
IV. Interfaith Action on the Local Level
The Religiological Reflection frequently highlights shared values such as hospitality to the stranger, care for the sick, the elderly, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, as well as areas of justice and peace making. These areas of service to the greater local community when done in interfaith partnership deepen interfaith practice and witness core values of faith and cooperation to the greater community. Interfaith Horizons is available to interfaith communities to facilitate the path forward as the communities discerns which areas are best for the local community to move forward. We are also now developing an interfaith curriculum focused on faith perspectives in environmental justice to assist communities in identifying shared values and local needs.
V. Arts, Liturgy and Interfaith/ Multi-faith Prayer
How does art communicate the core of a religion’s worldview? How do you create an interfaith prayer service that actually allows people to enter prayer space together, a liturgy of union before the divine that is more than a token event? What are the Do’s and Don’t ‘s of Interfaith Prayer and Liturgy? What are cross religious forms of prayer that serve as a containers capable of holding multiple traditions, and that generally allow individuals of differing traditions to experience prayer together?