If you live in the Kansas City area, have you turned in your ideas yet for how to make the people of this area more religiously literate?
In late January (here) I wrote about a project of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council to come up with some projects that would increase religious literacy here as the council moves toward its goal of having Kansas City be the most welcoming city to people of all faiths.
You can send your project ideas to email@example.com.
Just to get you started, here are some of the ideas I turned in:
- Offer tours of sacred structures all over town — churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. Friends of Sacred Structures used to do something like this and I’ve done it on a small scale for members of my congregation.
- Put on a film festival featuring movies with religious themes. Maybe representatives of each faith could pick out one or two films from that tradition.
- Put on a sacred music festival. Again, let’s have music from every religious tradition be part of this.
- Create a KC Religious Literacy Facebook page where a moderator could raise a new question every day or two and seek responses.
- Have the whole metro area read Stephen Prothero’s book, Religious Literacy, and create discussion groups about it. Another choice: The Faith Club.
- Put on a faith food festival featuring foods from many religious traditions.
- Create a combination service project-learning experience, such as working in interfaith teams at Harvesters or Habitat for Humanity.
- Create a temporary museum of religious icons and objects at, say, Union Station, to include crosses; Stars of David; mihrabs; Communion cups; limited edition Torahs, Bibles and Qur’ans, etc. Have representatives of each religion available to explain what people are seeing.
- Host a symposium of clergy who would spend a day offering lectures etc. on some aspect of faith — such as “What non-blanks don’t get about Blankism (or Blankianity).”
- Create a virtual online map that residents would fill in by finding their address and labeling it with the religion of the residents of that house. Bet that would be cool to view.
- Hold a 24-hour prayer vigil at which each hour would be led by representatives of different faiths or branches, though all would be welcome to attend any part of it, and each separate hour would begin with said-aloud prayers from that tradition.
- Create an opportunity for people to record, say, a 3-minute StoryCorps-like (NPR) recording about some transformative faith experience they’ve had. And make these recordings available online.
- I notice I haven’t said anything specifically about youth or the KC Interfaith Youth Alliance, but we need intentionally to include young people in all of this, too.
OK, now your turn.
* * *
ANTI-ISLAMIC PREJUDICE CONTINUES
In parts of the country, the struggle for Islam to negotiate its place in society continues -- and continues to be made much more difficult than it needs to be. For instance, opposition to construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has stirred up anti-Islamic preaching from Christian pulpits and bad feelings, along with some folks who are seeking religious harmony. Lots of bigotry grows out of ignorance as well as out of a black-and-white approach to a world that often is painted in shades of gray.
* * *
P.S.: I'll be participating again this year in the annual AIDSWalk Kansas City as part of my congregation's AIDS Ministry and am starting a bit earlier than usual to raise funds for this great charity event to benefit the AIDS Service Foundation of KC. To donate, click here. And many thanks.