THIS JUST IN:
Well, what's just in is the new picture of me here. It was taken by my 3-year-old granddaughter Olivia at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, N.Y., the other day. If she can find better models, she may have a future in the picture-taking business.
* * *
It was a wonderful -- and wonderfully balanced -- performance of stories that told of the heartache among both Jews and Palestinians because of conflict in the Middle East. Afterward, Noa recommended that we take a look at the Web site for an organization called Just Vision, which seeks to bring Israelis and Palestinians together for dialogue. It's worth your time to look at it.
But before Noa told her stories, the evening began with prayers from religious leaders representing 13 different faith traditions: Native American spirituality, Baha'i, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Christian Science, Pagan, Sufi, Universalist-Unitarian and Vedanta.
I have become convinced that if we don't maintain our own religious identity while we are in dialogue with other traditions, we cannot be honest about our differences and therefore cannot ultimately find any true common ground. So I was curious as to how the Christian (my faith) representative there would pray.
The Rev. Catherine Stark-Corn, associate minister to singles at Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, did exactly the right thing. She offered a gentle and pleading prayer for peace and ended it with these words: ". . .in the name of Jesus Christ, our redeemer, we pray."
It was not meant to be arrogant and offensive to non-Christians, just as the words in Hebrew by a rabbi and Sanskrit by a Hindu were not meant to offend, nor was it offensive to hear a Pagan representative addressing the sun and moon.
Rather, Catherine's words were meant to reflect the core of who she and other Christians are. There certainly are times when such language might be interpreted as inappropriate (public prayer at public events on behalf of the public), but not when one is trying to represent one's faith tradition in dialogue with others.
See my About page to find out how to read online what I've written for The Kansas City Star.
Today's religious holiday: Mabon (fall equinox) (Wicca).