Over the years I have written several times about the Parliament of World Religions -- the first one having been held in Chicago in 1893. (One gathering from that event is pictured here.)
Indeed, somewhere on my bookshelves I have the two-volume record of that event, books I picked up at a garage sale in the 1960s. Go figure.
Anyway, the fifth Parliament of Religions will be held in December in Melbourne, Australia, and the people organizing it have just announced that it will include an important conflict resolution program.
The program, officials says, will feature eight peacekeeping teams from regions of the world affected by conflict. There will be panels that will talk about these conflicts from the perspectives of religion, media, women, Indigenous peoples and other viewpoints.
I invite you to surf around on the Parliament Web site to which I've linked you above to find out what else is going to happen Dec. 3-9 in Melbourne, but I'm glad that some specific attention will be paid to the idea of conflict resolution and the role religion can play in making that happen.
Often, but not always, religion is found as a source of conflict and war, and I hope the people participating in this Parliament program will delve into that history and see what lessons can be learned from it.
Certainly not all wars can be attributed to religious disagreements. But some have religious roots and/or religious overtones, and it's the responsibility of people of faith to figure out why that's happened and to prevent it in the future.
(The photo here today was found at: http://transformingcompassion.typepad.com/transforming_compassion_p/parliament-of-the-worlds-religions/.)
* * *
MUSLIMS DON'T 'OWN' ALLAH AS A WORD
Authorities in Malaysia have seized Bibles because they use the Arabic word for God, Allah. Some Christians there think this indicates a growing move toward a radical interpretation of Islam. The Malaysian officials are making the same mistake a writer for The Kansas City Star made recently in an otherwise good piece about Muslims in KC -- saying that "Allah" is the exclusively Islamic name for God. No, it's the Arabic translation of the word God.
* * *
P.S.: In this entry this past August, I shared with you some thoughts from an area pastor who was taking a trip to the Middle East with a peace group. The evening of Saturday, Nov. 7, that pastor, the Rev. Cindy Howard, will be speaking about her experiences at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Kansas City. For information, click here.
* * *
ANOTHER P.S.: A Kansas City anti-poverty group called Care of Poor People will hold its periodic giveaway of clothing and other materials from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 31st and Baltimore in Kansas City. For details and ways to help, click here for a pdf file: Download COPP. In fact, copy it and share it with your own faith community or other group.