Handling sexuality issues badly: 10-26-10
The Dalai Lama's journey: 10-28-10

Interfaith aid for Pakistan: 10-27-10

Sometimes people ask me what specifically they can do to engage in interfaith dialogue or contact or improve interfaith relations.


I usually mention getting involved with such groups as the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council or the Interfaith Youth Alliance or Habitat for Humanity.

But today I want to give you something even more specific -- interfaith efforts to help flooded Pakistan, which continues to suffer mightily.

From noon to 1 p.m. today, a physician who just returned from Pakistan will speak to a public luncheon sponsored by the Justice and Peace Committee of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kan. My friend Zulifqar Malik will introduce his friend Dr. Faheem Arain who recently returned form an 11-day trip to the flood relief camps in Pakistan.

Then this Friday evening, you have a chance to attend a Pakistani Flood Relief Dinner at the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church. My friend Ahmed El-Sherif will speak.

Finally, starting at 7 p.m. this Sunday, there will be a Pakistani Flood Relief Concert at the Ramada Inn, 7240 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Overland Park, Kan. For tickets, click here.

There are, of course, many other ways to respond to the flooding disaster in Pakistan. For instance, I have made a donation to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, an agency within my denomination that is helping.

But instead of just giving money, these three opportunities also give you a chance to meet people of several faiths who are responding, too.

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Pope Benedict XVI is seeking to be a voice of reason in the increasingly strident debate and immigration, suggesting that immigrants respect local custom and that nations welcome immigrants. The foundational issue here, which the pope didn't discuss, really is nationalism, a phenomenon that did not always exist and that grows less viable by the day, given the many ways in which people are connected across national borders in ways that make those borders irrelevant. But for the near future, nation states will continue to exist and the only way reasonable way to get along is to do what the pope suggests.

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P.S.: Speaking of interfaith matters, two free performances of the play "The Hindu and the Cowboy" will be presented at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library on Nov. 7 and 8, and each performance will be dedicated to the late Holocaust survivor Bronia Rowslawowski, who died earlier this year. If you haven't yet seen this wonderful play, do yourself a favor and go. For details on these upcoming performances and other events scheduled as part of this year's Festival of Faiths, click here.


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