Parliament of the World's Religions E-Newsletter Archive 2011

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Date: 2011-12-29
Title: Eblast - "It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." An appeal from Abdul Malik Mujahid
Details As we near the end of a year for which words like "historic" and "world-shattering" seem too tame, I am drawn to Charles Dickens' description of the upheavals of an earlier century. "It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We were all going direct to Heaven. We were all going direct the other way." How very similar and how completely different our age is from his. Who will determine its outcome? The answer is simple: you and me. All of us together.


Date: 2011-12-23
Title: Newsletter - 'Beyond Religion': The Dalai Lama's Secular Ethics
Details I am an old man now. I was born in 1935 in a small village in northeastern Tibet. For reasons beyond my control, I have lived most of my adult life as a stateless refugee in India, which has been my second home for over 50 years. I often joke that I am India’s longest-staying guest. In common with other people of my age, I have witnessed many of the dramatic events that have shaped the world we live in. Since the late 1960s, I have also traveled a great deal, and have had the honor to meet people from many different backgrounds: not just presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, and leaders from all the world’s great religious traditions, but also a great number of ordinary people from all walks of life. 


Date: 2011-12-13
Title: Eblast - Ending Poverty: Practical Steps for Those Inspired by Their Faith
Details This webinar will address spiritual and practical imperatives that emerge from the intersections of religion and development. We now approach the culmination of the Millennium Development Goal challenge set in the year 2000. What are the successes, flops, and challenges we must face to create greater equity in our communities and around the world? Katherine Marshall is a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service. She leads the Berkley Center’s work on faith-inspired institutions working in development, that has involved both a regional “mapping” and explorations of priority development topics, around the basic questions: what can we learn from faith inspired work and why is it important for global development efforts? She is Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.


Date: 2011-12-08
Title: Newsletter - Launching 'On Common Ground 2.0'
Details Dr. Diana Eck and the Pluralism Project are updating their award-winning resource to explore the religious diversity of the United States. The first edition of On Common Ground: World Religions in America was released as a CD-ROM in 1996, providing teachers, students, and scholars with an innovative interactive resource in three parts: “America’s Many Religions,” “A New Religious Landscape,” and “Encountering Religious Diversity.”


Date: 2011-12-01
Title: Eblast - Women of Spirit and Faith
Details One of the many creative fruits of the 2009 Parliament of World Religions held in Melbourne, Australia, is a newly minted nonprofit network calledWomen of Spirit and Faith.  The birth of this group is a fast-paced, wondrous story of connection and collaboration growing out of chance meetings in Melbourne and at follow-up events! Four of us from the U.S. west coast—Kathe Schaaf, Kay Lindahl, Reverend Guo Cheen and myself—were drawn by the spirit of the Divine Feminine, so alive at the Parliament and especially stimulated by Sr. Joan Chittister, to come together and explore what it means to be women leaders in today’s chaotic world from a spiritual and/or faith-centered perspective.  Women’s leadership is a popular topic, but often missing is any conversation about the importance of spiritual grounding to anchor, deepen and empower women’s authentic leadership.  


Date: 2011-11-23
Title: Newsletter - The Parliament Newsletter - Nov 23, 2011
Details: If you've ever read comments that viewers post on YouTube videos, you know that the Internet can be a rough place for dialogue. Although online interaction between users of different backgrounds presents a unique opportunity for developing mutual understanding and empathy, it is unfortunately often marked by offence and misunderstanding. YouTube videos and comments in particular have a bad reputation for being incendiary and ugly, with users frequently forgetting that there is a face on the other side of the screen. Slurs and insults quickly consume the opportunity for dialogue, with little chance for mutual understanding.


Date: 2011-11-18
Title: Eblast - From Hate to Healing in Sweden. And Beyond.
Details Last year, in a small Swedish city near Malmo, it took a profound tragedy to rouse people from their fears about “the other” to a recognition of our common humanity. The episode in question was one more example — as if we needed more — of the kind of religious and cultural strife that is an increasing part of our daily lives. The event began as a parking lot quarrel, something that should not have, but did, escalate into a major confrontation that resulted in physical violence and death. An elderly woman was pushed to the ground, struck her head on pavement, and two days later, died. The woman was a native-born, Swedish citizen of the city; her assailant a recently-arrived Muslim immigrant. Almost immediately, tensions between the local citizens and the immigrant community spiraled out of control, fueled by hate-filled Facebook pages, sensationalized media reporting and politically-motivated rhetoric by community leaders.


Date: 2011-11-04
Title: Eblast - Sharing Sacred Spaces this Sunday at St. James Cathedral
Details St. James Episcopal Cathedral will open its doors to the general public as well as to visitors from other religious and spiritual communities this Sunday Nov. 6, 2011, from 2 to 4pm. This event is the third installment of the Sharing Sacred Spaces project, in which eight different religious communities in Chicago are opening their doors to each other and to the public. Come and learn about your Episcopalian neighbors— their rites and practices, their theology and their commitment to social justice


Date: 2011-11-03
Title: Newsletter - The Parliament Newsletter - Nov 3, 2011
Details Many persons feel they “know” Baptists as a group because of the unkind words of a few Baptist individuals or denominations. Indeed, some very public Baptists have made statements highly offensive to persons of other faiths—and, perhaps surprisingly, also disturbing and embarrassing for historic Baptists who remember their roots and denounce such judgmental, unkind sentiments. Baptists, like adherents of all religions, are a multicultural and wildly diverse lot, exhibiting different personal, social, political, and theological perspectives. Those Baptists, however, who do recall their historic values will courageously champion religious freedom. 


Date: 2011-10-27
Title: Eblast - Native American Earth-Based Spirituality
Details Christopher Peters (Pohlik-lah/Karuk) was born and raised on his people’s territories in northwestern California. Chris is President and CEO of Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development – a Native-led Indigenous Peoples public foundation. For more than 35 years his work has focused on grassroots social justice organizing, protecting sacred sites, working for holistic community renewal, rebuilding traditional economies, and supporting cultural revitalization efforts.


Date: 2011-10-20
Title: Newsletter - The Parliament Newsletter - Oct 20, 2011
Details Cedric Cal was born to a single mother, in a family that lived below the poverty line on Chicago’s West Side. His father had left the family, married another woman and had very little to do with him. His mother Olivia worked constantly, doing her best to keep her family together. As the oldest of four, Cedric became the de facto father of the family and was entrusted with protecting his younger brother, who was legally blind.


Date: 2011-10-06
Title: Newsletter - Are We There Yet? The $100,000 Question in the Interfaith Movement.
Details: How do we know when we have arrived in the interfaith movement? When religious pluralism is normative? When religious differences don’t cause conflict or even concern? Things have been changing rapidly in the expanding field of interfaith relations. Therefore, it may be worth measuring our progress by some milestones of our achievement rather than by an elusive final destination. I want to suggest six different markers of hope which I see, and I want to invite you to share your own markers of hope and stories of success. I see great progress in: academic legitimization, institutional development, research expansion, intra-field cooperation, government partnerships, and specialization of work. 


Date: 2011-09-30
Title: Eblast - 10 Strategies to Respond to the Rising Hate in the U. S.
Details In the ten years since September 11, 2001, the United States has experienced both an increase in interreligious cooperation as well as a marked escalation in hate. Religious communities are in a unique position to build bridges of understanding among communities and neighbors. This webinar will offer 10 practical ways that individuals, organizations, and congregations can respond to this challenge


Date: 2011-09-22
Title: Newsletter - Training Pastors, Rabbis, and Imams Together
Details On September 6, 2011, Claremont School of Theology, a distinguished United Methodist seminary with roots back to 1885, joined in partnership with The Academy for Jewish Religion, California, and the Islamic Center of Southern California/Bayan College. Together, they and a number of other affiliates have joined to create Claremont Lincoln University (CLU), an institution like none other. Training imams, pastors, and rabbis will be a core goal at CLU. Seminarians will have separate curricula and degree programs for clergy formation, part of a larger set of offerings and degree options focused on the interdisciplinary, intercultural, and multireligious needs of the world in the 21st century


Date: 2011-09-15
Title: Eblast - Watch the Interreligious Training Live Stream this Sunday
Details Michael Gecan is an organizer.  He is the co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, which builds effective citizens power organizations whose chief product is social change. He works primarily in the northeast and midwest, but has also contributed to the work of the IAF in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia in recent years.  He succeeded Ed Chambers as co-director of the IAF.  He is the author of Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action (Anchor Books, 2004), After America's Midlife Crisis (MIT Press, 2009), and numerous essays and opinion pieces in the New York Daily News, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Review, and Village Voice


Date: 2011-09-07
Title: Eblast - PeaceWeek with Alice Walker, Deepak Chopra, Arun Gandhi, and more!
Details The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is proud to be a co-sponsor of PeaceWeek 2011, a global telesummit featuring dozens of inspiring peacebuilders.This free online event, coming up September 15-21, is the largest virtual peace summit ever created—last year more than 20,000 people registered from 152 countries. This year's leaders will offer profound insights for you to create peace in your life, your family, your community and our world. You'll also gain access to the full library of recordings from last year's summit.


Date: 2011-09-01
Title: Newsletter - Out of the Shadows of 9/11
Details We’re hungry for a movement. Faith and moral communities around the globe are tired of politics that maintain the status quo. Here in the U.S., a rising generation is finding brave new ways to channel moral vision into action: we’re marching in the streets for immigration reform, holding the banner of marriage equality, pushing back on anti-Muslim rhetoric, and demanding an end to partisan politics. But we’re not being heard. A small segment of the American population still holds the monopoly over ‘morality’ on the airwaves and in the halls of power. As we near the end of the 9/11 decade, these voices continue to dominate public discourse and proclaim the language of faith for restrictive political agendas, stripping the dignity of immigrants, denigrating LGBT people, and fueling anti-Muslim ideologies.


Date: 2011-08-17
Title: Eblast - Train with Experts in Interfaith Organizing
Details:  Michael Gecan is an organizer.  He is the co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, which builds effective citizens power organizations whose chief product is social change. He works primarily in the northeast and midwest, but has also contributed to the work of the IAF in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia in recent years.  He succeeded Ed Chambers as co-director of the IAF.  He is the author of Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action (Anchor Books, 2004), After America's Midlife Crisis (MIT Press, 2009), and numerous essays and opinion pieces in the New York Daily News, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Review, and Village Voice


Date: 2011-08-18
Title: Newsletter - Religion versus Spirituality
Details Nowadays, people commonly say: “I am not religious—but I am spiritual.” These are not new ideas. The distinction between “Spirituality” and “Religion” has been around for a long time, though the meanings have changed. “Spirituality” begins as a distinction between the spiritual moral realm and the moral realm of fleshly desires, for example, when Paul the Apostle advises the early Christians to go into training, to subdue their lower desires in favor of heavenly things. But Paul was a Jew and that was a Jewish distinction. Confusion soon arose with the Greek distinction between soul and body, which was not the same thing at all. Then a political perspective arose in the Middle Ages between the responsibility of the Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. Some of the Reformers pointed to a contrast between the experience of religious oppression in the established churches and the spiritual and personal faith of the children of God. Our contemporary notions of the spiritual reflect undertones from this conceptual history.


Date: 2011-08-12
Title: Eblast - Training for Interfaith Organizing
Details Learn from esteemed practitioners in the field of interfaith organizing.  Presenters will give the nuts and bolts of effective organizing, both within particular communities and contexts as well as across religious traditions.  Participants will develop an action plan for their community or organization. If you are someone who is looking to make a difference within your community or in our increasingly diverse world, this training is not to be missed!


Date: 2011-08-04
Title: Newsletter - Technology and the Interfaith Movement
Details Click here, copy-cut-paste, press the “like” button on Facebook. Chances are, you may know the reference for these short phrases. We have entered the technological revolution. Some of us have come along with angst, confusion and maybe even a bit of dread. Others of us choose to dive right in, so much so that we read every new article about the latest technology. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, realizing that to avoid technology is impractical, while striving not to lose valuable face-to-face time with family and friends. Regardless of where we may fall along the spectrum of technological acceptance, the new age of social media and visual communication may be used for enhancing the world in which we live, work, and play. This, to be sure, includes interfaith work. In addition to the power of connection, media images and stories have the power to teach us lessons. How many times has someone tried to explain a concept or idea, and you think to yourself, “Say what?” Perhaps frustrated or in his/her enthusiasm, the person draws you a picture or shows you an illustration and you say, “Oh I see.” 


Date: 2011-07-23
Title: Eblast - Webinar: Learning from the Egyptian Revolution (rescheduled)
Details The Egyptian Revolution saw one of the largest and most comprehensive peaceful revolutions in history. 12 million people took to the streets in a period of 18 days to oust a 30 year autocratic president and a 60 year entrenched regime. The Egypt revolution was non-ideological, non-partisan, and non-sectarian, and as thus represents a case study in the psychology, process, and implementation of unifying mass movements. What were the key ingredients that helped pull off one of the greatest revolutions in history? Ahmed Rehab, who participated in the Tahrir Square movement, shares his first-hand account.


Date: 2011-07-14
Title: Newsletter - An Interfaith Generation Unwilling to Wait
Details When religious tension between Muslims and Christians rocked northern Nigeria on January 8th of this year, the refrain of religiously fueled violence sounded so much like it had before. The ‘other’ was at fault for the problems of a region, country, and world. But when the tensions boiled over and violence broke out, resulting in burning down of churches and mosques and the death over 100 people, the response was profoundly different.


Date: 2011-07-06
Title: Eblast - Webinar: Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa
Details:  Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko will address the composition of the African Interfaith movement. The issue of peacemaking is crucial for organizing communities because it is a common value shared by the diverse religious traditions in Africa. Dr. Noko will give concrete examples of how communities have moved beyond dialogue to taking action for peace, mobilizing young people, women and entire communities around specific projects. IFAPA is genuinely rooted in the tested African traditions and approaches to peacemaking.


Date: 2011-06-29
Title: Newsletter - Education as Transformation DRAFT
Details With religious and spiritual diversity increasingly present at colleges and universities around the world, there is a great need—and increasing recognition of that need—for new resources and collaboration to address these issues and prepare students to live and work in a religiously diverse world. Toward that end, Education as Transformation (EasT) was formed as an international project of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. It was launched in 1998 with a conference that was attended by over 800 people from colleges and universities throughout the United States and beyond, and has worked since then to provide educational institutions with the means to develop their religious life programs, staffing and facilities.


Date: 2011-06-16
Title: Newsletter - Women in Religious Peacebuilding
Details What role do women play in peacebuilding? Why is it that most interfaith peacebuilding initiatives are presumed to be male? A recently authored report by the United States Institute of Peace and Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs on “Women in Religious Peacebuilding” seeks to answer these questions and set the stage for further inquiry about women in interfaith peacebuilding. Its authors note, Women involved in peacebuilding around the world often draw inspiration and support from religious sources and organizations. However, little attention has been paid to these actors and the religious dimension of women’s work for peace, even though the role of religion in conflict and peacebuilding has received greater attention in recent years, as has the role of women in promoting peace. This is due, in large part, to the relative invisibility of their efforts.


Date: 2011-06-02
Title: Newsletter - Online Interfaith Media: Odyssey Network's Journey
Details It was 1987 and America was riveted by the “televangelist” scandals—celebrity TV ministries collecting millions of dollars in donations that ended up supporting their own lavish lifestyles.  In response, the leaders of the cable industry met with major US faith leaders, all determined to restore the integrity of faith on television.  Together they founded the National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC) and underwrote what would become its Odyssey Channel, giving the new interfaith offering carriage on cable systems throughout the United States.


Date: 2011-05-26
Title: Eblast - Webinar: Learning from the Egyptian Revolution
Details The Egyptian Revolution saw one of the largest and most comprehensive peaceful revolutions in history. 12 million people took to the streets in a period of 18 days to oust a 30 year autocratic president and a 60 year entrenched regime. The Egypt revolution was non-ideological, non-partisan, and non-sectarian, and as thus represents a case study in the psychology, process, and implementation of unifying mass movements. What were the key ingredients that helped pull off one of the greatest revolutions in history? Ahmed Rehab, who participated in the Tahrir Square movement, shares his first-hand account. Ahmed Rehab is an American Muslim activist and writer with a focus on contemporary social issues including civil rights, media relations, and Islam-West relations. Rehab is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, and He is currently the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization which under Rehab’s tenure has developed from a start-up into one of the most notable not-for-profit civil rights offices of its kind anywhere in the United States.


Date: 2011-05-18
Title: Newsletter - Cultivating Peace from the Inside Out
Details At the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, I had lunch with Dadi Janki, the senior leader of the Brahma Kumaris, who had been an inspirational friend for fourteen years. Dadi told me the story of a queen who lost a precious necklace and sent people to the farthest reaches of her kingdom to search for it. The search continued unsuccessfully until the day one person went up to the queen and pointed out that the necklace wasn’t lost, but was around her neck. “That’s the way it is with peace,” Dadi said. “We spend so much time looking here and there for peace when it is inside us all the time, waiting to be discovered and cultivated.”


Date: 2011-05-02
Title: Eblast - Webinar: Greening Your Religious Community
Details:  Rev. Dr. Clare Butterfield, the Executive Director of Faith in Place, will provide training in basic approaches to organizing your religious community to be more sustainable in its own practices and to promote sustainability in the homes of members and in the public square. The webinar will offer basic tips for how to begin a greening program with your religious community, and how to advance one if you’ve already started, based on the experience of Faith in Place with over 700 religious and spiritual communities throughout Illinois. Specific topics will include energy conservation, organizing a green team, incorporating a sense of place into worship and practice, supporting local and sustainable farming through the religious community, learning about water, and more.


Date: 2011-04-29
Title: Eblast - The Dalai Lama comes to Chicago for public events July 17-18
Details:  The Dalai Lama comes to Chicago for two public events including a public talk and a discussion about interfaith relations with leaders from world religions presented by the Theosophical Society in America.


Date: 2011-04-29
Title: Eblast - Changes to Your Subscription
Details We respect your privacy, and we understand that people have different preferences about how much email they receive from an organization.  So if you'd prefer, you can still receive the Parliament Newsletter only once per month, or even less frequently.  And if you don't want to receive invitations to the webinars, just let us know.


Date: 2011-05-05
Title: Newsletter - The Way We Talk Matters
Details As I understand it, Judaism does not give great weight to panaceas. There is no silver bullet, no single action or belief that enables you to achieve a good life. But what my religion does teach is that creating good systems—of action, belief, and communal life—enables communities to thrive. I think there are lessons from this approach that can be applied to the inter-religious movement—and this newsletter. The first is that there is no single constituency. There are youth leaders and experienced clergy, politicians and business people, writers and educators, theists and humanists who are all essential to this movement. Their voices must be heard and amplified. For they—we—are all part of the movement and the network that has helped it grow.


Date: 2011-04-20
Title: newsletter - Finding Faith Amid Disaster
Details Around the world, people are still struggling to come to terms with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which have left more than 8,000 dead, thousands more missing and hundreds of thousand others homeless. The threat of a nuclear crisis only adds to the uncertainty. In times like these, many people find comfort in their faith. But disasters can also challenge long-held beliefs. The CNN Belief Blog asked some prominent voices with different views on religion how they make sense of such suffering, where they see inspiration amid destruction and how they respond to people who wonder, “How could God let this happen?”


Date: 2011-03-21
Title: Eblast - Brussels to host 2014 Parliament of Religions
Details More than 10,000 people from diverse religious, spiritual and convictional traditions will participate in the 2014 Parliament, which will last for 7 days and will comprise more than 500 programs, workshops and dialogues, alongside music, dance, artistic exhibitions and related events hosted by religious communities and cultural institutions. Since the historic 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions was held in Chicago, modern Parliaments have been held in Chicago (1993), Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004) and Melbourne (2009). These periodic Parliament events are the world’s oldest and largest interreligious gatherings.


Date: 2011-03-16
Title: Newsletter - Celebrating Women's Leadership
Details A college chaplain once candidly described the process for him, as a Protestant, as one of simultaneous celebration and mourning when he recognized that Protestantism was no longer a universal norm on American university campuses. He celebrated the presence of Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, and humanist chaplains working together so effectively – but also lamented the loss of singularity that he experienced, now as but one of many chaplains. Something similar may be said of the way a portion of male religious leaders have experienced the rise of female clergy in a number of religious traditions and denominations. From reverends to rabbis, Buddhist nuns, and the growing push for female imams in America, China, and Europe, women are emerging as transformational religious leaders.


Date: 2011-03-10
Title: Eblast - Breaking news! New challenge grant awarded to CPWR
Details We are excited to report that a generous family has pledged a $25,000 matching grant to the Council. To this family, which wishes to remain anonymous, we extend our very great thanks. And to you — our friends, supporters, Parliament attendees, and all those who value the work we do — we emphasize that we must raise $25,000 to match the donor’s pledge in order for us to receive the grant in full. If you have yet to join those who have provided support for the Council, there is no better time than now to consider a gift. To contribute, simply follow the “Donate Now” link or call Amelia Perkins at (312) 629-2990 x223.


Date: 2011-02-16
Title: Newsletter - The Egyptian Revolution: An Interfaith Movement
Details Seeing the Egyptian protests on American media may lead you to believe that this is an Iranian-style revolution, with a probable result being an Islamic regime. However, when you look at the details of what is happening on the ground, this is an interfaith movement. Since 2006, I have been frequenting Egypt, spending a month or more at a time staying and working with locals in Cairo and Alexandria. It was in Egypt when I got inspired to found World Faith, and it's become a second home for me.


Date: 2011-01-13
Title: Newsletter - Egyptian Muslims Protect Christian Neighbors
Details Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word last Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.