The Importance Of Interfaith

The Importance Of Interfaith

Now more than ever.
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Currently I am in a class about interfaith and bringing the different religious communities in my city together. The goal is to gain a better understanding of one another and build new meaningful relationships within our community. Interfaith is important because we live in a society that shuns the “other,” we disregard what we don’t know and look down on those who don’t share our same beliefs. With the hateful atmosphere that surrounds us more and more every day, this idea becomes crucial.

Now more than ever it is important to attempt to reach across the boundaries of where we feel safe and comfortable, and form bonds with those we maybe don’t understand. There is an immense amount of religious diversity in the United States, and lately we’ve seen the way people of certain faiths are treated based on the actions of a few and the preconceived notions we’ve been conditioned to believe.

People make up their minds about a group of people without even knowing them. What we need to do is gain the knowledge about people of differing religions, once we have the knowledge our attitudes will change, and then we can form meaningful relationships that will change our perspectives forever.

The question then arises: how do we get people to bridge the waters between assumption and hatred, to inquiry and understanding? It takes keeping an open mind about things and those we don’t understand, it takes being open to the opinions and beliefs of others, and it takes the efforts of many. This kind of movement cannot be done by the few, the only way to measure the success of interfaith and pluralism is to gain the support of many.

We need to be respectful of the fact that not everyone will believe the same things as one another, we need to use inclusive language in regards to religion and religious holidays, and we need to remember that the actions of a select number of people do not reflect the group as a whole.

What does interfaith look like? It is people researching and learning what other religions are about; the first step to removing the feeling of the “other” is to understand them. This could also mean visiting different religious gatherings, seeing what their services are like, seeing how they worship, and finding the similarities we all share.

People are drawing lines between one another and picking sides. We are a country split by the most trivial things that could be overlooked by a basic knowledge and understanding of one another. We need to change our attitudes about those that are different than we are and bridge the gap to form crucial bonds. The climate our country is currently in begs us to come together as a community more than ever.

So lets stop blaming entire groups of people for the actions of a few, lets stop shaming things and people that are different than we are, and lets get to know one another. There doesn’t have to be an “us” and a “them,” we don’t have to live that way. Embrace difference and educate yourself on what you don’t understand. You could be missing out on valuable relationships just because of fear of what you don’t know.

Cover Image Credit: Abel Tan Jun Yang/Pexels.com

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What Pope Francis Taught Me About Compassion And Love

Compassion and love are given at no cost; be that person with an open heart and mind.
Sue Do
Sue Do
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A few days ago, a video on Facebook surfaced online. It is the video that captured the compassionate ability of human beings, and in this case, that human being is the pope. Pope Francis was part of the Q &A session with the kids in a poor parish in the outskirts of Rome. Many children asked him questions about the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

At one point, a young boy, about 6-7 years old named Emanuele stepped up to the podium. He proceeded to ask the pope his question but was afraid and hesitant. The pope’s assistant encouraged him, and after several attempts, the pope said, “Come, come, come, Emanuele, come tell me in my ear” in Italian.

Emanuele finally had the courage to ask his question and whispered in the pope’s ear about whether his dead father, who was an atheist was able to go to heaven despite not being baptized and believing in God. This deceased man, although a non-believer had his four children baptized.

By his sound judgment, Pope Francis consoled Emanuele of his grief and told him that. “God’s heart is like a loving father” who never abandons his children. The video of the encounter can be found here. When I watched that video, my eyes started bawling. But most importantly, I learned that it takes courage to ask hard questions. I learned that it's important to be there for someone when he or she encounter a sad time in his or her life. I learned that an action, no matter what it is, can tell us a lot about the kind of people we come in contact with.

Through the example of the pope consoling a young boy who is grieving for his father, we can see the compassion in the pope that draws people towards him, especially children. Human compassion is what makes us unique because we are made for relationships. We are made to love. We are made to console each other during times of sadness.

We are human beings, and as human beings, it is our responsibility to make sure that not only our physical needs are being met but our emotional needs as well. The video of the boy’s encounter with the pope taught me more about myself as a human being, and that is to be-- more compassionate and willing to listen to the most vulnerable people of our human race. The pope’s loving actions is huge example that we should all learn from--regardless of religion or race.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube
Sue Do
Sue Do

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15 Signs You Don't Let God Control Your Life

Advice from one control-freak to another.
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I am a control-freak. I admit it.

I like things to be done how I want and when I want.

I idolize people's opinions of me and allow them to drive my life.

I have a clear picture in my head of how I want my life to turn out, and there is no longer room for God's plan.

I try so hard to control every aspect of my life, from how I look to how people think of me, and this is a daily struggle for me.

This may be something you struggle with too, and here are 15 ways to recognize that you do.

1. When things don't work out the way you plan, you get angry.

2. You spend all your free time daydreaming about your future.

3. You prioritize what is written on your agenda over what you feel called to do.

4. You make up excuses for why certain commands of the Bible are not applicable to your life.

5. You only read the Bible or have a devotional so you can post a picture on social media.

6. When you pray, you only ask for things to go your way. You never ask for God's will to be done.

7. You spend more time choosing what to wear to church than you do preparing your heart for worship.

8. You make goals that center and revolve around success and fortune.

9. Your phone is the first and last thing that has your attention during the day.

10. You set an alarm in the morning with enough time to get ready for work/school, and not enough time to talk to God.

11. You chase after boys and rely on your own charm to find "the one," and you don't trust that God will lead you to him.

12. You try to earn God's grace through religious tasks, such as attending church or reading your Bible. You don't let allow His work on the cross to be enough for you.

13. You stress over upcoming tests and quizzes, instead of trusting in God's provision.

14. You are serving at summer camp to hang out with your friends, not to fall more in love with your Savior.

15. You have forgotten what a life surrendered to Christ looks like.

The best news ever is that God loves us despite our controlling nature.

His greatest wish is for us to lay down our lives and our plans.

He adores us, and He wants us to find rest in His grace.

His plans are better than ours, and He knows how to make us happier than we can ever imagine.

If control is something you struggle with, I encourage you to hand it over to Jesus and let Him blow you away with His love.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." — Romans 8:28
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." — Proverbs 19:21
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
— Proverbs 16:9
Cover Image Credit: Avery Owens

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