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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The Husband I'm Praying For

My future husband should be a mirror of the Lord.
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Growing up, we have all probably wondered about the man we will marry - what he looks like, what his voice sounds like, what color his eyes are etc. We have all watched Disney's fairy tale movies like "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." The love stories that Disney creates can be merely fiction. Knowing this leads many people to believe that kind of love does not exist. As a kid, I always wanted to be Ariel and find my Prince Eric. The older I got, I realized that that kind of man does not exist without God. The Disney love story only exists through God. God writes a love story that we can not imagine. That is why we should be confident in His will for our lives. We should be confident in the love story God is writing for us.

I woke up this morning thinking about relationships and how hard it is to be in one at the age of 20. I'm not looking for a husband or a significant other right now, but I am praying for that special someone that God has planned for my life. Whether God places this special man in my life next week or in 20 years, I am going to be praying for him. I pray for the man that seeks God and His guidance. I just can't imagine being with someone who doesn't love God as much as I do. Honestly, I've decided that from this point on, I am going to let God guide my footsteps. I refuse to worry about all that is wrong with me when I should just be praying for the man God has in store for me.

Girls my age have been blinded to what a good boyfriend is and what a potential husband really looks like. I pray for the man who prays before each meal and thanks God for his simple blessings. I don't want to end up settling for less-I know what I deserve and I know that God has a plan. The husband I pray for is the man I want my daughters looking up to and being proud to have as a father. I want my children to know that their father loves Jesus and is not ashamed of it. A man who is ashamed of Jesus or only loves Jesus on Sundays is not husband material. I want my husband to be the man people associate Jesus with.

I pray that my husband is humble. I pray that my husband makes strangers feel his loving presence and know that Jesus is present in his life. I pray that my husband wants the same things I do, like 15 children-- just kidding. But, I do pray that he has a sense of humor and that he understands my need for laughter and sunshine in my life. I pray that my husband seeks Jesus during hard times and understands when the answer to his prayers are no. I hope my husband understands that no matter what, God has a plan and an answer, even if it isn't what he wants. I want my husband to be understanding of my needs and what I want out of life. I want my husband to encourage me and my decisions. I want my husband to be the man that my children know is praying for them. I want my husband to be the man who cries the first time he sees me in my wedding dress walking down the aisle. I want my husband to be the man our kids can run to at 3:00 A.M because they had a bad dream and need him to hold them. I want my husband to have a loving and sincere heart. I pray that the man I am going to marry is praying for me, just like I'm praying for him.


Cover Image Credit: Alec Vanderboom

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The Separation Between Church And Political Affiliation

My religion should not define my political affiliation, and vice versa.

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I was raised Catholic, but time and political awareness raised me to be a passionate feminist, social justice advocate, and progressive Democrat. While the Catholic church and its followers have historically aligned with conservative political stances, I have continued to remain Catholic despite my own liberal opinions. And I'm sick of people telling me I can't be both.

I am pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriage, and yes, I know this flagrantly violates the Church's teachings. But I believe Catholicism is about faith and not politics. I believe God would want me to live my life, in memory of Him and the sacrifice He made so that I could sin and be forgiven. I believe that if I were to get pregnant through rape or an irresponsible mistake, God would not want me to sit around, telling myself this was His plan for me, but to take control of my life so that His son's crucifixion was not in vain.

I believe God loves all His children, no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. And above all, I know that there is not a sin in the world for which God would not have mercy and grant forgiveness and understanding. I believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. I believe God's son, Jesus Christ, is our savior. I believe in Heaven, Hell, and the Holy Spirit. And I believe God's teachings can be interpreted in more ways than one. The Bible contains arcane stories with lessons and guidelines to live a Catholic life, but the "rules" of the Church are created by the believer, Democratic or Republican.

My parents were married in a Catholic church by a Catholic priest. I was baptized in the Catholic church. I attended a Catholic school of religion once a week for eight years. I received my First Communion, and five years later I was confirmed and became a full member of the Catholic church. I have always bubbled in "Roman Catholic" as my religion on standardized tests. I know all the Ten Commandments. I attend Mass as often as I can. I pray in times of gratitude and hardship. And I attempt to follow God and his teachings every day.

Identifying as Catholic is ingrained in my person, and it is as second nature to me as identifying as Asian. And although I believe Catholicism has become stuck in a regressive past which prohibits change, the old opinions of the Catholic church do not change my faith. I have had friends, with the same political and social views as I, denounce their Catholic upbringing or convert to more progressive branches of Christianity, but I could not imagine ignoring the religion I was raised with.

Catholicism has history, holidays, traditions, and stories and lessons that are perceived by every follower differently. But that does not overshadow the brother and sisterhood we are bound together by. My liberal Democratic beliefs do not make me any less of a Catholic, and it's time we recognize that, with the right attitude, harmony can be found between religion and politics.

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