Updated July 2015. It seems we are becoming less interested in defining our differences, and more drawn to explore what we hold in common and how we are transformed in interfaith encounter. The emerging interfaith movement has recently produced several notable resources.
Brian D. McLaren’s Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World (Jericho Books, 2012) argues that affirming other religions can strengthen our commitment to our own. The book is divided into 29 short chapters, treating doctrine, liturgy, and mission. A group discussion guide is available, as is a video overview. At 13 minutes, it is a good introduction for an education session or series. Another video introduction is Scott Alexander’s Knowing and Loving Our Neighbors of Other Faiths from Practicing Our Faith/The Work of the People. A short study guide is available.
My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (ed. Jennifer Howe Peace, Or N. Rose and Gregory Mobley, Orbis, 2012) is just that: a collection of 53 personal narratives that help us reflect on the place of interfaith encounter in our own lives. With these models, sharing these stories in religious community appears as a transformative exercise.
Eboo Patel’s Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America (Beacon Press, 2012) is a call for Americans to defend the values of inclusiveness and pluralism. New from Morehouse, Embracing Interfaith Cooperation: Eboo Patel on Coming Together to Change the World is a five session DVD study that elaborates these themes for the church context. See also Interfaith Cooperation 101, a short file from the Interfaith Youth Core.
The Jesus Fatwah: Love your (Muslim) Neighbor as Yourself, a five-session DVD study from Living the Questions, features Islamic and Christian scholars on what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we can all build relationships.
There are excellent interfaith resources online for all ages. Exodus Conversations is a valuable new website that uses the Exodus story and the Passover Haggadah as a springboard for interfaith dialogue. The Interfaith Observer is a rich monthly e-journal. KidSpirit Online is an interfaith forum where teens explore their spirituality; free downloadable group guides for each issue help youth workers and parents frame discussion. And the Milestones Project photographs children of all races, religions, and cultures at shared moments. Among the many excellent children’s books on world religions, their Faith: Five Religions and What They Share (Kids Can Press, 2012) is outstanding.
Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN) and its initiative, Healing Minnesota Stories, support faith communities in interfaith dialogue. Contact the RCC for consultation on resources from the interfaith movement.