“As Christian peacemakers in this century we are called to open our doors for our neighbors of other faiths to share their joys ,beliefs and struggles. ”
The goal is to provide a framework for local churches to do interfaith dialogues with a journal article or small book. The conversations at the 12 temples would provide a testing ground for discovering the most helpful and respectful ways to share different visions. This study would include sharing in a week of normal activities at the 12 temples including sweeping, cooking and washing dishes with monks and laity. Essential tasks would include dialogues comparing Jesus to other divine figures, a study of the artistic depictions of Jesus in the temples, a survey of the books about Jesus in their library and book store, conversations about their interactions with local churches and the record of hate crimes over the decades of their history.
Questions would include:
In your tradition who do you consider a divine incarnation?
Is there any special or specific criteria to determine who is an incarnation?
How would Jesus be measured by such criteria?
Is the atman different in divine incarnations and the rest of humanity?
Is there a difference between the missions of avatars and that of Jesus?
What you would like others to know about the Hindu faith?
What challenges do you face for the future of your faith in this nation?
Would you be willing to share in a dialogue with a local church?
The best discussions often happen in the kitchen not just in formal dialogues. My inspiration for this project came from two weeks of
vacation time in June 2019 that I spent living as an interfaith
guest of the Hindu Vedanta Center of Los Angeles. It was a joy
to live in the fabric of their faith. I attended classes , daily worship,
concerts, the monk's fellowship meetings from 9-10pm, and did kitchen
duty each day. However, one experience does not constitute a study. By
visiting 12 temples over 12 weeks of sabbatical I hope to gather information
and insights to provide a path for local churches to follow a format for
peacemaking that would encourage mutual sharing and joyful discoveries.