Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sun. Apr. 17, 2011 (Phil Schafran)

Phil Schafran (MCC) spoke on "Interfaith Bridge-Building: engaging religious viewpoints that are not our own". Each of us has a tendency toward religious toleration, and a tendency toward religious intolerance. MCC sees this wherever it works around the world, and tries to start with its workers having a strong inner personal faith, which provides a firm foundation for a wide variety of challenges. From that foundation, its workers can cooperate with believers of other faiths on projects in which both faiths have a common interest, such as peace making and service. MCC assumes that by working with people of other faiths on common projects, we can learn from each other, learn what makes each of us serve, for faith reasons. When the government in Somalia decreed that Islam had to be taught in all schools, most Protestant missionaries closed their schools and left. But some Mennonites decided to stay and let Islam be taught in their school, because by staying, they could continue serving the students and community and quietly witness through their lives. Somalians later revealed that this proved to be a crucial turning point in their thinking about Christianity. In Acts 17, Paul participated in an inter-faith dialogue with Athenians. Paul knew enough about their various religions that he could find points of commonality, and from there he attempted to draw them into serious conversations about faith, including his new faith. In all inter-faith dialogues there will be understanding and misunderstanding, tolerance and intolerance. Paul did not emphasize differences which divided the faiths but instead identified where their beliefs coincided. Paul had mixed results, and we can expect the same, but this never deterred Paul from entering into still new cross-faith discussions. [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, April 17th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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