You've got your Christians, your Muslims, your Jews, your Atheists, your Agnostics, your dogmatists, your "pseudo-ists" and about everything in between. Some show great tolerance and some shout from a pedestal, leaving no room for any interpretation but their own. How important is one's religion when it comes to conflict? It feels like sides are being drawn. And we haven't even begun to figure out how to moderate the extreme influences of groups like ISIS. (Do they belong in this conversation?) Oh yes, yes they do.
Furthermore, what good does it do to gather people together to dialogue about it? Are we really any better at it than all the talking heads out there? The evening of discussion ends and we go our separate ways asking ourselves, how'd we do? Many have tried to devise a list of ways to talk to one another. Here is a pretty good list from the El-Hibri Foundation. In the video Shamil Idriss, new head of Search for Common Ground talks about 10 things you must know about overcoming differences:
So how does it play out in a tiny group of New Yorkers meeting once a month for a couple of hours? At ICERM (The International Center for Ethno-Reliogious Mediation) we have created The Living Together Movement. So far, it's gone pretty good. We had a lively discussion of around 25 people discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a few months ago and last month we tried to wrap our heads around what it means to be identified as American. The subject matter metamorphoses several times throughout the night and we just let it happen. It's so empowering to be listened to in a judgement free, relaxed environment. Anything goes.
We're going to try it again a week from today - Thursday, February 26th (we meet every last Thursday of the month) and I will be facilitating.
Here are the specifics:
Thursday, 2/26/15 6:00 pm
John H. Holmes Community House, Third Floor
28 E. 35th (between Madison and Park Ave)
Please register here in the next few days, free of charge.
If you're in the area and available that night, we'll see you there!!