I ran across an interesting quote recently, from a review of Jonathan Sacks’ The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society by Amy Frykholm:
Sacks doesn’t encourage people of various faiths to simply engage in dialogue; he urges them to quit talking and start working. “Can we do something. . . non-utopian, practical, small scale, local, nationwide that calls for no exceptional capacities for tolerance and mutual understanding? In other words, can we work, literally, together?”
One of the things that became clear as our Silicon Valley Partner City Group traveled to Melbourne is that the starting point for a lot of people lies in service to the community. Many may not be ready (or even interested) in taking on the challenges of dialogue, but can agree on the need for action on behalf of the community as a whole. This is very much the model used, for example, by the Interfaith Youth Core’s Days of Interfaith Service to bring together young people. The service is the draw; the dialogue and relationship-building is the added value.
Different people and different personalities are drawn to different ways of relating to those of other religious paths, and we are well served to offer many different points of entry into interfaith cooperation. But service opportunities, practical, small scale, and local seem to offer the most immediately attractive potential. And, if enough people get involved, we might even find that such projects are, after all, utopian!
- Days of Interfaith Youth Service (Interfaith Youth Core)