Deep Ecumenism

Interfaith dialogue is in fashion – because it is so urgent!

As we approach it, how shall we understand what we are doing? Should we assume we are learning a new language for a familiar spiritual landscape? Or entering a radically new cultural world? Or starting a journey with an unpredictable route and destination?

In Indigenous and Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology we explore precisely these questions. This two-part lecture offers a  wonderful summary of the answers I have learned over the last 18 months working at VST.

Please enjoy and learn from these two 30 minute videos — meant to be watched consecutively.

They were recorded on an iPad at OHALAH: Association of Clergy for Jewish Renewal conference 2016 by novice videographer Rabbi Jan Salzman. Featured image on this post: banner by artist Sandy Pond.

  1. Thanks for putting that up. I think “Why are you still Christian?” is one of the question you _must_ ask! [I think some theorists would say that the success of the “colonial enterprise” is measured by how much of the imposed culture is kept, when it’s no longer imposed. That’s another discussion.]

    Forgive me if I’ve told this story before.

    I sing in a classical choir, and we do a lot of Christian music During rehearsal for a Christmas concert, I hit the line:

    . . . “Love was born that night”

    and completely rejected it — not just un-Jewish, but illogical and historically false. And then I thought:

    . . . “But if I believed it were true — what would the world look like?”

    It was a change from seeing Christianity through a Jewish lens, to trying to understand it _as Christians experienced it_. It was not comfortable — Jews don’t have a Baby Messiah metaphor for God.

    But a lot of things made more sense, after I stopped trying to “translate into Jewish”. The music flowed better, too.

    . Charles

    1. Thanks, Charles. I’m delighted you watched it. If you told that story before, I don’t remember it. I really like your turn of phrase “stopped trying to translate into Jewish.” I hope I may use that in the future!

      1. You’re welcome to use it.

        If I understand correctly, people who are “fluently bilingual” can _think_ in either language, without translation. That’s a rare trait across religions, and most religions discourage it, for their adherents.

  2. Thank you so much for posting, Reb Laura. It’s great to learn from you all the way from Boston!

  3. Laura-I watched these videos last night and really appreciated seeing your style, now familiar to me ( for other readers, I am a very fortunate recipient of Laura’s teaching at VST) in a different context. There was so much wonderful teaching and learning-your participants asked very good questions:-).. I am excited and heartened to go deeper into the world of inter-faith, multi-faith, inter religious study with fresh questions and some new insights. Thank you for sharing this work.

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