Peace and dialogue…

April 5, 2007

“There will be no peace among nations unless there is peace and dialogue between religious leaders.  The goals of Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the same.”  Armenian Orthodox Archbishop Sebu Sarkissian, head of the largest Christian body in Iran, with some 150,000 members.
This quote was taken from an article written by J. Darryl Byler, who recently took part in a delegation of 13 U.S. religious leaders to Iran.  I am once again struck by the profound ways in which religion guides the actions and attitudes of adherents both for good and for evil. 

I just read the feature piece in the April 9, 2007 Newsweek by Jon Meacham.  Rick Warren and Sam Harris (an atheist) face off over the question–“Is God Real?”

Sam Harris states: “The core problem for me is divisive dogmatism.  There’s nationalism, there’s tribalism, there’s racism, there’s chauvinism.  And there’s religion.  Religion is the only sphere of discourse where dogma is actually a good word, where it is considered ennobling to believe something strongly based on faith.  …but first let me deal with Stalin.  The killing fields and the gulag were not the product of people being too reluctant to believe things on insufficient evidence.  They were not the product of people requiring too much evidence and too much argument in favor of their beliefs.  We have people flying planes in our buildings because they have theological grievances against the West.  No society in human history has ever suffered because it has become too reasonable.”

Friends of Orthodoxy…

April 4, 2007

The world is changed.  I feel it in the water.  I feel it in the earth.  I smell it in the air.  Much that once was, is lost, for none now live who remember it.   Galadriel of Middle Earth, The Lord of the Rings

John Franke writes the following in the foreward to A Generous Orthodoxy

“Like the inhabitants of Middle Earth, followers of Jesus Christ from across the diverse ecclesiastical and theological spectrum of North American Christianity have a growing sense that the world they have known is changing.  Strange things are happening in unexpected places, long-familiar assumptions are being called into question, and new conversations are taking place between longtime adversaries, sometimes resulting in surprising alliances.”

To characterize Mennonites and Eastern Orthodoxy as adversaries would be a non-truth.  Our ecclesial traditions have not overlapped very much in the last 500 years.  As the world continues to change, however, an unexpected conversation has emerged between these two traditions.  This weblog is another step in nurturing this dialogue and inviting others to join the conversation.

Peace,

Brian