When we do hardcore interfaith dialogue we read the scriptures together. It is not one person reading to others but instead the group reading together. We are sharing the scriptures and waiting for the scriptures to speak to us from a Christian, Muslim, and Jewish perspective. The underlying assumption is that all scriptures are sacred and that God is speaking to us through them. Among the participants, the notion of the sacred is shared.
The heart of interfaith dialogue is to learn about other faith traditions. To learn, we have to listen. Listening does not mean waiting for the other to finish so we can jump in and tell our perspective. It means that we should be open to being transformed. Likewise, when we approach our scripture during interfaith dialogue, we read it through new eyes. We learn new perspectives of looking at our scripture.
Interfaith dialogue involves hospitality. Hospitality is not only sharing physical space. Hospitality may also be seen in the sharing of a text that is sacred to us. Inviting the other person to share our faith leads to a spiritual friendship and aids in appreciating the other. Hospitality is not only coming together; it also involves the generosity and compassion that moves the heart.
Followers of each faith tradition disagree more “inside the house” than with the others. This is true for all faith communities. Realizing this increases our ability to empathize with the other.
Interfaith dialogue, the mere act of coming together with other people in a meaningful, faithful dialogue, is an opportunity for our spiritual development. None of us has ever seen our face. We are only able to see other’s face and only the reflection of our face. If you are unable to see your face, then you need a mirror. When we interact with others, we project our self and are thus able to see our self from their perspective. As such, our mirror is everyone else.
Interfaith activity refers to a process of self-purification. As we interact with others, we are able to identify our weaknesses and errors that need to be transformed. In order to know the Divine, we must first know our self by interacting with others. Through this self-conscious method, the results are substantial.
When interfaith is done with an open heart, everyone’s heart is stimulated; filled with love, compassion, humbleness, and awe of the Divine…