Amy on Texas Faith: What is the point of ecumenism?

Amy on Texas Faith: What is the point of ecumenism?

Question by Rudolph Bush

Published: April 15, 2015

 

Every couple of weeks, we gather here on our blog to discuss matters of life and afterlife, of faith and struggles with faith. We have a polite community of dialogue we all enjoy. But, if we’re being honest, we acknowledge that we have among us fundamental disagreements about faith and salvation. What are trying to accomplish? Can we lead others to salvation who we do not believe are on the path of faith that brings salvation? Or, is our goal to simply understand one another or to come finally to a single belief?

Read the whole panel

AMY MARTIN: writer/editor Moonlady Media and president emeritus, Earth Rhythms
Texas Faith is a stereotype buster. Each of us at some point counters expectations of what someone from our religion, or lack of religion, should be like. Because each of us speaks from both personal perspective and that of our faith path, we show over time how intensely individual each ones spiritual experience is. That shatters prejudices.

The world is shifting from polarities to prismatic. Our tribes were once defined by the clear boundaries of geography, race and religion. Not anymore. Home computers, the internet and soaring technology replaced that with a prismatic view of the world and the universe as well. Perhaps our capacity for tribal identity is growing, too, so that we might find allegiance not just to geography, race and religion, but to our humanity.

interfaith_world_symbolsWe are ultimately one. That’s what my faith — drawn from Buddhism and Taoism, informed by physics and astronomy — tells me. But we are each individuals, formed from a unique pairing of two cells and experiencing life uniquely, from the body chemistry of our pregnant mothers to the occurrences of life. A singular belief is simply not possible.

Perhaps a little humility about who knows what about the divine is in order. We humans are barely embodied, our atoms mostly space, on a planet hurtling around a star that orbits in a galaxy that zooms through an infinite universe. Peace depends on agreement that whatever the divine is, it is more than our modest brains can conceive, and that we are but humble sojourners walking with each other on that long road home.

 

Notes

Every couple of weeks, we gather here on our blog to discuss matters of life and afterlife, of faith and struggles with faith. We have a polite community of dialogue we all enjoy.

This is, in a sense, what ecumenism seems to be about. But, if we’re being honest, we acknowledge that we have among us fundamental disagreements about faith and salvation.

Some of us believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the risen Son of God, the Creator of the Trinity and the true path to heaven. Others of us believe that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. Some of us worship Yahweh as he is understood through the Torah. Some of us follow the way of the Buddha. There is also a more general spirituality.

So the question is, what is our goal here? What are trying to accomplish? Can we lead others to salvation who we do not believe are on the path of faith that brings salvation? Can they lead us?

Pope John Paul II said ecumenism is the “duty of the Christian conscience enlightened by faith and guided by love. Jesus himself, at the hour of his Passion, prayed ‘that they may all be one’ ”

But is this desire for oneness just a desire that others be like we are? In other words, is our goal to simply understand one another or to come finally to a single belief?

Amy Martin

Amy Martin is the North Texas Wild at GreenSourceDFW and author of Itchy Business: How to Treat the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Rash. More info at http://itchy.biz/. Most frequently she was the senior comedy critic for TheaterJones, The Aging Hippie columnist for Senior Voice, and the Taoist panel member of the Texas Faith blog of The Dallas Morning News. A journalist for over 40 years, she wrote for Dallas Observer, Dallas Times Herald, Dallas Morning News, and D magazine, and was contributing editor and columnist for Garbage magazine. She was known by many in North Texas as the Moonlady for her alternative newservice of 15 years, Moonlady News, and served as creator/producer/promoter of the acclaimed Winter and Summer SolstiCelebrations for 20 years. 

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