Archive for the ‘youth’ tag
Huff-Post Religion Uncovers ‘The Surprising Sacred Gathering Spaces That Are Moving Into Your Neighborhoods’
Published with permission from Huff-Post Religion. By: Jaweed Kaleem
Twice a week, every Sunday and Monday night, around a dozen New Yorkers gather in long, candle-lit studio apartment nestled between a hair salon and some warehouses in one of Brooklyn’s latest hip neighborhoods. They’re actors, singers, seminarians and new parents, and they sit in groups of six around tables in one of the simplest and most untraditional Christian worship spaces the city has to offer.
St. Lydia’s Church has no pews, no altar, no vestments, no band or choir, and little formality of any kind. Instead, church means drums and chanting, with frequent references to Jesus; breaking bread and drinking communion grape juice; and a long, three-hour homemade vegetarian dinner punctuated by Bible readings, a sermon and frequent talk of what it means to be a young spiritual seeker in Brooklyn. The pastor is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but the members themselves range from atheist and agnostic to evangelical, Catholic and Episcopalian.
“Growing up, I was really sure in my faith in God and in going to Episcopal church — I loved the liturgy — but my sense was that I would never invite a friend of mine to this kind of worship service because it felt like there were so many barriers everywhere, from the look to the feel to the sounds of the place,” says Emily Scott, 34, who founded St. Lydia’s dinner church five years ago at a friend’s apartment (it more recently settled into its new home in Gowanus). “We try to practice the most basic form of Christianity: bread, wine — grape juice in our case — water, a meal, singing and a community relationship and connection. I preach, but so does everyone else. We learn from each other.”
As fewer Americans identify with traditional religion and more people check the “none of the above” box when asked about their faith, a host of creative, nontraditional spiritual spaces are popping up across the country. They include religious communities that worship and mingle in bowling alleys and cocktail bars, or multi-faith worship centers that intentionally group Muslims, Jews and Christians together. Houses of worship are rebranding, too, hiring architects to design new campuses to appeal to the future faithful.
Traditional churches still dominate the American landscape, but what religious space looks like is undergoing a subtle, gradual shift, with some of the most celebrated new religious communities arising in cities and college towns. The church steeple in the American town square hasn’t gone, but it’s got some company.
“The declining participation of young people in formal religion has led to there being a pressure on elders — and young leaders themselves — to try new things,” said Duke University sociologist Mark Chaves, author of the National Congregations Study, which in its latest 2012 survey found that 9.3 percent of American congregations met in a building other than a church, mosque, synagogue or school — a 1.5 percent increase over 14 years. “There has always been some innovation happening in American religion, of course, but people are trying new things these days.”
Here are a few of the ways the future of faith is playing out in religious spaces.
State of Formation is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for Contributing Scholars!
State of Formation is a community conversation between young leaders in formation. Together, a cohort of seminarians, rabbinical students, graduate students and the like – the future religious and moral leaders of tomorrow – will work to redefine the ethical discourse today, particularly as it is used to refract current events and personal experiences. This initiative is supported by a partnership between the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR), Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue (JIRD), Hebrew College, and Andover Newton Theological School.
Over the past two years, emerging religious and ethical leaders from around the country and the world have engaged each other and readers by sharing their stories and views on State of Formation. Conversations once dominated by established leaders are now readily embraced by the up-and-comers, and accessible to contributors from many different moral, faith, political, economic, and social backgrounds.
Contributing Scholars to State of Formation will be able to take advantage of the numerous benefits to participating in the State of Formation Contributing Scholars Fellowship. In addition to being recognized as a Contributing Scholar by JIRD and CPWR, they may be eligible for travel grants and may have their work featured in articles on additional platforms like CPWR’s website, PeaceNext, The Huffington Post, Interfaith Youth Core, Pluralism Project, Interfaith Observer, and Tikkun.
Nominees should be currently enrolled in a seminary, rabbinical school, graduate program, or another institution for theological or philosophical formation — or up to three years out of their graduate program in a professional setting. (On rare occasions, exceptions will be made to these guidelines in order to increase the diversity of the writers.) Contributors should be able to commit to post monthly on the forum while showing respect others from different traditions.
Does this describe you or an emerging leader you know? Please take a moment to fill out our brief nomination form. Nominations for the fall are due September 30, 2012 and will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Honna Eichler, Managing Director of State of Formation at the Journal for Inter-Religious Dialogue.
by Josh Levs
When 20-year-old Ashley Carter heard about a mosque burned to the ground in her town this week, she was shocked.
“I was very saddened,” she told CNN on Wednesday. “I thought it was very evil.”
So Carter, a student at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, texted a friend, suggesting they organize an event “promoting acts of love.”
But quickly, the idea changed: They would organize a “rally of people coming together, from all walks of life, all religions, a really diverse group of people trying to promote this radical love.”
She called Kimberly Kester, spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of Joplin, whose worship house serving about 50 families in the southwest Missouri city burned down Monday. Investigators have not determined the cause, but the mosque has been attacked in the past.
Kester supported the idea. So Carter and some of her friends created the plan for the rally and announced it on a Facebook page. The next day, Tuesday, word began to spread. By Wednesday morning, more than 400 people had posted that they would attend the event, scheduled for Saturday, August 25.
Carter said she was inspired by “my love for Jesus. And I know that Jesus calls us to love people.”
by Dana Attocknie
from the Native American Times
A dozen students from Haskell Indian Nations University are walking to the save the Wakarusa Wetlands, the only remaining native wetland prairie in Lawrence, Kan., from being destroyed in order to become the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT). Their walk through seven states is named the Trail of Broken Promises, and their first steps were taken on May 13, 2012 from Lawrence, Kan. Their journey will go through 50 communities, cover 1,100 to 1,300 miles, and end July 9 in Washington, D.C. where the students will present the Protection of Native American Sacred Places Act to Congress. The bill amends the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, “to ensure that federal laws protecting the free exercise of religion include protection of traditional Native American Sacred Places where ceremonies, commemorations, observances or worship are conducted or occur, and to provide a right of action to protect Native American Sacred Places.”
“This is a spiritual issue. We believe that Congress needs to address specific legislation to protect sacred places in an inclusive manner for all people whom those places affect … By walking the Trail of Broken Promises we call attention to the spiritual interconnectedness that we as human beings have with our environment and all elements within it,” Millicent Pepion, of the Navajo and Blackfeet Nations, said to United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya, on May 3 in Tulsa. “We declare that a mutual respect and dignity be given to Native American people in concerns that affect our home communities. We respectfully request that the U.S. government adhere to our cultural, social, medical, environmental, and spiritual interests that the Trail of Broken Promises members seek to protect.”
Pepion is active in the Wetlands Preservation Organization and the Indigenous and American Indian Studies Club at Haskell. Her quest to bring awareness to the wetlands is part of her Commitment to Action that was accepted into the Clinton Global Initiative University. In her commitment letter she quotes Dr. Daniel Wildcat, her advisor, as reminding her, “‘It is not our right to protect Mother Earth, it is our responsibility.’”
An increasing number of teenagers in Northern Ireland have friendships across the religious divide, a research study has said.
Only a minority of young people have no acquaintances from other religious or ethnic backgrounds, added the university Young Life and Times Survey (YLT).
Dr Paula Devine, from Queen’s University, said: “The YLT survey found that friendship patterns among 16-year-olds are wider than ever before, encompassing both religious and ethnic diversity.”
They found 12% of young people never socialise with those from a different community and 16% do not associate with other ethnicities.
Dr Devine added: “The comments made by young people in the survey suggest a blurring of the traditional us and them categories. Whether someone is like us or them is not purely based on their religious or ethnic background but on other factors such as personality.”
Key findings in the report, No More Us And Them For 16-18-year-olds?, include that cross-community friendship was more common in 2011 than in 2003. In 2011, 22% of YLT respondents had no friends from the other main religious community, compared with 33% in 2003.
by Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
from the Huffington Post
“I envy you Jews,” said the young German as he poured my morning coffee.
The year was 1980. I was the guest of a graduate student at Heidelberg University. My stay in his home was part of a month-long trip through Germany with Jews and Christians engaged in “post-Holocaust interfaith dialogue.”
My host’s statement surprised and bewildered me. I was just beginning my dissertation on the topic of anti-Judaism in Protestant “Old Testament” theology and I thought I knew a lot about the relationship between Jews and Christians. In fact, I was planning to devote my career to helping Christians see their complicity in the suffering of the Jews and to transcend the flaws in their theology. I could understand my host feeling sorry for us Jews. I could understand him apologizing to us. But I could not understand him envying us.
“Why in the world would you envy Jews?” I asked.
His reply changed my life.
“I envy you because it is easier for you to pray. You see, we young Germans carry the weight of what our parents and grandparents did — or did not do — during the war. It is hard for us to talk to God. We feel a little embarrassed.” Although the conversation took place 30 years ago, I can conjure it up in an instant: the earnestness in my fellow student’s voice, the clarity in his blue eyes.
I had thought, until then, that it was we Jews, the victims, who had trouble praying! There was something about the way he said it — perhaps the phrase “a little embarrassed” — that made it feel completely genuine. This conversation clarified for me my core belief, a very useful thing to discover at the age of 27. After that morning, I possessed an orienting idea, a place to check in regularly to see if my plans were aligned with what I believed.
This essay is an excerpt from “My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, And Transformation” from Orbis.
I believe that we should live our lives so that our children won’t be “a little embarrassed” if they want to pray. Until that morning, I thought that meant being a good daughter, a compassionate friend and a dutiful citizen. But now I saw something new: taking responsibility for the group from which I derive my identity, the group whose actions will lead my children to be proud or embarrassed before God. For me, that group was and is the Jewish people.
The immediate result of this revelation was that I changed my dissertation topic. Rather than looking at problematic Christian texts, I would study problematic Jewish writings. I would investigate the ways in which my own tradition misunderstands others rather than point a finger at the others for misunderstanding us.
School pupils have been given the opportunity to ask some tough questions of Scotland’s top religious leaders at an inter-faith event.
The event, hosted by STV at its Pacific Quay HQ in Glasgow, was attended by representatives from the country’s leading faith groups, including Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders.
Scottish Inter-faith council organised the event, hosted by STV’s news anchor John MacKay, to give schoolchildren the chance to talk directly to religious leaders through a virtual video link.
Pupils from Holyrood Secondary School were also invited into the studios to sit around the table with the leaders to ask them their questions.
by Gillian Flaccus
from the Huffington Post
CLAREMONT, Calif. — Frederic and Anne-Laure Pascal are devout Roman Catholics who built their lives around their religion. When she lost her job last year, the young couple decided on an unlikely expression of their religious commitment: a worldwide “interfaith pilgrimage” to places where peace has won out over dueling dogmas.
Since October, the French couple has visited 11 nations from Iraq to Malaysia in an odyssey to find people of all creeds who have dedicated their lives to overcoming religious intolerance in some of the world’s most divided and war-torn corners.
The husband-and-wife team blogs about their adventures – and their own soul-searching – and takes short video clips for the project they’ve dubbed the Faithbook Tour.
from The Catholic Spirit
Made public today was the annual Message to Buddhists for the Feast of Vesakh, issued by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. The message is signed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council.
Vesakh is the main Buddhist feast and commemorates the three fundamental moments in the life of Gautama Buddha. According to tradition, the historical Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and passed away during the full moon of the month of May. Thus Vesakh is a mobile feast which this year falls on 5 and 6 May, while in China it is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese calendar, which this year corresponds to 28 April. On those days, Buddhists decorate their houses with flowers and perfume them with incense, visit local temples and listen to the teaching of the monks.
This year’s message is entitled: “Christians and Buddhists: Sharing Responsibility for Educating the Young Generation on Justice and Peace through Inter-religious Dialogue:” Extracts from the English-language version of the text are given below.
|Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:00am U.S. Central Time|
This webinar will explore how to think about social media. Using the frameworks of Marshall McLuhan, marketing theory, and media hook, we will explore how to leverage these technologies tactically, to comprise an effective overall strategy in interfaith and religious work. #socialinterfaith
Frank Fredericks is the founder of World Faith, Çöñár Records, and Co-Founder of Religious Freedom USA. After graduating from NYU, Frank worked in the music industry, managing artists such as Lady Gaga. In 2006, he founded World Faith. a youth-led interfaith organization active in ten countries. As an active blogger, Frank has contributed to the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Sojourners. Frank has been interviewed on Good Morning America, NPR, New York Magazine, and various international media outlets, and is an IFYC Fellow Alumnus, Soliya Fellow, and YouthActionNet Fellow.
Frank also works as an independent Online Marketing and PR Consultant, consulting non-profits, corporations, foundations, recording artists, and political campaigns on web issues ranging from viral video and social networks to SEO and advertising. He resides in New York, New York, where he still performs as a professional musician with local artists.
Title: Interfaith Social Media: Interfaith Leadership in the Digital World
Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM CDT
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