Friday, March 26, 2004

Real interfaith dialogue

I've grown increasingly skeptical of interfaith/ecumenical dialogues and statements. The unstated purpose is usually to change one party or the other to embrace inclusivity, diversity, multiculturalism, etc. But the logic of accomodation falls ever more flat in both secular and sacred circles today. I've always believed the most productive arena for interfaith engagement is in works of mercy and justice. Let's just shut up and get some work done, y'know?

I might reject the theology of a Mormon, but if there's work to be done building houses, I'll carry the other end of a 2x4 for him anyday. Seattle Post-Intelligence has a nice article on "Together We Build a World Community," which brings together Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Notre Dame religionists to build farmworker homes. Still, lurking in the background is the alluring rhetoric of "tolerance."