April 8, 2012

This morning the STRIB featured a family celebrating Seder with not only their Jewish friends, but also Christians and other non-Jews.  For them, sharing of the Passover ceremony with other faiths is a pathway to promote understanding and tolerance.


Reading the article, I was flooded with memories of my childhood, growing up in Rochester, MN, as a member of s small church that taught us there were many pathways to faith and for worshipping God. 


In Sunday School and Summer Bible School, we learned the principles, not only of our own church, but of those churches and the synagogue within walking distance of our own building – because as part of our religious training, we visited them, learned the basics of their doctrines of faith, and were welcomed into their worship services.  Most importantly, as we were encouraged to listen and to question, we learned those churches were home to other kids just like us. Humanizing a different culture or faith goes a long way in fostering tolerance and ultimately nourishing connections.


That, and I think a deep-seated love of history that provided the “whys” of the splintered Christian faith, and its emergence and growth from Jewish roots, instilled in me not only a curiosity for doctrine differences, but also an understanding for other religious points of view.  It certainly explains why I remain, to this day, a member of that body of Christians that celebrates ALL Christians, and insists that doctrines and human differences should not be allowed to divide believers from one another.


The recent letter to the editor by Dick Croft sums it up well in a quote from Helen Keller:


“The highest result of education is tolerance.  Long ago men fought and died for their faith; but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage,-the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience.  Tolerance is the first principle of community; it is the spirit which conserves the best that all men think.  No loss by flood and lightning, no destruction of cities and temples by the hostile forces of nature, has deprived men of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed.”

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