Christ United Presbyterian Church
Lt. Col. Bill Palmer gave a thoughtful address in Liberty Park this last Memorial Day, remembering the sacrifices of those who have died in service to their country. I appreciated his very intentional inclusion of names of some of those who have died in service: men and women whose names clearly reflect the wide variety of cultures, languages and religions that now make up our nation. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to respect their sincere differences, even while we remember and honor their united commitment to our nation and its highest ideals.
As one who follows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I am called to love, respect and work for peace across the differences that too often divide. Through study and practice, I have become secure enough in my own faith to know that I cannot lose that core of my being by respecting another's religious beliefs. And yet for some, there seems to be a sense that practicing basic respect may be too risky.
I was delighted to come across The Salt Project - a not-for-profit project dedicated to reclaiming and sharing the beauty of Christian life through film, photography, music, poetry and ideas. It aims to build a community of conversation and resource-sharing that, like salt itself, preserves and seasons the best and most beautiful of the Christian tradition. Salt provided a helpful 12 point online resource currently making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites.
"How to Respect Other Religions"
1. Educate Yourself.
2. Be Amazed or Even Converted - Into a Better Version of Yourself.
3. Be Patient. Don't Form Opinions Too Soon
4. Build Relationships.
5. Keep Your Sense of Humor Handy.
6. Ask Questions - Listen.
7. Say "I Don't Understand Yet"
8. Experience How Others Worship.
9. Honor Convictions. Don't Try to Remake People in Your Image.
10. Eat Together, Play Together and Hold Each Other's Babies.
11. Embrace Mystery
12. Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.
Each of the 12 points on How to Respect Other Religions also applies to Christians respecting other Christians. After all, some of the nastiest conflicts are often between those who share the same religion and yet have a different understanding on issues of doctrine. My faith allows me to engage in respectful conversations and see the image of God in the face of those with whom I disagree. Imagine how your life, our community and this world would be if we each committed to practice love and respect.