Sunday, December 9, 2012

40 of the Most Powerful Photographs Ever Taken

Last night I ran across a compilation of 40 amazing, moving, even tear-jerking photos from throughout history. Go to the following link to see them. Powerful stuff.

Christians and Interfaith Dialogue

So, I just came to the realization that one of my favorite activities of all time is interfaith dialogue. I absolutely love conversing about faith, spirituality and personal philosophy with people of different religions and/or worldviews. Also, as well as enjoying this, I have learned a great deal from such discussion. I am a Christian and very passionate about my faith. I gain a lot from my relationships with fellow believers. However, there is a whole other realm of learning and depth that happens when people who disagree on these things form a friendship and intellectual connection. When I was in high school, for example, this is something that happened almost constantly at school, and it shaped me in my beliefs in some pretty powerful ways. It helped me understand my own faith, and maybe more profoundly it helped me learn how it applies and interacts with the people around me.
Never in my life have I seen a friend "converted". And honestly, this does not bother me. And this is where I will probably lose some of you readers. But let me explain. I think that so often us Christians think of friendship with people of other faiths as a means to an end. Relationship becomes the way to proselytize and change people's opinions. I personally think that this is extremely manipulative for one thing, and turns people off big time, but there are other serious downsides for us as Christians. We have so much to gain from the worldviews, and just plain friendship, of people who do not believe as we do. There is power in people coming together despite, and even through, their differences. And in the end, I truly think that as Christians and friend we have more impact and positive influence on people when we just be with them and not try to change them. And I think that as Christians, we have a particular call to interfaith dialogue. That is part of the great commission at the end of Matthew. Discipleship and community goes beyond and much deeper that trying to convert people. Many Christians may disagree, and that is understandable as their is a tension here. I am processing through this myself still, to be honest. But regardless, I am convinced that interfaith dialogue is incredibly powerful and important not only to those who we are speaking to, but to us as well. Some of the most beneficial conversations I have ever had have been this way. So I encourage you, connect with people and dialogue with them as I have suggested. It is enjoyable, but even more than that, it is an important part of our own faith, striving for God's truth and guidance, and personal spiritual formation. And ultimately, this plays an important role in active, lived out faith.

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