[Catalyst #14] Peaceful reconciliation between religions + more
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
The Summer of Peace 2013 continues this month with many beautiful events and telesummit calls. We feature insightful articles below on eliminating poverty, reconciling world faiths, and a feature on peace pioneer Dot Maver.
We also invite you to join us in the Compassion Games from September 11–21st and the global Be the Peace meditations on Sept. 21, which will be carried on the PeaceDay Global Broadcast as well.
In the last week I saw a heartening statistic that in the last 20 years, overall violent crime in the United States has declined by half. The truth is that we are, broadly speaking, on the trajectory to greater peace in the US and the world. But it will take all of us to continue the trend and leave the next generations a far more harmonious planet.
In that vein, I wanted to share a bit about our trip to Israel this month, where in addition to profound spiritual pilgrimages to holy sites, we met with amazing peace builders in both Israel and the West Bank.
While it was deeply distressing to hear the stories from the West Bank Palestinians of leveled homes, random detainments, and unrelenting hardship, it was also beautiful to meet with Sami Awad of the Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem, a trainer in non-violent leadership for hundreds of leaders (many women) who are setting a new trajectory for their cause. Their programs are remarkable: spiritually sophisticated, profoundly rooted in non-violence, and truly unitive, bringing Israelis and Palestinians together. We left inspired and committed to a real partnership with them.
On the Israeli side, we were powerfully moved by the vision of Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein of the Elijah Interfaith Institute for a beautiful interfaith center in Jerusalem, with worship rooms for every book faith and lodging honoring religious geniuses from every mystical lineage.
We also met with Dvora Pearlman, former mayor of her hometown and founder of the Jerusalem Hug, a simple and beautiful multi-faith initiative to encircle the holy city with love on key days. She completely won our hearts.
In addition, we met with Kids4Peace, a beautiful effort to bring early Jewish, Muslim, and Christian teens into deep relationship in a way that forges bonds of collaboration for the future. We developed the idea with them—and donated to support their efforts—to create viral web peace media in the form of 1Minute4peace videos, eventually aiming to air them through national and international TV channels.
What struck me in these meetings was that it was NOT naïve to think that we could play some positive role in the healing in the Holy Land. We brought vision, connections, and interests that were really helpful to them. And we, in turn, could learn from their profoundly positive examples that are lighting the way beyond some of the oldest and most convoluted, conflicted histories in the world.
Join me in seeing the coming years as a time in which the whole Abrahamic family remembers that it is truly One. And look for ways in your own community to spread a spirit of unity where there once was discord.
And here are some links if you'd like to make contributions to the groups mentioned, which we can wholeheartedly vouch for:
21st Century Enlightenment
In this viral video, the RSA's Chief Executive Matthew Taylor explores the meaning of and potential of the evolution now underway
Father Thomas Keating
Widely known for his pioneering work in Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating invites people of all faiths to attend the Dawn of InterSpirituality conference, Sep 27–Oct 4, 2013—a gathering where the religions of the world come together "to connect at the deep level where a certain oneness is waiting for us to discover.
Breakthrough in Bridging the World Religions By William Keepin and Cynthia Brix
William and Cynthia were featured in Summer of Peace 2012
For the past 30 years a revolutionary spiritual experiment has been quietly taking place in the high mountains of Colorado. Beyond the clamor of the world and cameras of the media, senior leaders from all the major world religions have been gathering to pray and meditate together, explore areas of common ground, and share their personal stories of spiritual transformation. Over time they were startled to discover that religious diversity can be a source of mutual enrichment and inspiration rather than conflict, and that key characteristics of the spiritual journey are universally shared across all religions . . . [read more]
Unlikely Friends—The Story behind the Film By Leslie Neale
Leslie Neale was recently featured in the Summer of Peace for her film Unlikely Friends
I think it was selfishness that brought me to make films about criminal justice reform. I was eight months pregnant when I witnessed a program of transformational healing for inmates at a Louisiana State Penitentiary . . . [read more]
Red, Hot, and Holy by Sera Beak. Shift CEO Stephen Dinan says, "A riveting mystical read for reclaiming the Red stream of Divine Feminine that has for too long been marginalized, feared, and misunderstood. Brilliantly written, nakedly vulnerable, and singularly powerful for women (and conscious men). Big kudos for a groundbreaking book."
The Scene: Humanity in 2013, stressed and pressed with massive unrest and upheaval around the globe. Violence is erupting everywhere. The media reports on one tragedy after another. Life on planet Earth is experiencing an all-systems breakdown. Humanity is hurting.
Behind the Scenes: Humanity in 2013, creative and insightful, realizes that a major shift is occurring (a chrysalis experience for the human race) and that education, both formal and informal, shapes society . . . [read more]
Summer of Peace – The Summer of Peace recently featured: Raising Awareness about Human Trafficking. It is one of the most powerful interviews we have conducted, as Nancy Rivard, founder of Airline Ambassadors, and Petra Hensley, human trafficking survivor and President of the Sojka Foundation, shared personal stories and ways to take action.
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