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The rights and dignity of the other

In the words of Prof. Rev. Dr John Langan SJ, a human right "is a right that a human person has simply by virtue of being (human), irrespective of his or her social status, cultural accomplishments, moral merits, religious beliefs, class memberships or cultural relationships.” 

Reflections on our deeper crisis

An article on an interesting subject? No, not this time. I can only write from the deep crisis situation we are in at present. There is nothing else that keeps me more busy than the question of how to live with the anxiety and fear of the coronavirus and what to make of it.

Promoting Peace Through Arts and Social Media

Creating art or poems is a way to reimagine the future, to build bridges and foster understanding, to develop empathy, to make friends, to express feelings, to build self-confidence, to learn how to be flexible and open-minded, to be exposed to different ideas and learn to listen to the views of others, to work collaboratively. These are all attributes that can help to promote peace.

To communicate beyond words. It is spelled love.

Looking back on a week of grief. A week full of sorrow, tears, loss and anger.
A week of grief that began with the air disaster in Ethiopia, when the life of our colleague Rev. Norman Tendis was taken too early. A question that surfaces: Why? Why this air crash, involving leading climate experts on their way to the UN climate meeting in Nairobi? So many dead and missing. So much grief.

Bethlehem shepherds, water shortage and trees of hope

This Christmas Season I will have concrete places in my mind when I listen to the story of the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. I will think of the Bedouin community in Suyica, near Yatta, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. They live in tents and in caves because they are not allowed to build houses. Together with about 20 Methodists from around the globe representing the World Methodist Council, we visited them in October.

Is there any room for talk of transition in the Christian message?

These days everyone uses the words “change” or “transformation” yet they are used to describe very different things. The French president Emmanuel Macron speaks of the transformation of the French economy through the liberalisation of labour laws, and in his book “India Transformed” Rakesh Mohan describes the benefits achieved by 25 years of neo-liberalism. So what do church-related aid organisations like Action de Carême, Pain pour le prochain and Etre partenaires mean when they use the word “transition”? Is this concept really part of the Christian message?

Sowing Peace

I recently attended the conference on ‘Interreligious dialogue for peace: Promoting Peaceful coexistence and common citizenship’ organized by KAICIID in Vienna on the 26 and 27 of February. The conference brought together some high profile religious leaders (predominantly but not exclusively from the Christian and Muslim faiths) who spoke with a united voice for social cohesion, peaceful coexistence and respect for religious diversity.

My first Confucian-Christian dialogue

The effects of certain types of experiences do not fade with time; rather they permeate deep into your existence to further broaden your understanding about the realities of life. For me the first Christian-Confucian Dialogue initiated by the World Council of Churches at South Korea was one such experience. It will stay with me for a long time and I will time travel back and forth from it to understand the complexities of inter-religious discussions.

Diwali – the festival of lights

“Religion,” the American theologian Paul Tillich once said, “is the substance of culture and culture the form of religion.” This is particularly true of Hinduism, with the result that a religious dimension can be discerned in almost all of the festivals that originate in India. Diwali, the festival of lights, the most popular and widely celebrated Hindu festival, is no exception.

Religious groups working for peace and love

Teenagers pose lots of challenges for any parent. Emotional, rebellious, and subject to inevitable pressures, it is undoubtedly difficult to raise children who are transitioning from becoming children to adults. I am in this situation—I have three. As I reflect on their growing into individualized people, I can only hope that, once they embark on their respective paths, they live in a society that is peaceful and accepting.

A new moment for Colombia

We have been breathing joy, optimism and excitement to promote a new way of being a country. 26 September was a very busy day for all of us who were invited to attend the official ceremony of the signing of the Colombia peace agreement, in Cartagena. As I met other participants, a strong common feeling of hope was present in every shake of hands, every hug and every look.

Global water community introduced to Season of Creation

For the past 26 years, the global water community is gathering in Stockholm for a week in August or September, at the World Water Week, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute, to discuss the importance of water for human development and a sustainable planet. Call it a coincidence: just one year before the first World Water Week, September 1st was proclaimed as a day of prayer for the environment by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989. For some reason, in the past, faith communities, even though engaged in the water sector, were barely present at the World Water Week.

The path of love leads to justice and peace

A group of young Christians and Muslims met at Cairo, 18-22 August, for the seminar “Youth Engagement, Religion and Violence”. The meeting organized by the World Council of Churches and the al-Azhar University comprised of lectures, working groups, and various official meetings. As a part of the Christian delegation, I can say that we were all very impressed by the spirit of friendliness and fraternity that the al-Azhar met us with.

Re-affirm the culture of peace through dialogue

Indonesia had been chosen as the third YATRA (Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity) venue, as it represents a multi-cultural and multi-religious context which is also sensitive to conflict. For about 14 days there were lectures, discussions, and exposure visits to some places to get to know more about the multi-religious reality in Indonesia, issues that need to be solved and need our action rather then talk and think only.