Voices of Faith: In a chaotic world, what can faith groups do?
01/13/2012 12:38 PM
01/13/2012 12:38 PM
Pray, trust, restore
The Rev. R.L. Baynham, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kan.: Since the beginning of time, we have been exposed to the behavior of man and his relationship with the world. Many times that behavior has been evil and mean. Today, we watch and/or listen to the events that make us cringe and feel the loss and hopelessness. There are at least three things we can do: pray, trust and restore.
The prayer suggested is intercessory. It is praying for the world in chaos, for families suffering the atrocities of evil and for the will of God in the lives of all people. I am sure most of us believe that this is already being done. It would be powerful if we could be consistent in our praying.
One of the most difficult things in this world is finding a level of trust. We have seen what greed does to people; it sets up an environment of distrust. Trust then is the ability to live in the right relationship with one’s neighbor and appreciate their contribution to maintaining wholesomeness.
When someone fails to live or identify with the moral values of society, it becomes extremely difficult to allow them back in a place where they can repeat the same behavior. But with the grace of God, they won’t repeat that behavior.
Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery, Kansas City, Mo.: There are many causes and conditions for chaos in the world. Sadly, some faith groups, themselves, cause some of the chaos in the world. We have seen fighting not only between religions, but also within religions.
Also, the rapid rise of fundamentalism threatens the religious freedom for all of us. That is why interfaith dialogue is more important now than ever. All of us face similar individual, societal and environmental challenges. Divergent faith groups working together (rather than separately) can best solve these challenges.
Many leaders of various faiths have recognized the importance of interfaith dialogue. Pope Paul II called for interfaith dialogue as a key component of Christian preparation for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always emphasized the importance of interfaith discussion. His Holiness said, “I have for many years now engaged in interfaith dialogue and understanding with the basic belief that all the major religions of the world have the same potential to transform people into better human beings.”
We are no longer just a global community but rather all part of one human family. All religions encourage good actions, moral virtues and personal responsibility and see the world and our lives as sacred and meaningful. That is why different faith groups working together can best solve many of the problems facing our world.