Just imagine a world where "religion" was a source of unity-in-diversity -- and actively pursued "love-in-action" over differences of dogma and belief! Whew! Can you imagine this seemingly far-distant possibility?
For many who feel themselves as "religiously convicted", the mere thought of "unity-in-diversity" is enough to cause a fit of apoplexy -- and yet, as the recent "Parliament of the World's Religions" held in Salt Lake City proved, the absolute opposite is most definitely possible. There, thousands of people from all around the world gathered to celebrate, pray, discuss, present, and plan appropriate responses to many of the fundamental crisis of our time -- and we, none of us, required weapons to argue or defend our positions! Security guards were nearly always seated with auras of drowsy blessing upon them...
Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Humanists, Buddhists, and others were present and deliberately so. A "Women's Assembly" gave voice to the spiritual grace and wisdom of the world's women -- who are very often still excluded from their faith tradition's priesthoods and leadership. Wonderful words emanated from the Parliament:
"Working with dirt is the highest level of our humanity." -- Dr. Vandana Shiva
"The pain pushes until the vision pulls." -- Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith
"Scripture is not a text: it is an activity." -- Karen Armstrong
Workshops and presentations included "Trekking Through the Spiritual and Ethical Implications of Quantum Science", an "Introduction to Gender Reconciliation", and a "Cosmic Mass" with Rev. Matthew Fox. I urge everyone to dedicate personal time exploring the website and posted videos of the Parliament of the World's Religions": this precious blue Planet is not meant to be destroyed by the folly of men in endless pursuit of privilege, profit, and power. Rather, we are supposed to be vigorous in building a paradise for everyone's happiness -- leaving no one out or behind. There really is enough love for everyone -- It only needs our sacred activation!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.