I had a wonderful day today, which I unofficially named on Facebook: Interfaith Wednesday.
It started with a meeting with a youth minister from a local Episcopal church. He was prepping to teach about the Messiah to his teens and wanted the Jewish point of view. We chatted for a bit. I made a video on his imac of the Jewish view of the Messiah (yay technology). And then we chatted some more. I’m guessing this isn’t the last time we’ll share each others’ views and experience in youth ministry.
Then I met with a young man on the path towards considering Judaism. One of the great opportunities in this new position of mine is to meet with the students who are planning to take our upcoming Introduction to Judaism class…to learn their story, answer their questions, hear about their journey, and start to figure out with them how we fit into their journey.
Along the way of my day, I posted about this on facebook and used the term “conversion” to refer to the process of this person. A dear, old friend who is himself a Jew by Choice commented on my word choice. It got me thinking about the process of becoming a Jew for those who were not raised into the tradition….and how we consider that process.
Then we had an interfaith clergy lunch in our sukkah at which we discussed the ideas of welcoming guests and hospitality and how our various faith traditions honor those ideals.
In the midst of all this, a dear friend texted me a few questions about the Jewish view of the afterlife and theology in general. I’m not sure what people do who don’t have rabbi friends to answer these questions….but I know I love getting these questions from my friends and being able to answer them and start great conversations.
After an afternoon of a hospital visit, a few meetings with students preparing for B’nai Mitzvah, I came home to the Presidential Debate. Watching it, and considering the multivocality of voices I had heard throughout the day, I found myself thinking of one thing
We all want a better world. Regardless of politics, we all want to make the world better. Don’t get me wrong…I have a definite opinion and strongly support one candidate over the other. But what I try to remember–and remind others of–is that the other side isn’t evil. At the end of the day, they want the same thing: a better world. Fewer people suffering. More people living up to their potential. Our nation thriving. The world doing better.
We all want success. We just have different viewpoints of how we should get there.
It’s so easy to forget. It’s so easy to demonize the other side. My hope, my prayer, for the next month is that we’re able to have respect on all sides. To hear our opposition with respect. To share our own view with those with whom we disagree and be heard with respect. And to know…on all sides…that we all want what is best.
I’m not sure we can do that. But I’m an optimist.