Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weaving Your Faith Story With That of Others

I was on the terrific web site of the wonderful public radio show Speaking of Faith and discovered a video interview with one of my professors at Emory University, Laurie Patton. In addition to having the most intelligent discussions about faith with top-notch writers and thinkers, the show has begun to have quite an offering of good stuff on their web site apart from the show. I had Patton for one class and she is delightful. She chairs Emory's department of East and South Asian Religions and her specialty is Hindu texts. I didn't know Patton well and I doubt she would remember me. I was actually under the impression that she was Buddhist, so I was surprised to find out in this clip that she was raised as Unitarian and then converted to Judaism. It's this religious mixture that fuels the discussion.

She speaks of her own experience as a Jew who studies Hinduism to describe how each of us needs the stories of others to help keep our own stories honest and truthful. This seems to me to be a key issue for our world and our times. Listening to other peoples stories--especially stories of faith--enables us to do a double-check about our own claims to truth.

It certainly has been the case that when I have shared my faith with people of other religions and let them share their own with me that my own faith has been strengthened, but it has also become more humble and less judgmental of others who don't share it. By learning from people whose faith is different from mine, I learn more about just how big God is and why I have chosen to believe what I do about God.

It's a good interview and worth the short amount of time it takes to watch.

Grace and Peace,


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