While so many are focused on underscoring the differences between different cultures and peoples around the world, it may be surprising how many leaders in spiritual communities are learning to embrace similarities in the world’s major religions.
Br. Wayne Teasdale coined the term “Interspirituality” in his book The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions (1999) and the concept has been gaining acceptance ever since. H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan proposed World Interfaith Harmony Week at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 and there are now thousands of events held worldwide organized by interfaith groups and other “groups of goodwill” with the common goal of recognizing that their common values far outweigh the differences they have and promoting a culture of peace and non-violence.
In 1993 in Chicago, The Parliament of the World’s Religions reinstated a gathering that had first occurred there in 1893. Since then the Parliament has met with increasing frequency around the world: Capetown 1999, Barcelona 2004, Melbourne 2009. 2015’s gathering in Salt Lake City drew over 10,000 religious leaders from around the world. And this year’s (2018) Parliament in Toronto is expected to draw as many–people of all faiths coming together pursue global understanding, reconciliation and change.
In a similar pulse, this year’s Dawn of Interspirituality conference in Costa Rico, the sixth in a series, featured two sets of Three Amigos, one from South America and one from the North, each consisting of a Rabbi, an Imam and a Catholic priest. All sharing their wisdom teachings along with Buddhist nuns, Hindu Swamis and Native American Shamans. People everywhere are recognizing the commonalities of faith-based traditions and are finding their own way into Interfaith practice.
Training and Workshops:
The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions by Wayne Teasdale, New World Library (March 2, 2001).
The Coming Interspiritual Age by Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord