In my city, there is a street corner that always amazes me as I drive by. Of the four corners of the intersection, three are home to three differnt religious buildings. On one, there is a non-denominational, charismatic church; across the street, there is a synagogue; and across the street the from the church in the other direction is a Sikh Temple.
If this is not a testament to the multi-ethnic, multi-faith Canada that we have become, I am not sure what is. And this is fine with me — I love living in a country where people may worship as they so choose, but I can’t help wondering what the relationships are like on the corner. Do people who frequent the different religious establishments ever take the time to converse with one another, or do their obvious differences burn any bridges before one attempts to cross them? Are we charitable toward one another, or do feelings of restentment toward “those people” embitter us? (I ask these questions of all three parties). What are our (mis)conceptions concernging these other groups that could possibly be challenged as we come to know these other people in friendship?
This three-corner set-up is an ideal location in which to pratice the work of reconicilation and cross-cultural engagement. Would there be a possibilities of bringing these communities together somehow? Are there events that could be held to encouarge dialogue, conversation, and a better understanding of one another? A prime opportunity for creating cross-cultural communities and beginning spiritual conversations has presentesd itself, and I believe that the church specifically (for I can only speak from a Christian standpoint) is neglecting its duty to God and the world if it does not seize it. Let it never be that the gurdwara and the synagogue might say that they never experienced the radical love of those Christ-followers next door.