Belong to the World. Bring your Tribes.
Religious values can provide a steady anchor in a turbulent world and we could use that anchor now more than ever. But even well-meaning religious education tends towards imparting an ethno-centric outlook separating “us” from “them.” Today, we need to all pull together to solve our global problems with a world-centric perspective. To do so, our youth need to develop global skills — cultural adaptability, spiritual intelligence, religious literacy, and inter-identity dialogue. Teaching religion to children from interfaith families allowed me to successfully develop such an approach.
Journey with me to my classroom seven years ago. I just finished teaching youth from Jewish-Interfaith families. I’m looking at my chalkboard, reviewing what we did, thinking about why it worked. It looks like I’m staring into space but I’m having an epiphany. How am I deciding what to teach? What makes me select one topic over another? What are my underlying goals? As I articulate the principles behind my lessons, I realize they can be adapted for all types of interfaith or no-faith families. It’s time to share this work. It’s time to prepare all children for success in our multi-faith, multi-cultural, global society.
I teach and coach students, couples, and parents who want a rich, interspiritual, holistic experience of religion. If our society is going to engage with religion at all, we need it to: (1) provide an interfaith orientation, and (2) build on that interfaith awareness to develop a global worldview. Without this approach, we may not survive as a species.
We know our current systems are unsustainable. We know we must evolve the way we teach, govern, share resources, handle money, and care for our health and our planet. How will we evolve? The answer:
by including diversity in our identity and expanding who we are.
Sometimes I think: If we don’t go holistic, we’ll all go ballistic.
So what’s the best vehicle for growing this awareness??
RELIGION…when celebrated and taught in a NEW way.
Today’s challenge is not about living as separate communities — religious, ethnic, or national — but about living as one integrated world. When religious institutions support this shift from ethno- to world- centric values, each of our religions will thrive in completely new ways. Until then, I’m here to help us progress in this transformation.
In these 2-minute snippets, I talk about integrating a home-base religion with an interfaith vision, a philosopher’s mission, and a teacher’s attention to the Value Tensions in evolutionary change.
Copyright © 2016 ZinnHouse, Lauren I. Zinn