Category Archives: Interfaith Education

Interfaith and interspiritual education, including activities for children, lesson plans, and social justice themes. By Lauren Zinn at ZinnHouse.

How to Teach Religion Today – With Purim as an Example

photo of poster called Spring Rules!Matt, the Jewish father in an interfaith family with two young girls, shared with me this story:
His mother, the girls’ Jewish grandmother, asked if he would raise the girls Jewish. “Yes,” he said, “but it won’t look like the Jewish I was raised with, or the Jewish you, Mom, were raised with. It will look like the Jewish they will be raised with.”

Now more than ever we need models for teaching religion to today’s youth in ways that lay the foundation for a new form of religious identity in a safe, loving, and just world. And I mean World. Education is no longer a singular ethnic communal concern. Today we must consider how we fit with others on our shared planet. How are we —the grown ups in the room— supposed to do that?

Religious and secular educators need good examples of lessons that work. Continue reading How to Teach Religion Today – With Purim as an Example

December: The Most Interfaith Time of the Year

December: INTERSPIRITUAL COMMUNITY links to connect you to the global movement.The joys and challenges of interfaith life are amplified in December —the most interfaith time of the year.

This December that volume goes up as THREE MAJOR HOLIDAYS overlap.

Hanukkah,  the Jewish festival of light, begins this year on Christmas Eve (Dec 24) and ends on New Year’s Day (Jan 1).
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, & its official observance run from December 24-26.
Kwanzaa, celebrating African heritage and culture, begins Dec. 26 and ends January 1.
• Plus, December is populated with  Winter Solstice on Dec. 21, the Swedish holiday of St. Lucia, bearer of light, on Dec. 13, and in Mexico and the Americas, the Catholic Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, and more.

The month is so loaded it’s called December Dilemma. Partners can get tied up in knots deciding what holiday to celebrate with which family group and how. So the confluence of three holidays this year could be a recipe for December Disaster. As an interfaith coach, I’ve seen the season cause conflict and anxiety but also compassion.

With December here, if you’re in an interfaith relationship, you may be feeling a little sensitive right now.

Continue reading December: The Most Interfaith Time of the Year

photo of Diane with her poster at the REA conference 2016

Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

What would Obama say as Americans vote today? Watch this! You may find yourself, like me, playing it over and over. The words and their sorrow may be imaginary but they point us towards real hope. More than a captivating and inspiring song, this lamentation challenges our soul as a nation. When the election is over, may we all rise higher.

But how did we sink so low?

To answer that question, let me share a few notes from attending the REA Conference in Pittsburgh where I met Religion Educators from around the world including Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Spain, Turkey, Nigeria, Canada, Israel, Australia, and the United States. Continue reading Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

Election Fury or Forgiveness

Keep Calm and Watch Fury.
Share your thoughts at the end of this post.

picture of movie poster for 1936 FuryFury

With recently heightened “suspense” from Donald Trump as we near the end of this election, it’s worth reminding ourselves of why populism, group think, and mob (or mobster) rule don’t work. For this reason, I suggest hosting a Movie Night Pre-Election Party featuring the 1936 drama and thriller, Fury. Continue reading Election Fury or Forgiveness

Global Citizenship

I am a world citizen logoA BBC 2016 poll found that more people identify as “global” rather than “national” citizens. I believe this phenomena is  evolutionarily appropriate for our times.

What does it mean to identify with 7.4 billion people on the planet? World citizenship is growing, although it is less common in industrialized nations. I could speculate as to why, but I want to focus on the meaning of identifying as a global citizen.

Who is a global citizen?

Continue reading Global Citizenship

If You Meet a Religious Leader on the Road…

bicycle riders over a bridgeIf you meet a religious leader on the road… and they tell you their congregation is shrinking… and youth enrollment is down… and you suggest they include an interfaith perspective in their religious school program, that leader will probably dismiss your suggestion without another thought. At least, this has been my experience. Why do so many clergy resist teaching interfaith perspectives to youth at a time when church/synagogue attendance is at an all-time low with nearly one in three Americans under age 35 identifying as spiritual but not religious? The clergy I have encountered typically give one or all of the following reasons:
Continue reading If You Meet a Religious Leader on the Road…