Tag Archives: Interfaith

Mourning, Intersectionality, and Hope, Part I: Don’t Be Selective

We have been focusing our  vigils on  shedding light in places where the inquiry and fervor of the media does not go. To vigil means to “pay attention” and to be “watchful.” Members of our diverse community are often directly affected by violence in contexts which are largely ignored by the media. On 4/16, members of EKTA, the South Asian Student organization, came forward to both mourn and protest the violence in Pakistan where a terror attack took place on Easter Sunday. Below are the opening remarks and the words from one of the student speakers, Mahnoor Latif, who shared her powerful statement. Continue reading

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MLK & Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative (Part 1)

Over January Term (or J-term), two students participated in a fellowship for with our Center as part of our Justice, Identity, and Social Change (JISC) initiative. These students, Raven Fowlkes-Witten and Lucy Tucker, serve on our JISC advisory board.

The JISC Initiative of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) seeks to integrate social justice work with our mission: We discuss ethical and moral matters beyond sectarian spheres, provide interfaith dialogue and interaction, reflect deeply on community engagement, and undergird social justice work with spiritual/contemplative practice and ideals.

For the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, the JISC fellowship project reflected on the intersections of spirituality and social justice. Continue reading

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The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative: Spiritual Life Meets Social Justice

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It feels like the World is burning. This is what Sensei Ryumon Baldoquin, Community Religious Adviser, said at our first “Peace Meal,” a gathering for dialogue and discussion of difficult problems. Certainly in the last few weeks, with the earthquake in Nepal and the rise in media coverage of racially motivated violence, it feels as if the world is burning.

The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) must be a force for quenching fires; because religious and spiritual life on a college campus is most relevant to the extent that it confronts global and social Issues head-on. The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative are the center’s formulation of its strategy for bringing together the internal, contemplative life of the spirit; and addressing the urgent, immediate problems of injustice that plague our world.
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Interfaith Awareness Week: What Do We Serve?

Interfaith Awareness Week Flyer!

We are what we pay attention to. Sadly, most of the time we are not attending to the world or ourselves. Psychologists estimate we have sixty thousand to seventy thousand thoughts a day, 99 percent of which are more or less what we thought yesterday.

– Mary Piper, Ph.D., Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World

I slept and dreamt that life was joy

I awoke and saw that life was service.

I acted and behold, service was joy.

– Rabindranath Tadore

We are in the midst of Interfaith Awareness Week at Smith College, sponsored by the Student Group, Spirituality in Action. Continue reading

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April 7, 2014 · 7:11 pm

SWANS: Beyond Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion to Spiritual Intersectionality

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The first week in February was the United Nation’s “Interfaith Harmony Week”. While Smith will be commemorating this week later on in the semester, this is a good time to begin to talk about the what and why of “Interfaith Harmony.” Three Smith students, board members of the  Smith Spirituality In Action  Group have just returned from Atlanta where they attended the leadership institute of the Interfaith Youth Corps. The IFYC’s mission is to build religious pluralism, which they define as as respect for  peoples’ religious and non-religious identities which elicits mutually inspiring relationships and common action for the common good. Continue reading

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Smith Explores Model of Interfaith Cooperation

In the first year of my interfaith fellowship at Smith, I have used the idea of Interfaith Cooperation as a guiding principle, operating within the belief that college students both long for contexts to explore and develop themselves spiritually; but also are compelled by conviction and circumstances to interact with religious difference. Therefore one of my primary goals has been to try to develop and strengthen interfaith organizing and leadership among students. A group called The Interfaith Council has been meeting over the course of the academic year and now has a leadership board which is in the process of submitting a charter to become a recognized student organization. Continue reading

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Christmas as an Interfaith Holiday

Perhaps we can look at Christmas, as it is celebrated in the U.S, as an Interfaith Holiday, in that its rituals are not drawn from just one religious tradition.

Advent, the season that leads up to Christmas in the Christian tradition, is a powerful reflection of this interfaith dimension.In terms of the Christan calender, we are “leading up to” the birth of the historical Jesus. But in fact, the practices of Christmas, such as the use of evergreen and the lighting of candles, predate Christianity and are associated with ancient Pagan traditions that mark and celebrate the winter solstice.  Continue reading

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