Bowls of colored sand stood ready on October 15th, 2015. Across the hallway people were preparing vegetarian food. Hanging from the walkway ceilings were flags and banners with quotes on peace, the environment, and faith. A walking mediation labyrinth was being laid down in bright blue tape. Stages were being prepared. The words of spiritual leaders and seekers were about to fill the rooms of the 515,000 square feet Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A pattern was forming. An empty convention center transformed into a sacred space, a microcosm of life on earth. Ten thousand people from every continent and corner of this round earth filled the space with consciousness of the devastation and the challenges the community of humanity face but also hope, love, and a commitment to peace. There were turbans, scarves, yamaks, crowns, masks, robes, crosses, and all manner of symbols as people of faith talked together from their respective vantage points on how best to show gratitude for the blessings of life.
Five days later the bowls of colored sand were transformed in the hands of Tibetan monks into a stunning mandala for some people: a tool for gaining wisdom and compassion. For others a mandala is a geometric piece of art that blesses this world with beauty and gives pause to all of us consumed in a busy life. The pattern emerges only through the work of someone willing to have patience and dedication to express themselves in compassion.
The vegetarian food, prepared by the Langar Sikh community brought nourishment and joy to thousands. It also won the heart and minds of everyone open to seeing the strength and magnificence in the face of the men and women who welcomed each person. "Thank you for coming, Kimberly," a Sikh man said each day I visited. Giving for no other reason than because there was a need to be filled and a desire to be of service, a beautiful pattern emerged from the work of the Sikh community.
Nearby the spires of the LDS (Mormon) temple were recognizable with the gold statue of the angel Moroni on the top. The yellow leaves on the mountain trees, the cool water in the fountain, and decorative pumpkins all converged in a warm and welcoming pattern of the fall in Utah.
The 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions graced us with a glimpse of what this world can look like when people of all faiths listen to the other and see in their eye a neighbor or relative. What do you need? What can I share? What can we do together to take our message of peace into the world?
"It is difficult to change how you read a text but ask a new question: Do I need to read the text in a new way as I find myself in a new situation?" Brandan Robertson noted, "Many communities fear, unnecessarily, that there is a relationship between change in belief and decline." How can we find success in breaking out of a negative pattern and gain an expanded vison of love?
"We have had thousands of years of hatred and slavery. Let's try a little friendship, " said Wande Abimbola, a Yoruba man from Nigeria. In other words, let's change the pattern where it is not working for us.
The Imam Jamal Rahman started his presentation with a Koranic whoooooooooo huuuuuuu, creating with sound a pattern of peace. "Silence is not the absence of sound. It is the absence of the little self," he said. Can you find your pattern of peace in the silence?
"Mother Earth the source of life not a resource," said Chief Arvol Lookinghorse. Take a little and give back some. Breathe in a little and give some back. This is how we can all continue to live in peace and abundance.
"God is Echad," said Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, quoting from the Jewish Shema prayer: God is One. "One is not a person alone but all connected into oneness," she added. Can you find yourself in the pattern of oneness?
Participants at the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions also had a chance to see films and theatre productions weaving poetry and light into a pattern that can change the world. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids teaches us that we can break free of the patterns that keep us in poverty, prostitution, or uneducated. But it is easiest and most successful if someone gives us a hand and we take their hand, and work with them.
Referring to her home on the other side of the world in New Zealand, where they are already in tomorrow, Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere said, "I have come from the future. What do you want to know?" She also shared an image of her land where 6000 hectares of indigenous trees grow. "Children come in with intuition. We only have to love them," she said.
Arnold Thomas taught us, "Relatives, what if this is—heaven all around us? Are we behaving in a manner that our grandchildren seven generations from now will enjoy this earthly heaven?"
In this microcosm that was the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions we learned that peace and harmony are possible. Today, we begin again to put into action what we learned.
... Letters gather into words. Words spiral into sacred texts. Each one is different. Each one strives to create a world of peace. Each one calls out a name of God.
One of about 100 Torah scribes in the United States, Hale taught a dozen or so attendees at the 2015 Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City, UT, how to sing out each letter and word as we inscribed ... [More] Reform Judaism Blog
In less than a month I will be attending the 2015 Parliament of Religions. I am especially excited to hear the Dali Lama and Jane Goodall. Recently I received an email from the Parliament of Religions about grant money for increasing social media presence.
"The Parliament is thankful to all those who applied for grants. It was yet another indicator about the vibrancy of the interfaith movement. We learned a great deal. Some organizations which applied actually had larger budgets than the Parliament itself. After reading and evaluating all the applications we settled on 5 organizations which have good plans to grow, were of smaller budget but active. We decided to award them each with the following: 1) A technical consulting grant to train their leadership and volunteers in enhancing their social media outreach. 2) Partial salary for an intern or staff to enhance their social media."
I also get a weekly email from Jewish Jobs and see how many organizations are trying to build their social media presence.
What are things that an interfaith organization or a religious community can do to increase the engagement of the people who are part of their organization, communicate with the larger community, and further peace and understanding in the world around them? Here are some ideas and a check list of questions to get you started.
MISSION and REACH
Determine what your social media goals are and who they want to reach.
What is your message?
Who do you want to talk to?
Do you want to use social media in fundraising?
What are the top 10 keywords that you want to be found for or known for?
BIO—USING WORDS TO PAINT A PICTURE
Once you know what you want to say and how to communicate with people you have to decide where you want to share with them and how you want to engage in the communication process.
Where do you want to send the traffic you get from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook?
What do you want them to do when they get there?
How will you use the bios and profiles to foster community, attract new participants, and engage current families or alumni?
Think about the type of media you want to share and which social media sites feature words, images and videos.
Do you have an article or essays that you want to put on a popular blog?
Do you have images that would bring people to your website from Instagram, Pintrest, WeHeartIt and other primarily visual sites?
Do you have videos of teachings, lectures or conference presentations that would be great on YouTube, Vimeo, attached to LinkedIn, SlideShare, and more?
Do you have multimedia capability on your website?
Are you focused on a certain age group? Is your community more of a Facebook community or a Snapchat community?
Set up bios and profiles on social media. On Twitter you have 140 characters to share your message. Facebook, GooglePlus and Pinterest have several sections with larger word counts of space for you to share your message, mission, and links back to your website. LinkedIn has virtually unlimited space to share your message. If members of your leadership or the organization itself have a book or anthology on Amazon, there is nearly 4000 words worth of space for sharing your message on an Amazon author's page and book page.
Do you have a well edited version of your organizations mission written out in different lengths?
Do you have a book?
BLOGGING and GUEST BLOGS
Blogs, online magazine, and news services of course have 500 to ... words worth of space.
Do you have a blog or can you do guest blogs on related sites?
Who in your organization will write the blogs?
Who will upload, post them and share them on social media?
Are there other institutions, universities, or other organizations that would want to share on your site, while you share on their site?
Will you blog about community events, life cycles events, and local news?
Frequency of posts can also be a consideration.
How often can you post on one site?
Will you post the same or different content on several different sites?
For a monthly $300 plus depending on frequency, the Creating Calm Network will:
1. Do initial set up of social media accounts.
2. Post daily content on six to fifteen different social media sites, including:
3. Create content for blogs and cover events for your organization.
4. Create connections for your organization online as well as in the local community through set up of events at bookstores, food stores and other faith groups.
BOOK PUBLISHING PROJECTS
Is there a Book in your organizations future?
We can also lead a project to create an anthology for your organization including, working with members on their essay, editing, and then talking the completed Word document through the publishing process and making the print book and eBook available on Amazon. Follow up on the published book includes launching it and posting on social media for three months after completion. Start Here
Parliament of World Religions: Keynote speakers at the Plenary: Sat., Oct. 17, 2015, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Allan Aubrey Boesak is a South African Dutch Reformed Church cleric and politician and anti-apartheid activist. Along with Beyers Naude and Winnie Mandela, Boesak won the 1985 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award given annually by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to an individual or group whose courageous activism is at the heart of the human rights movement and in the spirit of Robert F. Kennedy's vision and legacy.
Medea Benjamin is an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink and the fair trade advocacy group Global Exchange. Benjamin was also the Green Party candidate in California in 2000 for the United States Senate. She currently contributes to OpEdNews and The Huffington Post. The Los Angeles Times has described her as "one of the high-profile leaders" of the peace movement and in 1999, San Francisco Magazine included her on its "power list" of the "60 Players Who Rule the Bay Area."
John L. Esposito is a Professor of Religion and International Affairs as well as Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is the Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in the Walsh School of Foreign Service. Esposito has served as consultant to the U.S. Department of State and other agencies, European and Asian governments and corporations, universities, and the media worldwide. Esposito is recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion.
Dr. Tariq Ramadan, an adviser to the European Union, is a professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology, and is the founder and president of the European Muslim Network. Ramadan earned a doctorate from the University of Geneva in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He established the Mouvement des Musulmans Suisses (Movement of Swiss Muslims) which engages in various interfaith seminars.
Dr. Karen Armstrong is a British author and commentator, as well as a former Roman Catholic nun. Leaving the convent in 1969, she pursued an understanding of major religions and their common understandings of compassion and the Golden Rule. A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was published in 1993, followed by a series of books exploring major religions, compassion, and the history of sectarian violence. In 2008, Armstrong was awarded the Ted Prize to launch the Charter for Compassion, a global campaign to activate compassion at the center of our lives and social institutions through collaborative partnerships worldwide.
Vishwanath D. Karad, is an educationist, thinker a devoted teacher and a dedicated social worker. He is a founder and director of Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune, India. He is also the Founding President & Director General of World Peace Center of Maeer's MIT, Pune, India. Moreover, he serves as a UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Democracy and Peace.
Mairead Maguire is a Nobel Peace Laureate distinguished for decades of peace activism beginning in her native Northern Ireland. A witness to ethnic conflict and political turmoil in Northern Ireland during the late 1970s, she has spent her life dedicated to mobilizing peace movements in Northern Ireland and around the globe. She and fellow Nobel laureate Betty Williams co-founded Peace People, an organization devoted to nonviolence, peace and justice.
Robert A. Pape is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs. His publications include Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It(Chicago 2010) (with James Feldman); Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House 2005); Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell 1996), "Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work,"International Security (1997), and more. His commentary on international security policy has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. World renowned primatologist and conservationist best known for her landmark study on the behavior of wild chimpanzees in Gombe National Park in Tanzania. For more information on Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute please visitwww.janegoodall.org.
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