Inter-Religious Dialogue

What should we talk about?
If we dwell in dogmatics and apologetics,
We will be lost in the sea of endless debates.

If we talk about history
And justify our faults and prejudices,
we will continue to dwell
in the private spheres
of our piety and purity.

If we read the holy scriptures
of our religions to the letter
without the eyes of faith,
we will be ever marching
in a dry land of vast wilderness.

If we magnify our differences
through lofty texts and fiery speeches,
wrapping up theologies and ideologies
in uncomprehensible staccato language,
we will never reach the end road of conflicts.

But if we begin to meet those of
other religions as real humans
with their stories to tell on life and death,
with their dreams and work for peace,
love, mercy and justice,
then there is hope when
we meet as people
of different religious faiths.

___________________
written after attending the Nordic Conference on Religious Dialogue at Sigtunastifelsen in Stockholm, Sweden, March 26-28,2014

What should we talk about?
If we dwell in dogmatics and apologetics,
We will be lost in the sea of endless debates.

If we talk about history
And justify our faults and prejudices,
we will continue to dwell
in the private spheres
of our piety and purity.

If we read the holy scriptures
of our religions to the letter
without the eyes of faith,
we will be ever marching
in a dry land of vast wilderness.

If we magnify our differences
through lofty texts and fiery speeches,
wrapping up theologies and ideologies
in uncomprehensible staccato language,
we will reach the end road of conflicts.

But if we begin to meet those of
other religions as real humans
with their stories to tell on life and death,
with their dreams and work for peace,
love, mercy and justice,
then there is hope when
we meet as people
of different religious faiths.


___________________

by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

Comments (2)

I loved this poem greatly and wonderfully because it tells our real truth in life. Thanks
A beautiful statement on how to conduct a religious dialogue. I particularly liked the conclusive stanza on how we can relate in peace. Great write.