Dear URI Family,
Amazingly, when Sally Mahe's recollection of "birthing values" arrived, I was reading my opening speech given at that same Summit, June 24, 1996. Here are a few things that I said. Please keep in mind that I was aiming for a United Religions, not a United Religions Initiative.
"Greetings! I marvel that I am standing here talking about something that has never happened in the world, and almost everyone who has had access to my ears has told me will never happen. I marvel even more that you are seated there in earnest, listening to this. Today, indeed, is a special moment. Credulity trembles.! And delirious hope gasps for a first breath. An entire new life for the world beckons us to step ahead."
In my travels, "Thus far, I have garnered some learnings and developed some guesses concerning the scope of a United Religions. Here are eleven samples:
1 - A United Religions could end up being basically a spiritual resource for peace among religions, healing among nations and wholeness in the realm of nature.
3 - Nothing takes the place of one to one, face to face, interfaith work.
5 - The most basic issue is whether or not a religion believes that the world holds together in an ultimate unity.
7 - A United Religions would be the place where religions could find some wiggle room in the midst of intractable situations.
8 - The most powerful teachers of interfaith are the media and one's own religious tradition. Most often neither teaches what is accurate about the religion of others.
9 - A United Religions would hold each faith in context of all faiths for the sake of all life."
"I am convinced that someday there will be a United Religions. There is not going to be a time when one religion converts, conquers, subjugates all of the other religions to itself. Furthermore, religions are going to have to learn to live together. No longer can one one religion use terror, law, threat to excise other religions from its territory. The sooner we find a way for religions to share the some geographic space, the sooner life will be enhanced."
"At the first of this century, there was a time when human beings knew in their bones that we should fly. So all kinds of people glued feathers to their arms, climbed to the top of the barn, began flapping and jumped off. And sure enough, right around then we learned to fly. So, I don't mind standing in front of you today smelling of feathers and sticking with glue. I'll tell you right now, I'm jumping."
Dear URI family members, I am overwhelmed with gratitude thinking about the journey from June, 1996 until June 2015. We are flapping together and soaring, and it is spiritually intoxicating.
With blessings and love,