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Minister's Manifesto

07/19/2017 04:13:48 PM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

In 1957, a collection of eight white ministers publicly endorsed what is known as the Minister’s Manifesto, a document that denounced racial segregation. These eight brave individuals risked their position, their parish and, indeed, their very lives in taking a stand for what they believed.

As a student of civil rights, I know that the journey through the Supreme Court to the halls of Congress to the pen of the President began in the houses of worship. People of faith reached inward to understand how best to live their scripture and they reached outward in common embrace across faith lines. Yes, the civil rights movement needed the politicians and, yes, the influence and impact of the support of the business community must be given great credit in advancing the cause. But it was concerned people of faith who marched in the streets and studied together and prayed together (often in holding cells).

What made that movement so successful was that genuine relationships were formed between people of different faiths as they learned about each other’s religious tradition and learned about each other’s values. And I would argue that the genuine relationships formed in the Movement found expression in the liturgy of the sanctuary.

We have an opportunity to once again reach out and initiate relationships across faith boundaries. It starts, though, not by being hospitable when individuals come to us but rather by being good guests when experiencing the hospitality of others. ICI, Atlanta’s Interfaith Community Initiatives, holds regular immersion programs, opportunities for us as individuals to experience other houses of worship over the course of a weekend. During these weekends, individuals will:

·      Attend and participate in Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian worship and practices;

·      Hear from leaders of diverse cultural and religious communities;

·      Share meals that are prepared according to specific traditions;

·      Engage in dialogues and interact with people from diverse communities;

·      Process the experience through discussion and introspection.

If this sounds interesting to you, click here to send me an email. I’ll be able to answer any questions and get you connected with the organization.

This is not the time to wait. As our tradition articulates: if not me, then who? And if not now, when?

See you on the bus.



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