Generosity of the spirit is ... the ability to acknowledge an interconnectedness—one's debts to society—that binds one to others whether one wants to accept it or not. It is also the ability to engage in the caring that nurtures that interconnectedness. It is a virtue that everyone should strive for, even though few people have a lot of it—a virtue the practice of which gives meaning to the frustrations of political work and the inevitable loneliness of the separate self. It is a virtue that leads one into community work and is sustained by such involvements. — Robert Bellah, sociologist, in Habits of the Heart
IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... we spent time reflecting on our experiences with interfaith work and planning how we might make it a part of our lived, Unitarian Universalist faith.
- Start an interfaith service journal. Use it to write ideas for future projects, names and address of potential interfaith partners, and your reflections on how your interfaith service work enriches your own faith.
- Give yourself three small goals to begin making interfaith work part of your lived faith. Post them in a place you will see regularly, such as on the cover of your notebook, above your toothbrush, or on the refrigerator. Examples might be: Invite someone from a different faith to a sleepover, read a chapter from the Hebrew or Christian scripture or another religious text every week, attend an ecumenical or interfaith worship service in your community, see a movie or read a book with a main character from a different faith, or join the Interfaith Youth Core's Bridge-Builders network online and read the newsletters every month.
- Learn about mentoring from a book such as The Heart of Mentoring: Ten Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress, 2003) by David A. Stoddard or The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships (Jossey-Bass, 2000) by Lois J. Zachary. See a mentoring relationship where the passion of the mentor is picked up by his students in the movie The Dead Poets Society (1989). Reach out to someone younger, maybe a middle-schooler. Tell them about your own experience about why interfaith work is important to you.