The challenge for any minority faith is the ability to participate on both levels - creating awareness of one's faith and energizing members in the values of the faith to, in turn, express those values through projects which can benefit the world around them.
Last week I attended the Parliament of the World's Religions, a gathering at Salt Lake City of 10,000 people from around the world. My first impression was amazement at the variety of headgear on display as I wandered the halls of the gargantuan Salt Palace convention center.
On October 16-19 a Parliament of various religious traditions was held in Salt Lake City. The first of these was held in Chicago in 1893, and after a century hiatus, another one in 1993. Subsequently the Parliament has met every five years.
There was a time in my life I would have agreed. I would have felt, for example, that to even respect another religion would be to compromise my own. Today, however, I realize that was an expression of my insecurity, not a compromise of my faith.
The underlying assumption of the Parliament is that religion can be a positive force for moral suasion of individuals and society by providing a vision of a better world and promoting necessary values.
Leigh Taylor-Young and I participated recently in the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia. Nelson Mandela attended that Parliament and spoke of his debt to religion throughout his life.