Sikhs believe that one can follow any number of religious paths to the same ultimate goal, so long as that path is traversed and mediated by the same core values, including love, wisdom, and discipline. This model of open-mindedness and open-heartedness also keeps Sikhs from engaging in competitions to proselytize or missionize people.
This week, a world facing crises on many fronts rang in Christmas. Though this is traditionally a season of good cheer, in his holiday address at the Vatican, Pope Francis showed it could also be a time of sober reflection. The often good-humored pontiff delivered a somber message of concern for abused children, refugees, and victims of violence and war. The speech was similar in tone to his annual message to the cardinals, bishops, and priests who run the Vatican, delivered earlier in the week, in which the Pope decried 15 "ailments of the Curia." These included "careerism and opportunism," "social exhibitionism," and "spiritual Alzheimer's," seen in those who "become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands." His words stand as a worthy challenge to us all to combat indifference and tap into the better angels of our nature -- no matter what religious tradition you may follow (including none at all).
Growing up, my father was famous with the members of my family for his creative story telling abilities. I can remember all of the children in the family gathering around the base of his well-used recliner and settling in for yet another tall tale from Poppy, as the excitement and anticipation of what was to come consumed us.