Building community - Inter-religious dialogue

Building community - Inter-religious dialogue

Speaking Violently: The Shifting Sands of Scripture by Karl Jechoutek

For a few weeks, Robert treated us to a stimulating series of sermons about the violence described in our scriptures. As usual, he challenged us to think laterally and to see beyond the mere text, interpreting the apparently gory scenes as transmitters of deeper meaning about life, death and faith.

Innate Purity by Hakan Yesliova

Jesus is remembered first and foremost by Muslims for the miracle of his birth without a biological father. Due to God’s majesty and honour, he acts in this world with his wisdom that is veiled by cause and effect. The hereafter, however, is a world in which God’s power, rather than wisdom, is manifested without any veils.

Short Introduction to The Messiah by Dr Azila Reisenberger

The word Messiah, which in Hebrew is pronounced Ma’shi’a’ch, stems like all Hebrew words from a three-letter root. Its root is M. SH. CH. which means ‘anointed’. According to Jewish tradition people who were chosen by God to speak on God’s behalf or were sent to fulfil God’s mission on earth were anointed with oil, which today we would call perfume or essence oil.

Noah's pudding and the Story of Ashura

On Sunday, 15 February 2009, our Muslim friends from the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative (CTII) surprised us with a neighbourly gift. Halil Yurtsever, his friends and their families had prepared boxes full of portions of ‘Noah’s Pudding’ to share with us at our coffee hour, a delicacy of apricots, figs, barley, chickpeas, beans, almonds and rice, amongst other ingredients!

The Value of Impurity by Karl Jechoutek

This Advent in 2008, there are precious few opportunities to feel optimistic. A global economic crisis is upon us, and will be with us for some time to come, stalling the fight against poverty and disease. Wars, conflicts and atrocities proliferate and perpetuate themselves throughout the world, and there is no end in sight. We all feel threatened by a wave of crime, lawlessness and xenophobia. Environmental responsibility is sorely lacking. Not a pretty picture, on the whole.

Common Ground by Karl Jechoutek

On the surface, it appears that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have been enjoying a comfortable monopoly in the exercise of prophecy. No other world religion appears to place so much emphasis on the warning voice in the wilderness, the messengers carrying the corrective word from a personal God to the people who are repeatedly straying from the straight and narrow path, even speaking truth to power.

Unexpected Messages by Azila Reisenberger

There is a famous hymn that implores God: ‘Make me a channel of your peace…’ I love the words of the song and in fact I see prophecy as a channel – a channel of communication between the Divine and humanity. Thinking about this raises the humorous question of what language God uses to communicate with us? Will God talk Hebrew to me and English to other South Africans? Or maybe Afrikaans?

One Revelation, Many Revelations? by Karl Jechoutek

The recent conversation at RUC between members of our congregation and representatives of the Muslim faith brought into focus what has been occupying the minds of scholars and theologians of religion over the millennia: where does revelation start, where does it end? Who can lay claim to the key parts of the revealed canon?

Christmas Kaleidoscope by Karl Jechotek

Let your mind wander to an obscure corner of a multi-faith empire two thousand years ago – an empire based on an official pantheon of gods with a long Hellenistic pedigree, but amenable to tolerating many religions and cults as long as they did not interfere with the efficient running of the government.

Activists and Mystics by Karl Jehoutek

The panel discussion on ‘Fundamentalism, Extremism and Tolerance’, hosted by the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative in March 2007, provided an opportunity to observe at close range the dilemma always faced by the three Abrahamic faiths when they have to define themselves in relation to others. Panellists from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions tried to get their minds around the topic of how the three rather vaguely defined concepts of dealing with faith in a diverse world could be placed in a common framework.