Building Hope: Muslims, Christians and Jews Seeking the Common Good

by Rick Love

I am writing from Yale University in New Haven, CT where I am preparing for the upcoming Building Hope conference (June 13-22, 2011). I am consulting with the Reconciliation Program directed by Joseph Cumming. The Reconciliation Program is part of Yale’s Center for Faith & Culture, directed by Miroslav Volf. 

The Reconciliation Program will be hosting this strategic conference of influential, mid-career Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious leaders who have a proven record of leadership and clear future potential. Approximately ten leaders from each faith community have been chosen for this opportunity to consult with each other, to learn about one another’s faiths, and to bear witness to their respective faiths. In the process we hope that they will develop lasting relationships with each other and help create the conditions for more peaceful and cordial interactions among these faith communities in the twenty-first century. 

One of the unique aspects of the Building Hope Conference is that participants represent what could be called “progressive conservatives.” In the past, interfaith dialogues have tended to attract the more liberal, universalist members of each faith community. But this is not the case with this group of leaders. We are coming together to wrestle with some of the big global issues confronting the world today. Here are some of the topics we will cover: 

  • Peacemaking and tolerance according to our sacred texts
  • Religiously sanctioned violence: “terrorism” and the “war on terror”
  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Ethics of Da’wa (Islamic outreach) and evangelism
  • Freedom of religion and respect for the other

The Building Hope conference focuses on Seeking the Common Good. Seeking the common good is an undervalued but massively important issue. If you are interested in understanding what it means to seek the common good or want to grow in your understanding of Christian-Muslim relations, please read Allah: A Christian Response by Miroslav Volf -- a brilliant theological analysis and a peacemaking manifesto.

Muslims, Christians and Jews comprise well over half of the world’s population. Thus, without peace among these three religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world today. A small but important step toward peace is seeking the common good together. Please pray for the Building Hope Conference!