Some believe “Interfaith” is an impossible concept. Because of course religions are the perfect excuse for war and hate right? Well if you are a person of faith who hates, I have news for you: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
Apparently it is more exciting to see the suicide bombings and vandalism that arise from religious differences. This of course, sells more advertising.
There are far more instances of people helping people of other faiths than you will see in the media. The Bible has a nice story about a good Samaritan. It’s a short parable but worth reading. I believe that most faith-based organizations promote love. Extremism was never in the original mission statement. However, we as humans are prone to err. Sometimes rather large errs.
Ha! You thought this was going to be about some violent religious unsettling didn’t you?!!
I remember watching this video in amazement back in 2011. The definition for bystander is:
by•stand•er(ˈbaɪˌstæn dər) n. a person present but not involved; onlooker.
Well I guess these were not your normal, everyday bystanders…But what I was observing were the various ethnic backgrounds, races, classes and yes religions behind these “bystanders”. I don’t think one person there said, “Wait, who does this biker worship? Who do you worship?”. No, all this dogma was left by the wayside for the greater good of saving a human brother’s life. Wow! I hope I would have it in me. Don’t you?
This form of assistance is not new. Again approximately what year was The Good Samaritan story first shared?
A white supremacist group started harassing the Jewish population right before the winter holidays. The surrounding churches started posting pictures of menorahs as a show of support. This began the “Not in our Town” movement. The town was so successful at implementing this that the racial threats and violence were silenced.
About that time my former husband and I were raising three children in an apartment just outside of Northridge, California. I had met the Muslim neighbors who lived on the first floor. We did laundry together and just chatted about anything that came up. My former husband was leery of these people…they were Muslim you know. I had not yet started my journey of ignorant thinking so I continued to be friendly with them.
I remember they once invited us to an interfaith gathering in Pacoima, California. My ex-husband expressed that under no uncertain terms were we to participate. I didn’t argue. Mostly because I was just so tired from raising three little ones and working a full-time job. Plus I had about two weeks of laundry to do…
In the middle of a strange dream, it felt like God had picked up the Earth and then just dropped it. BAM!! I immediately jumped out of bed, trying to call out for my daughter in a louder voice than the thunderous sound of the world shaking around me…in complete darkness. Only clothed in a nightgown, I had to quickly find something to wear so we could get the heck out of our apartment.
Carefully, we made it out. Broken glass all over the floor, the refrigerator popped out of its nook and slid to the edge of the entry door. We converged to the front lawn of the building with the other residents, watching as explosions lit up the otherwise black sky and trying to remain calm as the aftershocks rocked the very foundation under us. I had experienced earthquakes before and they had never frightened me like the 1994 Northridge Quake.
I was worried about my boys, who were spending the night in Mar Vista with my mom and we were unable to get an outside line from our apartment before we got out. I had no idea if they got hit as badly as we did. Our Muslim neighbor, quietly said to me, “We have access to an outside line, follow us”. With gratitude, we followed them to their apartment and I was able to contact my mother and form a plan to meet up at her home.
I never saw my Muslim neighbors again. Just about everyone in the apartment building moved out within a day or two after 1/17/94. Nevertheless, they will always be Interfaith Heroes to me and I send light and love to them on occasion, never forgetting their good hearts.
Developing a friendly rapport with a neighbor, without considering our differences in faith is, well a neighborly thing to do. Because we all are companions in this great community we call Earth. You never know if your fellow citizens might be the one who could help you with some kind of traumatic situation or if you will be the one who will stand in the gap for someone other than yourself – regardless of our beliefs.
Anyone can be an Interfaith Hero! Yet it doesn’t take an act of heroism to be a good person among persons. I do believe however, that being a good neighbor is a great start to having a blissful life!
Stay Blissful My Friends – E