MONTREAL — A rabbi, a priest and an imam are sharing a new blog to offer their respective faith’s perspective on current issues and common human problems.
They hope to provide a model for getting along in a pluralistic society, as well as dispel misconceptions about their religions and show that religious reflection has a place in society today.
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of the modern Orthodox Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Côte St. Luc; Father John Walsh, retired pastor of the Catholic St. John de Brébeuf Church in LaSalle, and Imam Ziyad Delic, leader of the South Nepean Muslim Community in Ottawa, are the creators of faithblender.com.
They’re acquainted with each other through their years of public speaking and writing, rather than formal interfaith dialogue.
This is how they introduce themselves:
“We have no intention to convert each other and we have no intention, in any way, to attempt to convert you.
“We know that people of many faiths live on the same street, work side by side, share the same cities, and are trying to build better neighbourhoods. We can no longer pass each other as strangers.
“We want to share our three traditions on a variety of subjects so that you will come to know our many similarities while respecting our differences.”
In “blending,” apparently, they do not fear losing their distinctiveness. The blending suggests they’re not competing with each as to who has the best answer.
Among the site’s current articles is Imam Delic’s about the recent inadvertent incineration of the Qu’ran at a NATO base in Afghanistan, titled “Learn, don’t burn – Forgive, don’t kill”.
Father Walsh offers his thoughts on last month’s Supreme Court ruling on the ethics and religious culture course that’s compulsory in Quebec schools, while Rabbi Steinmetz, a football fan, makes a connection between the crisis in Syria and the Super Bowl.
He confesses to the guilt he felt enjoying the game while innocents were suffering in the Middle East. As a child of Holocaust survivors, his consciousness of responsibility to others in trouble is acute, he says.
In a statement of principles, the three clerics say they believe in one God, ask forgiveness for the wrongs done in the name of that deity, and follow the Golden Rule, common to the three faiths.
They hope to encourage dialogue and reconciliation, and to contribute to a better world and meaning in individual lives. They say they’re eager to hear from the readers they want to attract.
All are experienced communicators beyond their respective communities.
Rabbi Steinmetz, a former CJN columnist, writes for Jewish and non-Jewish publications, has a weekly segment on Radio Shalom, and has his own blog, titled “The Happiness Warrior.”
Bosnian-born Imam Delic, who holds a doctorate from Simon Fraser University, lectures and writes extensively, especially on being Muslim in Canada. He has been listed as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world.
Father Walsh, the senior member of the trio, has spent decades in interfaith relations, especially with the Jewish community. He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his command of Hebrew always delights Jewish audiences. For 15 years, he had a talk show on CJAD radio.
Since his retirement, Father Walsh has become an e-book publisher, seeking out authors who are “critically concerned with human nature.”
This article appears in the March 29 print issue of The CJN