interfaith & interspiritual

White lotus on blue background, with the inscription Namaste, a Sanskrit term meaning the Divinity in Me salutes the Divinity in you.
Lotus painting for sanctuary generously donated by Paul and Joyce Jurgensen. Artist: Sandy Knapp.

The Interfaith Movement was fueled in large part by the founding of the New Seminary in New York City in 1981.  The seminary was a collective effort by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman and clergy from several other traditions to bridge the gulf between often-antagonistic religious groups. Gradually, their experiment grew into a network of interfaith seminaries and communities around the country.

 “Interspiritual” is a term that was coined by Wayne Teasdale, a lay Catholic monk, in his 1999 book, The Mystic Heart.  Many now consider “interspiritual” a more accurate term for the spiritual impulse that began with Rabbi Gelberman and others.  As Brother Teasdale described it:

“We must seed a new consciousness… drawing its inspiration from perennial spiritual and moral insights, intuition, and experience. We call this new awareness interspiritual, implying not the homogenization of religion, but the recovering of the shared mystic heart beating in the center of the world’s deepest spiritual traditions.”

The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale describes the emerging interspiritual movement.At the Interfaith Center, we seek to align ourselves with what is most true about the collective wisdom in the world’s mystical traditions:  the teaching that each human being is an individual expression of Divinity in physical form, and as such, we are all One. This core concept lies at the center of everything we teach.

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