Abraham & Interfaith Dialogue

Last Thursday (September 29) I was privileged to participate in an Interfaith Panel on “The Role of the Prophet Abraham in Interfaith Dialogue.” Rabbi Frank Stern was the moderator, and I was joined in the presentation by Shaikh Suhail Mulla and Rabbi Joel Berman. (See the event information here, along with biographical information for each of us.) It took place at the spacious new offices of the Pacifica Institute in Irvine.

I have no idea why I was chosen to go first, especially since it seemed to me that the Jewish tradition gives the foundation upon which both Christians and Muslims understand their faith.  However, the order of presentations turned out to “work,” I think, thanks to Rabbi Stern’s excellent introduction.  My presentation was a bit more formal; Shaikh Mulla’s sounded very natural and heartfelt; and finally Rabbi Berman launched an excellent and beautiful improvisation on what we all said. He started out his career as a stand-up comic, and those skills served him (and all of us) well.

You can also view or download my presentation notes here.

Here are the videos. Enjoy.

Rabbi Frank Stern

Fr. Tom Welbers

Shaikh Suhail Mulla

Rabbi Joel Berman

The question and answer period went on for another half hour, and was quite lively. However, there was no mic for the questioners, and I suspect the video would be hard to follow, so I guess they chose not to publish it. (Maybe an edited version could appear.)

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Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

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