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Published:August 26th, 2009 14:30 EST
The Solution to Ecumenical Problems

The Solution to Ecumenical Problems

By Tony Graff

Imagine two ministers of different faiths walking down the street. They pass each other, and cast a sideways glance at each other. They both share one single, condemning thought: Oh, that poor fool, he just doesn`t get it. He is going to Hell. And they pass on without a word.

Having been a minister for my own particular faith, it became absolutely frustrating that a fellow Christian would condemn another follower of Christ. Now, I know all of you religious folks out there are flexing your fingers getting ready to tell me that some who claim to be Christian aren`t, but, withhold that thought.

In my experiences and interactions with various religions, ranging from Hindu to Jehovah`s Witnesses, The ability to be Christian, which I define as one seeking and trying to exemplify the attributes of Jesus Christ, is not limited to only those who know who Christ is. Many times, my faith has been strengthened by interactions with Eastern faiths, such as Sikhism and Buddhism. True ecumenity, then, must include these faiths as well.

Is it possible with what has been said for a faith to share its doctrine with another without the contention and competition? Absolutely. The source of true religious fellowship, I conclude, is based in a lecture presented by a lama of the Hindu faith, and the principle repeated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I am a human, I experience suffering and happiness. That alone is sufficient reason for me to want to help others, and receive help from others. That is the keystone of ecumenical cooperation. We simply are human.

The best part is, every faith has a doctrine in some form or another that says it`s all going to work out anyway. Christians believe that Christ will come again to the earth and bring a thousand years of peace. I figure the only perfect person should be able to handle perfectly people who understood and lived 80 percent of what He taught, and that these thousand years will definitely be a place of teaching. Buddhism says that if we screwed up this life, we will come back in a different form for another lifetime of learning and finally become a soul freed from samsara.

Either way, we do much better focusing on the one thing that every human shares. If we do so, we more fully become effective people of faith. Try it out.