A nationally renowned author, activist, speaker and peace advocate, Dr. David Carlson seeks to create solidarity and bonds of peace among peoples of faith and others in an ongoing campaign to work together to advocate for world peace. Through his frequent speaking engagements and prolific writings-both in book and article formats, Dr. Carlson continues to forge a spiritual friendship movement that transcends religious boundaries to witness for peace while offering a meaningful response to religious violence. Dr. Carlson's message of reconciliation and understanding through interfaith dialogue speaks to the scores of people who desire to know followers of other religions in their quest to live in a more peaceful world.
Based on the universal belief that the neighbor has sacred value, Dr. Carlson harnesses the power of the spiritual friendship movement between Muslims and Christians to quell suspicion and hostility and instead encourage people of diverse walks of life to come together with humility and grace. Against the backdrop of violent extremism, most notably perpetrated by ISIS/ISIL and other more recent terrorist groups, Dr. Carlson writes and speaks on the topic of collectively grieving whenever our American Muslim neighbors are treated with suspicion and even hatred, especially in the aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11 and more recent terrorist incidents. In his eloquent prayer offerings and thoughtful radio and TV interviews, Dr. Carlson urges against anti-Muslim sentiment and hate-filled acts in our country. Instead he suggests we respond to the divine in others so we can build bonds of trust and mutual respect among peoples of different faiths and belief systems.
As exemplified in his 2011 book, Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World, Dr. Carlson advocates for discovering a new yet ancient basis for genuine peace between Christianity and other religions - especially Islam. "It is time for Christians to use their power to change the conversation and to ponder Jesus' command to treat the stranger as our neighbor and to treat our neighbor not only as ourselves, but as God in our midst," Dr. Carlson writes in his trailblazing book.
An author and religious studies professor at Franklin College - an Indiana liberal arts college, Dr. Carlson continues to underscore this same theme of interfaith dialogue and religious comity in his recently released nonfiction book, Countering Religious Extremism: The Healing Power of Spiritual Friendships, which was published in April 2017.
On this night of January 22, 2019 we came together as a community to address the issues of racial healing in Wichita. The community came out in bitter cold and snow to warm their souls and learn what local organizations are doing to help the community you live in. You can still be a part of bringing your community together contact Beyond Tolerance Wichita or Global Faith in Action to learn how you can make a difference in your community.
The Kansas/Nebraska Great Plains United Methodist Conference invited “Beyond Tolerance-Wichita” to present a panel discussion at their annual “For the Transformation of the World” October 28, 2017 event. The conferences mission was to discuss the purpose of the church (religious organizations) in a racially divided nation. The panel shared their Beyond Tolerance story in Wichita and offered it as a model to transform communities by building relationships and respecting all people through truth and justice. Panel participants were: Bishop Wade Moore and Rev. Sam Muyskens, co-founders of Beyond Tolerance Wichita, Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Wichita City Councilwoman LaVonta Williams, Rabbi Michael Davis, Dr. Tom Wine, Chair of Music Education at Wichita State University, Danielle Johnson, Program Coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wichita State University, and Panel Facilitator Kameelah Alexander, Community Services representative for the City of Wichita.
By Katherine Burgess
“Have you ever been discriminated against because of your race, religion or beliefs?” “Is it important that all persons experience human dignity? How is human dignity important to how you relate to persons of different races, ethnicities or color?”
Those are just some of the questions that Wichitans of different religions, races and cultures answered while gathered around a meal at last year’s Beyond Tolerance Dinner Dialogues.
This year, the founders of Beyond Tolerance hope for more young people and more ethnicities to be represented around the dinner table.
“The whole reason for the dinner dialogue is that people get to know each other at a greater depth and see the beauty in each other,” said the Rev. Sam Muyskens, a retired United Methodist minister.
When nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., were gunned down in 2015, Wichitans of different races gathered together for a prayer vigil.
At the vigil, Bishop Wade Moore, senior pastor of Christian Faith Centre, said the racial divide could be ended “on our watch.”
The next day, Muyskens and Moore gathered with other pastors and Rabbi Michael Davis at Congregation Emanu-El, a Jewish synagogue.
Moore told the clergy he had heard African-Americans saying others merely tolerate them rather than needing them.
“We can move beyond tolerance if we just listen to each other,” he said.
The Beyond Tolerance movement developed to include pulpit exchanges between pastors, citywide rallies, dinner dialogues and more. This year’s Dinner Dialogues will take place on Feb. 28.
Global Faith in Action, a nonprofit founded by Muyskens, had held some dinner dialogues previously. Beyond Tolerance continued the concept but held the dialogues in people’s homes. The first one was held last year.
People who attended included Protestants from a variety of denominations, Catholics, Muslims, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Baha’is. They also came from a variety of races.
Too often, people interact only with others similar to them, Davis said.
“That’s how you have islands of people who are different,” Davis said. “We’re trying to build bridges between the islands.”
The dinners are vegetarian. When signing up, participants are asked to list their race, age and religion, so home assignments can be as diverse as possible.
The meal starts with introductions, then each participant answers a scripted question. When a question is answered, everyone else listens without interrupting, questioning or commenting.
At the end of the dinner, people have time to simply talk. They also are encouraged to take “action steps,” such as arranging to visit each other’s places of worship or to meet again.
Last year, people ate together who had never visited in a home with someone of another culture or religion, Moore said.
“What came out of it was a better understanding of people’s history, of where they come from, some things they’ve been through,” Moore said. “And that gives people a better understanding of that person and they move beyond just tolerating that individual to really understanding them and knowing why they live the way they live.”
To register for a Dinner Dialogue, visit www.beyondtolerancewichita.org. Registration closes on Friday.
Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article132775994.html#storylink=cpy
Religious leaders are coming together, challenging each other to look beyond racial tolerance towards transformation. It is our goal to find a way to transform our community by respecting all God’s people through truth and justice. To that end, religious leaders across our area are seeking to partner with congregations of differing color and culture.
Hanging of Ribbons
Sept. 25 to Nov. 15, 2015
Pulpit/Pastor Exchanges: An exchange of religious leaders between black, white, and brown congregations will take place this fall. We invite your congregation to participate. Join the challenge to tilt the scales toward justice for all. No better place for the conversation to begin than within our places of worship.
Hanging of Ribbons: We plan to blanket the city with black, white and brown ribbons tied around trees. Help hang ribbons at your place of worship, home, school, university, college, and business. Our ribbons will be a constant reminder that a transformed community will occur when we live “beyond tolerance”.
“Moving Beyond Tolerance”