Ramadan 2009: Part 2 Why is a committed Christian joining faithful Muslims in observing Ramadan?

When I wrote Everything Must Change, I spent over a year studying our world’s biggest challenges. It became clear through my research that three critical social/economic/political challenges underlie the others:

1. How can we develop a reformed and renewed economic system that sustains and regenerates the planet rather than consumes and degrades it? (The challenge of the planet, the crisis of an unsustainable prosperity)
2. How can we deal with the growing gap between rich and poor, where a privileged few live in extreme luxury leaving the many farther and farther behind, with about a sixth of the global population living struggling extreme poverty? (The challenge of poverty, the crisis of growing inequity)
3. How can we learn to address and resolve conflicts with nonviolent means, when more and more groups and nations are being armed with more and more potentially catastrophic weapons? (The challenge of peace, the crisis of security)

But it also became clear that beneath these challenges, there was an even deeper question: why weren’t we dealing with the first three problems, when they are simultaneously so obvious and dangerous? I concluded that our societies are driven by narratives that can be either creative or destructive, and our current narratives drive us away from creative engagement with our biggest challenges.
“Where do societal narratives come from?” I wondered as I continued in my research. Clearly, they usually come from faith communities. But our faith communities today too often teach us narratives that drive us to make the first three crises worse, not better, which brings us to our fourth great challenge:

4. How can our faith communities discover and communicate healing rather than destructive narratives so that we will meet the first three challenges? (The challenge of purpose, the crisis of spirituality)

As a Christian, of course, I seek to challenge my fellow Christians to grapple with this challenge in a Christian context. But the truth is, no single religion can meet this challenge alone. So by the time I was finished with EMC, I knew that inter-religious collaboration for the common good would be an even bigger part of my future than it had been in my past.
Then last year, I was speaking at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and after the service, an enthusiastic woman named Nadyne came up to me and told me about a network she and a Muslim friend had started. It was called Peace Moms … (to be continued)
P.S. If you want to learn more, along with Peace Moms
Read the Spirit and FaithHouse Manhattan and Abrahamic Alliance are great examples of interfaith relationship-building.