About the Chaplain's Corner

Welcome to the Chaplain's Corner! Here you will find information about events contributing to the spiritual wellness on campus. Visit often for updates on lectures, luncheon series, and student organizations. Ongoing events include the The Open Table series, Chaplain's Luncheon series, and many other events.

Better Together: An Interfaith Pledge

This coming week Drury University will be participating in a national effort promoted by the Interfaith Youth Council (IYC). It is called "Better Together Day." In our case, we will be having "Better Together Week" with the goal of nurturing interfaith dialogue on our campus. In this coming week, selected students, staff, and faculty will share their own religious or philosophical stories and encourage you to share yours. Please check out the "Humanities Blog."

Why are people of differing faiths and beliefs better together? The answer is simple: because we have more peaceful, mutually respectful, and communal lives when we work together than when we separate into our own religious or philosophical enclaves. We come to understand one another. We move beyond stereotypes. We find that we can appreciate the distinctiveness of our own spiritual or intellectual paths when we learn more about the paths of others. Moreover, we come to see that our differences are often not as great as we would have thought. We are all human. We all seek meaning. We all need to be a part of communities that help us find our way; and we all have a need to give to others and contribute to making the world more meaningful and life-giving.

I treasure my friends from other faith and intellectual traditions. I do not see their differences as inherently threatening. Instead, I find that their distinctive beliefs are gifts. This past semester in the weekly "Open Table" worship service I help to facilitate, we had the pleasure of hearing from many different traditions. Professor Charlyn Ingwerson spoke about her travels in Israel. Rabbi Barbara Block helped us to understand the meaning of some classic prayers from the Reform tradition of Judaism. A student in my History of Christianity class, Nawal Al-Sabhan, told us about his own religious tradition as a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia.

A special part of "Better Together Week" will be the opportunity to sign the Interfaith Youth Council pledge. If you sign it, you will promise to have a conversation at some point in the coming months with a person from a different religious or philosophical tradition. To make it count, the conversation will have to be about those differing traditions. The point will not be confrontation or persuasion. Rather, it will be mutual understanding. (To sign the pledge, go to the Better Together Day website).

As a minister, I genuinely believe that life is better together. My own take on the Jesus tradition is that Jesus repeatedly interacted with different identities, cultures, and beliefs. As a person who tries (poorly) to follow the way of Jesus, I think that I should do the same thing. I plan to sign the interfaith conversation pledge. I hope that you will join me.

Peter Browning
Office of the Chaplain
Drury University