Saturday, February 02, 2008
Food, Fellowship & Faith Dialogue Dinners
Formal dialogues have been taking place between Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints for some time now, both in private academic forums as well as public events. I believe these activities and venues are important and that they should continue. I also believe that other forms of dialogue need to take place, and that perhaps the most promising venue for understanding is in our neighborhoods. I have been amazed in Utah as at times I have seen LDS wards meeting for services each Sunday right next to traditional Christian churches, and yet each religious community rarely acknowledges the existence of the other, let alone attempts to engage in dialogue.
We are experimenting with a process that we hope will address this situation. This coming weekend we will be hosting what we hope will be the first of many potluck gatherings that will include a small number of Latter-day Saints from my neighborhood, as well as traditional Christians. This will not be a place for proselytizing by either religious community, and it will be constructed as a safe space for the development of relationships and understanding. The first meeting is designed to bring us together around food and fellowship, and members of each religious community will have an opportunity to share their testimony and faith story. We hope to build on this with future gatherings as we build relationships and feel more comfortable talking about issues of faith.
Perhaps our small gathering will serve as a model for dialogical dinners that can be replicated in other neighborhoods.