Thirty years ago “interfaith” was not a word to use without an explanation. Today, googling interfaith identifies more than 12.8 million entries in half a second. Interfaith, multireligious, multifaith – we hear these words in the news, in hundreds of new interreligious websites and blogs, and in a multitude of responses to the new religious diversity in our midst.
For a novice, this can feel overwhelming. Even those who’ve labored in the interfaith vineyard for decades tend to underestimate the scope of interfaith bridge-building going on in neighborhoods around the world. For anyone wanting to learn more about the interfaith movement, its history and its role in the 21st century, its protocols and foundational documents, there is little to provide a context or identify the cream of the crop among the proliferating resources at our disposal.
The Interfaith Observer (TIO), launched on September 15, 2011, is an electronic journal created to explore interreligious relations and the interfaith movement as a whole. It provides historical perspectives, survey current interfaith news, and otherwise provides maps and sign-posts for newcomers. It offers a context to explore and respond to the new religious world around us. The Observer is designed as a resource for the general reader, anyone interested in the subject; but articles are filled with references and links for those who wish to pursue a particular subject.
Along with examining our spiritual and religious differences, the journal inquires into shared core values, offers various perspectives on the unparalleled religious diversity enveloping humankind, reflects on theological and spiritual issues, and is developing a social network for interfaith activists focused on service. A long-term goal is to help grow connective tissue between large interfaith ventures and stakeholders and the rest of us. We will promote the major institutional players. And provide space for the creative little guys all over the map who are doing wonderful new things.
The TIO team will focus its energies in the coming months on producing a vital, useful publication, then go through a discernment process regarding the journal’s corporate identity. Until then The Interfaith Peace Project of Antioch, California, has graciously offered to be TIO’s fiscal sponsor, allowing the journal to receive tax-deductible donations. TIO is happy to be an expression The Interfaith Peace Project, which is dedicated to developing and enhancing our appreciation of the faith traditions of the world.
One of TIO’s goals is to a connecter and bridge-builder within the global interfaith community. To that end, TIO is a member of the North American Interfaith Network, an affiliate of United Religions Initiative-North America, and a Cooperation Circle of United Religions-Multiregion.
North American Interfaith Network
United Religions Initiative