When Donna and I joined a Lutheran Church in Northfield in 1977, the Pastor asked if I would help lead the Adult Forum for the coming year (which up to that point had been a Bible study – averaging a few people each Sunday). I reluctantly agreed — on the condition that I decide on the program for the year. The Pastor reluctantly agreed on the condition that he know what kind of program I contemplated.
So I picked a topic. For the ensuing September – May, the Adult Forum series of our Church was titled “Our Neighbor’s Faith.” Each week (or two) we would focus on a different faith traditions. I brought in two Mormon couples, a Jewish rabbi, a Jesuit priest, two Jehovah’s Witnesses couples, a Salvation Army officer and so on. All – coming in to tell us about their religious beliefs.
By the time the year ended, average weekly attendance zoomed to 30 to 40 people. The Jehovah’s Witnesses (I still have an audiotape – somewhere) drew more than 50. Talk about interesting! An abbondonza of questions, comments and and pointed observations. For one group of visitors, I had to gently draw the line between proselytizing and informing. I declined to take on the responsibility the following year (it was exhausting!) so the Church recruited a professor from the Lutheran School of Theology to lead the Adult Forum for the year. I guess “Our Neighbor’s Faith” was a tough act to follow. 🙂 I continue to be interested (“fascinated” is probably a better word) in religion. I have previously posted (January 30, 2012) on how the Archangel Gabriel has ministered to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons and Bahai. The uber messenger. To the children of Abraham. Yet religion continues to unite — and divide — so many of us.