I was ordained 32 years ago and have since heard many conversations about the diminishing influence of wisdom traditions in the US. There are numerous reasons for this, which I won’t list here. While some find ancient traditions less relevant, many others still yearn for meaning, mystery, and community—feelings sometimes found at concerts or sporting events.
Many wisdom traditions started as responses to crises. Their founders grasped human nature’s vulnerabilities and potentials, proposing ways to overcome the crisis and forming communities ready to tackle future challenges.
We are facing a crisis today.
We are just not sure we can trust people, especially people in other groups. This lack of trust is eating away at our democracy and the peace of our neighborhoods. Over 70% of Americans are anxious about this lack of trust. For many, wisdom traditions symbolize this Us versus Them dynamic.
Leaders of wisdom communities have the power to address this crisis.
Imagine if, in every neighborhood, wisdom communities knew, collaborated, and spoke positively of each other. When people with deep traditions connect and respect one another, it’s a sign for our whole community that we can overcome this crisis.
As the majority wisdom tradition in the US, it’s crucial for Christians to engage. For this to happen, Christians need to embrace forming relationships with people of diverse traditions and cultures. This is why I wrote ‘Go and Do Likewise,’ where I share my journey towards multi-faith relationships. I was taught to view such relationships as unfaithful, but I’ve come to understand they’re essential to Christian identity. I aim to guide Christians in joining hands with others to address this crisis.
By confronting this crisis together, wisdom traditions can regain relevance and influence alongside our wise neighbors. By confronting this crisis, we can play a role in a brighter future for our communities and meaning in living out the visions of our founders.