I have been listening to the reflections of those involved in the multifaith movement on the state of our common work. Sometimes people expressed themselves with words: a mixture of longing and visions for the future. Other times I heard the almost wordless sighs and silences about missed opportunities, difficult challenges, and deep frustrations.
- First, I have heard people realizing the hope that multifaith work has to help us live together given our cultural differences. In this moment of political violence and dehumanizing rhetoric gathering people from different wisdom traditions is a sign that we can know and love each other.
- Second, I have heard people feeling supported by others when they were under the pressure of dehumanizing speech by both hate groups and political leaders. This is never perfect, but it is powerful!
- Third, I have also heard people across Washington State feeling lonely. The larger media and social media do not share good news very well. If it bleeds it reads, and so good news does not get written. People in one town don’t know the good work that is happening in the next. Many people feel like they are singing on the prairie alone and don’t perceive the choir that is all around.
- Lastly, I have heard people say they would like to start some kind of multifaith work, but don’t know where to begin.
One of our approaches to this is our Challenge 2.0 show, the Paths to Understanding Podcast, and our Paths Network.
Another is social media. But we have challenges with social media as we have to pay Facebook to get messages even to people who follow our page. Research shows that negative messages, false news travels seven-times faster than good news. More than that, these social media companies are writing their code in such a way that powers the divisions, dehumanization, and violence of our time. Plus, we just don’t want to give Facebook our money anymore.
Something else is needed at this moment. We need something that connects us, but not leads us down the wide path to destruction.
In response to all of this, we are developing our own community, The Paths Network.
In the Paths Network you’ll be able to access:
- Short Courses: Introductory classes that take about an hour to complete
- Mid-level Courses: Courses that take about 12 hours to complete, sometimes with live interaction.
- Full-Distance Learning Courses: Offering certificates of completion for people who really want to work in multi-faith or in countering dehumanization.
- A sense of community. We are creating online groups and topic areas for people to share their questions, wondering, and learnings with one another. It looks a bit like Facebook but is NOT social media.
We think that the Paths Network will be a way for those of us doing multi-faith work to get connected, work together, find partners and realize we are not singing alone on the prairie anymore.
One of the cool things is that once you become a member of the Paths Network, you can connect to other members who are close to you geographically. We think this will support people in working together.
To work toward equity and justice, you can take courses or be in the network for free, or you can make an optional financial contribution.
The Paths Network is now open, you can find out more at www.pathsnetwork.org.
Please consider joining us!