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The Future of Interfaith

By Drea Parker

I recently attended an international interfaith conference, the annual conference of the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN). A question put to the audience by the facilitator during one of the breakout sessions was, “What do you see or want to see as the future for interfaith?” Those of us present mentioned several desires for that we would like to experience, most notable was a colleague’s wish to have a cup of coffee during that hall-break with a co-worker who is of a different faith.

This reminded me of my time working for Hospice At Charlotte, where I had the first of many cultural exchanges, particularly my first interaction with a female co-worker who was Muslim. By this point in my life-journey, I’d heard vague meanderings about the religion of Islam, and about Muslims in general, during speculative conversations. I was (and still am) fascinated with their long, hard month of fasting during one of the hottest months of the year. Even with the tenuous teachings received growing up in the Bible Belt of North Carolina that is was impolite to ask questions about another’s religion, I couldn’t help myself and I asked her to tell me what it was like to go that long during the day without eating or drinking anything, especially while working at a high-paced, demanding job.

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