Let’s Orient

Informative interview with J Street head honcho Jeremy ben Ami.

Give it a read. Digest. Comment.


J Street Blog Takeover

Friends- This blog has gone unnoticed for several months. Apologies, and thanks to those who have interacted thru dialogue, email, twitter, etc.

What better opportunity to return to regular blogging than today, as I’m en route to DC for the J Street national conference, Making History.

Check here for updates the next few days as I hear speakers, attend discussions, and advocate to congress.

I hope you’ll stay engaged upon my return; coming up we have Interfaith Seder, ongoing conversation & community, and the launch of an ancient worship experience in modern terms.

Your partner in peace-

God in the Box: Opportunity to Q&A with a Heartland Official Selection

This year at Heartland Film Fest hundreds will come together for screenings of God in the Box (trailer).  A documentary film that, “explore[s] our diverse and unique views, together as a community, no matter your beliefs or faith or lack of belief.” (from God in the Box press release):

“The film chronicles the journey of a curious Box that pops up on street corners, where people step inside and share drawings and testimonials illustrating their private views of God. Theologians, historians and a mythologist join us on the journey to understand why we see God the way we do in the 21st century.”

Sound familiar?  Sounds a lot like us, huh?  That’s why we’re proud to announce a partnership between Indy Interfaith Conversation Network and God in the Box with partner organizations Lockerbie Central UMC and the Earth House Collective.

Join us on Sunday, October 16th, 6pm at Lockerbie Central’s progressive approach to Christian worship followed by clips of the film and a live Q&A session with the film’s production crew.  Then come out to one of three screenings for Heartland on October 17th, 18th, or 22nd.

Stay tuned for additional opportunities to connect with God in the Box crew and engage with us, the Indy Conversation Network, doing what we do best:  Conversation.

Member Profile Series, Entry One: Our Seminarian in Residence

Beginning this week we will be highlighting the diverse viewpoints of our members: first up: erica

Erica is a founding member of our community, and she has helped bring others to the network through authentic relationships.  In her post you’ll quickly see how Erica’s humor, open-mindedness, and pursuit of knowledge is a great fit for our growing community.

Like what you read?  Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Join us here.

Member profile seires, entry one:

For the majority of my life, I was taught to take the Bible literally. I never questioned anything I was told in Sunday school or church and tried to tell people to accept Jesus as their personal Savior or they would regret it. In short, I was clearly very popular and fun to be around.

Then came my first class in college: Introduction of New Testament. I was taught to look at the people who wrote the books in the New Testament, the historical context in which they wrote, and the particular biases they had while writing them. That was when I learned that it is okay to question religion; in fact, it is necessary. That idea stayed true to the learning of my faith over the past six years.

Before I entered seminary this past month, I was warned seminary
professors would attempt to tear apart everything I ever believed about
Christianity. I scoffed a bit at this notion, thinking that I was already so used to
questioning my religion that this wouldn’t be so new to me.
I have already discovered in this short amount of time I was a bit too
conceited regarding my past questioning. Even with the immense amount of
questioning and doubting, I still held true a few beliefs. These few beliefs I had held so dear are even starting to crumble.

At this point, I have two options. One is to take the easy route. I can revert
back to my original views, happily accepting everything I’m told about religion. The other choice is to recognize that faith, just like life, is not simple or effortless. Instead, it requires intense questioning and the courage to realize what we believe now may not be what we believe in a few years.
These are scary thoughts. However, I find it’s reassuring to remember I am
not at all alone. I’m so grateful to have people in my life that I can tell my doubts, fears, and questions.

This leads me to the Indianapolis Interfaith Conversation Network. It is
extremely comforting to know that I have a community where I feel welcome to
share my new ideas and to hear others’ thoughts, as well. I know that no matter what my thoughts are, no matter how “out there”, I have a group of people who will accept my ideas and me, whether they necessarily agree or not. This knowledge allows me to look forward to my journey through seminary with excitement rather than trepidation.

Blogroll with Us.

Director, facilitator & conversation partner Adam Hayden is contributing to a new blog series for Lockerbie Central United Methodist.  Check out the first post: Being present. Being balanced.

The series is based on the Rule of Life for Lockberbie.

Thanks for staying tuned.

Our First Conversation with Lockerbie/Earth House

As I left our time together Sunday evening I couldn’t be more excited about the relationships we started to build that will only be strengthened in the coming weeks, months, and even years. I couldn’t agree more with the words Jordan wrote Monday:

Here’s a community genuinely trying to figure out how to live lives in the way of this Jewish rabbi whose words often sound more like a Buddhist monk than the type of Christians you see on CNN or Fox News. A community continually checking whether it is following the words of Micah by acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly. A community who – though quite small – has taken this mission seriously and partnered with locals of diverse beliefs and backgrounds to create a safe space and an incredible community partnership through Earth House

As the representative and chief conversation partner of the Indianapolis Interfaith Conversation Network I warmly welcome you to a community of relationship, dialogue and peace.  I also invite you to join our group on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

In the next few days I look forward to connecting with you through email and our social media channels. I’ll be sending out an invite and Facebook event later in the week to announce our first “official” conversation.

In the meantime please reach out to me individually if you have any thoughts, ideas, questions, or would like to grab coffee one-on-one. I’m always up for it.

I encourage you to share your enthusiasm for our group with others. #FF us on Twitter. Like our Facebook fan page. Repost links to our site through your sphere of influence.

Shalom. Salaam. Peace.

adam hayden
director, Indianapolis Interfaith Conversation Network
@adamhayden | @IndyInterfaith

Breaking News: Interfaith Conversation Network, Lockerbie Central UMC, Earth House Collective Partnership!

September 18th, 2011, 6:00pm

Lockerbie Central United Methodist | Earth House Collective

237 N East St Indianapolis, 46204

Download the flyer and tell your friends!

On September 18th all are welcome to join us at Lockerbie Central’s Sunday evening service, a progressive approach to Christian worship, to hear more about the Interfaith Conversation Network, engage with leaders, and shape the future of our next community to join the Interfaith Network to be housed at Lockerbie Central | Earth House Collective.

This will be our second group plant and offers an accessible option for downtown dwellers.  This partnership reflects the peace, relationship, and community that are the cornerstones of these organizations.

Let us know if you can make it.

September 11th: Interfaith Prayer Service & Volunteering at Gleaners

The Indianapolis Interfaith Conversation Network is proud to be one of many sponsors supporting the September 11th Interfaith Prayer Service & Volunteer Opportunity to be held at Gleaners Food Bank the afternoon of 9.11.2011, beginning with a reception at 2:30pm, followed by prayer service and story telling from many faith traditions, and closing with a volunteer opportunity.

The experience is brought to life by the special efforts of Gleaners Food Bank, Interfaith Hunger Initiative, and The Worship Studio.  From the Interfaith Hunger Initiative release:

The experience will give all participants the opportunity to explore the themes of Enormity and Abundance . . . the enormity of the 9/11 tragedy and the abundance of humanity and selflessness we witnessed in its aftermath . . .  the enormity of the problem of hunger in contrast to our abundance of food, resources and generosity . . . and the enormity of ignorance and intolerance countered by the abundance of people from different traditions or no faith tradition willing to work together to make a difference and live in peace.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Please visit our How to Get Involved page if you would like to specifically support the Indy Interfaith Conversation Network on this important day.

Follow-Up: J Street Two State Summer Day of Action: 8.23.11

Reinforcing yesterday’s statement of support for J Street’s Two State Summer Day of Action, we bring you the following multiple choice test.

Please choose the answer that best completes the sentence: Bringing a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...

  1. Is within reach
  2. Requires interfaith cooperation, and is not an exclusive Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or secular issue
  3. Must be framed not as a partisan party stance, but as a platform for peace, progress, and pluralism
  4. All of the above

But don’t take my word for it.  The following represents Jews from J Street and Christians from Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, meeting outside the offices of a certain muslim elected official.

Facebook: J Street Indianapolis

Twitter: @JStreetIndy

J Street Day of Action, August 23rd, 2011

We call ourselves the Indianapolis Interfaith Conversation Network, and this name implies a few defining points: We are interfaith advocates, we engage in conversation, implying dialogue, and we affirm there is more we can achieve in partnership, i.e. network, than we can within isolation.

Today is the culmination of a J Street campaign, Two State Summer, manifest in a Day of Action.  A network of J Street local chapters across the country will engage in conversation with elected officials, Jewish clergy, and community members across the country.  The J Street position is simple to articulate but challenging to implement:  A secure, democratic Israel peacefully existing alongside a sovereign Palestinian state.

J Street represents Americans, primarily but not exclusively Jewish, who are committed to relationships across cultures, peaceful dialogue, and grassroots cooperation with state and federal officials to achieve its objectives.  These tactics are clearly aligned with the Indianapolis Interfaith Conversation Network.  Our members represent a spectrum of faiths.  Although there is not an official partnership forged between our organizations, we encourage our community to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:  For our Jewish members, this is a confrontation of our faith and identity; for our non-Jewish members this is an opportunity to support broader regional peace within the Mid East.

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a partisan political issue, it is a human rights issue.  The two-state solution proposed by J Street is in keeping with plans proposed by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

Please take a moment today to learn about the issue and explore opportunities to get involved.

J Street, Indianapolis.