Pluralism, Dialogue and Community Transformation Initiative

pluralismPluralism refers to a society, a system of government, or an organization that has different groups that keep their identities while existing with other groups or a more dominant group. It is a conviction that various religious, ethnic, racial, and political groups should be allowed to thrive in a single society.

We live in this shrinking world where we find ourselves, rooted in a point of view, a culture, which is the result of a set of conditions — some of which we choose, some of which we don’t, some of which we can control, some of which we cannot —  that put us in a place at a certain time. And all of the many people we now interact with are just like us – they are now in OUR world as the result of a set of conditions — some of which they chose, some of which they didn’t, some of which they can control, some of which they cannot.

Our intended goal should be a pluralistic society. IF  pluralism is a political philosophy that recognizes and affirms diversity within our society, and permits  the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions, and lifestyles, THEN what can we, each of us do, to achieve this in our lives, the lives our families, our community, and in the larger society to which we belong?

IF this is the society in which we want to live,  THEN we must embrace our differences, the misunderstandings of others, and make a deliberate and intentional effort to create a method and place  of understanding of our similarities, rather than methods and places that focus on our differences.

IF we are going to be one or some of those who influence others to walk this path of understanding, to stir, spark, and stimulate others to participate in this walk/talk with us, THEN we must ask ourselves and each other — What can we do?

As religious scholar Diana Eck says, “Diversity is a fact, but pluralism is an achievement.” Can we, peacemakers, see our role in this?

Let us not make the mistake of thinking that a pluralist perspective assumes that there are no differences among various religious traditions and their values.  Pluralism is more than the mere tolerance of differences. And,  pluralism does not require relinquishing the distinctiveness of one’s own tradition of faith to reach the “lowest common denominator.”  Pluralism is the process of creating a society through thoughtful and purposeful encounters with others, with “different” others. And in these encounters, we  acknowledge, rather than hide, our differences. Should we be satisfied with creating our own understandings of diversity and pluralism, or should we see this a challenge,

Can we participate in broader encounters?

Can we, in fact, create these encounters?

How?

Pluralism requires the nurturing of constructive dialogue to reveal both common understandings and real differences. Not everyone at the will agree with one another; the process of dialogue will inevitably reveal areas of disagreement as well. Pluralism involves the commitment to be at the table—with one’s beliefs.

Are we, as peacemakers, satisfied with learning this or do we practice this? Should we practice this? If something is not working, is it our responsibility to fix it?

Are we satisfied with discussing this in the safety of the tables, groups, circles safely created within our own community? Or do we see ourselves as having a role in the larger society to create the opportunities for people of many faiths and cultures to meet one another, to learn, to understand and, in fact, to promulgate, proclaim and promote pluralism as the new way.

I urge you to consider that you, WE, have a role, and there is a reason for us to do this,  — and I strongly suggest that we consider that  we have a responsibility, in the positions we have been afforded, to take action.

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Our Pluralism, Dialogue and Community  Transformation Initiative ( PDCTI) will seek to hold dialogues on any topics that introduce and  the possibilities of  restorative communities, globally. We will partner with others, as consultant, conveners and facilitators. These services can be provided, in any location  where there is a need. In some circumstances, these services can also be provided, virtually, using available technology.

Areas where both small and large dialogue groups can be formed and be effective, and where we will work include:

interfaith issues

gender

family

bullying

violence

race relations

The goal of these dialogues include:

enhanced understanding of the views of others

defusing polarization

overcoming stereotypes

relationship building

If you are interested in discussing this further, please contact us.

See also our related activities connecting Dialogue and Storytelling ( https://valentilaw.com/storytelling-initiaves/)

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