I had a deep desire to learn about the religions of the world and to know what it is that they believed and how they understood the presence of the divine to work in their communities. I wanted to see how the presence of the divine affected their understanding of their history and how they understood the world to work. (Like if we deserve the bad that comes our way, how we find healing admist our brokenness, how we find purpose, etc.)
I studied Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam primarily. I had the opportunity to not only to study these other religions but sat in class with people who practiced them. We got to hear how their own beliefs and lives were enhanced by their own spiritual practices.
My motivation was never to find the "cracks" in the theology of the other world's religions. And I am grateful for the time I spent learning because it helps to ground me, especially in light of so many voices out there that come from a variety of religious groups that teach and preach intolerance and hatred: That point to the horrible actions of one and say that is a true reflection of the others religious practices.
I have dedicated my life to studying and practicing Christianity. I am blessed to make a living as a spiritual guide for those wishing to follow the teachings of Jesus. I am blessed to get paid to pray for the sick and to visit them. I am blessed to be part of a gathering that dreams the BIG dreams God has for our community.
And as I have studied the way of Jesus for the better part of my life, I cannot remember a teaching that supports intolerance. Or further exasperating a broken community.
Jesus' teachings are a guide to a faithful life and not a tool to be used as a weapon against others.