New information breaks down barriers and broadens horizons, but transformation truly happens when we reach out and form relationships. We need to be brave enough to take the first step to welcome a new neighbor or start a different conversation with a coworker. Jesus never said the road was easy, but he also never mentioned how much fun it would be.
Invite a Muslim colleague or neighbor to talk. A shared meal or even a cup of coffee can be the start of a wonderful friendship. Learning a bit about language and etiquette can help us move past awkwardness and avoid unintentionally causing distress. Dietary restrictions can be easily accommodated with a little forethought. To find approved groceries near you, try googling 'halal" and your zip code.
Attend an interfaith event or lecture in your community and chat with other attendees. You may be surprised by how much is already happening in your area.
Smile when you see someone dressed in traditional garb.
Try greeting a Muslim, with "As-salamu-alaikum" (peace be to you. in Arabic.) They may respond with "Wa-alaikum salaam" (and with you too.) Depending on their culture, some Muslims may not welcome your greeting, but for most
Share your own spiritual story and invite others to share theirs. Our true story transcends differences in culture and theology, and sometimes we even surprise ourselves in the telling.
Initiate an interfaith service project for adults, youth or families. For inspiration, read about Tapestry Interfaith Women, a trio of Minnesotans who have promoted understanding through volunteering. You can sponsor a food, clothing or blood drive. Contact your local Habitat for Humanity, United Way or other service organization for help in getting started. If you're in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org; we'll be glad to try to help..
Begin an interfaith-sharing group. Interfaith conversations often center on discussing similarities and differences among the traditions. This clarity is important, for differences are real. But at core we are united before God, and share a common struggle to live in God's light. We recommend a simple format that has been field-tested by millions of Christians across the globe for over 70 years. To our knowledge, we're the first to use it for interfaith conversation. Click here for more information.
Another thing that the church can do to make the principle of brotherhood a reality is to keep men’s mind and visions centered on God. Many of the problems America now confronts can be explained in terms of fear...One of the best ways to rid oneself of fear is to center one’s life in the will and purpose of God.” Martin Luther King, Jr.