Having engaged in interfaith work myself over the last ten years, I know the temptation to talk at high levels is a strong one. It’s actually a very easy avenue to take. Much more difficult is the path that engages young people where they’re at. It is a path that understands that young people are going through great changes in life. They are struggling with their identities, not sure of who they are or who they should be. They are vulnerable to any number of influences. The question is, will we who believe in pluralism get to them first? Will we be willing to put our resources in service to this cause?
Patel’s book is a clarion call to action. As one wanders with him on his own journey of self-discovery, one is invited to look within to discern one’s own path of self-discovery. His book is a welcome contribution and perhaps is even prophetic. To conclude, this review, I turn to words found in his introduction:
“Pluralism is not a default position, an autopilot mode. Pluralism is an intentional commitment that is imprinted through action. It requires deliberate engagement with difference, outspoken loyalty to others, and proactive protection in the breach. You have to choose to step off the faith line onto the side of pluralism, and you have to make your voice heard. To follow Robert Frost, it is easy to see the death of pluralism in the fire of a suicide bombing. But the ice of silence will kill it just as well” (p. xix).
My hope is that as people read this book they will make the intentional commitment to engage in pluralism, and that we who are people of faith, who treasure our own faith traditions, will truly understand that if we are to survive, we must make this commitment to one another.
Posted by Pastor Bob Cornwall