Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Declaration for Life from the All Faiths Festival (AFF) of Michigan


It easily beats all the energy across the globe where hate resides in the hearts of men and women.

It is said that it is easier to smile than to frown.

It's healthier also. 

Wellness abounds in and outside of self with love, charity and goodwill toward all.

Harmful chemicals in the body fail to be released when love replaces angry feelings toward anyone.

Interesting how people blame Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, among others, for fueds over land, power, people, and more.

These are human conflicts that are resolvable together with formation, education and deeper understanding and respect.

That entails encountering each other to talk, meet and feel the heart, soul and mind of one another amid differences.

It is time for all people of faith to stand together.

The Jewish people have deep roots in Iraq.  Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, was born in the ancient city of Ur, in what is now souther Iraq.

He fathered Isaac, who had Isaac, who had Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God and was promised a nation.

Jesus, the Lord of Christians, myself included as a Catholic one, descended from that line.

Abraham's other son, Ishmael, was also promised a nation in the Bible. 

He is considered the progenitor of the Arab peoples.  From the branch of Ishmael, Islam's central figure, the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, descended.

The time has come for leaders to stand together in holding high regard for human life across the globe when so much conflict, carnage and human bloodshed mocks the mandate of the Hebrew Scriptures:

"Thou shall not kill," and, the Christian Scriptures: "Love one another,"  and the Islamic Scriptures: "Killing an innocent person unjustly is like killing all humankind."

Global war with countless human casualties depresses and demeans the dignity and worth of all humans made in the image of God's likeness.  God will help moral leaders rise together to stop the murdering enveloped in a culture of fear holding tightly the soul and conscience of America.

Children of Adam must stop killing each other. 

No faith tolerates unjust killing.  It is required by our faiths to stand up against all forms of terror whether committed by individuals or by sovereign states.  We must call for justice and peace on earth.

God almighty helps us, as the Children of Abraham, to speak up against acts of unwarranted violence, no matter where and by whom. Prayerful contact and connections with the Creator each day, each hour, makes a difference in how we relate with each other well.

Join me Monday, February 25 at 7 pm to hear Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, "The Gospel Cries Out,"  and, on Sunday, March 10 at 4 pm in Saint James Church, 241 Pearson at Woodward in Ferndale, MI., to sing biblical psalms, hear about the Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton's vocation trek (7-Storey Mountain), and pray Christian prayers and hymns in what we call Liturgy of the Hours, or, vespers and evening prayer, official prayer of the Catholic Church.  You will be welcomed by others, and me as inter and intra-faithful clergy, among others of our diverse faith traditions.  In fact, efforts are being made here to introduce our young people to learning how to pray for better days at home and school. Invite your young believers also, please.  W E L C O M E sisters and brothers all!

Together we can pray for peace to stop the violence in our own hearts first, and let it spread across the U.S.A., and globe.

Prayer is like that.  Such energy soars like eagles.  God hears prayers for peace.

War is the most primitive method of resolving conflicts.  We urge a new era of reconciliation where we can end conflicts by loving people on both sides of all issues.

After all, God loves the Palestinians and Jews, the Maker loves the Muslims and Christians, the Creator loves African Americans and Whites alikes.  God loves Democrates and Republicans, Catholics and Protestants. 

We stand here in repentance because none of us have done enough to love each other and reconcile with one another.  We pledge to live up to a higher standard, and call on others to do the same. 

May God forgive us for our failures, guides us in healing and help us to usher in a new era of peace.

Those words were publicly pledged by clergy leaders, among others on March 31, 2008. 

Crafted by Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders in Metropolitan Detroit, including Rabbi Doctor Mordehai Waldman of Berkley, MI., Reverend David Kasbow of Redford, MI., and, Unification,
Father Roman Pasieczny of Saint Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Warren, MI., Imam Mustapha Elturk of the Islamic Organization of North America in Warren, MI., Victor Begg of Bloomfield Hills, and myself,  among dozens of others, including numerous civic and business leaders.

Will you sign on also, and join me in the Royal Kabob Restaurant, 3236 Caniff, in Hamtramck, MI., Monday, February  11 at 3:45 pm to plan a inter and intra-faith program to further deepen our understanding and appreciation of each other's faith, and, most importantly, to move peacemaking efforts to speak up, and, nonviolently act against human violence in our own hearts first, and in the areas we reside? 

Will you take an hour to finalize plans for a place, date, and time for a forum with the aim to enhance
inter and intra-faith understanding among clergy, and, to help stop some of our culture of violence?

Will you?

Will you call me at (586) 777 9116, or write me at to occupy a chair at our common table, and, perhaps, even break bread and drink some hot tea, please?

Lawrence M. Ventline, D.Min.
Founding Director, All Faiths Festival of Metropolitan Michigan.

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