Religious congregations of all types can play a special role in helping the members of their community “grow up global.” Each faith’s roots, philosophy and outreach are inextricably global. Beyond this, most of us live in communities of great religious diversity. Understanding what others believe becomes an important conversation to have, even with children, both within the home and in the house of worship.
I have seen one response to the question of “Who am I and why am I here?” is to have some appreciation of “Who are they and why do they think they are here?” Realizing that the search for answers to these questions is universal, one might feel less alone and out of place, gain wisdom and insight from fresh sources, and possibly deepen their own faith.
One chapter of Growing Up Global, called “What Do They Believe?” helps to begin this conversation. Offering tools like metaphors that help make sense of the diversity of so many religions, looking at the teachings around peace and other principles that are universally shared, approaching other faiths through the arts, traditions, and stories they have inspired, and gaining comfort with respectfully, openly sharing faith experiences and asking difficult questions among friends of diverse beliefs can lead to richer, more peaceful, more vibrant communities. The chapter “Celebrate with the World,” shares how cultures and systems of beliefs come to life when experiencing various celebrations.
The programs for kids and adults offered by the author can help spur inquiry, study, new friendships, and inspiration. Homa’s interactive slide show, featuring funny and profound lessons on shared values as well as making sense of the differences, are demonstrated through her and her family’s personal experiences, with roots in four of the world’s religions, and experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe and South and North America.
Congregations might consider using Growing Up Global for a book club, or even initiating a book discussion with members of other congregations. An inter-faith book club often leads to profound discoveries and commitments for further cooperation. The book’s service ideas can inspire action-oriented learning and missions. In addition to a lecture, the author can join a book discussion in order to answer questions, explore new initiatives, inspire future writers, and more. Additional information on starting and training for youth groups, inter-faith efforts and more is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.