If you want to post to the Portland Blog, here is the address for doing it. I think you need to sign into blogspot or something like that to get here and make a post:
It will automatically post as a comment to our PeaceNext group: Portland/Vancouver Friends of the Parliament. But is it a more round-about way to get something there.
The Peace Prayer Society of Japan, a group of elder shut-ins, has made us 1000 orgami peace dolls to give to Parliament participants. They are a wonderful expression of cross-cutural generosity, and people attending the parliament have taken them to their homes throughout the world to give to their children and grandchildren, their friends and neighbors...
The children in Christian Science Sunday schools in New Zealand, Australia and Cape Town South Africa, the site of the 1999 Parliament, have made peace flags for the Parliament and they are displayed as an informal art exhibition surrounding the Reflections Wall containing thoughts and expressions of gratitude from participants here in Melbourne... It evokes the memory of the Cape Town experience where the children from many cities and townships, made 100,000 Peace Flags that flew throughout the venues and hung over the city streets for the 8 days of the Parliament there...
The Obama Administration sent 3 representatives from their Faith Based Initiatives to gather information about what the admnistration should do and should not do and what resources are available and are needed to support interfaith initiatives that will have a positive impact on our lives... One of the people giving input challenged them, saying that there are 3 US cities bidding to bring the Parliament in 2014 back to the United States, and asking what are they prepared to do to support those bids...
Gotta go now, the last day of the Parliament is dawning--big orange sun--and there is much to do before we hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Uncle Bob Randall, one of the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal Peoples here in Australia, share their thoughts with us at the closing plenary.
Please send us your continuing support and prayers...
More when there has been time to reflect...
This appeared today. Really great press for us and provocative food for thought!
An interesting article about the event in Melbourne, framing the real struggle as not between different religions, but between fundamentalists and pluralists in all religions...certainly a more cooperative way forward together.
I never imagined how difficult it would be to "blog" at the end of a really long, active and exhausting day! It requires a bit of distance and silence, to stand back and see the reflections and hear the echoes of experiences which emerge over time, through sharing and conversations.
So for this first entry for you at home, I am sharing a blog entry about the opening plenary from a colleague from Minnesota--Paul Strickland, who will present on a panel on Monday about a special model of interfaith community organizing they are doing in Minneapolis:
"The Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions opened last night with sitars, didgeridoo, dance and song. Delegates were blessed by Zoroastrians, Jains, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha’is, Aborigines and Shintos. The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra provided music and song. More than 200 faith traditions were represented at the opening clothed in a multitude of ritual vestments. There were white robes, brilliant golds, blues and scarlet’s, vibrant African patterns, the black hats of Orthodox Rabbis and the purple of Anglican and Catholic bishops. A sand animation artist drew sand paintings of religious signs and symbols as the various clergy and religious representatives prayed and performed.
Parliament Chairman William Lesher said the world faced daunting problems, but the solution was spiritual. He spoke of a tidal wave of compassion sweeping the world. “We are becoming an interfaith community. Martin Luther King Jr. and others envisioned a gathering like this where people gather to build a new, just, peaceful and sustainable world, “ he said.
Keynote speaker, Rabbi David Saperstein, nominated by Newsweek magazine this year as America’s most influential rabbi, spoke passionately of living in extraordinary times.
“We are the first generation that grows enough food to feed every human on earth. Our failure to do so is a failure of moral vision and political will,” Rabbi Saperstein said.
“We are the first generation that can educate every child, that can speed freedom across the globe. Our failure to do so is a failure of moral vision and political will. But we are not prisoners of a bitter and unremitting past.”
Other speakers included Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, an Afghan woman who founded 80 underground schools for girls and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Hindu spiritual leader whose Art of Living Foundation is active in 140 countries.
Each of the speakers honored the Aboriginal peoples who had been custodians of this land for thousands of years before the “white fella” showed up. It made me wonder if we don’t have an opportunity in the US and in Minnesota in particular to recognize those people whose blood, tears and ashes are in the soil we walk on every day. Indigenous people don’t see themselves as separate from the Earth and other beings. In their eyes, they are one and the same. I believe the Earth-wisdom that native people carry is something we all knew at some point but have since forgotten. They have much to teach us in remembering who we are and where we come from. Yesterday I attended a presentation by three Aboriginal healers. Through an interpreter, they said that to be truly healthy we had to be spiritual and to be truly spiritual we had to be healthy. They sang healing songs for us that transported the audience to an ancient time, to dream time. They said to lead a good life we needed to do two things: follow the medicine of the ancestors and to listen to the elders."
Many thanks, Paul, for your vivid description. I hope to share some of my own thoughts soon.
Wednesday we heard from Lynne Taylor, Lowell Greathouse and Jan Elfers that they had safely arrived here. We had a fun dinner with Lowell and Jan and then came "home" for a good night's sleep.
Today the real fun begins, with the opening plenary this evening.
More people and posts to come!