God in America
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"This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should lose nothing of what has been given me, but it should be raised up on the last day." (John 6:39)

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator As a christian, the central mystery of imagining God is disclosed in the Incarnation. Raised with a buddhist appreciation and awareness, I've been drawn more and more into the inescapable relationship of the divine/human in Jesus Christ, who shows both what it means to be truly human and truly divine. The heart of Catholic practice discloses and welcomes us into this intimate relationship of the tri-une God most exquisitely through the celebration of sacraments, which are real encounters with the Living God who creates, sustains, and enables us.

My Faith History

I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a catholic inside a first generation Filipino family. I benefited from the catholic school system, which helped foster a holistic, integrated approach to life. However, I did not become very politically active and integrate religion and politics until much later in life. Prior to that time, my approach was more generally about ethics and compassionate behavior.
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am a U.S. educated post-Vatican II catholic. While my parents and I are still catholic, we have different ways of expressing and putting that faith into practice. My parents put a greater trust in external authoritative figures from which they seek guidance on issues. I am more discerning with a greater concern with the social welfare of the middle class.
If you have children, did becoming a parent change your relationship to faith? If so, how? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am in an interfaith marriage to a Jewish woman of faith. That alone was cause enough to change my relationship to faith. In short, she was a better person than me and it caused me to be a better Catholic as a result. Now that we are parents, the biggest change is experiencing concretely the responsibility of passing on faith through specific acts/rituals and everyday viewpoints and values to a younger person. The challenge is passing on faithfully and authetically a relationship with God in a way that brings a child to faith and to a real life relationship with the divine.

How I Practice My Faith

Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I am Roman Catholic married to a Reform Jewish woman. The two of us share an interest in Buddhist philosophy and compassionate practice, as well as ecological and social justice concerns. I work professionally as a lay minister in a Franciscan parish. In general, Jewish traditions are sustained by practices in the home and with extended relatives. Our basic approach has been to take seriously how each of us stands before God and is called to a life of faithfulness. At our best, we share that with our child in the hopes that we give witness to a real relationship with God. We welcome our child to that experience.

Religion & the Public Square

Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I have no issue with teaching such texts in a literary context. As someone trained in literary criticism, I would point out that there is a difference between "the text" and the criticism, but the practice of critical analysis is beneficial to both a beleiver and a literary inquirer alike.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I believe interfaith dialogue is important. Care for the other is an ethic that has wide value in Judaism, Catholicism, and Buddhism. If the other is truly other and hence of a different faith, then this is truly the test or the cultural social dynamic in which God most challenges us to be go(o)d to one another. The deeper one enters into interfaith dialogue, the more one finds it is not all that simple. One finds truly who one is and who is the other. You may find what is similar and what is defining as different. Conflation and syncretism are often cheap ways of "summing it all up." Unfortunately, I think indifference is the worse outcome than continued ignorance.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Politics is in many ways the art of the possible and is less than ideal. Religious belief certain can open one up to knowledge of the ideal and to objective truths. But any practioner knows how often we fall short of reaching such goals in our own lives, politics aside. In simplest terms, prudential judgment is probably the default, sensible position.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Quite apart from the events themselves, I came back to DC (with relatives in NYC) to study Theology at exactly the same time as the 9/11 attacks. My studies and those events will always be blended together because of that. I was very committed during my studies to interfaith relations, particular between Catholics and Jews. Looking at the Post 9/11 world and my studies, I'd say that a greater awareness and more conversation with Muslim partners is what I feel I need to do more. Personally, I enjoy the mixture of friends I have been blessed with who profess Jewish, Christian, Muslim faiths, Buddhists as well as ones with no faith at all. At our best, most of us have not felt our faiths as impediments to our friendships and enjoy sharing our views that are shaped by our beliefs and practices.

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Published October 11, 2010

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