I had a very brief conversation with someone last weekend, which kept me thinking all throughout this week. I met this very kind lady who gave me and a friend a lift to the train station. Earlier that day I had seen her perform in a choir, singing interfaith songs.
I assumed she was a fellow minister, and asked her when she was ordained. To my surprise she explained she is not a minister, but does consider herself interfaith.
This really made me think about my own spiritual journey. I remember starting the interfaith seminary and realizing ‘I am home’. Not home in the seminary, or the organization organizing the training for me, but I felt home spiritually.
From a young age I had been looking at different traditions and looked into whether specific traditions would suit me. Not 1 religion felt right to me though, mainly to do with the fact that I am a very liberated and outspoken woman that sees herself equal to any man. I saw in so many religions that the essence was beautiful, but it was being spoiled by people putting rules to it. Mainly rules that makes men and women unequal to each other or makes followers of a specific religion better than those that don’t follow it. I have a thing about inequality and about people that consider themselves better and more spiritual than others.
Long story short, I found Interfaith, signed up for the seminary and found my spiritual niche.
The question is: How does one ‘become’ interfaith without following an intensive course and being ordained as a minister?
It’s a question which is very hard to answer. Interfaith is not a religion. It does not have specific scripture or a prophet to follow. It doesn’t have congregations that gather every week in a temple of sorts. There is no baptism or ‘conversion’ to Interfaith. In fact, most ministers find being an Interfaith minister a very individual journey.
For me, there are a few things that define being ‘Interfaith’, and they are to be found in the ethics of the One Spirit organization.
I aim to keep my heart and mind open to everyone, celebrating difference but not separation.
For me this really is the foundation of my being. Accepting everyone for who they are, celebrating the fact that the world is a garden with many different things growing in it, each having its own purpose in our magnificent ecosystem.
I recognise that all paths emphasise the importance of honesty, love for the self and love for the other. Regardless of how certain individuals use religion and spirituality to gain power over the self and others, I recognise that this is not the essence of what religion teaches us. I am committed to find the true essence in spiritual paths.
I understand that my spiritual unfolding is an ongoing process, and dedicate myself to continually deepen my personal spiritual practice, understanding of different faith paths.
I dedicate for my service to be grounded in an authentic and evolving spiritual life.
One thing I care for personally is the interfaith dialogue. To create understanding and dialogue between those of different spiritual backgrounds. We are all just walking each other home.
Anyone who commits themselves to learn about different faith paths and who seeks understanding about their own spirituality, accepting themselves and others just as much in their difference as communality in my opinion is serving the Interfaith cause. Regardless of their spiritual background.
Of course, all of this is just my opinion.