Interfaith awakening, seen through an academic lens

Robin is away at the Friends General Conference advancement and outreach committee consultation on outreach and spiritual hospitality. Having her away for a second weekend this month, I'm more tired this time, if only because our boys spent more time than usual squabbling today. (Other than that, it was a good day.)

Since I don't have energy for original writing, I've typed up some quotes from the March 21st edition of my college alumni magazine, because the resonance with the Quaker conversation is striking to me.

The article is "Princeton's Revivalist Roots: Religion on the campus from the Great Awakening to the 'interfaith awakening,'" by Thomas Breidenthal, former dean of religious life at Princeton and now Episcopal bishop for southern Ohio:
"I believe we are witnessing the beginnings of yet another national awakening on our college campuses -- one that is not simly Christian but that has to do with religion more generally. Students across the country are taking an interest in religion, but in such a way as to embrace the diversity of religious expression and the possibility of serious dialogue and cooperation across religious lines. I call this movement the 'interfaith awakening'....

"To be 'born again' through personal submission to God's election was to enter into a covenant community, and the exercise of individual freedom in isolation from such a community was unthinkable.... Transposed into an academic key, this meant that the unfettered pursuit of truth, and the right and obligation to submit all truth claims to the scrutiny of public debate, assumed a community bound together by a common commitment to the sovereignty of truth....

"This time [viz, the present religious revival] we are not talking just about Protestant Christianity. We are dealing significant number of college students want to connect with other students of faith or uncertain faith -- no matter what their faith may be! ...

"[This revival] has its roots in tolerance.... But the interfaith revival is also about engagement.... To engage one another in our difference is indeed to be transported outside of ourselves, so that we experience the world from a new perspective, having cast our own narrow self-interest aside."
I hear echoes of many of the discussions in Quakerism in the above. And to me, "convergence" among Friends is about this type of engagement, in person as well as online. I would like to tease out the themes above more, but am too tired right now.

Instead, I'm going to go read N.T. Wright's The Challenge of Jesus, which Wess just sent us. Thanks, Wess! G'night all.

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