~ by Samir Selmanovic
Recently, we came a across this painting by William (Bill) Papas and have obtained the permission from the artist's foundation to use this painting. The original sketch for this watercolor was drawn quickly on the streets of Jerusalem more than 25 years ago.
There they go, an Imam, a Priest, and a Rabbi, moving forward together. My daughter Ena (12) looked at the painting and exclaimed, “Look at them, three friends prancing!” And it looks as though they are neither walking nor dancing, but something in between, moving confidently, displaying affection for and trust in one another. Where are they going? To celebrate a transitional event in life? To stop a fight? To assist someone in need? It could be any of them.
I imagine they know there are people in the city whose identity depends on a divided humanity. They know their joy in “prancing” together will be needed to match the hatred of the warmongers that live around them. But they have no fear. There is too much joy, truth, and beauty among them, and too much at stake to be afraid. The best periods of world history that advanced culture, science, and sheer goodness happened at times when different communities decided not to live as competitors but as sojourners, competing only in doing good for each other.
There is a growing number of wonderfully hopeful Muslims, Jews, and Christians who believe (more deeply and passionately than extremists ever can) that their faith can be a source of wisdom and inspiration for turning the world around. But who is standing in their corner? Who is helping them? In times past, too many of us have been “peace wishers,” waiting for the world to change. It’s time to push back against the dark side of all religious traditions. Let’s find, protect, and support the peacemakers among “us,” and among “them.”
So much money and effort has been squandered on weaponry and propaganda, we must push back. Join us and become a “peace instigator.” Along with others, we can become an unstoppable force. Instead of simply watching violent sections of world communities jerk humanity around, we can pray for, bless, and finance new communities of peace—courageous, resilient, thoughtful, patient, replicable.
Faith House will be such a community.
Can you imagine an Imam, a Priest, and a Rabi working harmoniously together? Well, it is going to happen at Faith House Manhattan! While remaining faithful to the best of their own traditions, these three spiritual nurturing individuals will break the rules that have made people enemies over the centuries. We are asking them to join us, and we want to support them for two years as they work hard to create a new kind of urban progressive community together. Such an ambitious goal is not for the fainthearted, so we thought you would like to join us in making it happen!
You can help by financing one of these clergy.
Each Month will cost $1000
Each Week will cost $250
Each Day will cost $50
From interested parties in New York, across America, and internationally, we need to fund at least two years of stipends for three dedicated and gifted clergy. Our goal is to raise $72,000 by the end of the year. This money will be matched by churches, mosques, synagogues, and other institutions, and by the three clergy’s network of supporters. Thus, for every dollar you give, two dollars will be added.
Securing this funding will propel us into the networks of three monotheistic religions giving us leverage and opportunity to show a vision of peace and cooperation, a dream that too many have come to think can never become a reality.
My family decided to do its part. As Christians waiting for Christmas, we want to live out the blessing uttered by angels that announced the birth of Christ in these words: “Peace on earth and goodwill among people!” What could be a better way to celebrate our holy days than by empowering the peacemakers living with communities we sometimes think of as our enemies! Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, or atheist, we are all meant to be the receivers of the blessing of peace and goodwill among all people.
Wherever you live on this shrinking planet, we need your help now as we face our first public challenge. You can choose to help make this happen by making a tax-deductible contribution:
1. By writing a check to:
Faith House Manhattan
P.O. Box 552
New York, NY 10028
payable to: Faith House - The Adventure
2. Contributing online (through AMM) by clicking HERE. In the comment area, please write "for Faith House - The Adventure."
With gratitude from all of us here in New York!