Sunday, March 13, 2011

T - 11 to Take Off

We never talked much about our faith in high school. Among my five closest friends, one is Catholic, one is a Nondenominational Christian, one is Muslim, one is Agnostic, one is an Atheist, and I am Lutheran. Needless to say, talking about religion tended to spark controversies. As we got older we realized it was ok to have different religions, and that we were never going to convert one another. While I have different beliefs from them, I still love my friends dearly, and get defensive if anyone insults anything about them, including their religion. When the controversy of the "Mosque at Ground Zero" came up, I was surprised that anyone could consider this an issue. The Islam I know from my Muslim friend, Dina, had nothing to do with the events of 9/11.

When the idea to have a trip to New York with Muslims students was brought up, I was really excited to get an opportunity to learn more about Islam. My friends and I had begun talking more about our respective religions, and this seemed like a great chance to get to know Dina's traditions better. As we have counted down to this trip (we're down to 11 hours until we meet at the airport!), I have learned so much through the conversations that we have had across faiths. I'm very much looking forward to this trip because we are all curious about each others' beliefs, and open about our own.

While I've been learning a lot about my Muslim counterparts, I've also been challenged to examine and articulate my own faith as our conversations continue to delve deeper into our beliefs. I've also gotten the chance to discuss the tough questions with other Christians as we try to explain our religion to our curious new friends. I can't wait for all of the new friendships that we will develop in New York, and I look forward to seeing how we bring our interfaith work back to campus.

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