I have made many friends since moving to Tennessee and most of them are of different backgrounds, cultures and religious affiliations. Sometimes, because of my many years with All Faiths Seminary International, I can sense the awkwardness of someone whose belief system is not shared with mine and others. When that happens, I specifically engage them in conversation to help them relax. After awhile, the subject of God comes to the forefront. I remind them that their spiritual differences are essentially the same as my spiritual differences and that we can have human and spiritual friendship without hostility, division or hatred taking place. Many people do not realize that it’s okay to be different.
Jim Palmer who is an author, spiritual director, founder of the Nashville Humanist Association and humanist chaplain with the American Humanist Association said it best when he wrote the following words on January 19, 2019 in the Tennessean.com’s Message of the Week:
…Every person can fully embrace and follow their religious tradition, spiritual interests or philosophical views without creating division, destruction, hostility or hatred. Each of us can find a rationale and motivation within our beliefs to be an instrument of goodness, peace, love and compassion in the world, and affirm the inherent, equal and unconditional worth of every human being. We all benefit when each of us follow our own unique inspiration for building a world that works for everyone.
Sometimes, in an effort to reach our spiritual potential, we forget that which makes us special – We Are All “One” In The Eyes Of God!
~ Fran Cosentino, AFSI Bursar/Registrar