We are so honored to introduce you to our friend, Dave. We invite you to view our interview first, with Krister Stendahl's three rules for religious understanding (listed below), and then take a look behind the scenes, to find out a bit more about why Dave's story is significant to Closed to Close.
1. When trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its critics or enemies.
2. Don't compare your best traits to their worst.
3. Leave room for 'holy envy'. In other words, be willing to learn from how they live their faith, so you can live your own more effectively. Enjoy!
We first met Dave at a City Council meeting in an Idahoan town. That night, the small room was full of anxious citizens, waiting to express their position on a particularly controversial issue. The debate became fierce, and civility was quickly waning. To be more specific, many religious people were vehemently opposing the proposition that traditionally less faith-filled individuals were supporting, and vice-versa. That is, until Dave stood up.
As a well-known leader in his community, he decided to intervene, even though the purpose of his attendance was unrelated. He asked his neighbors to consider kindness. He encouraged them to recognize the importance of allowing each person in their small town the space to live in accordance with their personal beliefs.
The tone of the conversation immediately changed. He didn't ask anyone to give up their position but to engage with one another in a way that didn't leave their commonalities by the wayside. To fight for their beliefs with love and compassion rather than with animosity.
That's when we knew we needed to interview Dave.
Our founder quickly made contact after the meeting, and he graciously accepted the invitation and invited Evelyn to his church for their conversation.
We were blown away by the passion with which he spoke about his faith. We felt more motivated than ever to share the stories of people from all religions. It was clear that his faith wasn't passive, but alive, dynamic and certainly the thing that compelled him to be the kind and gracious man that he is.
It was an honor to hear and learn from Pastor Dave.
In the spirit of Closed to Close, we'd like to remind you that we interview people of different faiths, asking the same questions, for one reason: We want to eliminate the distance between religions. Our differences and complexities aren’t insignificant, but there's something powerful just beyond them. Our shared pursuit of the Divine. That power that pushes mankind past our ugliest parts and into the holiest realms of humanity. We're inviting people into their neighbor's sacred places in the hopes that we can recognize our own.
The overall aim of this organization is to support the cause of religious freedom and encourage religious civility.
We hope that you will share our vision to engage in challenging conversations with the understanding that we all need one another. May we embrace a bit of Dave's beliefs and learn to love everyone.
We are excited to learn from others in the near future, and invite you to get involved. Subscribe to our blog, volunteer your talents or share your story. Until then, may your God bless you.
*We'd like to offer a special thanks to Dave Schilling, Victoria Chezik and Andrew Pulsipher.