“Have dinner. Change your life. Transform the world.”
That's the subtitle of the Amazing Faiths project, an interfaith dinner-dialogue initiative started in 2006 by the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University in Houston.
Oklahomans have adopted the project for several years now and metro-area residents have an opportunity once again to participate in the interfaith dinner gatherings.
Sarbit “Sabi” Singh, a leader in the Oklahoma City Sikh faith community and vice president of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, said the annual project will be Nov. 1 in the metro area.
He said for two years, St. Luke's United Methodist Church coordinated the project and the Interfaith Alliance has coordinated the effort the past two years.
Singh said about 100 people took part in eight dinner groups during Amazing Faiths 2011. He said the alliance is hoping to double those numbers, with at least 200 people attending 16 dinner gatherings.
He said there are dinners being planned in Oklahoma City, Edmond and Norman and there may be one in the Shawnee area, as well.
Individuals of different faiths gather in homes to share a meal then participate in a dialogue about spiritual issues of common interest. Singh said last year, the dinner groups that met in fall met again in the spring and some of the groups enjoyed their gatherings so much that they met for a third time.
He said the dinner groups that meet on Nov. 1 are going to be encouraged to meet again in February.
I attended one of the first Amazing Faiths dinners in 2008 in northwest Oklahoma City and met other Christians as well as Jews and Muslims. The meal was delicious and the discussion, led by a trained facilitator, was illuminating.
I'd like to think that my dinner partners and I got to know each other beyond the boundaries of polite conversation and faith.
Singh said that is the idea.
Sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to get to know someone. Through Amazing Faiths, it also is a good way to learn about your neighbors whose faith is different from your own.