The Revised Vision for Atlanta
A 2020 Vision for the City of Atlanta
By the year 2020, we envision that the major Faith Communities in the Atlanta area will have come together, under the power of G-d’s love, to help create a better social, cultural and economic environment for progressive and sustainable human life. As a consequence of this collaborative work, the citizens that live, work and recreate within our City will demonstrate an enhanced state of love, tolerance, acceptance, mutual caring, and respect for each other. On going efforts will help to further deepen our understanding of each other’s faith practices and traditions. It will be commonplace to see citizens of different faith traditions praying and worshiping separate and together within our communities.
By the year 2020, The Children of Abraham – Jews, Christians and Muslims, who believe in the unity of Almighty G-d, working collaboratively will have helped to create a human movement to overcome poverty, exclusion, and oppression. The common citizens in our community will have opportunities to access quality education, training, job skills, quality living spaces that will establish the basis to be full participants in society with “Liberty and Justice for all.”
People in the community that seek to practice oppression, dominance, lawlessness and crime will be exposed, disciplined and resisted. Special emphasis will placed on those that deal in the sale and distribution of drugs.
Those citizens that have successfully lived and prevailed over life experiences that included injustice, oppression, and powerlessness will become our examples and teachers. This work will also create a centripetal force that will help to re-enroll those members who live on the margins of our society.
This vision will be successfully achieved when the Children of Abraham pro-actively claim, understand and live out their faiths. And, work together as brothers, sisters and family to create, maintain and establish the human community life (The New Jerusalaam) that G_d has designed for the righteous descendents of our father Adam.
Can this day be the a part of the fulfillment of this vision?
RESPONSE TO VISIONING SESSION OF August 3, 2008Groups for Action
At the visioning session following lunch at Shallowford Church more than 200 persons listed eight pages of actions they could take to move toward the vision of a new city. One way to respond to these matters is through a series of small groups. The issues which were listed focus on: Prejudice, Involvement, Prayer, Youth, Fellowship, Learning and Study, Sensitivity in Vocation, Learning to Love, Interfaith Activities, Awareness, Solve Problems, Engage in Service
Group One. Overcoming Prejudice. Two actions will assist in achieving this outlook – Gaining knowledge about the faith and lifestyle of those who are different; first hand exposure in person-to-person groups.
Group Two. Involvement Persons who wish to be involved can do so at many levels. First get to know a person who is different from you in culture, race, or religion. Volunteer to help at feeding places or with older people. If you form a group that wishes to be involved, you can give each other support.
Group Three. Groups That Pray Together Some have shown an interest in prayer as a means of drawing close to others. I am part of such a group that has been meeting once a month. We sit together in silence for ½ hour and each month one person tells how she or he became interested in the Journey Inward. A group like this is simple to convene. Invite persons from different faiths, meet monthly, sit together for 30 minutes, and begin by having one person each month to tell about their life experiences that make them want to be part of the group.
Group Four. Young Men’s and Women’s Group. Quite a number of young adults joined in this time of visioning. They see new roles for themselves. We need a group of young men and women to begin meeting together regularly to talk about how they can build bridges, create relationships, and adopt new modes of service to human needs.
Group Five. References to understanding Islam and understanding other religious cultures were numerous. This need can be easily met. Form an InterFaith Discussion Group. In this group let each person relate what his/her faith means in daily life. After one person shares these personal values, other members of the group can ask questions about the practice of the faith or the beliefs that underlie it. Someone who feels a call from God to engage in this form of instruction could invite friends to become part of the venture.
Group Six. There was a strong call for the Practice of Love in the World. All seemed to believe that we affect others most by the way we live. Deliberately adopting a life of understanding, tolerance, forgiveness and kindness toward others models what the world needs most. It is possible to practice love without the encouragement and insight of others, but being part of a fellowship of caring people increases the chance of success.
Group Seven. The issue of working together for changes came up often. What one person cannot do, five can. When we take others into our confidence, when we learn from them, and when we work on worthy projects with them, we get closer together. Some persons learn by doing and others learn by talking, but talk without doing is a sham. Are you a Doer? Are you a Talker? Or, are you a Doer and a Talker? Habitat for Humanity offers a grand setting for doing and talking. The work of the Islamic Speaker’s Bureau offers help in doing and talking.
All the suggestions giving rise to these groups can be seen on the blog www.atlantainterfaithtalk.blogspot.com
Why Should Christians Learn About Islam
Twelve Reasons Why Christians Should Study Islam.
1. Their ignorance of Islam – most don’t know anything about Islam.
2. To rid themselves of misconceptions about Islam – what they do know is flawed.
3. To overcome their fear of Muslims.
4. To overcome the fear of speaking with someone of another faith.
5. To discover the similarity and differences of beliefs.
6. To learn that “difference” does not necessarily mean “wrong.”
7. To learn how to appreciate the dedication, disciple and determination of Muslims.
8. Because the world is rapidly becoming a “global village” and Muslims and people of other faiths are not only “over there” but “right here.”
9. Because of the sheer numbers – 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and the number is growing rapidly.
10. To find freedom from their feelings of elitism and superiority in religion.
11. To assist in helping Christians see all peoples as creations of God and loved by God.
12. To claim and affirm common roots – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all come from the Abraham’s faith in One God.