The Interfaith Council of Thanks-Giving Square and its partners and co-sponsors listed below are pleased to present the 2022-23 Faiths In Conversation Series titled, ‘Religion & Ethics of Creation Care‘.
This is a 6 part monthly series featuring scholars representing Judaism, Buddhism, Native Americans, Islam, Christianity & Hinduism.
Speakers from different religious traditions will explain how their religious tradition understands the ethics of creation care. In addition to addressing the value of creation in itself, of particular concern will be the relationship of creation care to human dignity, economic justice, and migration stimulated by changes in the climate. Participants will learn how each religion understands what it means to be human in relation to the rest of the natural world, and the particular responsibilities of humans toward the natural world and their fellow humans. Each presentation will be followed by a brief response and the opportunity to ask questions of the speaker.
The “Faiths in Conversation” initiative began in 2012 and grew out of the desire of several individuals associated with the Thanks-Giving Square Interfaith Council, and the Memnosyn Foundation, along with Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger. The idea was to set up a regular set of interreligious dialogue sessions among mainstream leaders of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. They were equally committed to having the dialogue sessions in different religious centers, rotating between a synagogue, mosque, and church. Finally, they were conceptually committed to having the same three leaders for all sessions, thus allowing a deeper and deeper exploration into particular religious ideas among leaders who would come to know and trust one another. The three initial leaders were Rabbi Schlesinger, Imam Zia (Irving Mosque), and Pastor Doug Skinner. Robert Hunt from SMU moderated. Other Muslim leaders participated after Imam Zia dropped out, with Dr. Mohammed Lazzuni becoming the regular participant from the Muslim community. The initiative effectively ended in 2018 when Rabbi Schlesinger’s travel schedule no longer allowed for his regular participation and leadership.
The new 2019 model of Faiths in Conversation was researched and initiated by Almas Muscatwalla, Chair of the Interfaith Council of The Thanks-Giving Foundation. She presented the new vision of Faiths in Conversation to Dr. Robert Hunt, SMU Perkin School of Theology and Dr. Larry Allums with Dallas Institute of Humanities and Cultures.
The three organizations agreed to collaborate to revive and present the Faith in Conversation series, designed as monthly sessions offering opportunities for people of all cultures, faiths, and traditions to learn about the religions of their neighbors. This initiative will engage scholars from throughout Texas in leading special discussions and analysis on faiths, from several academic perspectives, instead of practitioner’s interpretations.
To ensure excellence and equity in program content, an Advisory Group was formed that includes the following individuals:
- Ruben L.F. Habito, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
- Dr. Ali Asgar Alibhai, Harvard University, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations & UTD
- Dr. Poras T. Balsara, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Electrical Engineering, UTD
- Dr. Sudeshna Baksi-Lahiri received her BSc in Anthropology, MA in Sociology from the University of Delhi
- Nada Shabout, Director of Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI), University of North Texas
- Dr. Joshua Parens, Dean, Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts & Professor of Philosophy and Politics, University of Dallas
- Dr. Gail Thomas is a Founding Fellow of the Dallas Institute
- Almas Muscatwalla, Director & Chair Interfaith Council of Thanks-Giving Foundation
- Dr. Larry Allums, Executive Director of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.
- Dr. Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education, Perkins School of Theology, SMU
- Kyle Ogden, President & CEO, Thanks-Giving Foundation