Friday, July 8, 2011


The corresponding video can be viewed at:

7/8/2011 10:44 am (et) Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:44 am (et).
7/8/2011 10:45 am (et) Br1an: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:45 am (et).
7/8/2011 10:46 am (et) Mary: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:46 am (et).
7/8/2011 10:47 am (et) Susan: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:47 am (et).
7/8/2011 10:48 am (et) Christa: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:48 am (et).
7/8/2011 10:57 am (et) JoyceD: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:57 am (et).
7/8/2011 10:59 am (et) DC Rao: logs in on 7/8/2011 10:59 am (et).
7/8/2011 11:00 am (et) Hussong: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 11:00 am (et).
7/8/2011 11:00 am (et) Tom Wolfe: logs in on 7/8/2011 11:00 am (et).
7/8/2011 11:00 am (et) Moderator: Welcome! This is Rebecca from the InterFaith Conference (IFC) and I will be your moderator. As this is still new, let me explain how this will work. On the right, you will see a video playing of our current topic to get the conversation going. If you have a comment and/or question send it along to me, the moderator. As long as I deem it appropriate, the comment will be posted to everyone and the speaker will have the opportunity to answer your question.
7/8/2011 11:01 am (et) Moderator: Today, we will be discussing values with Tom Wolfe, Quaker member of IFC’s Board and Chair of IFC’s Center for Nurturing Understanding, and D.C. Rao, Hindu member of IFC’s Board, both of which have been instrumental in the creation of IFC’s second supplement to the Teaching About Religion Notebook Project on Values. The reflection is provided by Michael Turner, a Baha’i member of IFC’s Board, who unfortunately could not be with us today.
7/8/2011 11:01 am (et) Iris Firemoon: private message to Moderator: logs in on 7/8/2011 11:01 am (et).
7/8/2011 11:01 am (et) Moderator: As always, I would like to remind you of the rules of our engagement. This is a respectful place where we come together to learn more about the religions of the world. Whether you agree or disagree, we welcome your comments and questions that are posed in a respectful manner. Please no profane or offensive remarks, they will not be posted. Also, this is a place of learning, so please refrain from ‘soapboxing.’ If there are any issues or questions about this, they can be submitted along with the comments pertaining to our topic. I am here to make this a pleasant and educational experience for all, so enjoy and remember there are no stupid questions, just hostile ones!
7/8/2011 11:01 am (et) Moderator: You can now view the beginning comments on the right. As you listen, please feel free to start sending questions or comments (YES, we want your comments). Also, the video will remain within the sidebar, so feel free to return to it as you wish. Our chat window automatically refreshes to keep the flow going, but if you wish to view the whole of the conversation, just hit the archive button. And lastly, PLEASE do not use double quotes as it led to some issues.
7/8/2011 11:06 am (et) Moderator: Just to give everyone a little background on this topic. IFC has just published its second supplement to the Teaching About Religions Notebook Project. This one is on Values, so it asks members of IFC's 11 constituent traditions to explain its own core values.
7/8/2011 11:09 am (et) DC Rao: each of the 11 religinos was asked to state the values that were most important for them, in their own words and in their chosen format. the result is the Supplement on Values to the basic publication on Teaching About religion.
7/8/2011 11:10 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I think the Golden Rule as it is usually worded does not take into account that not all people want or need the same things.
7/8/2011 11:11 am (et) Tom Wolfe: I have the InterFaith Conference Values Supplement in front of me and am struck by the nobility of the values of each of the 11 Faiths. I belive our challenge in this modern time is to build respect for all of these noble Faiths.
7/8/2011 11:11 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Would forming the Golden Rule in negative terms be more appropriate?
7/8/2011 11:12 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I think that's a great goal!
7/8/2011 11:12 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Not the negative terms, but the building respect for all faiths.
7/8/2011 11:13 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Joyce: There are undoubtably differences so Do unto others will mean empathy for their needs and traditions not just what we think they would want. This is perhpoars the greatest value of the Teaching About Religion projest we makes it easier to respect the Faiths through knowing a bit about what they say about themselves.
7/8/2011 11:13 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: I just mean we usually hear it as do unto others as you have them do unto you, but what about dont do to others what you wouldnt want done to you
7/8/2011 11:13 am (et) DC Rao: all the world's major religions have the golden rule inone wording or the other. the fct remains that it is hard for us to know what someone else REALLY wants or needs. a good starting point is whether we would want that for ourselves. if we strive to provide that for others we are extending to them our love; and, at a minimum, we are not focused on doing them harm.
7/8/2011 11:14 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: It is important to hear what they have to say. As Michael Turner said we all agree to say Justice, but what it means may vary
7/8/2011 11:15 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I don't have the IFCMW Values Supplement, but I have Oneness by Jeffrey Moses which gives a list of similar values among religions.
7/8/2011 11:16 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Joyce: I have that book too its a great little book that shows how close some of the values are between Faiths.
7/8/2011 11:17 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: How does one help someone see that they are not living by their values when they say they are religious? The Socratic method?
7/8/2011 11:17 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: That seems to be the best lead them into a contradiction
7/8/2011 11:17 am (et) Moderator: Iris Firemoon said: As to the question posed about how we make values global values, I think it would be difficult to come to a consensus what global values should be. I could imagine that a symposium on the matter of shared values would include a lot of folks who feel that their values are more important than other people's values. How do we discuss global values and remove the ego or self-interest?
7/8/2011 11:18 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Joyce: I have found one way is to uphold whatever values they are for knowledge etc.
7/8/2011 11:19 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Iris, I went to the International Peace Conference in Den Hague and it was very informative about the needs and problems of different countries.
7/8/2011 11:20 am (et) DC Rao: joyce: i too think the best way is to live the fvalues ourselves and leave it to others to learn what they can from our behaviour.
7/8/2011 11:20 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: But the mentality of the countries is different too...I mean the US has a very pull yourself up by the bootstraps idea...and I feel like that can get in the way, but I am not sure about other cultures
7/8/2011 11:21 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Iris Firemoon ...what a great name. I am convinced that the core work of each of these Faiths was originally to remove the ego. I have found in my seeking tht there are fundamentally three ways that have been taught to remove the ego: The path of Knowledge, the path of Service, and the path of Love. So I always look for one or more of these three in InterFaith challenges.
7/8/2011 11:21 am (et) DC Rao: i prefer to focus on what I can do rather than on what others OUGHT to do
7/8/2011 11:22 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I, too, am very disappointed in what our country does since being a good example is a good way to pass on values.
7/8/2011 11:22 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: So it seems difficult to get people to act together when they have different ideas on how to go about it...we all seem to want something like Justice but have different ideas on how to implement it
7/8/2011 11:22 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Amen to letting Your Life Speak which is one of our Quaker values.
7/8/2011 11:23 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Yes, I find too much of the evangelization culture is talk...if you wish to witness, live it.
7/8/2011 11:23 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I guess we can appreciate others when they do.
7/8/2011 11:24 am (et) Tom Wolfe: We have a Quaker saying about that ...If your work speaks for itself...don't interrupt
7/8/2011 11:24 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Positive reinforcement.
7/8/2011 11:24 am (et) DC Rao: while we can all agree that justice is a good value, it is notriously hard to define what justice is in a particular situation.
7/8/2011 11:25 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Tom, I don't know if I understand
7/8/2011 11:25 am (et) Moderator: end of comment: 'Don't interrupt'
7/8/2011 11:26 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Justice can begin with seeing the divinity within each person which is listed as the first value in the Hindu chapter in the InterFaith Conference Values Supplement
7/8/2011 11:27 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: ut Tom, don't we then get into issues with some of the Reformed Christian traditions who believe man is depraved (and this is my little knowledge of those groups so sorry if it is wrong)?
7/8/2011 11:27 am (et) Tom Wolfe: The don't interrupt means you focus on your work like DC said rather than having to say what others ought to be doing.
7/8/2011 11:27 am (et) DC Rao: how about those who ride on white horses dispensing justice?!
7/8/2011 11:28 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: What do you mean DC?
7/8/2011 11:29 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Namaste. I think that's an excellent value.
7/8/2011 11:29 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Oh my sister moderator there will be many difficult challenges to this unity work..the idea that humans are depraved as core theology is one of them. This focus on what is wrong with others (or all of us!) leads to very stringent right and wrong impressions...very hard to overcome.
7/8/2011 11:29 am (et) DC Rao: some are very sure about what justice means and what shuold be done to achieve it. problem is that others might not agree, not because they are opposed to justice itself.
7/8/2011 11:30 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: So these different opinions, how do we overcome them?
7/8/2011 11:31 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: So that we can work to promote these values?
7/8/2011 11:31 am (et) DC Rao: susan: even in criminal or civil law which is so painstakingly defined, we can see how hard it si for jsutice to be done. so my lesson is that we should be exceptinally humble when pronounce on what justice means.
7/8/2011 11:32 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: The Westboro Baptist Church has been dealt with well with an over-abundance of peace lovers being a respectful, loving presence.
7/8/2011 11:32 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Sorry Joyce, but what/where is the Westboro Church?
7/8/2011 11:32 am (et) Tom Wolfe: With very developed listening that builds relationship in respect before trying to change the other person's beliefs or feelings about life or what the spirit of justice is. I believe so much of this is us educating ourselves as to ways to attempt making this change happen. We need to practice practice practice and respect objections as hard as that may prove to be.
7/8/2011 11:33 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Fred Phelps' family pickets funerals of the military.
7/8/2011 11:34 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Ahh, ok I saw that on the news, just didn't realize that was the name...
7/8/2011 11:35 am (et) Moderator: Christa said: If international law is looked at as a means for facilitating communication and relationships between states is seems that interreligioun diaogue the way we have here may suffice to bridge gaps of understanding to better understand what things like justice mean to other peoples
7/8/2011 11:35 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: I understand wanting to be loving and accepting, but it is hard to respect when someone does something so blantantly against your values. I mean I get not wanting to support war, but I do find it hard to accept someone who is picketing a funeral.
7/8/2011 11:36 am (et) DC Rao: realproblems arise when we face a conflict between two good values and have to choose between them. peole can differ on how they make that choice.
7/8/2011 11:37 am (et) Tom Wolfe: I know a great listener whose lesson is how to respect folks who we find difficult is ...God does not make any junk. he has taught me to keep this in mind when the going gets tough and look for how the opinion makes sense to the person though perhaps not to me.
7/8/2011 11:37 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: "Standing on the Side of Love" is the relatively new Unitarian Universalist justice campaign. Does that sound universal?
7/8/2011 11:38 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Tom, I agree - understanding each other is a good first step.
7/8/2011 11:38 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Yes Let Us see what Love can do! is a great fallback position when dialogue goes south.
7/8/2011 11:40 am (et) DC Rao: i must confess to a problem. i wonder if any word is more misused than 'love'.
7/8/2011 11:40 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Seeking to Understand, before being understood is a core value
7/8/2011 11:40 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: But when their decisions affect you, it is hard to just let go
7/8/2011 11:40 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Environmental action for one, yes it does matetr to me whether someone is conscious of their effect
7/8/2011 11:41 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: DC, do you think love means different things to different people?
7/8/2011 11:41 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Ah but the misuse of the word Love annot touch the glory of the thing itself.
7/8/2011 11:41 am (et) DC Rao: joyce: not that so much. but people mask their true agenda with the word 'love'.
7/8/2011 11:42 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: DC, yes, I understand that.
7/8/2011 11:42 am (et) Tom Wolfe: I am certain the folks at Westboro would say they are protesting about gay folk out of Love for their souls.
7/8/2011 11:43 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Exactly, people have different views of love, and I think the problem comes because we can't approach the true glory as you said Tom.
7/8/2011 11:43 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Again the stringent right wrong that I hold could be traced partially to a core belief in the sin sick soul needing 'my' religion to heal.
7/8/2011 11:44 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: DC, are you familiar with the "Standing on the Side of Love" campaign? Do you think that is misuse?
7/8/2011 11:44 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Joyce would you mind telling us about it, I am not familiar with it?
7/8/2011 11:45 am (et) DC Rao: i believe words like 'respect' and 'understand' promote more honesty than the word 'love' in discourse.
7/8/2011 11:45 am (et) DC Rao: joyce: i am sorry, i do not know about the'standing on the side of love campaign.
7/8/2011 11:45 am (et) Tom Wolfe: My apologies what is the Standing on the Side of Love campaighn.
7/8/2011 11:46 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: DC, I agree about 'respect' and 'understand' in discourse, but love works better in other circumstances.
7/8/2011 11:47 am (et) DC Rao: in reality, 'love' always works better! i just get suspicious when it is used in discourse.
7/8/2011 11:48 am (et) Moderator: Hussong said: I think the Westboro Church actually protests not out of "love for their souls" but out of true hatred for the existence. I saw a video yesterday about one family who excommunicated their daughter because she didn't agree to their scriptural ideology.
7/8/2011 11:48 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Standing on the Side of Love:
7/8/2011 11:48 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: It promotes love of oppressed people (lgbt, immigrants, etc.).
7/8/2011 11:49 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Joyce it's true, how many denominations would condemn such action?
7/8/2011 11:49 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: too many unfortunately
7/8/2011 11:50 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Homosexuality is one of the tough topics.
7/8/2011 11:50 am (et) DC Rao: the hatred arises from a lack of respect for diversity, an assurance that WE have the TRUTH
7/8/2011 11:50 am (et) Tom Wolfe: And we have God's truth too!!!
7/8/2011 11:51 am (et) Tom Wolfe: So our work of respect has and will help relive this suffering based on making others 'wrong'
7/8/2011 11:51 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: It doesn't seem possible to actually have God's entire truth, but I guess most don't recognize that...
7/8/2011 11:52 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: The books of 'God's truth' are interpretted quite differently by different religions - like about homosexuality.
7/8/2011 11:52 am (et) Tom Wolfe: God according to the Qur'an is beyond anything we can say about Him.
7/8/2011 11:52 am (et) Tom Wolfe: or her
7/8/2011 11:53 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I'm glad you added 'or her'.
7/8/2011 11:53 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Ah, but if God is beyond words, is he or she a good pronoun? haha, sorry sidetrack
7/8/2011 11:53 am (et) DC Rao: how come some peole are so sure they know what God thinks?
7/8/2011 11:54 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: True, Susan.
7/8/2011 11:54 am (et) Tom Wolfe: My experience is that the truly tough prejudices leave only through that difficult word love..and the big change comes when people get to know those whose their leaders say they shoud hate//get to know them in person. Sometiimes this takes jsut laws to make happen.
7/8/2011 11:54 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: Ego?
7/8/2011 11:54 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: DC, Faith is blind.
7/8/2011 11:54 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Or it can be.
7/8/2011 11:55 am (et) DC Rao: in sanskrit, there are three words used for the Supreme,: neuter, masculine and fminine genders.
7/8/2011 11:56 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Susan: I believe God is both genders in form and in the formless state beyond both genders.
7/8/2011 11:56 am (et) DC Rao: Joyce: if faith is blind, how can one rely on it?
7/8/2011 11:56 am (et) Moderator: Susan said: I think it is because we have to, at the core of everything is faith...otherwise we'd be sitting in a bubble
7/8/2011 11:57 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Hatred cease by love alone, this is eternal law...The Dhammapada from Buddha
7/8/2011 11:57 am (et) DC Rao: knwing that other religins have decent values should reduce the extent to which peole suspect other religions.
7/8/2011 11:58 am (et) Moderator: Ok All, we will be wrapping up in 3 minutes, so if you have some thoughts to finish up, please do!
7/8/2011 11:58 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: The atheist often believes in free will even though there is no scientific proof, because it would be intolerant to live without that belief.
7/8/2011 11:58 am (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: I meant 'intolerable'.
7/8/2011 11:59 am (et) Moderator: Thank you for your participation today. If you would like to reach our speaker or are interested in the Teaching About Religion (TAR) program or books (which are available through IFC) you can email Next week we will hear from Sue Katz Miller, blogger ( and Rev. Julia Jarvis, IFC Assembly member and Spiritual Director of the Interfaith Families Project of Greater Washington ( on ‘Being Both: The Interfaith Experience.’
7/8/2011 11:59 am (et) Tom Wolfe: Please to join us in this work of builing on respect for folks who are different. Keep in touch at for the evolution of these teaching materials. Our next Supplement is on the common value of caring for the enviroment. Respect and Understanding to all...and Love too!!!
7/8/2011 12:00 pm (et) Moderator: Also, this is a new effort on our part so we welcome your feedback! Any comments will be helpful. If you have any suggestion please feel free to email me at
7/8/2011 12:00 pm (et) Moderator: If you are interested in finding out more about our organization please feel free to browse our website: and sign up for our bi-monthly e-newsletter by emailing me, again the address is
7/8/2011 12:00 pm (et) Tom Wolfe: Thank you moderator
7/8/2011 12:00 pm (et) Moderator: JoyceD said: Let's go and spread our Love.
7/8/2011 12:01 pm (et) DC Rao: joyce:what a lovely thought
7/8/2011 12:01 pm (et) Tom Wolfe: Namaste Now must go
7/8/2011 12:02 pm (et) DC Rao: to all: God be with you!

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