Friday, November 12, 2010

The Dignity of Difference: Live UN Video and More

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams (right), beside Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks (center) leads a march against poverty demanding action to halve poverty worldwide by 2015 on July 24, 2008 in London, England. (photo: Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

NEXT FRIDAY: SEE/HEAR Live Video on Compasssion from the UN: Joan Brown Campbell, Matthieu Ricard, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chade-Meng Tan, Fred Luskin, Karen Armstrong and others with Krista Tippett at the United Nations - Friday, November 18th (11am–1pm Eastern)

LOOK FOR: The Dignity of Difference - Hear this week's radio program with Krista Tippett (On Being - formerly "Speaking of Faith" Radio): A conversation with the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Lord Jonathan Sacks. He's one of the world's great thinkers on the promise and perils of religion. He argues eloquently that religious people best nourish pluralism when they are grounded in their own deepest truths. But this also, he insists, means looking for God in the religious "other."

Krista Tippett, host of Being - "Finding God in the Face of the Stranger", says:
I interviewed Rabbi Jonathan Sacks twice in our recent days at Emory, and these separate encounters offered an interesting glimpse of the range of this man. If you heard our show with him on stage discussing happiness with the Dalai Lama, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Shori, and Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, you experienced an exuberant storyteller who captivated a room of 4,000. But I first met him for a one-on-one conversation...He offered my favorite new definition of Sabbath — a time to focus on "the things that are important but not urgent."

I've been wanting to interview Jonathan Sacks for several years, intrigued by what I've read of him and, in particular, by the evocative and helpful phrase he's developed: "the dignity of difference." (a) sacred alternative and addendum to the language of "tolerance,"...Jonathan Sacks is in a unique position to ponder faithful, theological approaches to life in a multi-religious, globalized world...

...Jonathan Sacks has carved out his own kind of moral authority in the modern United Kingdom — a relatively secular culture in what remains an officially Christian state - a masterful writer.

I focused in, for this conversation, on his understanding of "difference" in Jewish and religious perspective. For what could be more urgent? ...Science itself is revealing that this kind of awareness can make a profound biological and behavioral difference — leading us towards forgiveness over revenge, peace over of the most articulate champions I've found for intentionally tapping the vast resources of wisdom (from) "the other" that his tradition has carried forward across time and through no small amount of tragedy.

Some of Jonathan Sacks' convictions might sound counter-intuitive culturally...The UNITY of GOD is itself the source of diversity, he notes, pointing from the Bible to the natural world. And moral imagination in a pluralistic world is about finding more substantive and thoughtful ways to bring the fruits of our particularities to bear. "BY BEING WHAT ONLY I CAN BE," he says, "I GIVE HUMANITY WHAT ONLY I CAN GIVE."

At the depth of our traditions, Jonathan Sacks says to the faithful, we are called to see a God who is bigger than us, who will surprise us, who will show himself in places we never expect God to be: in the face of the stranger, and in the practice of a radically different faith. Jonathan Sacks embodies the mix of humility and boldness, of a passion for both mystery and truth — something I've experienced in the wisest individuals I've interviewed across the years. Listen, or watch (!), and enjoy.

Krista recommends:
The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks The Dignity of Difference
by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

A work of eloquence and importance.

For both programs posted above with ways to access by Radio and/or Online and to see much more - go to: or CLICK here


Connie L. Nash said...

Be sure also to find suggestions for Human Rights Day December 10, 2010 at nomorecrusades

sheryl said...

Also highly recommended: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks' collection of essays on the weekly Torah reading, Covenant & Conversation. 2 of the 5 volumes are now available.