“When will we learn, when will we the people of the world get up and say, enough is enough. God created us for fellowship. God created us so that we should form the human family, existing together because we were made for one another. We are not made for an exclusive self-sufficiency but for interdependence, and we break the law of our being at our peril.”
Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by: Eboo Patel
An important book both for Common Tables members and for anyone interested in exploring the dynamics of interfaith harmony.
Ideal for young people struggling to understand their place in the world and their power to create meaningful change, "Acts of Faith" provides a persistent, clear, hands-on, real world vision of pluralism. The founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, Eboo Patel is a former Rhodes Scholar and holds a doctorate in the Sociology of Religion from Oxford. In "Acts of Faith", he shows how bringing young people of diverse religions together to engage in service work does not undermine their own religious identity, but actually reinforces and deepens it.
Patel provides numerous examples of how mainstream faith failed to reach young people, but his own story is even more powerful. By his example, he shows us all how it is possible to be both American and Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu.
"Acts of Faith" reminds us of the critical, urgent role of young people as change agents. And that an angry youth can be transformed into an important leader in the cause of global harmony.
Easily one of the best contemporary first-person stories of youth activism and interfaith cooperation.
4.5 Stars! Original Release Date: July, 2007 Length: 189 Pages For Special Pricing on "Acts of Faith",Click Here
Dr. Arun Gandhi, President, M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY:
"The conflicts and misunderstandings that proliferate in the world today are issues that should concern all of us since these attitudes lead to violence. Common Tables is a unique project to bring disparate people together across a common table to break bread and dialogue to reach an understanding. I have no hesitation in endorsing this venture wholeheartedly and wish them great success."
Continuing this month's "appetizer" theme, bring a batch of these along with last week's suggested Rosemary Walnuts.
SWEET & SPICY PECANS
These nuts are first sautéed and then lightly toasted to crisp perfection. Remember to save some for your guests!
Yield: 3 Cups
3 Tablespoons butter 3 cups pecan halves ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 1 Tablespoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon paprika * ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ cup cider vinegar salt to taste
Set oven rack on middle level. Preheat oven to 325°F.
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Cook just until the nuts are lightly browned and begin to smell toasted. Add the brown sugar and continue cooking, still stirring, until the pecans are evenly coated and lightly caramelized.
Combine spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg) in a small bowl. Stir spice mixture into the pecans until evenly coated. Sprinkle cider vinegar over the nut mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until all liquid has evaporated. Add salt to taste.
Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
* We prefer to use Smoked Spanish Paprika in this recipe, but the difference is a subtle one. It will be fine with what ever kind of paprika you have on hand.
As a global family, our challenge isn’t that we can't get along with each other; it's that we just don't.
To begin to get a handle on the challenge, consider the shear numbers of differing belief systems on our ever shrinking planet. By way of example, adherents.com gathers statistics for “over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc.” How do we, as a truly global people, come to a place where we honor our differences – and celebrate our common ground? How can we develop a sense of global harmony at a time when a spotlight seems to be shining on our differences?
Here at Common Tables we think the solution is as simple as getting to know one another. Our model is an uncomplicated one: Bring together small groups of seemingly diverse individuals. Offer them tools which allow them to dialogue in relaxed social settings. And encourage them to break bread together and to get to know one another.
The Dalai Lama described the act of bringing food to the table as “one of the basic roots of all relationships”.
This Friday we put forth a bit of the wisdom of Black Elk* (1863-1950) for you to chew on:
"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."
*a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux).
"In a world in which religion is the source of bitter division and bloodshed, as well as of love, caring and peace, it is important for people of differing faiths to find a common table where they can demonstrate a shared devotion while learning of the beliefs of others. As conceived, 'Common Tables' is an effort to facilitate that kind of sharing and learning. We have met and learned from a modest sampling of believers and unbelievers. We hope to meet more and learn more and to share our commitment to a shared humanity. "
Set in a middle school in a small town in rural Tennessee, this film details an extraordinary experiment in Holocaust education. As they struggle to comprehend the idea of six million victims, the eighth grade students at Whitwell Middle School decide to collect six million paper clips to help them grasp the terrible vastness of the tragedy. The film details not only how the students collected millions upon millions of paper clips, but shows how they met Holocaust survivors from around the world.
You will be transformed as you watch the project change not only the students, but the entire town of Whitwell, Tennessee.
We give this one 5 Stars!! Original Release Date: 2004 Length: 82 minutes
Some of the best work in support of global harmony that we know of is being done by the folks at the Milestones Project. Click Here to check out their website. Their products are wonderful and the work they are doing is second to none!! The pictures and text below are from their site:
Child When we lose our first teeth, when we take our first steps, when we make our first friends, we are members of a single global family. Our joy and pride are identical, regardless of our nationality, ethnicity or religion.
Most of our tables choose to divide up the food preparing aspect of their gatherings. A common way of doing so is to have one member bring a salad, one a dessert and one an appetizer. When it's your turn for the appetizer, here's one that's quick and easy to prepare, simple to transport, and is always a big hit:
ROSEMARY WALNUTS We have seen similar recipes using only olive oil and others using only butter. To our tastes the combination we suggest here is superior.
Yield: 2 Cups
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 Tablespoons butter, melted 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) 2 cups walnut halves
Set oven rack on middle level. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Mix the olive oil, melted butter, rosemary, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the walnuts and toss until the nuts are coated with the olive oil mixture.
Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until the walnuts start smelling toasted – about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.