For Congregational Discussion: The Ethics of Interfaith Dialogue

[1] Linda Morgan-Clement’s essay gives practical advice for holding an interfaith dialogue which can result in transformative learning.  While adult education and confirmation classes can be powerful places for learning about other faith traditions through readings and watching videos, another path for learning might start by considering one’s own faith tradition through dialogue with others who share that faith tradition in so far as they have joined the same church community.

[2] After reading Morgan-Clement’s essay, participants in a dialogue might elect to answer her admonition to dialogic conversation with the intent to “jump out of the airplane” and “in free fall, construct something together.”

[3] Using the process described by Morgan-Clement, participants would recall and then narrate experiences they “have had of awe or mystery that gave them the courage to ask important and scary questions.”  In listening to each other’s stories, patiently and quietly, perhaps by using a talking stick to preserve the order of the conversation, participants might consider how their own memories of these experiences and the listening of those of others awakens a yearning for more—more experiences and more listening to the experiences of others.

[4] The next step might then be to attend a worship service of another faith and to listen to the stories told in by those who worship in that context.


Jennifer Hockenbery

Jennifer Hockenbery serves as Editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics .  She is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at St Norbert College. She attends Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI.