OIFH’s sacred cause and calling engage us in interfaith as well as INTERPATH collaboration…something akin to interfaith with a wider reach. Interpath addresses these chasms that divide us by reaching out to individuals and groups within and outside the traditional circle of interfaith. All share in the sacred cause to contribute to a greater good and create bridges across long-standing chasms of separation.
Interpath projects promote the sacred cause of cultivating the awareness of the vital interconnectedness, interrelationship, and interdependence of all living things through collaborating with individuals and groups within as well as outside the traditional circle of interfaith. Engagement in these programs promotes personal and collective insight, compassion, and transformation. Interpath participants may or may not be interested in the future of religion, but they feel a sacred calling to contribute to the well-being of others and our world. Examples would be:
- Those who have moved beyond the secular/religious divide and are searching for the sacred in everyday life
- Communities bound by shared practices and goals, more than identity or belief
- Individuals who are unbundling wisdom and practices from ancient traditions and turning them into a personalized spiritual life
- Caretakers of souls and healers already at work in our midst
- Leaders and Change Agents in Education, Social Services, Politics, Science, the Arts, and Government
- People in Recovery
We, the Oregon Interfaith Hub, are very grateful to Fr. Tom Bonacci, Executive Director and Founder of The Interfaith Peace Project which is headquartered in Antioch, California. The Interpath commentary in quotes below along with the fourteen Interpath Principles are posted on their website.
We asked him if we could post the commentary and Principles on our website. He not only encouraged us to do so, but to also feel free to explore these principles and make any changes and additions we were guided to make…to continue this in-depth inquiry into Interpath. This we shall do.
Thank you to Fr. Bonacci and the board and advisory board at The Interfaith Peace Project for your collaborative commitment to create these principles and your willingness to explore this most important and timely calling.
“The pathways of the various faith, religious, cultural, and philosophical traditions are open ended. The destination is the journey. The uncertainty of the future need not be the reason for anxiety but the cause for creativity and humane perspectives in the midst of adversity.
The Interpath Project is designed to evolve and grow with insights from participants who are not only interested in the future of religion and spirituality, but, more importantly, the well-being of the World. Engagement in these programs and projects promotes personal insight, growth, and transformation for the sake of others and the World. A typical program or project explores and applies the Interpath Principles which generates dynamic and open discussion as well as possibilities for collaborations that fulfill the calling to address the greatest concerns of 21st century life.
The way of the future is the practice and consciousness of the present timeless moment. We discover the vital interconnectedness, interrelationship, and interdependence of all Beings and Natures in our own self-awareness born of love, compassion, empathy, and radical openness. Rumi reminds us “we humans are each a guesthouse”. We seek to find ways to open the doors of our hearts and emotions so our thinking and doing might be energized by the consciousness which befits a human person who seeks to be fully alive. We call this practice, this awareness, this learning ‘THE INTERPATH JOURNEY’.
The following Interpath Principles were formulated by the Board of Directors over a three-year period of conversations with one another. They are emerging principles constantly subject to review, reflection, and reformulation.
- We humbly commit ourselves to being people of compassionate love and care as we respond to the issues of the day, and actually, we respond to real people who are influenced by the issues of the day. We strive to commit ourselves anew to care for one another and all those we serve.
- Inclusivity is our guiding principle. We are inclusive of all people and work toward equality for women, LGBTQI+, and anyone who needs that justice befitting their dignity as human persons. Our advocacy includes listening to those who seek justice as we walk with them on the pathways of what is right, true, good, and just. We also seek to support those who ally themselves with those seeking justice.
- We strive to be open-minded and open-hearted as we realize our need for one another. We believe that every human being deserves to be recognized and treated as a full member of our Human Family.
- We seek to love, honor, and respect people as the Great Masters of the Great Traditions have taught. The patience, humility, and respect, found in the Great Masters, remind us to strive to do no harm as we seek to discover ourselves as persons dedicated to interspiritual love and respect. We seek the wisdom of those in our personal ancestry and contemporary lives.
- We practice compassion by walking with another person, meeting them where they are, and being willing to be a part of their life as peacemakers.
- We strive to practice interfaith love and understanding in every dimension of our work and lives. We seek to engage in dialogue even in the midst of conflict and division. We engage in an “interior dialogue” so we might be emphatic and compassionate even if we are called to confront another inviting them to the depth of their heart. We seek to engage the contemplative arts and the practice of silence seeking to hear the voice within our hearts.
- We strive to commit and dedicate ourselves to reduce suffering in the world through peace, justice, and the practice of empathy.
- We seek to be bureaucratically simple. Our structures of organization must never interfere with our desire to welcome everyone to journey with us. We do not seek affiliation with any particular spiritual, philosophical or cultural pathway since we strive to welcome everyone. We are “whatever people need us to be”.
- We meet with one or more persons remembering our work treasures the person we currently engage with. Various pathways of life intersect. We pause at those intersections to grow in wisdom and knowledge. (This is an on-going practice resisting the dominant culture which sees great success in big numbers.)
- We accept donations rather than fund raise or charge for our outreach. The greatest gift we receive is the presence, wisdom, and courage of all we meet.
- We seek to transcend any attachment to outcome realizing our work and journey are on-going.
- Hospitality is at the heart of work and outreach. We strive to offer a safe haven for all we encounter. We strive to accept people as they are. This attitude of the Heart comes out of a deep practice of centeredness so that we may help our guests open the door to their own insight and heart.
- Our experience has taught us to be open to everyone as best we can. We do not expect anyone to conform to certain beliefs or ways of life. Each is invited to bring their gifts and authentic selves, and we share the same with them.
- We understand that our work requires each of us to practice self-care in all the affairs of our lives. Above all, we realize no one of us can do this work alone. We strive to remember we need one another. As we recognize our limits, we realize our limits are not faults but opportunities for respect of others based on self-care and self-respect. We have discerned these principles from our work and life experience. The principles are not our burden but our stated values. We seek and strive above all to be our true selves. The greatest gift we will ever give is the gift of ourselves and, for this, we give thanks to one another.”