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"You don't have to leave your house to join the house of we" The house of we, as I conceive of it, will be different things to different people. No one should feel that in order to be a part of it they have to give up a tradition that is dear to them, a deeply rooted feature of their identity, an irreplaceable community. For those of us who are blessed with that kind of connection, the house of we may become another, more inclusive, more encompassing level of spirituality. An enrichment as opposed to a replacement. I for one don't intend to stop being Jewish when I walk through the doors of the house of we. For those of us who find themselves "in between houses," who draw upon and connect with more than one religious or spiritual source, who feel comfortable with and require a more complex, eclectic experience of faith, for those who are religiously adrift, who find themselves homeless and in need of refuge the house of we may come to play the role of a primary spiritual home. At least that is my hope for the future. "You don't have to leave your house to join the house of we" … but if your house no longer fits who you are, the house of we may be the shelter you are seeking. Controversy as to whether a common faith is actually a good idea on it's own merits and whether it is an idea which can be realized in a fractured world is perhaps inevitable. I understand how provocative the prospect of religious unification is for some and the reasons for their often fierce resistance. As a person who cherishes the uniqueness of the individual and of the various religious traditions, my vision of a unified or common faith has nothing to do with the need to run away, either for personal or political reasons from the apertures that exist between us. Sometimes the fear that unity is a synonym for uniformity, evenness and standardization is the thing that evokes resistance in those who are skeptical. They expect that in order to enter the House of We individuals will be forced to melt themselves, body and soul into a sea of inauthentic accord where all differences, be they personal, racial, ethnic or religious will be swallowed by the group. I believe, in point of fact that there is a level in which we are all the same and that it is both the most and the least important thing about us. Word of the dream  “In all things equal in all things the same.” We are the same in the sense that we all contain a spark of the divine and that spark is equally deserving of our reverence and respect. But there is a cornucopia of glorious difference, of variation and multiplicity on every level of the human psyche that mirrors in it's richness nothing less than the imagination and creativity of God. While I bemoan the inequities and distortions that so often accompany differences in religion and hope that the growth of  religious unity will help to alleviate prejudice, intolerance and discrimination (indeed, addressing religious violence should be the primary  focus of the house of we community and I believe a common faith will contribute significantly to the resolution of conflicts which have a  religious component),  people who come to the house of we because they want to lose themselves in the "One," because they would flee  the pain and fear that are an inevitable part of being a separate, unique individual, because they want to avoid having to deal with the  disagreement, controversy or debate that is such an important part of our spiritual evolution will be missing the point. Sincere differences of opinion and contrasting perspective are a healthy feature in any creative process and the moment religion ceases to be creative is the moment it begins to die. The oneness of the house as I conceive it, is not a oneness in which such things are discouraged or suppressed, it is a oneness in which they are exercised and quarried, harnessed and employed. Fear of difference leads to conflict, love of difference holds the power to unite. While there are those who claim that the road to peace lies in learning to respect the differences between us, rather than in papering them over with some sort of generic religious formula, rather than in pretending the differences don't exist, keep in mind that a marriage does not have to be a relationship in which one partner loses themselves in the other: as a religious man, I say there is no greater form of respect than that which would marry my god to yours.  Uniformity kills  and is the opposite of diversity, whereas unity and wholeness require diversity in order to exist. As any musician knows, the greater the contrast between notes the richer and more transcendent the harmony in which  differences are resolved. The balance between unity and diversity in the structure of a world religion will not be easy to discern or achieve. Yet I believe with all my heart that at this point in time the future of religion lies in spiritual integration. Word of the Dream “It is natural of course when like things combine: species with species, religion with religion, race with race. But I believe that things which are different may combine in a way that is also natural, a new kind of natural. Yes. There can be in life what one might call a ‘natural  hybridness.’”
Word of the Dream
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