world council of churches

Issue 37, June 2001

This issue of Current Dialogue presents among other things two of the present programs of the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue, a multifaith process called ‘Thinking Together’ and the other a study project in cooperation with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) on the contribution of Africa to the religious heritage of the world.

A couple of weeks ago, the office published "Striving Together in Dialogue -- a Muslim-Christian Call to Reflection and Action". This document, also posted on the web [click on title], is available from the World Council of Churches, Office on Interreligious Relations, att.: Ms. Yvette Milosevic, 150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva, e-mail: Yvette Milosevic.

The office is presently preparing for a consultation, involving resource people with a long time involvement with the office, aiming at a revision of the Dialogue guidelines. This consultation should give us an occasion to reflect on the role and changing aspects of interfaith dialogue during the last decades. Such a rethinking is necessary. The concluding contribution in this issue of Current Dialogue is a press feature of the Media Relations Office of the WCC picking up some of the possibilities and challenges of our days in interreligious relations and dialogue.

I hope this issue will be interesting and helpful in our commitment to and work in dialogue.

With the best wishes from the staff of the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue.

Hans Ucko, Editor

Book Review

S. J. Samartha
I Could not Go to Church on Good Friday
A Confession of Faith
Asian Trading Corporation
150 Brigade Road, Bangalore 560 025 India
ISBN 81 -- 7086-2639

Written during a period of sickness and convalescence, these meditations by Stanley Samartha relate the sufferings of Job to the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross, by sending Job’s wife to Church on Good Friday. The narrative is personal, without being sentimental, and theologically imaginative, without being speculative.

Inside this issue of Current Dialogue . . .

The contribution of Africa to the religious heritage of the world WCC Feature story

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From the foreword: "Early in the year 2000, ... I was struck by cancer. ... Phrases like "participation in pain" and "solidarity in suffering" jumped out from the pages of my sermon books and became part of my daily life. ... In this narrative I have tried to combine personal experience with theological reasoning because without the latter, experience is in danger of becoming sentimental, and without the former, reasoning might become abstract. I have included a number of selections from the book of Job because without the authority of the Scripture both experience and reasoning are likely to go astray. ... The road from Job’s house to Golgotha is untravelled. There are no sign posts on the way. But there is the common thread of pain and suffering, and the quest for the meaning of faith connecting the two."

Dr. Samartha was the Founder-Director of the Dialogue Sub-unit of the WCC. Among his many books are Between Two cultures, One Christ -- Many Religions, Courage for Dialogue.

Book Review
La voie du bodhisattva - Vivre en héros pour l'éveil
Magazine : Ethique et spiritualité
Revue Dharma, Editions Prajna
ISBN 2-905 188-53-7, 110 FF

To be a bodhisattva is discipleship, learning to live with oneself, receiving the other in ourselves, changing the relationship that we have with the other, within and outside ourselves. To be a bodhisattva is to learn to develop the virtues of life. This book is written and produced by disciples of Tibetan Buddhism, among them Lama Denys from the Institute Karma Ling in Arvillard, France and active in European Buddhist-Christian dialogue.

This books deals with various aspects of Mahayana Buddhism, focusing much on how to live in accordance with the precepts and teachings of the Bodhisattva tradition. A particular chapter is dedicated to Buddhist perspectives on interfaith relations.

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