Monday, November 21, 2011

What is an Abrahamic Minister?

Yesterday I was chatting with Rev. Jean Leone OUnI, Secretary General of the Order of Universal Interfaith which I claim as my ecclesiastic home.  I suggested that it was, perhaps, time for OUnI to endorse and seek a school that would educate for ordination, a new kind of interfaith minister--not universal, and yet one more than just eccumenical--an "Abrahamic Minister" that would minister to communities from the three principal Western monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  I think it is a timely and needed step in bringing the faith paths into a greater discussion of their common theism through the common patriarch of Abraham. 

Recently the Claremont School of Theology was touted by the national media as the first "interfaith seminary."  While we all know that this is incorrect (it was The New Seminary in 1981), it is the first Department of Education accredited seminary to train three different faiths under one roof.  But there are still walls between the members of each faith path and, therefore, there are walls between the clergy that are produced.  What if someone was trained in all three paths to serve all three paths? THAT would be an "Abrahamic Minister." 

It seems my humble county in Virginia needs an "Abrahamic Minister."  I will be opening a fellowship for all three faiths descended from Abraham to come together in co-worship, service, education and community building.  I am doing this because I've been asked by several families of mixed marriage from the three faiths to create an "inclusive space" for them to stay together and share their united path of spirituality.  I will honor that calling.  BUT, I am trained by the Christian faith and need to find education that moves beyond the original mandate as an interfaith minister.  I need to become skilled in the Torah and the Qu'ran as much as I am the Bible.  So where do I go?

Rabbi Rami Shapiro and I are already working on the first common "holiday" that will bring the three faiths together on at least one day every year.  We are working to celebrate the first "Feast of Abraham" in 2012.  The day will bring the faiths together to share a meal and discuss Abraham as a common thread to all three faith paths.

There is a market now open for any school that can help me meet the calling to become an "Abrahamic Minister."  .... So what do you think?