Taking the theme of learning as central to the responsible practice of interfaith dialogue, Michael Barnes discusses a Christian spirituality which builds on virtues of hospitality and the welcoming of other traditions, whilst maintaining the importance of difference and particularity in the search for meaning. Each chapter explores how faith grows as a person crosses a threshold into another religious world and learns sensitivity to echoes of the known in the unknown. Encounters with the religious other, refracted through texts, conversations, artefacts and places, are used to illustrate the ancient Patristic theme of 'seeds of the Word'. Cumulatively they show that faith which learns how to engage imaginatively with another religious world constantly returns to the 'home' tradition, reinvigorated in its appreciation of the other. This book contributes to current comparative theology studies, using a theological approach to interreligious studies complementary to one based on the experience of interpersonal relations.
Michael Barnes is Reader and Senior Lecturer in Interreligious Relations at Heythrop College, University of London. He has written a number of articles and books on interreligious relations, including Walking the City (1999), Traces of the Other (2000) and Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Introduction: dialogue and learning; 1. The middle of things; 2. Schools of faith; 3. Communities of conversation; 4. Thresholds of meaning; 5. The art of translation; 6. Mending memories; 7. Channelling desire; 8. Waiting on God; 9. The divine imperative; 10. Passion for justice; 11. Tragedy and loss; 12. Spirit of wonder; Conclusion: a spirituality of dialogue.