Dinners Aim to Satisfy Appetite for Interfaith Understanding

January 12, 2007

Author: Richard Vara

Source: Houston Chronicle


When 200 or so people sit down for dinner at 20 homes later this month, the main course will be interfaith understanding.

The dinners were inspired by The Amazing Faith of Texas, a book by Roy Spence featuring portraits and brief personal religious insights of Texans.

Mayor Bill White, one of the Texans profiled, later assembled Houston interfaith leaders and asked them to build on the positive messages of religious diversity and tolerance emphasized in the book, a member of his staff said.

Jill Carroll, associate director of Rice University's Boniuk Center for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, proposed the dinner concept based on a Dallas program that targets racial diversity.

"There is a reason why the different world religions talk about table fellowship and hospitality as being central," Carroll said. "Something happens when you are in somebody's home and you are sharing a meal in an intimate kind of space."

Each dinner will have a facilitator to keep the dialogue rolling. Thirty cards asking a different religious or spiritual question based on the book will be on the tables. Each guest will draw one card and answer the question without interruptions or debate.