Vital Voices: Three Progressive Faiths in Dialog

Panel Discussion led by Gehan Sabry
Oct 18, 2007
held at: 
Kitchener Public Library

This was a panel discussion moderated by Gehan Sabry and presented by a panel of three: Rabbi Jorden of Judaism, Raheel Raza representing Islam and Ted Schmidt representing Christianity. The venue was the auditorium of the Kitchener Public Library. Each one of the presenters had a story to tell. The stories highlight friendliness and the amiable atmosphere of the evening.

Rabbi Jorden’s Story

This story is a reflection on the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt . The Red Sea parted and the Israelites were able to cross on dry land. But when the Egyptian soldiers came rushing across in hot pursuit, the waters closed upon them and they drowned.

This is the commentary on their drowning from the Talmud: "When Israelites saw the wondrous power which God had wielded against the Egyptians... the Israelites sang a song of praise to the Eternal... At that moment, the angels of heaven wanted to sing praises to God as well. But God silenced them, saying: 'How can you sing when My children are drowning?'"

Raheel Raza’s Story

A monk lived on top of a mountain and at the foot of the mountain lived a scholar. The scholar noted that people would bypass him and go visit the monk whereas he, the scholar knew it all.

One day out of frustration he climbed up to see the monk. The monk offered him tea and when the tea came, the monk poured it into a cup and let it pour on and on till it flowed over and out. The scholar complained of his two issues one, why the masses did not stop to see him and second why was the monk pouring tea in a cup that overflowed?

The monk gently reminded the scholar that in order to learn and teach, we have to empty ourselves - otherwise we are like the overflowing cup. The scholar knew so much that there was no more space to learn. Most of all we have to empty ourselves of our ego.

Ted Schmidt’s Story

The master asked his disciples, “What is the sure sign of dawn”?

“The dawn has dawned when there is enough light to tell a dog from a cat”, said one.

“It has dawned when there is enough light to see a squirrel on the ground in a distance and know that it is not a mouse”, said another.

And so went all the others.

The master said, “You guys are all wrong”. And continued, “Consider the dawn has dawned when you can see the face of a brother or a sister in everyone you see walking on the road”.