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Narratives of a Dialogue Pilgrim

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This piece is a collection of narrative reflections by a dialogue pilgrim who spent over forty years committed to a project of interfaith dialogue in India. Raising the question of whether religions divide or unite, I have discovered the need to highlight the boundaries of language-games typically used by dialogue partners from different religious traditions, through an experiential approach that understands dialogue as an experience of "openness eliciting openness." Participants in interfaith encounters are called upon to take note of the leaps often unwittingly made from "faith language" to "knowledge language," or to the self-sufficient possessive language that tends to prevail in interfaith exchanges. It is important to respect the discrepancies in world-time vision, as well as the different pictures of self-understanding that emerge from different religious traditions. Also examined here is the role of intra-religious dialogue and the recurring stereotypes that often come into play when believers meet. In this ongoing pilgrimage of love—this pilgrimage in tension, with the horizon set on experiential expressions of surrender before the Ineffable Mystery—dialogue becomes a celebration of communion.

Affiliations: 1: Upasana, Kerala, India

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