September 7, 2022
The task we take up today is to identify who and what the organisation Interfaith Conflict Resolution is, what are its aspirations, and also how it carries out its work.
Who are we at ICR? Facilitators who teach and practise conflict resolution.
ICR is a legally-registered not-for-profit organisation (2014) co-founded by Thomas Kadmon to co-ordinate the work of those who share the aspiration of peacemaking and peace education. It applies a conflict resolution methodology both interiorly and exteriorly, from the individual psyche to global geopolitics. A facilitator is a conscious agent of conflict resolution, who realises both the peacemaking and peace-educating functions, and who is attracted to work on one or more of the 4 levels on which conflict resolution is practised.
They are the 4 versions of the letter "I" in ICR, standing for: Intra-personal; Inter-personal; Intra-faith; and Inter-faith conflict resolution.
Intrapersonal work, like meditation, resolves conflicts within the individual.
Interpersonal work, like counselling and workshopping, relieves conflicts between people, whether they be a couple, family members, friends or acquaintances.
Intrafaith work, like ecumenical efforts, seek to advance the cause of authentic unity within a fragmented faith group.
Interfaith work attempts to resolve conflict between different religions, different ideological groupings, and what, for convenience, we call 'church-state conflicts', remembering that in the concrete situation it may be church-state, synagogue-state, mosque-state, temple-state conflicts, etc.
These are the spaces of within-ness and between-ness on the individual and collective level, which facilitators aim to clear of reactivity. Bringing to light - or identifying and processing - conflicts, allows them to be dealt with spiritually, intellectually and emotionally, thereby avoiding physical violence, in much the same way as diplomacy forestalls war.
The future we imagine is a WORLD ORDER described by :
Peace through unity in diversity.
In such a world the fraternal bonds of our common humanity would be proof against any differences vying to tear us apart. Just as holding fast to one human race is a bulwark against (engineered) racial conflict, so too can all the damaging polarisations be checked by solidarity. One instance would be rejecting the medicalised apartheid based on vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens.
Love - fraternal charity - is the non-polarised, unified awareness, that can make a friend of an enemy, and convert polarising differences into enriching diversity. Through love - by which is not meant sentimentality! - we can transcend the "us versus them" mentality.
We imagine a world which is also growing from the inside out. This means taking initiative and not waiting for powerful institutions to make the first changes.
The inner peace of awakening individuals expresses itself in community, national and inter-religious peacemaking. The divisions we seek to heal are the fundamental ones pertaining to belief. The focus is not on "race", class, medical status etc. but are to do with faith, religion and ideology. In our view, these are the most fundamental choices defining our most meaningful groupings. These are the real categories of being, not engineered with an ulterior political motive.
A level of interfaith peace and harmony already exists in the world from the combined efforts of generations of peacemakers. Were it not for their efforts, wars might be raging more wildly now if, indeed, the globe had not already been annihilated. So peace is not some pie-in-the-sky notion but a real achievement, established in some measure, which we can build on. The future world envisaged is an augmentation, a full working out, of what is already right and good in the here and now.
We envisage a more OPEN world - a world where faith communities and civilisations are more open and trusting towards one another, and we envisage pioneering the scaffolding insights that make such openness and trust possible.
An open community acknowledges that, whilst it might be founded on something or someone sacred and immutable, it is nevertheless an historical work-in-progress, always undergoing renewal, and open to hearing the truths propounded by other traditions. “Learning respectfully from each other” figures in the vision. We believe that with passing time, there will be a softening of the stark convert-or-be-converted approach to interfaith relations. Implicit in this vision is acknowledgment that each faith tradition will tend to universalise, according to the fullness of truth that it embodies. This dynamic is necessary to transact and realise the emerging system of interfaith relations - an analog of 'international relations'. The so-called 'liberal world order' or 'rules-based order', offered as a one-size-fits-all system for the globe since the end of WW2, is inadequate to the task, as long as it pretends to religious neutrality and does not address the flaws in the ideological basis of its erstwhile hegemony. Whilst a new global order is actualising, we envisage that each religion, tradition or civilisational ideology will assume their own share of responsibility to build the system organically, by applying in integrated fashion the four interfaith perspectives: the two that govern openness - universalism and inclusivism - tempered with the two that are more circumspect - relativism and exclusivism. More about these perspectives can be found on the website.
What activities is ICR proposing in the here and now, and how will these serve people?
Writing - Blogs & Books
Facilitating conflict resolution through counselling and workshops
Meditations based on celestial cycles
Spiritual product development
Public speaking - giving talks - is an effective way of conveying the big picture, especially pertaining to the interfaith dimension of crafting world order. It also has a place in intrafaith or ecumenical communication. Public speaking would also cover visually-aided presentations, such as those proposed for high school Studies of Religion students.
Writing - via the internet or in hard copy - is needed to bring precision to concepts, explanations and arguments. Blogging, journal articles and books draw upon the written word to complement and clarify the spoken word. It is particularly useful at the interfaith and intrafaith levels of conflict resolution.
Counselling and workshops are an effective way to facilitate conflict resolution, especially at the interpersonal level. Counselling includes spiritual readings, like Tarot Time (linked on the website). Though it is preferable to conduct counselling face-to-face, it is still possible to conduct it over the internet. Workshops include Mandala Milestones (linked on the website). It also includes creative movement and expression workshops. These can be for the general community or tailored to staff in schools or other business settings.
Meditations aim at achieving conflict resolution at an individual level, intrapersonally. They can be done at any time, but the collective experience of humanity shows they are particularly effective if synchronised with the movements of the seasons and with celestial cycles. Full moon and new moon meditations, in particular, can be conducted in live groups or mediated by the internet.
Spiritual product development refers to ideas in the pipeline for the delivery to market of tangible, recreational products that deepen esoteric insights.