Sunday, March 16, 2014

Moving from Leaves

Dear Friends

It has been a great joy to spend this phase of online communications and relationships with you here on Leaves.

To my surprise, Google tells me that Leaves had

Pageview chart 25757 pageviews - 748 posts

For the sake of greater ease of posting and fewer logins and contortions, I am moving future content to my TumblogFrank Kaufmann

I hope you will follow me there

Also, I've a few other places where I publish my blog style content.  These include


My published articles and commentary will continue to appear in the newspapers and on line media as usual. News of new articles will always be announced at least in the Tumblog. So you can't get to all articles from there.

Thank you all again for your loving support.  See you in my new media


Frank K

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaching Interfaith Relations

Teaching Interfaith Relations to Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) Students

I just returned from a one week teaching intensive for doctor of ministry students at the Unification Theological Seminary at its beautiful campus on the Hudson River near Kingston.

Scene from my window

The environment was idyllic covered in the deep snows of our season in this beautiful part of the world.

The course is designed to support adult students who cannot interrupt life and work while pursuing their degree. The teaching intensive week means that all class time is covered in just five days. Instead of meeting the usual 3 hours a week, the professor and the students manage a full forty hours of lectures in just 5 days.

The 15 week course then includes several weeks of “pre-intensive” consultation and preparation, as well as post-intensive work needed to complete course requirements for evaluation (in this case a final thesis).

The course is entitled: Contemporary Issues and Needs in Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. The purpose of the course is for students:
  1. To establish the foundation for clear leadership in the fields of interfaith, conflict resolution, and peace activism.
  2. To become agents capable of effecting enduring, positive change through applying proven dynamics for peace and reconciliation.
  3. To be able to critically assess and review interfaith and ecumenical initiatives, make effective recommendations for improvement, and be able to engage and work collaboratively with “fellow-traveler” groups.
The lecture schedule for each day was:
Monday: Introduction, overview, intensive week schedule, and course design

Tuesday: The elements of society and their structure and dynamics

Wednesday: The elements of religious life and belief

Thursday: The elements, dynamics, schedules, and varieties of conflict resolution and reconciliation

Friday: Religion in transition, the future of religion and spirituality in technological age

The students were engaged and responsive.

I will try to organize the lecture content and present it systematically in appropriate places on line.

Thank you for your support

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Religious Knowledge Quiz

A key aspect of fostering positive interfaith relations includes knowledge. Test your knowledge of U.S. religions using this quiz from the Pew Research Group, and see how you do. You’ll see in the quiz some questions about such religions as Buddhism, Hinduism, and many others. 

How much do you know about religion? And how do you compare with the average American?

Here’s your chance to find out.

Take our short, 15-question quiz, and see how you do in comparison with 3,412 randomly sampled adults who were asked these and other questions in the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.
When you finish the quiz, you will be able to compare your knowledge of religion with participants in the national telephone poll. You can see how you compare with the overall population as well as with people of various religious traditions, people who attend worship services frequently or less often, men and women, and college graduates as well as those who did not attend college.

For a full analysis of the findings of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, read the full report.
- See more at:

Bridging the Gap Between the Christian and Muslim Communities in Iraq

Ayatollah al-Sistani of Iraq’s Shia Islam community continues his efforts to forge positive relations with Christians worldwide. Shia Islam is the majority among Iraq’s Muslims. We hope for a welcome reception for this positive example for interfaith dialogue, including meetings with influential Christian figures.
This past week, the Shia leader met with a Community of Sant’Egidio delegation in Najaf. The Community of Sant’Egidio planned to visit Iraq to “participate in a symposium on the issue of coexistence and dialogue among faiths.” During the meeting, al-Sistani expressed solidarity with Iraqi Christians. He stated that Iraq’s Christian communities must survive, and that any violence against these communities would “pose a threat to the whole of Iraq.”
Grand Ayatollah Ali all-Husayni al-Sistani, the highest-ranked Shia in Iraq and son of religious scholars, met with Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, in the Shia holy city of Najaf just over a year ago. The Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan’s purpose of the visit was to “visit Christian sites discovered in this city.”
During his travels, he granted the Shia religious leader “a courtesy visit” where the two discussed “a recent papal visit to Lebanon, which had significant results from the perspective of interfaith dialogue.”At the meeting, Ayatollah al-Sistani affirmed the possibility of Muslims and Christians coexisting “without hatred, respecting the beliefs of each other” for the purpose of building “together a free and humane society.”
- See more at: