Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dreaming Out Loud: Reconciliation Through The Arts

This past Sunday saw the arrival of the sixth Op/Ed piece in The New York Times by indefatigable activist and U2 frontman Bono. In Ten for the Next Ten, he puts forth ten ideas which "might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil."

Why do we at New Creation post this Op/Ed piece in the belief that you might be better off having known about it? Could it be that one of our editors may be a little too interested in U2's work? Or might it rather be that buried within this list, smack-dab in the middle in fact, is a fascinating and utterly cogent suggestion for inter-faith reconciliation through the arts via a "Festival of Abraham?" Hmm... Better to bet on the second of these options.

Regarding such a notion as a "Festival of Abraham," Bono writes:

Here’s something that could never have happened in the Naughts but will maybe be possible in the Tweens or Teens — if there’s a breakthrough in the Mideast peace process. The idea is an arts festival that celebrates the origin of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Every year it could be held in a different location; Jerusalem would obviously be the best place to start.

In Ireland, at the height of the “Troubles,” it was said that the only solution for rabid sectarianism was to let 1,000 punk-rock bands bloom: music helped create a free space for dialogue (of a high-volume variety). So no politicians allowed. Artists only.

(Read Ten for the Next Ten in its entirety by clicking here.)

One thing which Bono does not suggest (explicitly, at least) in this piece but which seems implicitly obvious is that there seems to be no reason why such a "Festival of Abraham" couldn't be organized as soon as this year in America or the UK (and wouldn't a divinity school be a natural fit as the locale for such an event?!!?). Make it an annual Festival and then, after momentum has built for a couple of years, such a festival could then move onto center stage in Jerusalem (as Bono suggests). Three cheers to the divinity school students and faculty who pull this off first!

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