Awareness Sunday – 3 Week Countdown

I have posted about this important date previously, but with yesterday being the 3-week countdown to what could be an important opportunity in our global world today, I thought I would re-post.

That opportunity is known as Awareness Sunday.

On September 11th of this year, it will mark the 10-year anniversary of the infamous and dreadful 9/11 attacks in 2001. A significant date of remembrance for hundreds of millions of people. As so many in the generation before mine remember where they were and what they were doing when John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. were shot, the same stands true for our world today with regards to 9/11. Such is etched upon the minds and hearts of not just Americans, but our world.

But Awareness Sunday stands as a unique opportunity, a beacon of hope into our 21st century world. This special gathering will be held on Sunday, September 11th, 2011, exactly 10 years following the tragic event of 9/11. On this historic day, Christians around the world will join together for services of remembrance and reconciliation. Those gathering together will be drawn to create a better understanding of faith and culture, and to learn to engage with neighbours and colleagues without compromising our own faith. We are Christians, followers of Christ, no doubt. But we want to consider together the road to awareness and reconciliation.

What do Muslims actually believe?

What do Jews actually believe?

What do Christians actually believe?

Do we understand or misunderstand one another?

Should a particular group be viewed only through the lens of those holding more radical views that have brought violence and fear?

Our global world is no longer simply subdivided by religion and ethnicity. I specifically live in a microcosm of this in the capital of the European Union – Brussels, Belgium. We rub up against Nigerians and Fijians and Bulgarians and Brazilians and Chinese – each and every day. We come in close contact with Muslims and Jews and Buddhists and atheists – each and every day. How do we interact in such a multi-cultural, multi-religious global world? And especially how do the 3 main monotheistic faiths of the world relate as we are now in such close proximity to one another?

Such questions might not have been asked with regularity a few decades ago. But such is pertinent in our world today.

Thus, Awareness Sunday is positioned as an opportunity for considering a path towards peace and reconciliation. Violence in the name of religion must stop, and here we are presented with an occasion to better understand those different from us. Imagine a world where dialogue is the first response, not hate, not violence, not misunderstanding, not fear.

We have come a long way. But we have a long way left to move down this path towards peace and reconciliation.

Knowing some members of the Awareness Foundation team, their deep Christian conviction and their deep desire for building a pathway towards peace and reconciliation, I ask for you to consider how you might be involved in this great occasion known as Awareness Sunday. Visit the website for contact info on how you can help participate in this historic worldwide gathering.

To learn a little more about Awareness Sunday, view the short video below.

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7 thoughts on “Awareness Sunday – 3 Week Countdown

  1. Scott,

    With all of the information that folks quoted from the Awareness Sunday website on that forum discussion over on Theologica about how interfaith this whole thing really is, I am wondering what your take is on this now and if you are still going to promote it in your own congregation?

    It has been stated over and over by different ones that this is a Christian event. But then when you delve into their suggested orders of service for this day, you soon find out that they even have a service planned for Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus together where they actually all pray together.

    Is this truly something a Christian should be a part of? What ever happened to “come out from among them and be separate”? Even if your church doesn’t participate in this aspect of things, is it really alright for a Christian to come under the umbrella of a program that is advocating union with other religions in such a way? It certainly wouldn’t seem to be to me.

  2. Cheryl, I have not kept up with the thread the past couple of days. I’ll share a few things and hope you can understand where I am coming from.

    1) I have encouraged people to take part on 11th Sept in a way that they can have a clear conscience before the Lord. Our specific Sunday morning gathering will most likely not have people from other religions, though it hasn’t been outside of us to have an occasional Muslim attend our gatherings (and, of course, there is always the reality that some kind of non-believer will be amongst us). I am approaching it as a day of awareness and education to understand better the beliefs of those we engage with in our world, to not demonise all Muslims, etc. I will do this by teaching from some specific passages from Scripture. If we are so compelled, let’s utilise this as an opportunity to move towards more peaceful dialogue, and let’s do it before God with a clear conscience. The Scripture teaches that, as much as possible, let’s live at peace with one another (Rom 12:18). That is what I understand Awareness Sunday to be about, and that is what I will highlight, also noting this can create pathways to making the gospel known to those of other religions. I hope you can at least appreciate that perspective.

    2) Chris, who is directing the main Awareness Sunday service in London, already expressed to Todd that he received the rebuke and would consider what was brought forth. I think that amazing, a refreshing drink of water not usually displayed by Christians (even on Theologica we are so defensive of our beliefs and practices). This is why I love Chris so much. He is both humble and gracious to be willing to recognise where he could have gone wrong and be willing to make change. I personally know Chris and respect him as a dear friend and even mentor in my life. Chris, and his team, are some of the most solid evangelical, Bible-believing Christians I know. They do not hold to a mishmash of all things, that we all are pointing to the one same divine being, it’s all relative, etc. He and the team are very solid. I trust they will approach what was highlighted and, as accountable to God, one another and to others outside the Awareness group, to see how they can both honour God and build bridges so that the good news of Jesus can be made known to those of other religions.

    3) I think we have to realise what the purpose of this is. Though it is specifically Christian, led forth by evangelical Christians, they are trying to consider how to engage a world riddled with misperception, terror and fear about those in other religions, and how to communicate the great aspects of awareness and education towards one another and one another’s beliefs. To engage Muslims and Jews and others in our world might ask that we do so outside what we might do in a normal evangelical church gathering on a Sunday morning. Somewhat similar to a graduation speaker of a university that is also a church leader. It’s not like they want to back away from their conviction of who Christ is and the importance of the gospel. But it is looking at how they can communicate God’s truth, the good news truth, in the midst of such a different setting. It’s not a desire to water down, but a desire to actually see people respect the person/group and make pathways for the gospel to be proclaimed into their lives. Now, again, I don’t know exactly how things will play out in detail at Westminster Abbey in London on 11th Sept. And, I know Chris and the team have some things to ponder, which again, he has graciously taken to heart. Let’s pray for wisdom and trust God in this. You don’t know Chris and the team, so maybe you are very skeptical of how it will all play out. But I do know them and believe God is going to do a great work here. He is working in this group of people who are passionate for Him and passionate to engage those of other religions with the gospel.

      • You know, only two weeks to go now until this event. If things are going to change on their web site and do any practical good, it seems like it needs to happen pretty quickly now, wouldn’t you think??

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