Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Dinner fosters faith discussion

Faith can be a difficult topic to discuss. Parents teach their children not to tread toward religion in conversation, especially with people who are just casual acquaintances.

Easing the tensions with food and forum, the Canterbury Chapel Student Organization is hosting “God and Grits,” an interfaith dinner and discussion to which all students are invited. The event is free and will take place tonight at 6 in the Ferguson Center room 360. Donations will be accepted and can be made with Bama Cash.

After a dinner of catered breakfast foods, “God and Grits” goers will participate in a moderated discussion designed to comfortably bring different religious views to the surface. Some students expect the conversation to be stimulating and unpredictable.

“I really have no idea where the discussion will go,” said Lindsay Turner, a junior majoring in musical theater and outreach officer of the Canterbury student forum. “We hope to attract a diverse group of people, so the talk could go in a number of directions.”

Provided with a non-threatening setting, the group is encouraged to voice their opinions. It may be easier said than done, since in America’s sphere of free thought, ideologies can sometimes compete with one another for ground. Initiatives like “God and Grits” hope to make it a common ground of mutual respectful acknowledgement.

“We want to have these different groups who are historically and, today, politically at odds to be at ease with each other,” Turner said. “We want them to know each other — to be able to put a face with other beliefs.”

In the interest of fair, common ground, the discussion will feature moderators from the David Matthew’s Center for Civic Life. Linn Groft, a senior in New College interdisciplinary studies, is one such moderator.

“My goal is to facilitate a very respectful, open environment,” Groft said. “We’ll try not to let someone dominate the conversation, so those less outgoing people can be encouraged to participate.”

Such initiatives have been used to fight general intolerance present in our country. Even with events like “God and Grits,” though, bridging gaps of intolerance certainly isn’t easy.

The Rev. Marc Burnette of Canterbury Chapel contends that homeland intolerance does indeed exist.

“Many see intolerance as a way to be faithful to God,” Burnette said. “It’s a sorrowful attempt to be faithful. It’s ironic.”

With these types of events, people risk offending the traditions of established religions that have potential congregations of billions. Burnette said he believes they’re taking steps for “God and Grits” that can help with the transition toward tolerance.

“Canterbury’s sense of it is that Christianity and the scriptures lead directly to visions of a kingdom that is radically inclusive,” Burnette said. “If you treat people like brothers and sisters, you start living next to people of different races, sexual orientations and classes, that’s where the magic is — where the kingdom really starts to happen.”

It may be a new concept to some, but this inclusionary principle may in fact be very old.

“It’s not a brand new vision,” said Burnette. “It’s more the ancient vision coming to new life.”

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