Proyecto Visión 21

A nice invitation I couldn’t resist

Francisco Miraval

Last week I received an email with an invitation I couldn’t resist, so I even planned to change my schedule to attend this free event. At the end of the invitation, however, there was a statement that caught my attention and made me think.

The event was organized by a well-known and respected institution dedicated to theological education. The topic of the meeting was the identification between the believer and the deity in the context of the early Christianity.

I have been study theology for a long time, so the topic sounded very interesting to me, because I like to explore that intersection of theology and history. For that reason, I continued reading the invitation and I discovered that there would be not one, but seven speakers, each of them presenting a different aspect of the same topic.

Each speaker, the invitation said, will connect his/her presentation with the other six presentations. I thought it would be like reading different chapters of a book, all of them about the same topic, but written by different authors. “I have to attend,” I told myself.

The invitation said that professors and students of theology will also attend, as well as special guests and members of the public. After the presentations, each of the participants would have the opportunity to share his/her own ideas about topic being discussed, something rarely seen in the academic environment where, at most, the speaker just answers a few questions.

And there was something else, something that erased all doubts about my desire to be part of that meeting. After the dialogue, everybody was invited to participate in an ecumenical, multicultural worship service, followed by a communitarian meal.

“But there is something even more important…,” the invitation said.

That statement got me thinking. What could be even more important that everything previously said? Is there anything more important that talking about becoming one with God? And what could be better than having seven experts talking about that issue in one place and at the same event? And what about being part of a religious service where all expressions of faith are accepted and respected?

In addition, I liked the idea of sharing a community meal, because its goal was to promote unity beyond the diversity and disparity of opinions, beliefs, and theological positions. Certainly, not an easy task.

I wanted to know what was more important than all those things, so I kept reading and I immediately found the answer. There was something more important that identification with the divinity, more important than a meeting of experts, and more important than multicultural, ecumenical fellowship. “We will finish the meeting early so nobody will miss the Denver Broncos game!”

That unexpected juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane, the eternal and the temporal, the heavenly and the terrestrial, the permanent and the ephemeral, took me by surprise. Are we going to think about transcendental things only when and if the trivial things of life allow us to do it?

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