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8 Guiding Principles of Interfaith Learning at ChI
1. A "red carpet" that welcomes people inside the heart of the world's faith traditions
Hospitality to all, a core teaching of many faiths, is integral to the ChI experience. We are called to greet and serve the stranger and visitor, tending their needs rather than asking if their beliefs mesh with ours. We enter our studies from this place of welcome, drawing upon the essential qualities of goodness and compassion that form the basis for inclusive spiritual care and leadership.
2. "Bring your whole self" as a guiding philosophy
It is our belief that everything that one has ever lost and mourned, created, and celebrated, suffered, pondered, or prayed over can ultimately be of service in bringing care, compassion, and transformation to humanity and our world. Our adult learning community values all reflections of the vast life experience that our students bring to the program.
3. An emphasis on multi-modal, experiential learning grounded in deep interior reflection
We believe that a direct encounter with the practices of each tradition is an essential component of interfaith education and personal transformation. Class content at the modules flows between didactic and experiential, theological and psychological, artistic and reflective modalities, modeling what we envision to be a lively, balanced, and healthy approach to ministry and leadership.
4. Personal connection to the Divine / Oneness / the Great Mystery
In addition to nurturing the spiritual path that led each individual to ChI, students explore spiritual and creative practices from a wide range of faith traditions and cultural expressions to enhance spiritual development and formation and to deepen their relationship with the Divine.
5. Sacred space for reflection, processing, and integration
In order to engage the unfamiliar, wrestle with what’s new and draw upon the wisdom in the room, each module includes a designated time for sharing and learning from the teachings that arise through both individual and collective experiences. Outside the classroom, students further their integration through individual spiritual direction sessions, dream-work, expressive arts, assigned reading and practices for reflection, practicum, and supervision.
6. Exploration of the spectrum of core beliefs, mystical elements and key theological tenets within each tradition
An examination of the similarities and differences across spiritual traditions is relevant and necessary to the formation of an interfaith perspective. We seek to honor each tradition, in its wholeness, being careful not to misappropriate. From this place, students are invited to draw inspiration from ritual, sacred scriptures, spiritual practices, and traditions of spiritual guidance within each tradition – from those places that resonate with their personal beliefs and experience, as well as those areas of dissonance or discomfort.
7. Cultivation of willingness, un-knowing, and humility as a spiritual practice
Our ability to be present to the truth of each moment becomes a capacity that we draw upon in our ministries, as well as in our daily lives. Through this lens, we cultivate the personal skills and practical tools that are most useful for support of people in spiritual, emotional or life crisis.
8. Transformation of self, communities, and society through leadership and service
We believe that the world longs for the unique expression of ministry that each individual desires to offer, functioning within and imagining beyond traditional settings and contexts. In order to honor, invite and reconcile the inherent wisdom of the Self and the world around us, ChI students explore pathways to healing through spiritual psychology, the arts, personal transformation, spiritual care, and engagement with societal issues.