GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

United we sing, and maybe dance

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Sure, the world is awash in ignorance and prejudice, but what can one person do?

Ask Jack Bloomfield. In 2004 he founded One Planet United, an organization that brings together people as varied as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Pentecostal Christians — all in the simmering melting pot of South Florida.
What does he get them to do? Talk out differences. Cool down tensions. Understand people different from themselves. And sing and dance together — with choirs and soloists joining in annual concerts called Faith in Music.
Even better, you can do it, too — with model plans, called “templates,” on this Web site.
Like “Unity in our Community,” a program using music, dance and drama in community celebrations. Like “Looking Glass Theater,” a series of eight sketches with morals of acceptance. “Like OPU Clubs,” where middle and high school students can promote dialogue and mediate intergroup problems.
The free documents, 150k to 300k long, don’t take any expertise. Each project is broken down into committees, time requirements, press releases, program outlines. There are even suggested theme songs, like Where is the Love? by the Black-Eyed Peas.
A list of OPU-endorsed speakers is a bit heavy on the New Age, with the likes of Gary Zukav, Deepak Chopra and Neale Donald Walsch. But it also has a few conventional folks like Della Reese and Harold Kushner.

But that’s the beauty of the templates. Whether you share all of Bloomfield’s beliefs or not, the plans will still work for you. Imagine: trusting his tools with people he’s never seen. That goes even beyond interfaith work.
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Written by Jim Davis

October 7, 2008 at 3:55 am

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