A Global Philosophy of Religion in the Local Des Moines Community

Globally, our Lecture and Dialogue Series enacts an innovative approach to religiously inclusive philosophy of religion, exploring common religious themes from different religious perspectives through scholar lectures, practitioner dialogues, and philosophical comparisons. Locally, our Religions of Des Moines Initiative generates informative media about religious communities in the greater Des Moines area, hosts a monthly open-house series at local places of worship, and programs a yearly interfaith leadership camp for high-school students.

10/7 Meet My Religious Neighbor: Iowa Sikh Association

Please join us for our next Meet My Religious Neighbor open house, which is to be hosted by the Iowa Sikh Association on 1115 Walnut Street in West Des Moines. For this “open house,” we will be joining the Sikh community for its regularly scheduled Sunday workshop service. Approximately one hour of hymns (kirtan) will be followed by a short prayer (aardas), an exposition of the passage of the day (hookah nama), and the serving of the “holy pudding” (karah prashad). Following the service, everyone is invited to join the congregation for langar — a free, vegetarian meal.

 

Guest should dress modestly, avoid pointing outstretched legs at the holy book and altar, and also avoid turning their back to the holy book and altar (at least in close proximity to it). Shoes must be removed to enter the sanctuary. Simple kerchiefs (which are provided) must be worn by men and women.

 

Meet My Religious Neighbor is a monthly open-house series. Each open house allows the public the opportunity to tour a sacred space, learn how religion is practiced in it, and meet the congregation who worships there.

 

 

9/13: Miracles as Stories

Kenneth Woodward
Former religion editor at Newsweek (retired 2002)
Thursday, September 13th, 7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center

Kenneth Woodward served as Religion Editor of Newsweek for 38 years. In addition to some 100 cover stories for Newsweek, his articles, essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Commonweal, First Things, America, The Nation, and The Weekly Standard. Among his numerous awards are the National Magazine Award, the Pulitzer Prize of the magazine industry, and the Robert E. Griffin Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Art of Writing from the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater. Mr. Woodward is the author of four books, including his recently published Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to Ascent of Trump, which is available in paperback after his lecture.

In his lecture, Mr. Woodward will emphasize the essentially narrative character of miracles, whether they are found in sacred literature or in personal experience. In doing so, he will draw on two of his own books, The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, and Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Doesn’t, and Why, the latter of which contains a chapter on how church authorities validate miraculous claims.

 

You can an audio recording of Woodward’s lecture here.

9/14 Meet My Religious Neighbor: Shafia Islamic and Cultural Center

Meet My Religious Neighbor resumes with a visit to the Shafia Islamic and Cultural Center (1425 University Ave) for their jummah sermon and prayers. The visit will be held on Friday, September 14th from 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Shafia is a relatively new (2014) Somali mosque with Sufi influence. Many of its members are refugees, victims of persecution by Al-Shabaab in Somalia. For more information about the mosque, see the entry by Drake student Runal Patel on the TCP website: http://comparisonproject.wp.drake.edu/religions-of-des-moines/shafia-islamic-and-cultural-center/.

Men should enter through the back side (non-University) of the mosque; women, through the front (University). After the prayers have ended women and men together can learn about the community’s distinctive practice of Islam. To respect the customs and rules of the mosque, women should cover their hair and have arms covered to wrists and legs covered to ankles. Men should not wear shorts. Also, men should avoid touching women and vice versa (handshaking included). If you want more information, please contact Tim Knepper at tim.knepper@drake.edu.

Meet My Religious Neighbor is a monthly open-house series. Each open house allows the public the opportunity to tour a sacred space, learn how religion is practiced in it, and meet the congregation who worships there.

 

 

7/29 Film Screening for Interfaith Youth Leadership Camp

On July 26-29, 2018, The Comparison Project and the Des Moines Area Religious Council will co-host the second annual Interfaith Youth Leadership Camp at Drake University.

20 high school students representing a diverse array of religious traditions and communities will spend four days and three nights at Drake University, learning about each other’s religious beliefs and practices. Participants will create and share a digital story that expresses a personally meaningful faith experience, practice, or belief, visit religious communities in Greater Des Moines, and discuss with each other the principles and practices of interfaith leadership.

The general public is invited to view the campers’ digital stories at a film screening on Sunday, July 29th at 3pm in Meredith 101.

 

6/2 Meet My Religious Neighbor: Bosniak Islamic and Cultural Center

Please join us for our next “Meet My Religious Neighbor” open house, to be held on Saturday, June 2nd from 8:30-9:30 p.m., at Bosniak Islamic and Cultural Center (3805 Lower Beaver Rd, Des Moines). 


Visitors can watch this Bosnian Muslim congregation break the Ramadan fast (with water and dates), then perform their evening (maghrib) prayers. Afterwards, visitors are invited to join the congregation in their iftar feast. Come hungry!

Men should wear long pants, and women should wear a headscarf (that covers hair) and be covered to wrists and ankles.

Meet My Religious Neighbor is a monthly open-house series. Each open house allows the public the opportunity to tour a sacred space, learn how religion is practiced in it, and meet the congregation who worships there.

5/10: “By Whose Authority?” Polemical and Political Uses of Miracle Stories

David Weddle
Professor Emeritus of Religion at Colorado College
Thursday, May 10th, 2018, 7:00pm
Drake Univeristy, Cowles Reading Room

Can miracles establish the truth of religious claims or the basis of political authority? Does supernatural might make for human right? Should we believe in Buddha or Jesus or Muhammad because of miracles they performed? We will consider examples of miracle stories in several religious traditions and trace their use in arguments over theology and politics.

David L. Weddle is Professor Emeritus of Religion at Colorado College, where he taught courses in comparative theology and ethics, American religions, and philosophy of religion. He served as chair of the department and was active on faculty committees. A life-time honorary member of the American Academy of Religion, he is the author of Miracles: Wonder and Meaning in World Religions (2010) and Sacrifice in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (2017).

 

Video of Lecture

5/6 Meet My Religious Neighbor: Pure Land of Iowa

 

Please join us for our next “Meet My Religious Neighbor” open house, to be held on Sunday, May 6th from 2:00–4:00 p.m., at Pure Land of Iowa (8364 Hickman Rd, Clive).

Visitors will be able to tour the facilities of this new Buddhist temple, to meet its members, to learn about Buddhist philosophy, and to practice Buddhist meditation. Since the temple is home to different a diverse community, visitors will have the opportunity to experience the unique arts and designs of all three major lineages of Buddhist traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan. Snacks and tea will also be provided.

Pure Land of Iowa is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting inner peace, compassion, harmony among people through diverse cultural events including arts and music, teachings on eastern philosophical views that encourage secular morality and improve personal happiness, and the practice of contemplative tradition for healthy body and mind.

Meet My Religious Neighbor is a monthly open-house series. Each open house allows the public the opportunity to tour a sacred space, learn how religion is practiced in it, and meet the congregation who worships there.

4/19: Fatima: Examining Catholicism’s Greatest Modern Miracle

Michael O’Neill
Author of Exploring the Miraculous and creator of the website MiracleHunter.com
Thursday, April 19th, 2018, 7:00pm
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center

O’Neill’s lecture will examine Catholicism’s most famous and highly-approved modern miracle, that of the visions of the Virgin Mary being reported by three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria in Fátima, Portugal in 1917 whose centenary was celebrated by Catholics worldwide this year. These events, including the purported great “Sun Miracle” and the inexplicable healings that led to the canonization of the visionaries as the youngest saints in history, provide a perfect backdrop for understanding the centuries-old mechanisms and stringent criteria for investigating and validating claims of the supernatural used by the Catholic Church even in today’s modern world.

Michael O’Neill is a miracle investigator, author and creator of the website MiracleHunter.com, an  online resource cataloguing miracles in Catholicism.  O’Neill, a graduate of Stanford University and member of the Mariological Society of America, was the consultant for the National Geographic magazine December 2015 cover story and map about the Virgin Mary, “The Most Powerful Woman in the World”.  His books include Exploring the Miraculous (Our Sunday Visitor 2015), 365 Days with Mary (Salt Media 2016), and 20 Answers: Apparitions & Revelations (Catholic Answers 2017).

 

4/13 Meet My Religious Neighbor: Temple B’nai Jeshurun

Please join us for our next “Meet My Religious Neighbor” open house, which will be held on Friday, April 13th, from 5:30–7 p.m., at Temple B’nai Jeshurun (5101 Grand Ave, Des Moines)

This open house is a Friday night Shabbat (Sabbath) service at Des Moines’ Reform Jewish Temple, Temple B’nai Jeshurun.  The service lasts for approximately one hour, from 6:00-7:00pm.  Prior to that, there will be a wine and cheese reception as well as an orientation session for first-time visitors.  Afterwards, there is an opportunity to linger and meet members of the congregation.

Please dress and behave in a respectful manner. Men and women may wear a kippah/yarmulke (provided by the Temple) if they like.  For more information, contact Tim Knepper at tim.knepper@drake.edu.

Meet My Religious Neighbor is a monthly open-house series. Each open house allows the public the opportunity to tour a sacred space, learn how religion is practiced in it, and meet the congregation who worships there.

 

3/29: Fear, Loathing, and Miracles among the Cowherders: Krishna’s Childhood Prodigies

Richard H. Davis
Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Bard College
Thursday, March 29, 7:00pm
Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center, Drake University

In several classical Sanskrit works, the god Krishna is presented as a human incarnation of the Supreme Being, Vishnu. Yet he grows up in humble circumstances within a community of nomadic cowherders. They are not appraised of the divinity living among them, and only gradually come to recognize his more-than-human capacities. The narratives of his early life play with the ironic distance between the knowing reader and the unknowing cowherders. When the child Krishna performs acts that clearly display superhuman strength, the cowherders struggle to comprehend these phenomena. The drama of these accounts revolves around the difficulty of recognizing miraculous actions of a god, especially when that divinity is a baby. In this presentation I use the narratives of Krishna’s childhood among the cowherders to reflect on the use of “miracles” as a comparative category in the study of religion.

Richard H. Davis is Professor of Religion and Asian Studies Programs at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Formerly he taught as assistant and associate professor at Yale University. His most recent publication is The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2014). He is author of four other books: Ritual in an Oscillating Universe: Worshiping Siva in Medieval India (Princeton, 1991), Lives of Indian Images (Princeton, 1997), Global India, circa 100 CE: South Asia in Early World History (AAS, 2010), and A Priest’s Guide for the Great Festival (Oxford, 2010). He has edited two volumes, and also wrote the text for a catalog of Indian religious prints, Gods in Print: Masterpieces of India’s Mythological Art (Mandala, 2012). Currently he is continuing work on the reception history of the Bhagavad Gita, and on a history of religions in early South Asia.

 

Click link below for video of lecture:

https://vimeo.com/262580444