The biggest obstacle to peace in the world is the belief that it is impossible, says Rabia Terri Harris, founder of the Muslim Peace Fellowship at Stony Point, New York, and one of the scheduled speakers for the 2015 Peace Conference, set for Nov. 12-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center at Lake Junaluska.
“The second biggest obstacle is the fear of differences and of healthy conflict. The third biggest obstacle is the human ego,” she adds. Harris is an essayist, editor and peace activist. She is a columnist and contributing editor at Fellowship, the magazine of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
In 1994, Harris founded the Muslim Peace Fellowship, the first organization specifically devoted to the theory and practice of authentically Islamic active nonviolence. She serves as director of the Muslim Peace Fellowship and Resident Elder at Dar Anwaras-Salam, the Muslim component of the Community of Living.
It's an honor to be invited to the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference. People who are willing to believe that a world of enormous pointless suffering is neither necessary nor inevitable need to come together as often as possible to strengthen and inspire each other. Shared concentration and commitment are a form of prayer that moves our work toward bearing fruit and our vision from the realm of hope toward the realm of reality.
The human animal, like other animals, has always been intolerant of competitors for survival resources, breeding access, and status. Up our awareness a notch, and we also become intolerant of people who challenge our conviction that we are right. These attitudes are both hardy perennial weeds, and they are not dying out any time soon. Only the intervention of real consciousness has a chance of thinning them out sufficiently to allow other kinds of flowers to grow in the garden of the world.
This year’s conference, “Longing for Peace/Exploring the Heart of God,” will feature three keynote speakers and focus on the spiritual roots and foundations that support the search for peace in the three Abrahamic faith traditions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Special music will be provided by The Yuval Ron Ensemble.
The keynote speakers are:
The conference will also include additional sessions, workshops and a panel discussion with the three speakers that will be moderated by Rabbi Phil Bentley of Hendersonville. Space is limited and early registration is recommended. Registration is $120 before Sept. 1 and $145 after Sept. 1. Students may attend for $60. Register at www.lakejunaluska.com/peace or by calling 828.454.6682.
The Peace Conference will also offer live streaming of the three keynote speakers, establish several international sites for small groups to gather and watch portions of the Peace Conference, and issue an invitation to various faith groups, peace fellowships and individuals to join Peace Conference participants leading up to and during the Peace Conference in prayers for world peace and in a renewed emphasis on prayer, meditation and contemplation.
The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference is an ongoing response to God’s call to peacemaking and reconciliation. Affirming the community of Abrahamic faiths, the Peace Conference seeks to work in partnership with Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other religious traditions to advance the work of reconciliation and peace. www.lakejunaluska.com/peace
Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center