Monday, April 30, 2007

What’s faith got to do with it?

Most of my writing about philanthropy looks at it in the context of markets, public sector responsibility and citizen action. I appreciate it when I get to consider the spiritual and elemental nature of philanthropy while I'm at work, and not just in my own religious practice. Ambassador James Joseph reported on a studio conversation about faith and philanthropy – this is a session worth finding online and on video.

The speakers, who represented a number of religious traditions, agreed on many things – critical ideas that actually show that we - a very divided people - stand on common ground.

I boil down his comments to this. We share several moral imperatives. Some of these are:
• Working to alleviate poverty
• Stewarding our land
• Caring for the sick
• Responding to crises

These moral imperatives are addressed in the Quran, the Bible, Buddhist teachings, and the Torah. They are discussed in mosques, synagogues, churches, meetings, with dance, drums, fire, or meditation in every part of the world. They are our shared moral imperatives and our shared public values. As such, they certainly inform us as philanthropists facing major challenges.

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