Open, respectful and interesting conversation about things that really matter – that’s what happens at the twice-a-year Dinner Dialogues sponsored by Fostering Interfaith Relationships on the Eastside (F.I.R.E.). The next Dinner Dialogue is Sunday, May 17, from 5-8pm, at Temple B’Nai Torah, 15727 NE 4th Street, in Bellevue. The topic will be “Prosperity and Poverty: What do faith traditions say about disparity?”
The evening will begin with a potluck dinner. Out of respect for the traditions at the Temple, guests are requested this time not to bring any dishes containing shellfish or pork. Guests are also encouraged to label the dishes with contents (labels provided) so others may avoid allergens or other food intolerances. Consideration is a watchword at these events, and the way that food is handled exemplifies that spirit.
Following the dinner, there will be a panel discussion representing a wide range of faith traditions. Each panelist speaks informally about the topic for the evening, followed by a question and answer period, which often includes give and take among the panelists, as well as questions and comments from the audience. Armed perhaps with some new information, guests are then encouraged to share conversation in smaller groups around their tables, and “report out” new insights.
Anyone from the Eastside is welcome to attend, whether or not they are affiliated with a faith tradition. The only entrance “requirement” is an open mind, and a willingness to listen and share ideas respectfully. The F.I.R.E. planning team believes that opportunities like these are rare in our increasingly divided communities. “These days, most of us spend the bulk of our time talking with others like ourselves who already agree with us about many things,” said Sharon Sherrard, member of the F.I.R.E. planning team, “We’re losing the art of meaningful conversation where varied viewpoints can be expressed.”
F.I.R.E. developed following an interfaith prayer service that was held at the Kirkland Performance Center on the tenth anniversary of September 11. This is the fifth Dialog Dinner they have sponsored. Past topics have included: “The Common Good, “ “Life After Death,” and “”By Whose Authority?” F.I.R.E. has also participated in the International Day of Peace and the Kirkland 4th of July Parade. For more information about F.I.R.E. please visit the website, fire-wa.org.