The Abrahamic Small Group Movement Launches in Nashville
by Michael Patrick Leahy
After several months of preparation, Dr. Jawain Ahsan and I successfully launched the Abrahamic Small Group Movement in Nashville on Sunday, October 14, 2007.
The site was a Muslim celebration of the end of Ramadan held at the Williamson County Recrational Center, and sponsored by the Nashville Islamic Center.
I spoke to a group of 200, mostly local Muslims about the Abrahamic Small Group concept, and to my delight, was warmly received. Half a dozen Muslim families agreed to meet in November for the first "official" Abrahamic Small Group meeting, along with several Christian and Muslim families.
As has been the case throughout my efforts on this project, I found many American Muslims positively enthusiastic about the concept.
The warmest response came when I described the motto of the Abrahamic Small Group movement:
"Ten hours a year in the cause of world peace, that's all we ask !"
A tip of the hat to radio talk show host Sean Hannity, whose own motto inspired ours.
What is an Abrahamic Small Group ?
An Abrahamic Small Group consists of two to eight families who meet periodically in a casual setting for the purpose of establishing community and developing true interfaith-engagement. Each Abrahamic Small Group must consist of: At least one Christian family and one Muslim family. It is recommended that at least one Jewish family participate as well.
Each Abrahamic Small Group meets a minimum of five times a year. Each meeting is suggested to last two to three hours, and involve socializing, discussions of spiritual matters, and food.
The Nashville Agreement
This is a statement of purpose made by The Global Great Awakening, a Tennessee non-profit corporation, dedicated to limiting the growth of terrorism through the organization and development of Abrahamic Small Groups. Such groups will focus on the development of true interfaith engagement at the community level within the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths.
1. The size of each group will consist of at a minimum two families, and a maximum of eight families. At least one family in the group will be Muslim, and at least one family in the group will be Christian.
2. On joining the group, each family will make a commitment to participate in the group for a minimum of one year, and will make such participation a top priority within the family.
3. It is recommended that each group meeting be both a social and spiritual opportunity for all participants. Typical group meetings are suggested to last 2 to 3 hours, and are recommended to include food.
4. In order to ensure success, participating families should have a high level of commonality, in terms of age of parents, and age of children.
5. Each group can determine the nature of the meeting, but some combination of socializing, group study, and prayer are recommended.
6. Meetings can be held at individual residences, churches, synagogues, mosques, or community centers. Individual residences are recommended and preferred.
7. Participating Muslim families agree to oppose any efforts within their community to replace the United States Constitution with Sharia.
8. Members agree to regular and scheduled group meetings. A minimum of five and a maximum of sixteen are suggested for each year.
9. Suggested study group topics include:
a)How each faith views the Creation Story
b)How each faith views Moses
c)How each faith views Jesus
d) How each faith views Mohammed
e) Description of the various sects and denomination within each faith
f) The role of ijtihad within Islam
g)How Christians and Jews can encourage the development of ijtihad within Islam
h)Muslim perceptions of the role of Christians and Jews in the community and interacting with the Muslim community specifically
10. No member of the group shall use the group meeting as a venue to convert any other member to their faith. The purpose of the group is to understand the faith of the others participating, and to assert that which each faith expects from the other in order to promote social harmony within the community.
How to join an Abrahmic Small Group
Fill out the comment form below, or go to the Global Great Awakening web site.
Michael Patrick Leahy is the Managing Editor of Christian Faith and Reason, and the author of Letter to an Atheist.
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