Or NYC area, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter much what denomination… or even if I was the chairman of programs at the local humanist group.
This is what I’d do. I’d have a big chicken dinner on a Sunday after church. I’d encourage my congregation to attend, and invite the members of the new Mosque or Community center to join us. Discussion of religion and politics would be discouraged. Discussion about children and grandchildren and good music would be encouraged. Desert would include ice cream. Reciprocal invitations, should they come, I would accept, and encourage my congregation to accept.
Theological differences would not be allowed to be a barrier to friendship. For those who have a gospel to spread, the suggested manner of spreading it would be through a life well lived and open arms to embrace neighbors without precondition. Might this lead to a sympathetic interchange of theological views? Of course it might. In fact, it might work for spreading a gospel better than Chick Tracts, bullhorns, and nervous interviews to ask if the neighbor is certain that if they died today they would go to heaven, and did they know… ?
I would probably try to organize similar functions with other churches, from other denominations, and with local synagogues.
An afterthought to this post. .. If I was who I am, I might e-mail a suggestion of this type to some ministers in the Murfreesboro area, after I thought about it some more. I don’t know how many would be open to such a project, but I’d be willing to bet that the UU fellowship of Murfreesboro would be – even if they don’t have the facilities to make it work… or maybe one of the Nashville congregations. And I’d bet there are United Methodists who might even be willing to extend themselves this way, too. “…But Love and I had the wit to win… we drew a circle and drew him in.”
P.S. …not like this.