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Talk the talk.

Dialogue is at the headwaters and heart of religion, just as it is central to human community. Even though the Buddha is enlightened in silence, he engages through the night in Dharma combat with Mara, illusion, and then spends forty years teaching through dialogue what he has learned. God speaks with Adam and Eve in the garden and with the prophets; Jesus walks along the road conversing with his disciples. Krishna and Arjuna pause before battle to engage in the moral conversation of the Bhagavad Gita. Mohammad receives the Koran in one-to-one encounter with Allah.

This issue of CrossCurrents consists of numerous dialogues designed to explore some of the dimensions of the contemporary religious landscape that have engaged the attention of those of us who make up the CrossCurrents diaspora. We identified some people we wanted to interview and in some cases added a selection from the work of our subjects. What started a year ago as the "all-interview" issue expanded into one that includes fiction by Catherine Madsen and an essay by Czeslaw Milosz, as well as something not quite an interview by Charles Henderson. But look carefully at these noninterviews. Look for the cross currents moving among all of these pieces. The excerpt from Catherine's forthcoming novel is very much an interview. Interviewees turn up in other interviews. Milosz and Hauerwas are discussed by others. Our sense of how the world of religion is structured is never linear.

The subject of these interviews is actually our contemporary culture, I think, seen through the lens of mostly Christian glasses. James Ford is not a Christian; neither is Sheila Gordon. They are the leaven questioning this loaf. But the overall perspective is one that asks what kind of culture we inhabit and how our enterprise might challenge and even change it.

That is always our subject. These engaging interviews put faces on some of the ideas that we need to be talking about. We need to talk the talk before we can walk the walk. Sometimes.

Kenneth Arnold is a contributing editor of CrossCurrents.
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Author:Arnold, Kenneth
Publication:Cross Currents
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Words:344
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