This past week, the DePaul Interfaith Scholars traded in their typical weekly meeting for a ‘Cozy’ dinner together. We ventured to Cozy Noodles a thai restaurant in the Wrigley neighborhood – just north of the DePaul Lincoln Park campus around the corner of the red-line Addison el-stop. The dinner was an opportunity for us as scholars to simply ‘hang out’ and be in good company. A casual atmosphere sparked segmented stories of each other’s lives: bits of our daily triumphs as well as pieces of family traditions. I learned that I should not expect to see a Jewish man waiting at the end of the aisle at his wedding, but I might more likely find him walking down the aisle with his parents.
I don’t think that we always realize the fun facts, heartfelt stories, or shared experiences that we exchange with one another, in the passing of laid-back conversations. What can also slip by is the unintentional ‘ouches’, assumptions, and generalizations that can easily weave their way into chit-chat. Even the dialogical training and insight of interfaith scholars can get away from us. We can easily forget challenges that come with intentionality and consciousness. But it is talking with friends – the time we spend listening, questioning and sharing – that shape the foundation for inter-religious dialogue we seek to foster.
Caelin Niehoff ’14