(Note: Video is black for the first few seconds while the moderator is speaking, then the picture appears)
On February 19, 2014, one Hindu, one Jew and three Christians sat together to answer questions submitted by the moderator and the local community before an audience of mixed faiths at First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas. This was the fourth such interfaith panel held in the Permian Basin.
The five speakers this year were (left to right on the stage):
Rabbi Holly Levin Cohn of Temple Beth El, Odessa, Texas
Msgr. Larry Droll, Pastor, St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Midland, Texas
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami of Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, Hawaii
Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey, Bishop (Retd.), Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas
Dr. Randel Everett, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Midland, Texas
The following questions were asked of the five speakers, which each addressed with three minutes of prepared remarks:
1. Do you actively seek new members? How do you deal with inquirers seeking information to consider membership?
2. How does your faith influence your views on gay marriage, and more broadly on homosexuality in general.
3. What does your faith tradition have to say to those of us who do not believe in a Supernatural World, one with Gods, Spirits, Ghosts, and Demons?
4. Throughout the year there are many public events such as awards, banquets, board meeting for the numerous non-profit organizations and regular meetings held by Government bodies. And they are often opened with a prayer which honors or beseeches Jesus Christ. How do you feel about this, given that often-times members of non-Christian faiths are present?
5. Non-Christian children are frequently told by their peers that they are going to go to hell. Knowing that such comments can create fear and insecurity in young minds, how would you address this topic with your congregation?
Recently, the monastery has received more large boulders for the ongoing temple landscaping project. The Boulders all come from Kauai's one-and-only quarry on the south-west side of the island. Each boulder is so large that only one at a time can be trucked up to the monastery. The flatbed truck had to be specially fitted with a steel plate for the boulder to sit on. Pradeep, our excavator operator who has been helping with the deliveries, uses his large machine to roll the stones off the truck and into place. The plan is to use the boulders to create a ridge on the north side of the temple to mimic Mount Waialeale's majesty. Some of the boulders will also be interspersed among the garden's plants, making for fun experience as pilgrims are dwarfed by their massive presence.
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