by Lynn Alsatie
From the beginning of my internship at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, I found myself to be going through a time in which I was deconstructing and rebuilding my beliefs about everything that is around me. Working in many of the CIC’s events helped me because they provided spaces in the Indianapolis community to communicate ideas about not only religion, but also about history, culture, literature, and politics. The CIC’s goal of bringing people from differing backgrounds to talk about important and controversial issues extended to even its own office, in which there was an environment that encouraged, rather than avoided, the clashing of ideas. Needless to say, it was incredibly relieving to work in a place where I could talk about things and have the people around me freely share their ideas too.
I was lucky enough to meet some incredible people during my internship who helped me see my own religion from a refreshing point of view. Mysticism had fascinated me as a subject because in the same religion, it could be seen by some as pure heresy and by others as the fundamental life and soul of the entire religion. By the end of my time at the CIC, I had put on the event I had been dreaming of since the beginning: a panel on mysticism where people could have the space to learn about the deep spirituality in their own faiths they may have not even known existed. Out of this experience, I was able to talk to mystics of different faiths face to face, and I learned so much from the similarities and differences I saw.
The most valuable thing I believe I took from this experience was the knowledge that there are many people in Indianapolis interested in tackling the issues in our society and understanding all kinds of points of view. The root cause of conflict in this country seems to be the fact that many people are afraid to discuss things that may disturb the peace, leaving these issues instead to boil over much later when the resentful feelings are too deep to be reached with understanding. I’m positive that in Indianapolis, the CIC plays an essential role and will surely continue to do so throughout the polarizing times ahead. I was very lucky to be part of it for a short time, and I’ll definitely miss an entire office of fantastic people.