Personally, this event gives me chance each year to reflect on how far we have come as a community each year. The address is my assessment of where things stand and the directions we are moving. (You can watch my 2009 address here). It also affords me the opportunity to consider how the mission and vision of this School and the University Project is connecting with the needs of our cultures, locally, nationally and globally.
I hope you'll watch the entire video. But if you don't, I hope you take away this message:
The University Project represents the conviction that religion is not a competitive sport, that religion is not the tool of empire, and that religion is not a game of winner take all. At least 21 of the world’s religions have articulated a version of the ethics of reciprocity. In Christianity it is known as the Golden Rule. Whatever it be called, the ethics of reciprocity is not compatible with religion as competition. It rather suggests religion as compassion, as a source for healing, as a foundation for repairing our conflict-ridden world.In a nation where religious freedom is a fundamental right, we must strive toward religious expressions that are not competitive to the point of being destructive. This is just one more promise of our work together in this exciting endeavor.