Against the backdrop of the San Antonio skyline, members of various religious and cultural groups from every corner of the city broke bread and shared a thoughtful discussion during the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest’s 11th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner on Thursday.
In the midst of international social unrest, it is often difficult for those who differ religiously, culturally, or politically to come to a place of understanding. But there are certain organizations and groups that work to promote inclusion in order to achieve a more united and socially aware global community.
Dance, when you’re broken open
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off
Dance in the middle of the fighting
Dance in your blood
Dance, when you’re perfectly free
– Jalaluddin Rumi
A great sense of peace and openness flowed throughout the Whitley Theological Center at the Oblate School of Theology as Professor Mehmet Oguz, regional director of the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest, introduced the evening’s events with a tribute donning the traditional Mevlevi Sufi attire honoring 13th century mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi and the night’s featured event – the Whirling Dervishes of Konya, Turkey.
The Whirling Dervishes, known for their wide skirts and passionate, flowing dances devoted to the Sufi poet, Rumi, are coming back to San Antonio.
“I like Ramadan because it helps us to feel hungry, like poor people,” nine year-old Ayesha thoughtfully said. Her sense of care for the needy and her compassion give hope in a world where people often put themselves first.