Wildcats explore tradition at Muslim Educational Trust

The Linfield Chaplains Office led students on a spiritual discovery trip to the Muslim Educational Trust on Sept. 29 in Portland. The Chaplains Office sponsors two to three trips a year to various religious centers or houses of worship.

“Our belief is that each encounter leads to spiritual discoveries about not only the tradition we are visiting but also about our own traditions.  For this trip, we met with leaders from the Muslim Educational Trust, an organization that fosters interfaith dialogue, community education regarding Islam, and runs a school for Islamic children,” Chaplain David Massey said in an email.

Massey said that he and participating students received a general lesson of the Islamic religion and learned about the differences between conventional teachings of Islam and Islam extremists. He also said they learned about the impact various cultural or tribal influences has on Islamic teachings, as well as examined the rising patterns of phobia regarding the Islam religion in the United States.

“They did one of their prayer services for us, and it was really cool to see it and see how seriously they took it. It was so different from anything I have taken part in,” sophomore Kayla Lisac said.

Lisac possesses her own personal reasons for partaking in the spiritual discovery trips.

“It made me look at my faith a lot because there were a lot of similarities in it. It opened my eyes to different religions on campus and how people can have a different bond because of that faith. I really was not very knowledgeable about Islam and it taught me a lot about it and made me excited to learn more.”

When asked what she would tell Linfield students in regard to the spiritual discovery trips, Lisac said, “I definitely recommend going on the trips even if you do not practice a religion. There are so many different cultures on campus and we need to have an understanding of them to be cooperative and peaceful.”

“My reasons for leading these trips are to help students discover common ground amidst traditions we encounter, develop compassion and find an interest in the value of healthy religion; also, that they might become aware of their own filters and fears and overcome them. I want us to discover a sense of how we are all interested in such things as meaningfulness, community and the transcendent.  And how bad religion can be a bane, but good religion can be a blessing,” Massey said.

The Chaplains Office’s next excursion will be to the Trappist Abbey north of Lafayette in October.

The following trip will be Nov. 9 to a Native American longhouse in Eugene, sponsored by the Multicultural Programs.

If anyone is interested in any upcoming trips contact David Massey at dmassey@linfield.edu and ask to be on the spiritual discovery trips publicity list.

Carrie Skuzeski

Senior reporter

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