"Today, culture can be amplified – but also distorted and eclipsed – by media. Images of all Muslims as terrorists or all Christians as racist cowboys who burn holy texts are distortions that are not only inaccurate but that can lead to social instability and violence. What are principles we should consider in developing a new inclusive paradigm, even a new expansive ethic for these turbulent times?
"First: Create intersections, not boundaries. Intersections prompt new beginnings; boundaries leave us locked in identities and give us an excuse to mistrust and abuse the 'other.'
"Second: Listen. Open the possibility for intersections across culture, socioeconomic groups, races, ethnicities, religious faith and practice. Such interfaith and intercultural dialogues are essential for social healing, and not just among global leaders, but in local communities as well. In conflicted situations, disparate parties are not fully healed until they have an opportunity to tell their own personal stories through their lens of cultural, religious, and ethnic identity. If we seek the things that make for peace, then each of us must take the time to listen to the stories of those with whom we differ.
"Third: Acknowledge the power of new technology, recognizing that social media has – or shortly will – impact every cultural and religious group on the planet. Community, religious, and ethical leaders must not shrink from it, belittle it, or condemn it. Rather, we need to understand it, especially through the eyes of young people for whom this is a natural way of communicating. Any strategy for global peace must include a media component. We must explore ways to use new technology to enhance the human condition and we must promote frames that are accurate, positive, engaging, compelling, and healing.
"Fourth: We need to have many – and sometimes surprising – voices at the table, especially marginalized voices. Women and youth and indigenous people and immigrants, differently abled people, poor people, and those who have suffered trauma or discrimination all must be heard. Unless we are intentional about diversity of expression in the media and in our outcomes, we risk bland homogeneity on the one hand or strident extremism on the other. We must find ways for diverse voices to be heard. In the words of the old African proverb, 'Until the lions can tell their own story, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.'
"Finally, we must see the new thing that God is doing in our midst and seek paradigms that promote imagination, creativity, free expression. Perhaps imagination is the key – that human quality that still moves us to dare to dream, that emboldens us, that enables us to create new products and practices, that dimension of our heart and mind and soul that moves us to ever deeper understandings of ourselves, our world, and our God. If we can accomplish this, we can help ensure that our children and our children's children inherit a more peaceful world.
"It is easy to expound upon lofty principles, but only as the concepts of mutual respect and understanding are expressed in day-to-day community life, can we succeed in changing the world."