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Worlds come together in prayer

A thousand associations come to my mind when the theme is prayer: My Lutheran parents prayed for me and with me when I was a child, and my uncle who was a Baptist minister began dinners with long free prayers. In church and at home we sang Danish hymns with wordings such as: “All good gifts come from above” and “Now we all give thanks to God”.

My first Confucian-Christian dialogue

The effects of certain types of experiences do not fade with time; rather they permeate deep into your existence to further broaden your understanding about the realities of life. For me the first Christian-Confucian Dialogue initiated by the World Council of Churches at South Korea was one such experience. It will stay with me for a long time and I will time travel back and forth from it to understand the complexities of inter-religious discussions.

For birth or death: the destiny of Bethlehem

I sometimes ask people if they know which is the first point in the Bible that Bethlehem gets a mention. And that normally offers them quite a challenge. People certainly move back from the New Testament into the Old – and come up with responses like, ‘the story of David’, or ‘the Book of Ruth’. Good thinking. But actually the first mention of Bethlehem in our Bibles (as they are now set out) occurs much earlier still.

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Power in this Nobel Peace Prize: truth told, truth heard

A Nobel Peace Prize ceremony’s greatest power may be that it enables unrealized truth to be told in a new light. The truth at issue has surely been spoken before, from shattered neighborhoods to the heights of power. Yet this Nobel award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons enabled such truth to be spoken to an attentive mixed audience representing the street as well as the summit: Civil society campaigners, the diplomatic corps, nuclear-armed and nuclear-free; religious leaders; Norwegian society, a royal family in the front row; a worldwide audience.

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