As faiths shift underfoot, a TED-like gathering aims at rebalancing

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Michael Liga was a student at Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, when a terrorist bombing 8,000 miles away killed 20 people and injured more than 100 in his hometown in the Philippines. The attack, later claimed by affiliates of the Islamic State group, came as Sunday Mass was being celebrated on a late January morning in 2019 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Jolo Island.Walking home from class far from his family, Liga scrolled through WhatsApp messages about the attack. “Some of the deaths included family and friends, people who took care of me when I was younger, my mom and dad’s teachers, and friends who supported my family,” Liga told Religion News Service. “I remember my aunt showing me pictures of bodies decapitated and it was so traumatic. It brought a lot of anger, sadness, numbness.”
Liga, now a hospice chaplain at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, wrestled for years with spiritual questions, trying to make sense of the attack, but he had never talked about them publicly. Then, in November, he was invited to speak at the Belief and Belonging Festival in Waco, an event dedicated to exploring the notion that when our beliefs shift, it changes how we fit into our belief communities.
The festival is the brainchild of Sharyl West Loeung, a consultant on social change who has worked on diversi …

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