Friday, May 6, 2011

Welcoming three Peace Heroes / Spiritual Leaders

Welcome to the 14th Dalai Lama, Chief Arvol Looking Horse &
former Norwegian Prime Minister Bondevik
Most Minnesotans are probably talking about the Twins baseball winning streak and the gorgeous spring weather, oblivious to the fact that three amazing Peace Heroes and committed men of prayer have all arrived in Minneapolis-Saint Paul this weekend...and I am blessed to spend some time listening and learning.  Undoubtedly these gentlemen will be bombarded with questions from inquiring minds (including mine!) and I'm quite eager to hear their perspective on the Sacred Site issues/Right to Pray issues that compel me to serve. 

At some point this weekend some wonderful food will be consumed too -- and I look forward to the relaxed conversation during unhurried, un-programmed time.  When I think about it, most of the values and ideas that have been the most influential on my life did not come from conferences or books or interviews or downloads of information in an hour-long format.  Rather they have come by sitting together around the dinner table with my family and in each the homes of friends. As a recipient of this grand gift of hospitality and the lavish gift of time, I am so grateful.

Kjell Magne Bondevik is the founder and president of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. He was Prime Minister of Norway 1997-2000 and 2001-2005. He also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Church and Education while a member of the Norwegian Parliament 1973-2005. Mr. Bondevik served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa in 2006-2007. Mr. Bondevik holds the degree of Cand.Theol. and was ordained as a priest in the Lutheran Church of Norway.  His schedule in Minnesota includes receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Augsburg College Saturday morning and several speaking engagements.  I attended the panel on the Somali Diaspora at the University of Minnesota Thursday and the Women in Peace conference hosted by the Norway House at the Walker Art Center Wednesday night.  I am not easily impressed and I came away impressed.  I am excited to talk about further field testing the Code of Holy Sites in indigenous communities.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse is deserving of mention as he arrives in town to oversee the planning of World Peace and Prayer Day activities that will be held June 18-21 here in the Twin Cities. He arrives without a tremendous amount of public fanfare but his presence here is indicative of his servant leadership style.  As the spiritual leader of the Lakota-Dakota-Nakota community, he calls his community to pray for peace and healing  -- for all colors of skin.  As the 19th Keeper of the Sacred Buffalo Calf Pipe since he was twelve years old, he has long carried a full heart for his community, especially the children.  He entreats all people to meet for prayer which he says leads to healing and unity.  During each meeting with him and his family, I am struck by his humbleness in such a dynamic and compelling man.  As a man devoted to prayer, he gently reminds people about what is truly important, honoring the Creator.

And concurrent to these visits comes a world leader for peace that both of these men have known for years... and I get to come along.

The Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota and the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota will co-host a special visit by
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama on Sunday.  As the first official trip to the Twin Cities since 2001, the theme for his presentations held at Mariucci Arena will be "One Heart, One Mind, One Universe."  I'm pleased to be attending with Chief Arvol Looking Horse and his family as guests of the Dalai Lama.

Who knew a year ago that for Mother's Day weekend 2011 I would be spending time listening to these three peace heroes -- so diverse and yet unified in the call to pray.  What a full, rich week... from the Minnesota Prayer Breakfast to National Day of Prayer events at the Capitol to the Unite Twin Cities prayer event last evening.   Something special is happening here in Minnesota.  And I'm so pleased my family didn't miss it...