Faculty members offer insight on interfaith relations and youth depression
Fuller Seminary joined Pasadena’s annual “One City, One Story” book celebration in March with two distinct lectures delivered by Fuller faculty on issues involved in the selected work, Gardens of Water
. The novel tells the story of two neighboring families living near Istanbul, Turkey—one Kurdish, one American—and the tension, love, and sacrifice that occur as a massive earthquake strikes the area, and a relationship develops between the youth of both families.
In a lecture hosted by Fuller on the Pasadena campus on Thursday, March 11, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Intercultural Relations Evelyne Reisacher spoke on the topic “Gardens of Water
: Accurate Portrayal of Christian-Muslim Relations?” In her many travels to Turkey, Reisacher has observed the country’s important role as a bridge between the Western and Muslim worlds. After 9/11, she pointed out, there has been in Christian-Muslim relations an “invigorated emphasis on dialogue for the purpose of peacemaking,” where once theological differences and similarities were the focus. Besides dialogues of theology and peacemaking, Reisacher identified a third type—the “dialogue of life,” which flows from sharing the joys and sorrows of life with people of different faiths. “Gardens of Water
is about a dialogue of life,” she commented, “the most crucial type of dialogue we can be a part of because it brings the most transformation.”
A few days later, on Tuesday, March 16, Assistant Professor of Psychology Lisseth Rojas-Flores gave a talk entitled “Strategies for Addressing Youth Depression and Critical Needs” at Pasadena City College. Rojas-Flores’s work includes research on parenting interventions with ethnically and culturally diverse populations, and she drew on this expertise to discuss how others can help teenagers who are depressed in culturally sensitive ways. Referring to a teen character in Gardens of Water
who is suicidal, Rojas-Flores shared statistics to highlight how serious a problem suicide is today among youth. She described the two alternate paths a teenager can choose of either suicide or survival, and the protective factors that help them choose survival—one of which is being part of a caring community of adults. “When a young person we know expresses suicidal thoughts in any way, we need to take them seriously and respond,” she emphasized.
Organized by the Pasadena Public Library, the One City, One Story program is designed to bring the community together in reading and dialogue, with book discussions, lecture groups, and other events held throughout March.
For more information on these events and others in the One City, One Story program, visit www.cityofpasadena.net/library/OCOS