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Higher Ground

"Reborn in emptiness
I emerge laughing,
here to learn from Love
new depths of laughter."
- Rūmī, a selection from Gold; translated by Haleh Liza Gafori

Some seven hundred years ago, there seemed to be a global transformation occurring. Empires were shifting and changing. Economies were becoming fueled by new technologies. Nations, tribes, and communities were bumping into one another. And, spiritual philosophies and institutional theologies were being stretched in new ways. Emerging from this changing world were three sages unyoked from the empire, economy, and, seemingly, nations, tribes, and communities: Japanese teacher Dōgen was called to China during the Song Dynasty to deepen the spiritual lives of women, men, and the vulnerable. The Italian converted soldier Francis of Assisi stripped himself of his family of origin to inquire on the unbounded limits of Providence and Gratitude. And, finally, the Persian Rūmī was gifted with a poetic and analytical mind to agitate the hearts and minds of the powerful and the ordinary to seek the Beauty within. Each of these faced the challenges of the day with compassion, non-violence, and creativity to meet the needs of their neighbors. 

Wondering if there is a global transformation occurring now, this year, this moment? After the lockdown, shifts in what we've known, how we've lived, where our boundaries are, and why we've believed what we believed are commonplace in businesses, education, healthcare, and faith communities alike. In this new year dawning, we have an opportunity to ask courageous questions and face the fearlessness within for answers we may not be expecting. Dōgen, Francis, and Rūmī challenged themselves, their followers, and moderns alike, to free ourselves of the attitudes and behaviors that contribute to suffering, dis-ease, and inequity. 

A new year is dawning. The Thanks-Giving Foundation seeks new ways of being in more holistic conversations to open ourselves to the possibility of a more just, fair, equitable, and inclusive Dallas, and world. Yes, this is serious work, but as our sage Rūmī suggests we can 'emerge laughing' as long as we 'learn from Love', we will indeed find 'new depths of laughter', that is a joy of being alive. And, nothing enables thanks-giving like the joy of being alive. 

Here is to our new year dawning together! 

Featured News


On December 8, members of the Frazier, Bonton, and Bertrand neighborhoods, along with Dallas Police Officers, and staff member of the Dallas Mavericks gathered for Together, We Dine at the African American Museum. A response from our community members was "powerful and inspiring." This is the third in the Thanks-Giving Foundation's partnership with Project Unity. About 120 folks participated in a plated meal and conversation. A staff member from the City of Dallas said of the event that "the intentionality of the conversation in a place with so much meaning meant that we were in for a transformational evening. Thanks!" Because of the generosity of the Thanks-Giving Community and partners, we are able to host another Together, We Dine this month! 

A meteorological artic blast blew through Dallas but that wouldn't stop 125 tubas, 450 spectators, and immeasurable joy convening on the Thanks-Giving Square tunnels for the 44th Annual Dallas TubaChristmas. Many THANKS to our sponsors, The Prescott Group and Brook Mays, for a memorable and very special TubaChristmas! (And, save the date for 2023: December 22 at 12 noon!)



Celebrate. Become Aware. Increase Compassion. Deepen Your Gratitude.

All this by recognizing the special celebrations, remembrances, and holy-days of our sibilings of different faiths by bookmarking the "2023 Faith Times." 
CLICK HERE for the 2023 Faith Times

Upcoming Events


Our Inter-Faith Council is hosting "Faiths in Conversation: Ethic of Creation Care." Participants will join this monthly on-line series via a ZOOM link that will be provided upon registration


2023 for Faith Forward Dallas & Interfaith Council

Faith Forward Dallas begins a new year with new leadership and a new focus on deepening relationships and strengthening advocacy work. The pandemic strained many faith communities, and faith leaders need one another to deliver their best to their congregations. Faith Forward Dallas commits to quarterly, regional engagements to network, support, and expand our member reach. There is also a passion to now deepen the group's collective voice, so Faith Forward Dallas will receive advocacy training on January 11 with Interfaith Alliance in advance of the Texas Legislative Session. Register Today!
The Interfaith Council will continue to engage in North Texas' faith communities. Through education, engagement, and empowerment, the Interfaith Council will grow in our individual faiths, while exploring faiths not our own. Educationally, the Interfaith Council will read together a collection of Rūmī's selected works called Gold; this is a gorgeous new translation by the poet and performer Haleh Liza Gafori. (Our first Rūmī Zoom gathering will be February 1 at 6 p.m.) Member engagements will include faith community tours, a day of service, and our festivals. We will also empower one another through compassionate conversation on our local and global concerns through our Faiths in Conversation partnerships.

Gratitude Spotlight

Each month, visitors (of all ages) leave about 500 expressions of gratitude on our Gratitude Wall inside the Chapel of Thanks-Giving. Here (below) is a sampling of a few of our recent favorites. You are invited to leave your own personal expression of gratitude on our Gratitude Wall when you visit Thanks-Giving Square, or online when you visit our Facebook Page.
"Higher Ground" References

Steve Kanji Ruhl's Enlightened Contemporaries, Francis, Dōgen, & Rūmī: Three Great Mystics of the Thirteenth Century and Why They Matter Today

Rūmī, translated by Haleh Liza Gafori, Gold

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1627 Pacific Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

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