Some years ago (back in the Eighties) my Father: Dr. Robert B. McLaren was a Professor in the Humanities Department of California State University Fullerton. At the time, tensions between the east and west were extremely tense. In order to bring a better understanding between the three “faiths of Abraham” as my father put it, he assisted in the creation of and assumed the role as Vice President of the Academy of Judaic Christian and Islamic Studies. The goal was to develop line of communication between the religious leaders in Orange County, California.
The Academy sponsored meetings that gave a forum to clear misconceptions, air out differences and reach mutual understandings between the Faiths. Feeling the importance that the Ideals were to be grounded in some material form, my Father asked me to create some kind of Amulet that would symbolize their efforts. “It needs to be comprehensive: start with the letter A” he told me.
The result was the simple block letter, the two sides solid and in a form of the triangle, one of the most stable structures in architecture. The ribbon holds the letters “JCI” representing the tenuous lines of communication and a reminder of the effort required to keep those lines open to each other.
As the first Iraq War heated up, the Academy became a hot bet of controversy; however it kept the religious community in close touch and provided them with the necessary links to defuse many misunderstandings.
With the passing of its founders and a hose of other problems, the Academy of Judaic Christian and Islamic Studies eventually dissolved as an organization, however the friendships continued. It is my hope that the amulets are a reminder of how open communication and honesty is a step towards peace and prosperity.