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 extreme.
In order to bring a better understanding
between the three “faiths of Abraham”
as my father put it,
he assisted in the creation
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
giving 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 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 bed 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 host 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
is a step towards peace and prosperity.
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