Club Dues
-by Jim Hallett
It was Monday, June 11, 2018, and President Mark Burton stepped aside from the podium, where Keith Sultemeier reminded us of the inspiration of Teddy Roosevelt’s “In The Arena”. We finished our Club Assembly regarding future dues and ultimately approved by consensus an annual dues raise to $1150, with a raise to $10 for prepaid meals and $15 for at-the-door meals. Bob Stephenson started us out with a reminder that annual dues have stayed at $995 for five years.  These dues finance club, not foundation, activities, covering meetings, social events and club operations. The Board will continue to address controllable expenses, but meeting costs are now beyond our full control.  Additionally, RI and District dues are going up. $1150 should be a stable number for future years. 
Faith-Based Communities
President Mark introduced our speaker, Father Jim Heft, a USC professor, author of 12 books, and expert on interfaith dialogue. President Mark started off by reflecting on his time at LMU as a student, where he double-majored in Economics and Religious Studies. He has since learned that Manhattan Beach is a faith-based community representing a variety of denominations. President Mark told us that the title of Father Jim Heft’s remarks would be “The Purpose of Inter-Religious Dialogue Today.” And so it was.
Interfaith Dialogue
First, Father Heft looked at the effects of globalization and resistance to it, including the growth of spiritual secularization.  Disaffected young people are calling themselves “nones.”  Communities are troubled, afflicted by drugs, suicides and social media.  Second, he addressed these problems by recommending the benefits of interfaith dialogue, wherein we find commonalities among religious communities and deepen our own faith by exploring other faiths.  Third, he suggested that such dialogue can make a difference.  Without Judaism, for example, there is no Christianity.  Islam and Christianity are both missionary religions, and we can be influenced by such public religions without being controlled by them.  He told us, citing Buddhist oppression of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, that aggressive proselytizing is not effective, while just getting to know someone is very effective.
In The Arena
Father Heft closed with words that could describe Rotary’s work as well as his Catholic Church’s work:  “When I hear, I forget.  When I see, I remember.  When I do, I understand.”  We might have left the meeting with these lovely thoughts, but no, the gavel had to sound and President Mark had to intone, “The Prosecutor is in the House!”   Determined to sow dissent and distrust in this spiritual atmosphere, President Mark deployed confidential informants—Rotary Stasi, if you will—to rat out Jamie Capetta and Keith Sultemeier for pin violations, only to be shamed by Mark Lipps, who seized the floor clad in a jacket covered with Rotary pins.  Unrepentant, President Mark again banged the gavel to close the meeting, and we left, shaken but unbowed, determined to remain In The Arena.
Yours in Rotary, Jim Hallett