Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, and Imam Jamal Rahman—now known as the Interfaith Amigos—were brought together by the tragedies of 9/11. They had no plan to make their arrangement a formal one; they simply came together to support one another through those difficult times. Their meetings became weekly, their friendship deepened. They began doing presentations together and wrote a book, then a second, and a third. Over the past seventeen years, they have brought their unique blend of spiritual wisdom and humor to audiences in the U.S., Canada, Israel-Palestine and Japan.
Their first book, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith (Skylight Paths, 2009), brought them international attention, including coverage by the New York Times, CBS News, the BBC, and various NPR programs. Karen Armstrong calls their “exuberant and courageous” second book, Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith (Skylight Paths, 2011), “an inspiration for all of us in these sadly polarized times.” Their third book, Finding Peace Through Spiritual Practice (Skylight Paths, 2016), looks at the specific issues we face in a pluralistic society and the spiritual practices that can help us transcend the roadblocks to effective collaboration on the critical issues of our time.
Pastor Don Mackenzie, PhD, is devoting himself to interfaith work after retiring as Minister and Head of Staff of University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle. Previously he served congregations in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Princeton, New Jersey. A graduate of Macalester College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and New York University, his interest in interfaith work began while a student at Macalester and continued while teaching in Lebanon in the year prior to the Six-Day War in 1967. His country music band, Life's Other Side, has sung at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Rabbi Ted Falcon, PhD, is a Reform rabbi with a doctorate in clinical psychology, who explores the frontiers of a universal spirituality in his work as spiritual therapist, teacher, and writer. He has taught Jewish traditions of Kabbalah, meditation and spirituality since the 1970s. Ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, he founded meditative synagogues in Los Angeles in 1978 and in Seattle in 1993. He is the author of A Journey of Awakening: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tree of Life and co-author, with David Blatner, of Judaism For Dummies.
Imam Jamal Rahman is co-founder and Muslim Sufi Minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. Originally from Bangladesh, he is a graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of California, Berkeley. He has a passion for interfaith work and travels often, teaching classes, workshops and retreats locally, nationally and internationally. His books include Spiritual Gems of Islam and The Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam.
The Interfaith Amigos openly address the usual taboos of interfaith dialogue — the “awkward” parts of each tradition — in order to create a more authentic conversation.
(Note: This biography was up-to-date as of the date of the lecture. Biographies are not updated over time.)