For twenty-five years, this journal has come out annually. In those twenty-five years, the journal has had only two editorial teams. David Chappell, the founding editor, edited the first fifteen volumes from his post at the University of Hawai'i. Then the team of Terry Muck and Rita Gross took over, editing the next ten volumes. This is the last volume we will co-edit, and we want to acknowledge and celebrate our collegial journey. Given our many differences, we, and more importantly the success of our work together, are living proof that dialogue works.
Terry describes himself as a theologically conservative Christian, and Rita, a convert to Buddhism who is theologically liberal, was brought up in an extremely conservative Christian setting. Each of us knows a lot about the other tradition. Terry has lived in Sri Lanka and has studied Theravada Buddhism for years. He teaches world religions at a conservative Christian seminary. Rita is an expert on feminist theology, including Christian feminist theology. She taught world religions at a regional state university to an almost completely Christian student body for many years.
For ten years we worked together to edit this journal, and also edited two books that began as special sections in this journal. Usually we met twice a year to work as an editorial team, once at the American Academy of Religions meeting, wherever it might be, and once at Rita's house in Wisconsin. Terry has a summer home in Michigan's upper peninsula, and Rita's Wisconsin home is on the way to that summer home. In those ten years, our theological differences in no way impeded our collegiality or our ability to work together to increase interreligious understanding between Buddhists and Christians. We always enjoyed our differences, and our common fervor to promote appreciation of religious diversity.
In this world in which religious differences cause so much trauma and pain, we offer our experience as a model of the fact that integrity can cope with significant theological differences. We do not share the same theological vision of the world, yet neither of us has ever doubted the integrity of the other person or thought that our theological differences were more important than our vision of a world in which people could disagree about theology without demonizing each other. The quarter century of Buddhist-Christian interchange that has been chronicled in this journal makes that point over and over. We have been happy and grateful to have had some part in fostering a new and better chapter in the history of interreligious interchange.