Many Paths to God

This past shabbat we read the portion Va-Era. It began with a very curious statement by God to Moses, "God spoke to Moses and said unto him, 'I am the Lord'; and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob as God Almighty." The narrator uses God (Elohim); God tells Moses that God's name is Lord (Adonai); and that God also was known to the patriarchs as God Almighty (El Shaddai). Why all these names? Isn't one of them enough? What do we learn from these three names?
The rabbis taught that there are 70 names of God - meaning really that there are an infinite number of ways to connect to God. There is no right path to God; there is no right way to picture or refer to God. No matter our mood; no matter our age; no matter our spiritual awareness; and no matter our religion, there are multiple avenues to God's presence. This is a comforting message to Moses because after this conversation he has the confidence to undertake the mission. With the knowledge that he has a variety of ways to access God, he knows that God will always be with him.
But there is another message I learn from this. This past week was historic. At President Obama's inauguration we heard an invocation from Rick Warren. In his prayer, not only did he invoke the Sh'ma, he also recited the Christian Lord's prayer, and he referred to Jesus in a variety of ways. Some criticized Warren for being exclusive in his prayer. By making his prayer so blatantly Christian, he made non-Christians uncomfortable.
The day after the inauguration, there was an interfaith service at the National Cathedral. All denominations of Judaism were represented including Rabbi Haskel Lookstein from Manhattan. After his rabbinical association heard about his participation the Rabbinical Council of America issued a statement that criticized him. They said that it is clear to them that Orthodox rabbis are not allowed to participate in non-Orthodox services.
On the day of the inauguration, in my capacity as president of the Washington Board of Rabbis I met with two local Orthodox rabbis. I wanted to begin to open the lines of communication between all rabbis in the community so that we can present a united rabbinic voice to the greater Washington Jewish community. I was pleased that they agreed to meet with me - a Conservative rabbi - yet it was clear that they would only agree to informal discussions in the future. There is a teshuva - legal opinion - that Orthodox rabbis may not meet with non-Orthodox rabbis because that may show they recognize them as rabbis.
What would happen though if we applied the teaching from the Torah reading to these three examples? Why can't we understand that there are many paths to God? Is there something wrong in admitting that there isn't a "true" access to God?
It seems clear to me that the Torah went out of its way to teach us this lesson. In its awkward use of three different Divine appellations, the Torah wanted to show us that any name is acceptable. If only we humans could understand that we would appreciate each other more and we would learn from one another. Instead of fearing the "other" we would enhance our religious awareness. Then we would fulfill Zachariah's prophetic vision, that all will worship God and declare that God's name is One.