Why did reading The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew - Three Women Search for Understanding bring tears of joy to my eyes? Let me explain.
For the first time in my life I felt like a book was helping the reader take a giant leap forward in understanding how religion influences and plays a part in our daily practical lives.
The authors, Ranya Idliby, a Muslim; Suzanne Oliver, a Christian; Priscilla Warner, a Jew, are intelligent, educated and thinking mothers living in New York City and surrounding area.
This book, which is no less than inspired, is a collection of the authors' deep soul searching, shared through 3-way conversations in meetings. It is a pathway that allows readers to think and reflect and meditate, while pausing in reading, and ask the same questions themselves.
The Faith Club is not a novel or story or flight into fancy. It is a guide in a new kind of way - shared conversations for the reader to explore and experience as an expansion of knowledge about these 3 world religions.
Chapters are titled: 1. In the Beginning; 2. A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew Walk into a Room . . .; 3. The Abrahamic Family Feud; 4. The Crucifixion Crisis; 5. Stop Stereotyping Me!; 6. Could You Convert?; 7. Oh, Where Are You, God?; 8. Ranya's Madrassah; 9. The Promised Land; 10. Prayer; 11. Rituals; 12. Intimations of Mortality; 13. Conversations with a Priest, an Imam, and a Rabbi; 14. A Day of Atonement; 15. Happy Holidays; 16. Facing Our Communities; 17. Awakenings; 18. Faltering Faith; From Here to Eternity. Also included is information about starting your own Faith Club.
Even if you do not call one of these or any other religion your own, it demystifies religions' influence. In that way it is a book for the cutting edge of the times since 9/11, when we "need" to understand our world brothers and sisters more deeply.
Because, in the overview like riding in a space shuttle revolving the earth, what is seen is not divisions of different people, but a beautiful planetary home to the one human family.
Details - 320 pages hardcover; Free Press (Simon & Schuster, Inc.) 2006; 8.8 by 5.9 inches; ISBN: 074329047X
Review by Susan Helene Kramer