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"Welcome to the Faith Club. We're three mothers from three faiths—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism—who got together to write a picture book for our children that would highlight the connections between our religions. But no sooner had we started talking about our beliefs and how to explain them to our children than our differences led to misunderstandings. Our project nearly fell apart."

After September 11th, Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, faced constant questions about Islam, God, and death from her children, the only Muslims in their classrooms. Inspired by a story about Muhammad, Ranya reached out to two other mothers—a Christian and a Jew—to try to understand and answer these questions for her children. After just a few meetings, however, it became clear that the women themselves needed an honest and open environment where they could admit—and discuss—their concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings about one another. After hours of soul-searching about the issues that divided them, Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla grew close enough to discover and explore what united them.

The Faith Club is a memoir of spiritual reflections in three voices that will make readers feel as if they are eavesdropping on the authors' private conversations, provocative discussions, and often controversial opinions and conclusions. The authors wrestle with the issues of anti-Semitism, prejudice against Muslims, and preconceptions of Christians at a time when fundamentalists dominate the public face of Christianity. They write beautifully and affectingly of their families, their losses and grief, their fears and hopes for themselves and their loved ones. And as the authors reveal their deepest beliefs, readers watch the blossoming of a profound interfaith friendship and the birth of a new way of relating to others.

In a final chapter, they provide detailed advice on how to start a faith club: the questions to ask, the books to read, and most important, the open-minded attitude to maintain in order to come through the experience with an enriched personal faith and understanding of others.

Pioneering, timely, and deeply thoughtful, The Faith Club's caring message will resonate with people of all faiths.
Published: Atria Books on
ISBN: 9780743298629
List price: $11.99
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This book is a must read. more
I was surprised to find out that there are so many similarities between Christianity, Judaism, & Islam. Great inspirational read. more
I was surprised to find out that there are so many similarities between Christianity, Judaism, & Islam. Great inspirational read. more
Ranya Idliby-Muslim, Suzanne Oliver-Episcopal and Priscilla Warner-Jewish. After 911. The three discuss concerns, conflicts, etc. raising their children in the world today in their particular religions. They develop an understanding of each others religions, but also involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Ranya is a displaced Palistinian.more
Ranya Idliby-Muslim, Suzanne Oliver-Episcopal and Priscilla Warner-Jewish. After 911. The three discuss concerns, conflicts, etc. raising their children in the world today in their particular religions. They develop an understanding of each others religions, but also involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Ranya is a displaced Palistinian.more
In the wake of 9/11, Ranya Idliby, a Muslim American of Palestinian descent was inspired by a passage in the Koran about Muhammad's Night Flight to write a children's interfaith book about the commonalities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She recruits two other mothers in the New York City area to help her write the book, Priscilla, a Reform Jew, and Suzanne, a Episcopalian Christian who was raised a Catholic. They find that before they can find common ground, they have to work through their differences. The book consists of their three intertwined first person narratives and snatches of transcripts of their conversations as they come together and clash and try to understand each other. I was raised as a Catholic and as an American I'm steeped in an overwhelmingly Christian culture. As a native New Yorker Judaism is also a religion that has represented something familiar and respected to me--I've had close Jewish friends and mentors, and I admit by and large I'm a fan of Israel. Nothing imparted about Christianity or Judaism or the views expressed by Priscilla or Suzanne surprised or challenged me. That leaves Islam, which I'm a lot less familiar with. I can't say I've ever personally known a Muslim. Ranya Idliby says "When Americans think of Islam, they think of terrorism, fanatics, abused women, spoiled rich Arabs, a religion of the sword spread by the sword." Guilty. I admit I have a lot to learn about Islam. I had read the Koran, well before 9/11, but I didn't get much out of it. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, I just didn't have the cultural context to. I admit of the three women, I found myself most resistant to Ranya's representations of her faith. When Ranya speaks of her unhappiness with how many Americans see Muhammad as a fraud who plagiarized Jewish and Christian texts, I have to admit that isn't far from what I believe. And Muhammad from what I've read was a warlord--a man who did impose his religion by force--Ranya herself alludes to that military aspect elliptically a few times while at the same time calling Muhammad "a man of peace." Ranya claims Islam is a tolerant religion from which you can "come and go"--yet I've heard that in countries following Shari'a law that you can be executed for converting people from Islam. Ranya does go into the distinction between the Wahabi Islam that has promoted fundamentalism and militarist Jihad and a more peaceful, moderate tradition, but I admit I ended the book still skeptical--but at least curious and wishing to put a biography of Muhammad on my reading list. Perhaps the one by Armstrong recommended in the bibliography.Yet at the same time it was easy to identify with Ranya and feel sympathy for the prejudice she had encountered. I was moved by the tale of how her family was driven out of Palestine and were unable to return, and yet unable to settle in Jordan and Kuwait but were made to feel like outsiders. She made me think about Israeli policy and feel for the displaced Palestinians. And she made at least her way of being Muslim sound very appealing. Ranya spoke of Islam's simplicity--about there being no Bar Mitzvah or Baptism making you a Muslim, but simply stating you recognize only one God, and that Muhammad is his prophet. That especially if you're a Sunni Muslim, that there is nothing standing between you and how you interpret the word of God and how you decide to worship. That as long as you acknowledge God, it doesn't really matter to your salvation whether you're a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim nor can you be labeled an "infidel"--all three faiths are "people of the book." How a Muslim finds the proof of God in the beauty and order of the universe. And when Ranya spoke of her difficulties in finding a mosque that speaks to her needs to be part of a Muslim community in tune with her beliefs, I felt more than a bit of shame for my fellow New Yorkers' resistance against having a mosque go up near Ground Zero. All the more because her pastor, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is involved. So Ranya's musings definitely was the portion of the book I found most valuable, where I found not just the most answers but questions. It's probably no accident given their search for common ground that each was a rather liberal representative of her religion. Priscilla following Reform Judaism but unsure of her God, Ranya sure of her faith in God but Mosque-less, and Suzanne a convert to one of the most socially and theologically liberal Christian denominations. Each women definitely touched me, spoke to me. I identified with their emotions in the wake of 9/11, and the challenges of their lives as they grappled with questions about dying, good and evil, dealing with tradition and stereotypes and pressures to conform. I was moved by how their collaboration became a friendship that changed each of them. These women could be my neighbors and their journey together is more meaningful to me than some doctrinaire book by a imam, minister and rabbi. Now, this book isn't going to give you an in-depth grounding in Judaism, Christianity or Islam. No question. But this makes a good beginning at least in imparting what the three religions have in common and what divides them. It should pique your interest to learn more, and the bibliography at the end of the book is a good place to start.more
In the wake of 9/11, Ranya Idliby, a Muslim American of Palestinian descent was inspired by a passage in the Koran about Muhammad's Night Flight to write a children's interfaith book about the commonalities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She recruits two other mothers in the New York City area to help her write the book, Priscilla, a Reform Jew, and Suzanne, a Episcopalian Christian who was raised a Catholic. They find that before they can find common ground, they have to work through their differences. The book consists of their three intertwined first person narratives and snatches of transcripts of their conversations as they come together and clash and try to understand each other. I was raised as a Catholic and as an American I'm steeped in an overwhelmingly Christian culture. As a native New Yorker Judaism is also a religion that has represented something familiar and respected to me--I've had close Jewish friends and mentors, and I admit by and large I'm a fan of Israel. Nothing imparted about Christianity or Judaism or the views expressed by Priscilla or Suzanne surprised or challenged me. That leaves Islam, which I'm a lot less familiar with. I can't say I've ever personally known a Muslim. Ranya Idliby says "When Americans think of Islam, they think of terrorism, fanatics, abused women, spoiled rich Arabs, a religion of the sword spread by the sword." Guilty. I admit I have a lot to learn about Islam. I had read the Koran, well before 9/11, but I didn't get much out of it. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, I just didn't have the cultural context to. I admit of the three women, I found myself most resistant to Ranya's representations of her faith. When Ranya speaks of her unhappiness with how many Americans see Muhammad as a fraud who plagiarized Jewish and Christian texts, I have to admit that isn't far from what I believe. And Muhammad from what I've read was a warlord--a man who did impose his religion by force--Ranya herself alludes to that military aspect elliptically a few times while at the same time calling Muhammad "a man of peace." Ranya claims Islam is a tolerant religion from which you can "come and go"--yet I've heard that in countries following Shari'a law that you can be executed for converting people from Islam. Ranya does go into the distinction between the Wahabi Islam that has promoted fundamentalism and militarist Jihad and a more peaceful, moderate tradition, but I admit I ended the book still skeptical--but at least curious and wishing to put a biography of Muhammad on my reading list. Perhaps the one by Armstrong recommended in the bibliography.Yet at the same time it was easy to identify with Ranya and feel sympathy for the prejudice she had encountered. I was moved by the tale of how her family was driven out of Palestine and were unable to return, and yet unable to settle in Jordan and Kuwait but were made to feel like outsiders. She made me think about Israeli policy and feel for the displaced Palestinians. And she made at least her way of being Muslim sound very appealing. Ranya spoke of Islam's simplicity--about there being no Bar Mitzvah or Baptism making you a Muslim, but simply stating you recognize only one God, and that Muhammad is his prophet. That especially if you're a Sunni Muslim, that there is nothing standing between you and how you interpret the word of God and how you decide to worship. That as long as you acknowledge God, it doesn't really matter to your salvation whether you're a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim nor can you be labeled an "infidel"--all three faiths are "people of the book." How a Muslim finds the proof of God in the beauty and order of the universe. And when Ranya spoke of her difficulties in finding a mosque that speaks to her needs to be part of a Muslim community in tune with her beliefs, I felt more than a bit of shame for my fellow New Yorkers' resistance against having a mosque go up near Ground Zero. All the more because her pastor, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is involved. So Ranya's musings definitely was the portion of the book I found most valuable, where I found not just the most answers but questions. It's probably no accident given their search for common ground that each was a rather liberal representative of her religion. Priscilla following Reform Judaism but unsure of her God, Ranya sure of her faith in God but Mosque-less, and Suzanne a convert to one of the most socially and theologically liberal Christian denominations. Each women definitely touched me, spoke to me. I identified with their emotions in the wake of 9/11, and the challenges of their lives as they grappled with questions about dying, good and evil, dealing with tradition and stereotypes and pressures to conform. I was moved by how their collaboration became a friendship that changed each of them. These women could be my neighbors and their journey together is more meaningful to me than some doctrinaire book by a imam, minister and rabbi. Now, this book isn't going to give you an in-depth grounding in Judaism, Christianity or Islam. No question. But this makes a good beginning at least in imparting what the three religions have in common and what divides them. It should pique your interest to learn more, and the bibliography at the end of the book is a good place to start.more
This book really made me think. A lot. I personally am a Jew - raised in the Reform Jewish religion, and I became a born again Christian 20 years ago when I was 27 years old. So, I know about the Jewish and Christian points of view that are presented in the book. I know very little, however, about the Muslim religion. I read the books "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" this year and they gave me more insight into the Muslim religion than I had before and this book has taught me even more. After 911, Rayna, the Muslim mother in this book had decided to try to write a book for children about the connections between the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religions, so she mentioned that idea to a Christian friend of hers - Suzanne, who then contacted Pricilla, a friend of a friend who happened to be a Jewish mother who was a writer. I guess they never wrote a children's book, but this book is about their "Faith Club" as they call themselves and their discussions of the three major world religions that they had together and how their relationship changed all of their views of the three religions including their own personal religious views as they got to know one another over a few years. Interestingly, none of these three women are or were very fundamentalist in their religions. Had they been, I doubt they could have had the relationship that they do. To me, Suzanne an Pricilla seem to be pretty typical representatives of the Christian and Jewish religions as I know them. I am not sure about Rayna since I really don't have any friends who are Muslim. She talks a lot in the book about her difficulty in finding like-minded Muslims who are not fundamentalist and radical in their views which makes me think, sadly, that she may be more atypical than typical as a representative of her religion. I identify very much with Priscilla, because my Jewish background has highly influenced my understanding of God even though I am a born again Christian. Like Priscilla, I am unsure if there is an afterlife, because the Jewish religion does not focus on or teach about that. I have long wondered how the Christian religion can claim to be the "fulfillment" of the Jewish religion when they focus so much on the afterlife which is not even a major part of the Jewish religion, nor is there a concensus on it as part of the Jewish religious beliefs. Like Priscilla, I also have high blood pressure and expect to have my medication for that changed soon.I understand the feeling of being a minority and the influence of the Holocaust. I enjoy the explanation of the Muslim religion that Rayna shares and Suzanne's journey to accept the other two religions.I think that this is a very good book and I highly recommend it.more
This book really made me think. A lot. I personally am a Jew - raised in the Reform Jewish religion, and I became a born again Christian 20 years ago when I was 27 years old. So, I know about the Jewish and Christian points of view that are presented in the book. I know very little, however, about the Muslim religion. I read the books "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" this year and they gave me more insight into the Muslim religion than I had before and this book has taught me even more. After 911, Rayna, the Muslim mother in this book had decided to try to write a book for children about the connections between the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religions, so she mentioned that idea to a Christian friend of hers - Suzanne, who then contacted Pricilla, a friend of a friend who happened to be a Jewish mother who was a writer. I guess they never wrote a children's book, but this book is about their "Faith Club" as they call themselves and their discussions of the three major world religions that they had together and how their relationship changed all of their views of the three religions including their own personal religious views as they got to know one another over a few years. Interestingly, none of these three women are or were very fundamentalist in their religions. Had they been, I doubt they could have had the relationship that they do. To me, Suzanne an Pricilla seem to be pretty typical representatives of the Christian and Jewish religions as I know them. I am not sure about Rayna since I really don't have any friends who are Muslim. She talks a lot in the book about her difficulty in finding like-minded Muslims who are not fundamentalist and radical in their views which makes me think, sadly, that she may be more atypical than typical as a representative of her religion. I identify very much with Priscilla, because my Jewish background has highly influenced my understanding of God even though I am a born again Christian. Like Priscilla, I am unsure if there is an afterlife, because the Jewish religion does not focus on or teach about that. I have long wondered how the Christian religion can claim to be the "fulfillment" of the Jewish religion when they focus so much on the afterlife which is not even a major part of the Jewish religion, nor is there a concensus on it as part of the Jewish religious beliefs. Like Priscilla, I also have high blood pressure and expect to have my medication for that changed soon.I understand the feeling of being a minority and the influence of the Holocaust. I enjoy the explanation of the Muslim religion that Rayna shares and Suzanne's journey to accept the other two religions.I think that this is a very good book and I highly recommend it.more
Probably the single most important criticism applied to this book has to do with the relative amateur understanding these three women have with respect to their own religions. It's a strong accusation: You aren't qualified to speak for us. This, I believe, highlights one of the inherent problems with religion. First of all, most people are laymen when it comes to the book specifics of the religion they follow and practice. Religions tend to thrive better when the hierarchy is more structured and the leaders at the top speak for the group. Religions are formed around a uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest, and similarly, the group tends to reject beliefs that undermines that uniqueness.Secondly, all of the above is ultimately pointless. It was more valuable that these three women opened themselves up to each other than to try and be spokesmen for their religions. This book highlights their journey to try and understand something different from what they know. If more people spent less time trying to prove the worth of their earth-centric knowledge of God and more time meeting with their neighbors, I believe a real growth would result.more
Probably the single most important criticism applied to this book has to do with the relative amateur understanding these three women have with respect to their own religions. It's a strong accusation: You aren't qualified to speak for us. This, I believe, highlights one of the inherent problems with religion. First of all, most people are laymen when it comes to the book specifics of the religion they follow and practice. Religions tend to thrive better when the hierarchy is more structured and the leaders at the top speak for the group. Religions are formed around a uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest, and similarly, the group tends to reject beliefs that undermines that uniqueness.Secondly, all of the above is ultimately pointless. It was more valuable that these three women opened themselves up to each other than to try and be spokesmen for their religions. This book highlights their journey to try and understand something different from what they know. If more people spent less time trying to prove the worth of their earth-centric knowledge of God and more time meeting with their neighbors, I believe a real growth would result.more
True story told by the three women of three faiths who formed the Faith Club. I learned a lot about two of the religions and admire them for doing this. The book also has tips on forming a Faith Club. I think everyone should read it.more
True story told by the three women of three faiths who formed the Faith Club. I learned a lot about two of the religions and admire them for doing this. The book also has tips on forming a Faith Club. I think everyone should read it.more
As much as I wanted to like this book it just didn't work for me. The change of voices was badly edited, I didn't feel the connection that many readers claim to feel with the book.A brilliant idea with so so execution.more
As much as I wanted to like this book it just didn't work for me. The change of voices was badly edited, I didn't feel the connection that many readers claim to feel with the book.A brilliant idea with so so execution.more
This is an entire book of discussion about one of our most taboo topics -- religion. Three brave women of different faiths (Christian, Islam, and Judaism) join forces to write a children's book and end up as fast friends who over a period of three years demystify stereotypes about relgion as they learn more about the tenets they share rather than those that divide them.There is much to mull over in this book. I thought the conversations and feelings sounded honest, but somehow stilted, as if they were self-conscious of all the readers listening in to their innermost thoughts. I know I would be. And I would have liked more on how that children's book turned out! I did think the guidelines at the end to encourage more "Faith Clubs" were excellent ways to explore one's own belief system.more
This is an entire book of discussion about one of our most taboo topics -- religion. Three brave women of different faiths (Christian, Islam, and Judaism) join forces to write a children's book and end up as fast friends who over a period of three years demystify stereotypes about relgion as they learn more about the tenets they share rather than those that divide them.There is much to mull over in this book. I thought the conversations and feelings sounded honest, but somehow stilted, as if they were self-conscious of all the readers listening in to their innermost thoughts. I know I would be. And I would have liked more on how that children's book turned out! I did think the guidelines at the end to encourage more "Faith Clubs" were excellent ways to explore one's own belief system.more
Following 9/11, three New York mothers – a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew -- agree to meet and discuss their faith in hopes of writing a children’s book. The women are well-educated, but to a great extent uninformed about the common roots of their faiths, as well as the intricacies of each others’ beliefs. Starting out as virtual strangers, they stumble over complicated stereotypes, hit cultural landmines and finally arrive at enlightenment over the course of more than three years. Eventually, they forge powerful friendships with each other, while changing and growing spiritually in unexpected ways. The book includes excerpts from their conversations, as well as each woman’s narration of the effects of the dialog upon her spiritual, religious and family life. The text is well-written, well-organized, engaging and an easy but very worthwhile read.more
Following 9/11, three New York mothers – a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew -- agree to meet and discuss their faith in hopes of writing a children’s book. The women are well-educated, but to a great extent uninformed about the common roots of their faiths, as well as the intricacies of each others’ beliefs. Starting out as virtual strangers, they stumble over complicated stereotypes, hit cultural landmines and finally arrive at enlightenment over the course of more than three years. Eventually, they forge powerful friendships with each other, while changing and growing spiritually in unexpected ways. The book includes excerpts from their conversations, as well as each woman’s narration of the effects of the dialog upon her spiritual, religious and family life. The text is well-written, well-organized, engaging and an easy but very worthwhile read.more
it helps understand other's beliefs. I hate the word "other".more
it helps understand other's beliefs. I hate the word "other".more
Another book I highly recommend. Definitely made me think, definitely made me wonder and challenged me in some ways. Very interesting to see how they came together, what issues were the hardest for them to work out, and how they overcame those differences and became really great friends. Nice. Made me really wish I had people to talk to like that frankly! LOL!more
Another book I highly recommend. Definitely made me think, definitely made me wonder and challenged me in some ways. Very interesting to see how they came together, what issues were the hardest for them to work out, and how they overcame those differences and became really great friends. Nice. Made me really wish I had people to talk to like that frankly! LOL!more
The Faith Club I requested for Christmas. It's billed as a frank discussion between a Muslim, Christian, and Jew about all things spiritual, stereotypical, and religious. Largely, it succeeds. They actually make a distinction between spirituality and religion. They address the issues of religion being co-opted for political reasons. They talk about the stereotypes they had of one another based on preconceived ideas- including things people wouldn't admit in polite company. It's an honest book, which you can't say about everything out there today, and I enjoyed the read. I think there are a couple of places it fell down- not addressing the Christian Right in the same way (or as much as) they handled the vocal Muslim political sect, and they didn't involve a conservative Muslim woman or a conservative Christian. I understand that this particular book wasn't the goal of the project, but I think broadening the discussion would have had interesting implications. It's definitely worth picking up, even if it's just from the library.more
The Faith Club I requested for Christmas. It's billed as a frank discussion between a Muslim, Christian, and Jew about all things spiritual, stereotypical, and religious. Largely, it succeeds. They actually make a distinction between spirituality and religion. They address the issues of religion being co-opted for political reasons. They talk about the stereotypes they had of one another based on preconceived ideas- including things people wouldn't admit in polite company. It's an honest book, which you can't say about everything out there today, and I enjoyed the read. I think there are a couple of places it fell down- not addressing the Christian Right in the same way (or as much as) they handled the vocal Muslim political sect, and they didn't involve a conservative Muslim woman or a conservative Christian. I understand that this particular book wasn't the goal of the project, but I think broadening the discussion would have had interesting implications. It's definitely worth picking up, even if it's just from the library.more
Read all 27 reviews

Reviews

This book is a must read. more
I was surprised to find out that there are so many similarities between Christianity, Judaism, & Islam. Great inspirational read. more
I was surprised to find out that there are so many similarities between Christianity, Judaism, & Islam. Great inspirational read. more
Ranya Idliby-Muslim, Suzanne Oliver-Episcopal and Priscilla Warner-Jewish. After 911. The three discuss concerns, conflicts, etc. raising their children in the world today in their particular religions. They develop an understanding of each others religions, but also involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Ranya is a displaced Palistinian.more
Ranya Idliby-Muslim, Suzanne Oliver-Episcopal and Priscilla Warner-Jewish. After 911. The three discuss concerns, conflicts, etc. raising their children in the world today in their particular religions. They develop an understanding of each others religions, but also involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Ranya is a displaced Palistinian.more
In the wake of 9/11, Ranya Idliby, a Muslim American of Palestinian descent was inspired by a passage in the Koran about Muhammad's Night Flight to write a children's interfaith book about the commonalities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She recruits two other mothers in the New York City area to help her write the book, Priscilla, a Reform Jew, and Suzanne, a Episcopalian Christian who was raised a Catholic. They find that before they can find common ground, they have to work through their differences. The book consists of their three intertwined first person narratives and snatches of transcripts of their conversations as they come together and clash and try to understand each other. I was raised as a Catholic and as an American I'm steeped in an overwhelmingly Christian culture. As a native New Yorker Judaism is also a religion that has represented something familiar and respected to me--I've had close Jewish friends and mentors, and I admit by and large I'm a fan of Israel. Nothing imparted about Christianity or Judaism or the views expressed by Priscilla or Suzanne surprised or challenged me. That leaves Islam, which I'm a lot less familiar with. I can't say I've ever personally known a Muslim. Ranya Idliby says "When Americans think of Islam, they think of terrorism, fanatics, abused women, spoiled rich Arabs, a religion of the sword spread by the sword." Guilty. I admit I have a lot to learn about Islam. I had read the Koran, well before 9/11, but I didn't get much out of it. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, I just didn't have the cultural context to. I admit of the three women, I found myself most resistant to Ranya's representations of her faith. When Ranya speaks of her unhappiness with how many Americans see Muhammad as a fraud who plagiarized Jewish and Christian texts, I have to admit that isn't far from what I believe. And Muhammad from what I've read was a warlord--a man who did impose his religion by force--Ranya herself alludes to that military aspect elliptically a few times while at the same time calling Muhammad "a man of peace." Ranya claims Islam is a tolerant religion from which you can "come and go"--yet I've heard that in countries following Shari'a law that you can be executed for converting people from Islam. Ranya does go into the distinction between the Wahabi Islam that has promoted fundamentalism and militarist Jihad and a more peaceful, moderate tradition, but I admit I ended the book still skeptical--but at least curious and wishing to put a biography of Muhammad on my reading list. Perhaps the one by Armstrong recommended in the bibliography.Yet at the same time it was easy to identify with Ranya and feel sympathy for the prejudice she had encountered. I was moved by the tale of how her family was driven out of Palestine and were unable to return, and yet unable to settle in Jordan and Kuwait but were made to feel like outsiders. She made me think about Israeli policy and feel for the displaced Palestinians. And she made at least her way of being Muslim sound very appealing. Ranya spoke of Islam's simplicity--about there being no Bar Mitzvah or Baptism making you a Muslim, but simply stating you recognize only one God, and that Muhammad is his prophet. That especially if you're a Sunni Muslim, that there is nothing standing between you and how you interpret the word of God and how you decide to worship. That as long as you acknowledge God, it doesn't really matter to your salvation whether you're a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim nor can you be labeled an "infidel"--all three faiths are "people of the book." How a Muslim finds the proof of God in the beauty and order of the universe. And when Ranya spoke of her difficulties in finding a mosque that speaks to her needs to be part of a Muslim community in tune with her beliefs, I felt more than a bit of shame for my fellow New Yorkers' resistance against having a mosque go up near Ground Zero. All the more because her pastor, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is involved. So Ranya's musings definitely was the portion of the book I found most valuable, where I found not just the most answers but questions. It's probably no accident given their search for common ground that each was a rather liberal representative of her religion. Priscilla following Reform Judaism but unsure of her God, Ranya sure of her faith in God but Mosque-less, and Suzanne a convert to one of the most socially and theologically liberal Christian denominations. Each women definitely touched me, spoke to me. I identified with their emotions in the wake of 9/11, and the challenges of their lives as they grappled with questions about dying, good and evil, dealing with tradition and stereotypes and pressures to conform. I was moved by how their collaboration became a friendship that changed each of them. These women could be my neighbors and their journey together is more meaningful to me than some doctrinaire book by a imam, minister and rabbi. Now, this book isn't going to give you an in-depth grounding in Judaism, Christianity or Islam. No question. But this makes a good beginning at least in imparting what the three religions have in common and what divides them. It should pique your interest to learn more, and the bibliography at the end of the book is a good place to start.more
In the wake of 9/11, Ranya Idliby, a Muslim American of Palestinian descent was inspired by a passage in the Koran about Muhammad's Night Flight to write a children's interfaith book about the commonalities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She recruits two other mothers in the New York City area to help her write the book, Priscilla, a Reform Jew, and Suzanne, a Episcopalian Christian who was raised a Catholic. They find that before they can find common ground, they have to work through their differences. The book consists of their three intertwined first person narratives and snatches of transcripts of their conversations as they come together and clash and try to understand each other. I was raised as a Catholic and as an American I'm steeped in an overwhelmingly Christian culture. As a native New Yorker Judaism is also a religion that has represented something familiar and respected to me--I've had close Jewish friends and mentors, and I admit by and large I'm a fan of Israel. Nothing imparted about Christianity or Judaism or the views expressed by Priscilla or Suzanne surprised or challenged me. That leaves Islam, which I'm a lot less familiar with. I can't say I've ever personally known a Muslim. Ranya Idliby says "When Americans think of Islam, they think of terrorism, fanatics, abused women, spoiled rich Arabs, a religion of the sword spread by the sword." Guilty. I admit I have a lot to learn about Islam. I had read the Koran, well before 9/11, but I didn't get much out of it. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, I just didn't have the cultural context to. I admit of the three women, I found myself most resistant to Ranya's representations of her faith. When Ranya speaks of her unhappiness with how many Americans see Muhammad as a fraud who plagiarized Jewish and Christian texts, I have to admit that isn't far from what I believe. And Muhammad from what I've read was a warlord--a man who did impose his religion by force--Ranya herself alludes to that military aspect elliptically a few times while at the same time calling Muhammad "a man of peace." Ranya claims Islam is a tolerant religion from which you can "come and go"--yet I've heard that in countries following Shari'a law that you can be executed for converting people from Islam. Ranya does go into the distinction between the Wahabi Islam that has promoted fundamentalism and militarist Jihad and a more peaceful, moderate tradition, but I admit I ended the book still skeptical--but at least curious and wishing to put a biography of Muhammad on my reading list. Perhaps the one by Armstrong recommended in the bibliography.Yet at the same time it was easy to identify with Ranya and feel sympathy for the prejudice she had encountered. I was moved by the tale of how her family was driven out of Palestine and were unable to return, and yet unable to settle in Jordan and Kuwait but were made to feel like outsiders. She made me think about Israeli policy and feel for the displaced Palestinians. And she made at least her way of being Muslim sound very appealing. Ranya spoke of Islam's simplicity--about there being no Bar Mitzvah or Baptism making you a Muslim, but simply stating you recognize only one God, and that Muhammad is his prophet. That especially if you're a Sunni Muslim, that there is nothing standing between you and how you interpret the word of God and how you decide to worship. That as long as you acknowledge God, it doesn't really matter to your salvation whether you're a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim nor can you be labeled an "infidel"--all three faiths are "people of the book." How a Muslim finds the proof of God in the beauty and order of the universe. And when Ranya spoke of her difficulties in finding a mosque that speaks to her needs to be part of a Muslim community in tune with her beliefs, I felt more than a bit of shame for my fellow New Yorkers' resistance against having a mosque go up near Ground Zero. All the more because her pastor, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is involved. So Ranya's musings definitely was the portion of the book I found most valuable, where I found not just the most answers but questions. It's probably no accident given their search for common ground that each was a rather liberal representative of her religion. Priscilla following Reform Judaism but unsure of her God, Ranya sure of her faith in God but Mosque-less, and Suzanne a convert to one of the most socially and theologically liberal Christian denominations. Each women definitely touched me, spoke to me. I identified with their emotions in the wake of 9/11, and the challenges of their lives as they grappled with questions about dying, good and evil, dealing with tradition and stereotypes and pressures to conform. I was moved by how their collaboration became a friendship that changed each of them. These women could be my neighbors and their journey together is more meaningful to me than some doctrinaire book by a imam, minister and rabbi. Now, this book isn't going to give you an in-depth grounding in Judaism, Christianity or Islam. No question. But this makes a good beginning at least in imparting what the three religions have in common and what divides them. It should pique your interest to learn more, and the bibliography at the end of the book is a good place to start.more
This book really made me think. A lot. I personally am a Jew - raised in the Reform Jewish religion, and I became a born again Christian 20 years ago when I was 27 years old. So, I know about the Jewish and Christian points of view that are presented in the book. I know very little, however, about the Muslim religion. I read the books "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" this year and they gave me more insight into the Muslim religion than I had before and this book has taught me even more. After 911, Rayna, the Muslim mother in this book had decided to try to write a book for children about the connections between the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religions, so she mentioned that idea to a Christian friend of hers - Suzanne, who then contacted Pricilla, a friend of a friend who happened to be a Jewish mother who was a writer. I guess they never wrote a children's book, but this book is about their "Faith Club" as they call themselves and their discussions of the three major world religions that they had together and how their relationship changed all of their views of the three religions including their own personal religious views as they got to know one another over a few years. Interestingly, none of these three women are or were very fundamentalist in their religions. Had they been, I doubt they could have had the relationship that they do. To me, Suzanne an Pricilla seem to be pretty typical representatives of the Christian and Jewish religions as I know them. I am not sure about Rayna since I really don't have any friends who are Muslim. She talks a lot in the book about her difficulty in finding like-minded Muslims who are not fundamentalist and radical in their views which makes me think, sadly, that she may be more atypical than typical as a representative of her religion. I identify very much with Priscilla, because my Jewish background has highly influenced my understanding of God even though I am a born again Christian. Like Priscilla, I am unsure if there is an afterlife, because the Jewish religion does not focus on or teach about that. I have long wondered how the Christian religion can claim to be the "fulfillment" of the Jewish religion when they focus so much on the afterlife which is not even a major part of the Jewish religion, nor is there a concensus on it as part of the Jewish religious beliefs. Like Priscilla, I also have high blood pressure and expect to have my medication for that changed soon.I understand the feeling of being a minority and the influence of the Holocaust. I enjoy the explanation of the Muslim religion that Rayna shares and Suzanne's journey to accept the other two religions.I think that this is a very good book and I highly recommend it.more
This book really made me think. A lot. I personally am a Jew - raised in the Reform Jewish religion, and I became a born again Christian 20 years ago when I was 27 years old. So, I know about the Jewish and Christian points of view that are presented in the book. I know very little, however, about the Muslim religion. I read the books "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones Into Schools" this year and they gave me more insight into the Muslim religion than I had before and this book has taught me even more. After 911, Rayna, the Muslim mother in this book had decided to try to write a book for children about the connections between the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian religions, so she mentioned that idea to a Christian friend of hers - Suzanne, who then contacted Pricilla, a friend of a friend who happened to be a Jewish mother who was a writer. I guess they never wrote a children's book, but this book is about their "Faith Club" as they call themselves and their discussions of the three major world religions that they had together and how their relationship changed all of their views of the three religions including their own personal religious views as they got to know one another over a few years. Interestingly, none of these three women are or were very fundamentalist in their religions. Had they been, I doubt they could have had the relationship that they do. To me, Suzanne an Pricilla seem to be pretty typical representatives of the Christian and Jewish religions as I know them. I am not sure about Rayna since I really don't have any friends who are Muslim. She talks a lot in the book about her difficulty in finding like-minded Muslims who are not fundamentalist and radical in their views which makes me think, sadly, that she may be more atypical than typical as a representative of her religion. I identify very much with Priscilla, because my Jewish background has highly influenced my understanding of God even though I am a born again Christian. Like Priscilla, I am unsure if there is an afterlife, because the Jewish religion does not focus on or teach about that. I have long wondered how the Christian religion can claim to be the "fulfillment" of the Jewish religion when they focus so much on the afterlife which is not even a major part of the Jewish religion, nor is there a concensus on it as part of the Jewish religious beliefs. Like Priscilla, I also have high blood pressure and expect to have my medication for that changed soon.I understand the feeling of being a minority and the influence of the Holocaust. I enjoy the explanation of the Muslim religion that Rayna shares and Suzanne's journey to accept the other two religions.I think that this is a very good book and I highly recommend it.more
Probably the single most important criticism applied to this book has to do with the relative amateur understanding these three women have with respect to their own religions. It's a strong accusation: You aren't qualified to speak for us. This, I believe, highlights one of the inherent problems with religion. First of all, most people are laymen when it comes to the book specifics of the religion they follow and practice. Religions tend to thrive better when the hierarchy is more structured and the leaders at the top speak for the group. Religions are formed around a uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest, and similarly, the group tends to reject beliefs that undermines that uniqueness.Secondly, all of the above is ultimately pointless. It was more valuable that these three women opened themselves up to each other than to try and be spokesmen for their religions. This book highlights their journey to try and understand something different from what they know. If more people spent less time trying to prove the worth of their earth-centric knowledge of God and more time meeting with their neighbors, I believe a real growth would result.more
Probably the single most important criticism applied to this book has to do with the relative amateur understanding these three women have with respect to their own religions. It's a strong accusation: You aren't qualified to speak for us. This, I believe, highlights one of the inherent problems with religion. First of all, most people are laymen when it comes to the book specifics of the religion they follow and practice. Religions tend to thrive better when the hierarchy is more structured and the leaders at the top speak for the group. Religions are formed around a uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest, and similarly, the group tends to reject beliefs that undermines that uniqueness.Secondly, all of the above is ultimately pointless. It was more valuable that these three women opened themselves up to each other than to try and be spokesmen for their religions. This book highlights their journey to try and understand something different from what they know. If more people spent less time trying to prove the worth of their earth-centric knowledge of God and more time meeting with their neighbors, I believe a real growth would result.more
True story told by the three women of three faiths who formed the Faith Club. I learned a lot about two of the religions and admire them for doing this. The book also has tips on forming a Faith Club. I think everyone should read it.more
True story told by the three women of three faiths who formed the Faith Club. I learned a lot about two of the religions and admire them for doing this. The book also has tips on forming a Faith Club. I think everyone should read it.more
As much as I wanted to like this book it just didn't work for me. The change of voices was badly edited, I didn't feel the connection that many readers claim to feel with the book.A brilliant idea with so so execution.more
As much as I wanted to like this book it just didn't work for me. The change of voices was badly edited, I didn't feel the connection that many readers claim to feel with the book.A brilliant idea with so so execution.more
This is an entire book of discussion about one of our most taboo topics -- religion. Three brave women of different faiths (Christian, Islam, and Judaism) join forces to write a children's book and end up as fast friends who over a period of three years demystify stereotypes about relgion as they learn more about the tenets they share rather than those that divide them.There is much to mull over in this book. I thought the conversations and feelings sounded honest, but somehow stilted, as if they were self-conscious of all the readers listening in to their innermost thoughts. I know I would be. And I would have liked more on how that children's book turned out! I did think the guidelines at the end to encourage more "Faith Clubs" were excellent ways to explore one's own belief system.more
This is an entire book of discussion about one of our most taboo topics -- religion. Three brave women of different faiths (Christian, Islam, and Judaism) join forces to write a children's book and end up as fast friends who over a period of three years demystify stereotypes about relgion as they learn more about the tenets they share rather than those that divide them.There is much to mull over in this book. I thought the conversations and feelings sounded honest, but somehow stilted, as if they were self-conscious of all the readers listening in to their innermost thoughts. I know I would be. And I would have liked more on how that children's book turned out! I did think the guidelines at the end to encourage more "Faith Clubs" were excellent ways to explore one's own belief system.more
Following 9/11, three New York mothers – a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew -- agree to meet and discuss their faith in hopes of writing a children’s book. The women are well-educated, but to a great extent uninformed about the common roots of their faiths, as well as the intricacies of each others’ beliefs. Starting out as virtual strangers, they stumble over complicated stereotypes, hit cultural landmines and finally arrive at enlightenment over the course of more than three years. Eventually, they forge powerful friendships with each other, while changing and growing spiritually in unexpected ways. The book includes excerpts from their conversations, as well as each woman’s narration of the effects of the dialog upon her spiritual, religious and family life. The text is well-written, well-organized, engaging and an easy but very worthwhile read.more
Following 9/11, three New York mothers – a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew -- agree to meet and discuss their faith in hopes of writing a children’s book. The women are well-educated, but to a great extent uninformed about the common roots of their faiths, as well as the intricacies of each others’ beliefs. Starting out as virtual strangers, they stumble over complicated stereotypes, hit cultural landmines and finally arrive at enlightenment over the course of more than three years. Eventually, they forge powerful friendships with each other, while changing and growing spiritually in unexpected ways. The book includes excerpts from their conversations, as well as each woman’s narration of the effects of the dialog upon her spiritual, religious and family life. The text is well-written, well-organized, engaging and an easy but very worthwhile read.more
it helps understand other's beliefs. I hate the word "other".more
it helps understand other's beliefs. I hate the word "other".more
Another book I highly recommend. Definitely made me think, definitely made me wonder and challenged me in some ways. Very interesting to see how they came together, what issues were the hardest for them to work out, and how they overcame those differences and became really great friends. Nice. Made me really wish I had people to talk to like that frankly! LOL!more
Another book I highly recommend. Definitely made me think, definitely made me wonder and challenged me in some ways. Very interesting to see how they came together, what issues were the hardest for them to work out, and how they overcame those differences and became really great friends. Nice. Made me really wish I had people to talk to like that frankly! LOL!more
The Faith Club I requested for Christmas. It's billed as a frank discussion between a Muslim, Christian, and Jew about all things spiritual, stereotypical, and religious. Largely, it succeeds. They actually make a distinction between spirituality and religion. They address the issues of religion being co-opted for political reasons. They talk about the stereotypes they had of one another based on preconceived ideas- including things people wouldn't admit in polite company. It's an honest book, which you can't say about everything out there today, and I enjoyed the read. I think there are a couple of places it fell down- not addressing the Christian Right in the same way (or as much as) they handled the vocal Muslim political sect, and they didn't involve a conservative Muslim woman or a conservative Christian. I understand that this particular book wasn't the goal of the project, but I think broadening the discussion would have had interesting implications. It's definitely worth picking up, even if it's just from the library.more
The Faith Club I requested for Christmas. It's billed as a frank discussion between a Muslim, Christian, and Jew about all things spiritual, stereotypical, and religious. Largely, it succeeds. They actually make a distinction between spirituality and religion. They address the issues of religion being co-opted for political reasons. They talk about the stereotypes they had of one another based on preconceived ideas- including things people wouldn't admit in polite company. It's an honest book, which you can't say about everything out there today, and I enjoyed the read. I think there are a couple of places it fell down- not addressing the Christian Right in the same way (or as much as) they handled the vocal Muslim political sect, and they didn't involve a conservative Muslim woman or a conservative Christian. I understand that this particular book wasn't the goal of the project, but I think broadening the discussion would have had interesting implications. It's definitely worth picking up, even if it's just from the library.more
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