Cole Sahib: The Story of a Multifaith Journey

Overview

Owen Cole has taught at all stages of education from primary school to university. He began his teaching career as a very conventional Christian supporting the daily act of collective worship punctiliously and arguing with head teachers who did not observe the requirement that they were breaking the law. The content of Religious Education (RE) was Christian and its purpose to persuade children of its truth if not to convert them. … His dogmatic approach changed radically in the light of experience. The author is ...

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Overview

Owen Cole has taught at all stages of education from primary school to university. He began his teaching career as a very conventional Christian supporting the daily act of collective worship punctiliously and arguing with head teachers who did not observe the requirement that they were breaking the law. The content of Religious Education (RE) was Christian and its purpose to persuade children of its truth if not to convert them. … His dogmatic approach changed radically in the light of experience. The author is now of the firm opinion of a need to be pragmatic. He would abolish school worship whilst opening up RE further to a broad study of beliefs and values with the aim of enabling pupils to become religiate, in the same way that they should be literate and numerate. Schools should be places where diversity of culture and belief can be explored and celebrated. … Although religion is at the core of Owen Cole's journey it is clear that he believes that since the end of empire Britain has lacked vision and the religious and political classes are still clinging to the world of yesterday rather than recognising, embracing and cherishing our multifaith society. The year 1945, which saw the beginning of the end of empire, is far away and fast receding but parliament and the churches still behave as though it lies in the future. They give little place or attention to other faiths in Britain's national life, treating them often as guests who they wish would soon go home, even though their members are third generation citizens at least, or as children who should be seen but not heard at most of the national events to which they are invited. This tokenism is unacceptable and dangerous as it can result in alienation, especially of the young. A social and spiritual revolution is required. What is true of Britain is equally applicable to the rest of the West if humanity is globally to become a species worthy of its creator and of survival. We must also reconsider our views on the authenticity of other religions. … Owen Cole's journey has led to him being an interfaith consultant to Archbishop Runcie, visiting Pakistan, India, Canada, the USA and Australia, sharing the hospitality of people of faith in the UK and abroad, to being a founder member of the influential Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education, and also serving on many national and interfaith committees.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I have found Dr Cole’s journey immensely fascinating as a man of faith, showing us how he has done it while being faithful to his own and with deep respect for the other, a true witness to interfaith. I strongly hope that other readers also find his journey of spiritual fellowship as transformational as I have found it to be for me.”  —Charanjit K. Ajit Singh, author The Wisdom of Sikhism

“… The Yorkshire Welshman, Owen Cole, is a gifted communicator, with a direct, pithy style. In Cole Sahib readers of the Friend will find many resonances with their own journeys, as well as new perspectives and insights. The narrative resounds with Owen Cole’s hatred of class-based snobbery, with his championing of minorities and his faith in God’s love, and it is amply seasoned by humour and a delight in ongoing discovery.”  —The Friend

“This remarkable book, based on intensive first hand teaching experience – from primary school to the university level – is about the evolution of Religious Education (RE) in an increasingly multifaith Britain over the last 50 years. It gives significant policy guidance regarding the future direction of RE. … The author, Dr W. Owen Cole has been a much respected figure in multifaith education circles. He is a strong believer in teaching religion as a ‘broad study of beliefs and values’ so that by the time the student has completed education he or she is not only ‘literate and numerate’ but also ‘religiate’. He has written many well researched books and, even after retirement from service, continues to be an authoritative commentator and adviser on RE issues. A most useful and thought-provoking publication for those interested in Religious Education in schools, for interfaith representatives and for policy makers in the field of multifaith education.”  —The Sikh Review

From the Publisher

“I have found Dr Cole’s journey immensely fascinating as a man of faith, showing us how he has done it while being faithful to his own and with deep respect for the other, a true witness to interfaith. I strongly hope that other readers also find his journey of spiritual fellowship as transformational as I have found it to be for me.” —Charanjit K. Ajit Singh, author The Wisdom of Sikhism

“… The Yorkshire Welshman, Owen Cole, is a gifted communicator, with a direct, pithy style. In Cole Sahib readers of the Friend will find many resonances with their own journeys, as well as new perspectives and insights. The narrative resounds with Owen Cole’s hatred of class-based snobbery, with his championing of minorities and his faith in God’s love, and it is amply seasoned by humour and a delight in ongoing discovery.” —The Friend

“This remarkable book, based on intensive first hand teaching experience – from primary school to the university level – is about the evolution of Religious Education (RE) in an increasingly multifaith Britain over the last 50 years. It gives significant policy guidance regarding the future direction of RE. … The author, Dr W. Owen Cole has been a much respected figure in multifaith education circles. He is a strong believer in teaching religion as a ‘broad study of beliefs and values’ so that by the time the student has completed education he or she is not only ‘literate and numerate’ but also ‘religiate’. He has written many well researched books and, even after retirement from service, continues to be an authoritative commentator and adviser on RE issues. A most useful and thought-provoking publication for those interested in Religious Education in schools, for interfaith representatives and for policy makers in the field of multifaith education.” —The Sikh Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845193362
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Owen Cole’s teaching career began in 1954 and has continued into the twenty-first century, a period of considerable social change but, in his opinion one of too little educational response. In England he has taught at all stages of education from primary schools to university and in India at universities. His principal interest has been in teacher training. His life has been one of opportunities gratefully received. Readers are encouraged to share his journey and pursue their own. All that is needed is vision, empathy and a willingness to accept the unexpected.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Charanjit K. Ajit Singh Singh, Charanjit K. Ajit

Introduction 1

1 Setting Out 4

2 Getting There 15

3 National Service and Beyond 21

4 Harlow 37

5 Newcastle 45

6 Leeds 54

7 Setting foot in the Subcontinent 78

8 Pakistan 85

9 Back to India 95

10 Return to Leeds 106

11 Chichester 120

12 India Revisited 135

13 Patiala 147

14 Return to Chichester 161

15 At End Is My Beginning 178

Glossary 201

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