Faith Between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God

Overview

A religious "coming out" story by two young believers—one Catholic and one Jewish, with an introduction by Freakonomics coauthor Stephen J. Dubner.

Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal, two young progressives, share a secret: They believe in God. One is a former wannabe Catholic priest, the other a failed Jewish mystic, and they formed a friendship that's shaped by their common belief. In The Faith Between Us, they engage in a dialogue that ranges widely, from the mundane to the ...

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The Faith Between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God

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Overview

A religious "coming out" story by two young believers—one Catholic and one Jewish, with an introduction by Freakonomics coauthor Stephen J. Dubner.

Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal, two young progressives, share a secret: They believe in God. One is a former wannabe Catholic priest, the other a failed Jewish mystic, and they formed a friendship that's shaped by their common belief. In The Faith Between Us, they engage in a dialogue that ranges widely, from the mundane to the divine. They discuss finding religious meaning in their secular worlds, the moral implications of decisions both personal and political, their different religious cultures, and how their lives have been shaped by the pursuit of an authentic, livable faith. Both a spiritual memoir and an examination of contemporary religion as it's played out in unconventional ways, The Faith Between Us offers an alternative vision of faith in America, one that is equally irreverent and devout, ironic and earnest. For everyone interested in a modern take on keeping faith—and in reclaiming religion from the fundamentalists and literalists who have co-opted it for the right and those on the left who dismiss its redemptive power—The Faith Between Us will be an engaging and thought-provoking read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR THE FAITH BETWEEN US:

"Old Jewish joke—woman buys her grown son two ties, he comes to visit her wearing one of them, she takes a look, frowns, says, 'What? You didn't like the other one?' That's how I feel sometimes when I'm reading one side or the other of this wise, warm, and often witty dialogue. Scott Korb and Peter Bebergal have not only illuminated issues of faith, but also literalized the process of friendship. A wonderful book." —Ben Greenman, author of A CircleIs a Balloon and Compass Both

"When was the last time two men sat down and wrote about their friendship? This is a beautiful book—frank, open, searching. It is, to be sure, a 'religious' book, but its great virtue is that it erases the quotation marks around that word and makes religious insight and longing seem, like friendship, a natural part of the world." —Jonathan Rosen, author of Joy Comes in the Morning

"Friendship between men is at the heart of this powerful and surprising story. But Peter Bebergal and Scott Korb's The Faith Between Us is also the story of their love affairs with God—entirely unsentimental and utterly passionate affairs that make compelling reading."—Sara Miles, author Take This Bread

"This unlikeliest of books—a tag team spiritual autobiography—is a remarkable achievement. It's part Confessions of St. Augustine, part Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a true story that is both subtle and adventurous. Bebergal and Korb, a Jew and a Catholic, an ex-mystic and a reformed ascetic, transcend the clichés of spiritual memoir to create genuinely unique story of faith evolving. The Faith Between Us is a milestone in the genre of memoir and a crucial reflection on American religion, in all its eccentricity, diversity, and depth."—Jeff Sharlet, author of Jesus Plus Nothing and co-author of Killing the Buddha

"This is the book for this moment. In an era of rigid (and false) dichotomies—when one is told to be either a blind believer or a dogmatic atheist—Bebergal and Korb offer a third way, the path of respect, of common sense, of dialogue rather than doctrine. There are fewer hot topics today than religion, and this book provides an accessible, heartfelt, compelling, and ultimately inspiring message that will speak to many of us, religionists and secularists alike. If you think deeply and openly, go get a copy right now!"

Niles Elliot Goldstein, author of Gonzo Judaism and founding rabbi of the New Shul in Manhattan

"Here are two ordinary young men, a Catholic and a Jew, journeying toward God. Lost in a wilderness of their own making, they find their way toward life's better possibilities. Their stories are deeply personal, while describing the raw need for meaning common to us all. The book reminds us that we may continue to seek God even in the noise of our chaotic and scientific age. Scott and Peter's friendship will long remain in my mind as will the complex bravery of this book."—Anne Roiphe, author of Up the Sandbox!, Generation without Memory, and 1185 Park Avenue

Publishers Weekly

What's the saying? Never discuss sex, God or politics if you want to keep your friends? In this particular case, the questions of faith and God are actually what brought Bebergal and Korb together, initially through a correspondence related to their writings for various online magazines. Faith was not something either particularly discussed with their other friends, even though both hold advanced degrees in religion. Like a conversation that continues all night into the early light of dawn, this collection of stories is filled with the deepest of personal feelings and confessions as well as the mundane details of everyday life. The format-the telling of a story by one, followed by a reflective epilogue by the other-highlights not only the seamlessness of their dialogue, but the depth of their friendship and understanding of each other. No topic is taboo; amid their questioning of faith and God come tales of addiction, neuroses and ineptitude. These thirty-somethings are as diverse as their upbringings, and yet between them they represent a little bit of all of us in this thoughtful, engaging debate about the virtues of faith and the existence of God. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Bebergal, a "failed Jewish mystic," and Korb, a "former wannabe Catholic priest," delineate their efforts at coming to terms with belief in God as manifested in their daily lives in the secular world. The two freelance writers became friends as a result of reading each other's work in periodicals and sensing they were kindred spirits in their spiritual quests. There are ten stories here, each by one author and with an epilog by the other, on such topics as music and religion, religious vocations, using drugs in the hope of seeing God, memories of loved ones' deaths, bird-watching as a search for God, and the value of prayer. This honest book describes the authors' respective quests for the divine despite their own worldly shortcomings-e.g., Peter once abused drugs and alcohol, and Scott experienced an obsessive-compulsive pursuit of perfection. It has value as a kind of self-help text in that it may provide reassurance for readers with uncertainties of their own. Of interest to public libraries. [Freakonomicscoauthor Stephen J. Dubner writes the introduction.-Ed.]
—Denise J. Stankovics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596911437
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 10/30/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Bebergal graduated from Brandeis University and the Harvard Divinity School. His essays, stories, and interviews have appeared in Salon, Nextbook, Beliefnet, the Believer, and the Boston Globe. He is also an editor at Zeek. Peter teaches writing at Simmons College and lives with his wife and son in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Scott Korb received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and graduate degrees from Union Seminary and Columbia University. He has written for Harper's, Gastronomica, the Revealer, Commonweal, and Killing the Buddha. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    Friendship, life and faith.

    This book is a warm depiction of true friendship, the form it takes between two men and how their individual faiths affect their lives and outlook. It is less about about God than it is about how faith can provide support but also disappoint. The beauty of this book is truly in friendship between the authors and in the delicate way the book concludes. You'll have to read it to see.

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