The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew--Three Women Search for Understanding

The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew--Three Women Search for Understanding

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743290487
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 06/05/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 99,988
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Ranya Idliby was raised in Dubai and McLean, Virginia. She holds a bachelor of science from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and earned her MS in international relations from the London School of Economics. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Suzanne Oliver was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and has worked as a writer and editor at Forbes and Financial World magazines. She graduated from Texas Christian University and lives in New York City and Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire, with her husband and three children.

Priscilla Warner grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and spent many years in Boston and New York as an advertising art director, shooting ads for everything from English muffins to diamond earrings. Priscilla co-authored The New York Times bestselling memoir The Faith Club, then toured the country for three years, hyperventilating her way through an extended book tour. Finally, in the skies over Oklahoma, she vowed to find her inner monk, and began meditating her way from panic to peace.

Read an Excerpt

Preface

Meet 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.

We realized that before we could talk about what united us we had to confront what divided us in matters of faith, God, and religion. We had to reveal our own worst fears, prejudices, and stereotypes.

So we made a commitment to meet regularly. We talked in our living rooms over cups of jasmine tea and bars of dark chocolate. No question was deemed inappropriate, no matter how rude or politically incorrect. We taped our conversations and kept journals as we discussed everything from jihad to Jesus, heaven to holy texts. Somewhere along the way, our moments of conflict, frustration, and anger gave way to new understanding and great respect.

Now we invite you into our Faith Club to eavesdrop on our conversations. Come into our living rooms and share our life-altering experience. Perhaps when you're finished, you will want to have a faith club of your own.

Copyright © 2006 by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

CHAPTER ONE In the Beginning

CHAPTER TWO A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew Walk into a Room . . .

CHAPTER THREE The Abrahamic Family Feud

CHAPTER FOUR The Crucifixion Crisis

CHAPTER FIVE Stop Stereotyping Me!

CHAPTER SIX Could You Convert?

CHAPTER SEVEN Oh, Where Are You, God?

CHAPTER EIGHT Ranya's Madrassah

CHAPTER NINE The Promised Land

CHAPTER TEN Prayer

CHAPTER ELEVEN Rituals

CHAPTER TWELVE Intimations of Mortality

CHAPTER THIRTEEN Conversations with a Priest, an Imam, and a Rabbi

CHAPTER FOURTEEN A Day of Atonement

CHAPTER FIFTEEN Happy Holidays

CHAPTER SIXTEEN Facing Our Communities

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Awakenings

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Faltering Faith

CHAPTER NINETEEN From Here to Eternity

How to Start a Faith Club

More Faith Club Questions

Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Reading Group Guide

The Faith Club
Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner

Questions and Topics For Discussion


  1. How did the book’s format (a three-way memoir written in first person) contribute to the overall feel of the book? At what points did the women write different versions of the same event? (One specific example can be found when Ranya confronts Priscilla about the Israel/Palestinian conflict, pages 129–138.) How does each woman’s individual prejudices and religion color her interpretations of the discussions?


  1. How does each woman’s role as a mother influence the direction and tone of the Faith Club? Would the club have been different if it included both mothers and women with no children? How did the children play a role in the challenges to each woman’s faith?


  1. To which woman did you most relate, and why? Was it the one you expected to when you began the book? If you identified with one of the women because you share her religious beliefs, did you agree with her presentation of your faith? What did you disagree with, and why?


  1. Much of the first half of the book deals with Suzanne’s and Priscilla’s struggles to define anti-Semitism and to confront their prejudices about the other’s faith. Did you feel that Ranya was unfairly relegated to the role of “mediator” (p. 46), or did she welcome it? “For months, I had to bide my time patiently” (p. 126). Why do you think Ranya waited to bring up her own struggles with Suzanne’s and Priscilla’s faiths?


  1. On page 106, Ranya says, “The more that science unravels about the wonders of life and the universe, the more I am in awe of it.” Do you think this combination of science and faith is realistic, or must one ultimately take precedence over the other?


  1. Suzanne’s first sentence speaks of the “cozy, homogeneous community” at her Episcopal church. What is Priscilla’s “comfort zone”? What is Ranya’s? How does each woman step out of her individual cozy and homogeneous comfort zone, and in what ways does each of them remain there?


  1. On page 147, Priscilla wonders if worrying is “a form of gratefulness.” What do you think she means by this? Does Priscilla’s worry ultimately strengthen her faith? How does each woman show gratitude in her life and in her faith?


  1. On page 204, Craig Townsend tells Suzanne, “The opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s certainty.” What does he mean by this? Is doubt necessary for true faith?


  1. In Chapter 12, “Intimations of Mortality,” the women discuss their differing views about death and the afterlife. Which understanding of death was most comforting to you? Which image of the afterlife was most comforting? Are they from the same religion?


  1. When Priscilla confronts Suzanne about her confession that she was uncomfortable being mistaken for a Jew, Ranya says, “She wouldn’t want to be a Muslim either.” Do you agree? Why or why not? Is Suzanne’s discomfort an inevitable result of being a member of the majority, of “not [being] forced to accommodate [herself] to the culture, religion, or even friendship of minorities”?


  1. Ranya provides a vivid description of her own method of prayer on page 175: “My prayer is essentially a form of meditation in which I singularly apply my limited human physical capacity to try to connect with that omnipresent universal unknown force: God.” (Suzanne’s description of her prayer is on page 162; Priscilla’s is on page 175.) How is each woman’s method of prayer different? How is it similar? How do Suzanne’s, Ranya’s, and Priscilla’s prayer styles reflect the differences and similarities in their childhoods?

Introduction

Reading Group Guide

Summary

The Faith Club was started when Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, recruited Suzanne Oliver, a Christian, and Priscilla Warner, a Jew, to write a children's book about their three religions. As the women's meetings began, it became clear that they had their own adult struggles with faith and religion, and they needed a safe haven where they could air their concerns, admit their ignorance, and explore their own faiths.

Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla began to meet regularly to discuss their religious backgrounds and beliefs and to ask each other tough questions. As the three women met and talked, there were no awkward silences — no stretches of time with nothing for them to say to each other. Honesty was the first rule of the Faith Club, and with that tenet as a foundation, no topic was off limits.

With courage, pain, and sometimes tears, Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla found themselves completely transformed by their experience inside the safe cocoon of the Faith Club, and they realized that they had learned things so powerful they wanted to share them with the rest of the world. This is their story.

General Questions

  1. How did the book's format (a three-way memoir written in first person) contribute to the overall feel of the book? At what points did the women write different versions of the same event? (One specific example can be found when Ranya confronts Priscilla about the Israel/Palestinian conflict, pages 129-138.) How does each woman's individual prejudices and religion color her interpretations of the discussions?
  2. How does each woman's role as amother influence the direction and tone of the Faith Club? Would the club have been different if it included both mothers and women with no children? How did the children play a role in the challenges to each woman's faith?
  3. To which woman did you most relate, and why? Was it the one you expected to when you began the book? If you identified with one of the women because you share her religious beliefs, did you agree with her presentation of your faith? What did you disagree with, and why?
  4. Much of the first half of the book deals with Suzanne's and Priscilla's struggles to define anti-Semitism and to confront their prejudices about the other's faith. Did you feel that Ranya was unfairly relegated to the role of "mediator" (p. 46), or did she welcome it? "For months, I had to bide my time patiently" (p. 126). Why do you think Ranya waited to bring up her own struggles with Suzanne's and Priscilla's faiths?
  5. On page 106, Ranya says, "The more that science unravels about the wonders of life and the universe, the more I am in awe of it." Do you think this combination of science and faith is realistic, or must one ultimately take precedence over the other?
  6. Suzanne's first sentence speaks of the "cozy, homogeneous community" at her Episcopal church. What is Priscilla's "comfort zone"? What is Ranya's? How does each woman step out of her individual cozy and homogeneous comfort zone, and in what ways does each of them remain there?
  7. On page 147, Priscilla wonders if worrying is "a form of gratefulness." What do you think she means by this? Does Priscilla's worry ultimately strengthen her faith? How does each woman show gratitude in her life and in her faith?
  8. On page 204, Craig Townsend tells Suzanne, "The opposite of faith is not doubt, it's certainty." What does he mean by this? Is doubt necessary for true faith?
  9. In Chapter 12, "Intimations of Mortality," the women discuss their differing views about death and the afterlife. Which understanding of death was most comforting to you? Which image of the afterlife was most comforting? Are they from the same religion?
  10. When Priscilla confronts Suzanne about her confession that she was uncomfortable being mistaken for a Jew, Ranya says, "She wouldn't want to be a Muslim either." Do you agree? Why or why not? Is Suzanne's discomfort an inevitable result of being a member of the majority, of "not [being] forced to accommodate [herself] to the culture, religion, or even friendship of minorities"?
  11. Ranya provides a vivid description of her own method of prayer on page 175: "My prayer is essentially a form of meditation in which I singularly apply my limited human physical capacity to try to connect with that omnipresent universal unknown force: God." (Suzanne's description of her prayer is on page 162; Priscilla's is on page 175.) How is each woman's method of prayer different? How is it similar? How do Suzanne's, Ranya's, and Priscilla's prayer styles reflect the differences and similarities in their childhoods?

Activities

  1. Before the meeting, visit the authors' website, www.thefaithclub.com, to explore viewpoints about your own and others' faiths. Use the Faith Club Guide in the back of the book to suggest journaling topics; have each member select a topic and bring in questions and reflections to share with the group.
  2. During the meeting, serve some of the food that Priscilla, Ranya, and Suzanne served at many of their Faith Club meetings. For example, you could serve hot chocolate and jasmine tea to your guests. And don't forget Priscilla's favorite — a variety of chocolate bars for a special treat!
  3. An important aspect of the authors' Faith Club is their visits to each other's places of worship. Schedule a weekend visit to your local mosque, synagogue, and church. If you can, set up a discussion with the imam, rabbi, or priest.

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The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew--Three Women Search for Understanding 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
S_Mama More than 1 year ago
While each of the authors are religious and identify with a certain faith (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), not one was active in their faith. They may have gone to church or the mosque but it didn't seem like any was actually involved in a relationship with their God. I was expecting to hear about their personal relationships and walks with God, but all I heard was traditions. This should be called "Religion Club" not "Faith Club." All it did was irritate me that I could have read a book on each individual religion and experience the same knowledge.
raniaA More than 1 year ago
As an American Muslim who's name is also Ranya, I was intrigued at the idea of this book. But not even 1/2 way into it, I could no longer continue. Ranya Idliby needs to get her facts straight. She flat out misquoted the Quran, gave incorrect facts and was very weak/shallow in her religion. I am not that religious, I dont wear a head scarf or anything but even I was outraged. I know several Jewish women who also hated this book saying Pricilla was very sterotyped and a horrible portrayal of a Jewish woman. DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY! Just talk to your friend's to get the inside scoop on different cultures/religions...you'll learn more that way!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Where is the 'faith' in the faith club? Disappointing from a 'religious' stand point. Interesting women, kind women, caring women -- but none of them except for Ranya have any idea on what it means to have 'faith' in their religion. Most disappointing is the Christian author - what a sell out - she folded to the others thoughts and ideas and didn't stand on her own two feet on what Christianity is all about. Very disappointing. I was left feeling cheated at the end..I thought each would strongly stand for what they believed instead of the 'new age' feeling I came away with.
Aprilsongs7 More than 1 year ago
I was asked to read this and lead a bookclub at my church. At first I was put off by the oversensitivity and whining of the main characters, but as the book progresses, they begin to confront their assumptions, challenge themselves and each other, and grow as friends and human beings. Lots of new information about each religion is included, which serve to educate the reader as well, as we begin to question our own stereotypes around people of other faiths. I felt I had important insights about the point of view of someone from another experience than my own, and I grew fond of these brave, tenacious women, who wouldn't stop trying to find common ground or come to a place of respect and appreciation for each other's beliefs! I love the way the book is organized, alternating transcripts of recordings from their actual meetings in real time, with look-back commentary from three perspectives. A quick and easy read, and made for a very lively discussion at the book club. If EVERYBODY read this, there would be a lot more harmony between neighbors of differing faiths, and a lot less misinformation circulating! And there are ample materials included to help readers who wish to follow their lead and form their own Faith Club discussion groups. Well worth the time and effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to reading this. It seemed so promising. However, I need to clear something up. Judaism DOES believe in the afterlife. We call it the World to Come, and it will happen when the Messiah comes. I was upset that such incorrect information was allowed to be included in this book. I did learn a lot about Islam, which was positive, but towards the end, I felt like the book took a more political stance, rather than a spiritual or religious one. I'd love to be able to contact Priscilla and talk over Judaism issues. I don't really want to recommend this book, due to its misinformation concerning Judaism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so thrilled with the idea of this book, I waited and waited for it to come out so that I could read it.I love the idea and get the point, but I already know bible stories. I wanted to hear passion and read a great story of faith. This was bible stories and he said she said stuff. I was very sad, I quit half way through the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿d like to recommend to you a book I¿ve just read. The Faith Club arose out of the rubble of 9-11, as three young mothers living in New York City ¿ a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew ¿ agreed to meet together to discuss their differing faiths and how they might learn to live together in peace. They could not have imagined what was in store for them. At a minimum, it meant hours of gut-wrenching, painful, honest self-disclosure, as they explained to each other, as best they could, what they believed and why, and as they challenged each other with the obvious ambiguities and inconsistencies of their different faith perspectives. It also meant a lot of personal growth as, through the process of interfaith dialogue ¿ and we¿re talking about a period of over two years here ¿ the women grappled with what they really believed, as opposed to what they had always been taught ¿ and as they seriously considered the faith and understanding of each other. No holds were barred. They talked openly and honestly about everything you can imagine: The Christian understanding of Jesus¿ crucifixion and whether or not the Jews were to blame the Jewish claim to a Promised Land and what that meant for Palestinians the suspicion that all Muslims are terrorists-in-waiting, versus the fact that the majority of Muslims are as peace-loving as everyone else. Out of their dialogue, the women came to appreciate and accept each other as individuals who share a common humanity and a common quest for peace, albeit from different faith perspectives. More than that, they came to love each other, and that love helped them bridge the gap between their different religious traditions. What I appreciated most about The Faith Club is its raw, often brutal, honesty. Here are three women who are willing to let you in on their often down and dirty efforts to come to grips with each other. What I found myself struggling with was the often simplistic way in which the women were able to resolve fundamental differences of religion by stressing such commonalities as their love of God, generally, while, for example, ignoring the critical issues of such Christian beliefs as the Incarnation and the Atonement. But, to be fair, the authors never claim to be theologians, and that may be the most compelling reason to read the book: It doesn¿t seek to answer all your questions about Islam, Judaism or Christianity, and it doesn¿t pretend to offer a panacea about how our differences can be resolved rather, it offers a first-hand look at how three women from these differing religious perspectives found, through the process of interfaith dialogue, a better understanding of themselves and each other, and how people of differing faiths can live in peace and harmony in love with each other. I recommend the book highly. Whether, in the end, you agree or disagree with their conclusions, you¿ll be enriched by their journey of faith.
Penelope_Lefebre More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. As a Jewish woman I am constantly questioning my beliefs and my faith. This book helped me do some soul searching and understand things a bit more. I honestly couldn't put it down because I wanted to read the next discussion! While not all of the book was awe-inspiring, as no books are, if you start reading with an open mind you will get something out of it. My suggestion: read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are secure enough in your own faith in God, and open minded enough to believe your own religion isn't the center of the universe, and that all religions are equal paths to God - then you'll enjoy this book.
Bookworm82CL More than 1 year ago
If you have trouble sleeping at night, just pick up this book, you will be out in no time! I loathed this book. There is no story line, there is nothing to make you want to read this book. It is 300 pages of three women talking on and on and on. The three women came from three different religions, but none of them had any kind of faith in their religions and they had no idea what they were talking about. The Jewish woman did not know if she even believed in God and the Christian woman wanted to be on both sides of the fence sort of speek, she wanted a God but when it was convenient for her. The Muslum woman did not know what she believed. I was so disappointed because at the end, the Christian woman decided that she "hopes there is a God." (You have got to be kidding) And then turns into a Universalist. She was more worried about offending the other two women, than she was about practicing Christanity. She was a Fraud! Do not bother with this book. Spend your time and money on something else worth reading.
Shirley_Holmes More than 1 year ago
When I first saw this book, I was immediately sold. I picked it and refused to leave without it. I love learning about religions and I was intrigued by the idea of the three monotheistic religions coming together and trying to understand each other. From beginning to end, I was hooked. I would read a chapter and stop for a day or two to really get the full impact of it. These women were incredibly brave and through their quest to find similarities, they found that they grew individually in their own faiths as well as growing together and embracing all three. It truly is an inspirational read and I recommend to every one who has ever had a small inkling of interest in these three religions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does more than put a band-aid on the uneasy co-existence of the three Abrahamic faiths in America and over the world. The authors here confront stereotypes about their own and each others' faiths, and they don't pull any punches. The Jewish woman, Priscilla, confronts Christian Suzanne, challenging her claim that she'd never heard Jews being blamed for Christ's death. But that's nothing compared to the discussion that emerges when the Israel-Palestine situation comes up. I strongly recommend this book for Americans who simplistically wonder 'Why don't the Arabs just take care of the Palestinian problem?' The Muslim, Ranya, whose parents lost their ancestral home when Israel came into being, offers the little-heard (in this country) story of Palestinian dispossession. She is quite clear in her condemnation of Muslim extremists, and it is wonderful to read how she has become an important figure in uniting the American Muslim community, which is overwhelmingly moderate, and represents a sort of diaspora from around the world. I learned that most Muslims in the world aren't even Arabs, many do not wear head dress, and that the faith itself is much closer to my personal beliefs (raised Catholic, married to a Jew) than I would have guessed. Ich bin ein Muslim -- who knew? While, unlike Suzanne, I had a thorough education in the horror Christians have inflicted on Jews, I was taught next to nothing about Muslims -- just the oft-repeated story about the thousand virgins who are the reward for those who self-annhiliate in the name of Allah. Americans need to have this, and the many other negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, corrected. The authors encourage readers to begin their own faith clubs -- I'd like to see the discussions expanded to include Mormons, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. America ought to be a leader in easing the tensions between the various faiths, as we often have. In Northern Ireland the Catholics and Protestants are still fighting -- that argument and those prejudices sunk here long ago. We need to follow our own example today.
winecat on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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.
Brandie on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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!
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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
kambrogi on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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.
LiteraryLinda on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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.
strangestgirl on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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.
Daniel.Estes on LibraryThing 26 days ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It depends on why you're reading the book.  I learned something about liberal Muslim , Jewish and Christian beliefs and thought and about Palestinian history from it.  For accuracy and truth about Christianity, however, which I'm well versed about, it is considerably off the mark.  When Jesus asked  Peter, "who do you say I am?"  , Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."   Jesus said he would build His church upon that confession (not upon Peter).   That is still a core belief of the Christian faith.   .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
booksaregood More than 1 year ago
What I thought was the premise of the book wasn't exactly what the reader gets. You learn quickly that the women are well off. They seem to be very self-absorbed. They don't always leave room for anyone else to have an opinion that is different from theirs. When asking my pastor some questions about parts of the book, he wasn't quite as liberal as they seemed to want the reader to be. Still not sure what they tried to children in the book they wanted to write.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DO NOT READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Awful book!!!!!!!!!!!