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Twenty Lights for My Interfaith Journey

3_lit_candlesThe following is a list of twenty lights for my interfaith journey, an annotated bibliography of books I have found  instructive and inspiring in my work as an interfaith peacemaker.  I hope it may be of use to others.  If you have a book to recommend, please leave a comment to this post!

  1. Armstrong, Karen. Buddha. Lipper/Viking: New York, NY, 2001 The Spiritual Biography of Sidhatta Gotama, known as the Buddha, the enlightened one. Karen Armstrong is a leading author in the field of comparative religion.
  2. Brownstein, Ted. Editor. The Interfaith Prayer Book. Distributed at a Bahai Faith conference in October of 2002. Prayers from the Bahai, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Sufi, and Unity traditions.
  3. Chilton, Bruce and Neusner, Jacob. Comparing Spiritualities: Formative Christianity and Judaism on Finding Life and Meeting Death. Trinity Press International: Harrisburg, PA, 2000. A pastoral care and theological book lookin at end-of-life issues through Christian and Jewish eyes.
  4. Cooper, David A. God is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism. Riverhead Books: New York, NY, 1997. Treatise on the nature of God through the lens of Jewish mysticism.
  5. Cragg, Kenneth. The Christ and the Faiths. The Westminster Press: Philadelphia, 1986. How Christianity may be perceived from inside the faiths of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Indian Orthodox Christianity.
  6. Eck, Diana L. Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras. Beacon Press: Boston, Massachusetts, 1993. Diana Eck, a leading researcher in the area of religious pluralism, and an expert on Hinduism, writes about how living in Bozeman, Montana and Banaras, India influenced her spiritual growth and present understandings.
  7. Falcon, Ted, Don Mackenzie, and Jamal Rahman, editors. Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, Rabbi, and Sheikh. Skylight Paths: Woodstock, Vermont, 2009. Three religious leaders describe the road to interfaith collaboration by sharing their stories, challenges, and the inner spiritual work necessary to go beyond tolerance to a vital, inclusive spirituality.
  8. Frymer-Kensky, Tikva; and David Novak, Peter Ochs, David Fox Sandmel, Michael A. Singer, editors. Christianity in Jewish Terms. Westview Press: Boulder, Colorado, 2000. Jewish scholars write about Jewish-Christian dialogue in the areas of: the nature and image of God, scripture, commandment, Israel, worship, suffering, embodiment and incarnation, redemption, sin and repentance.
  9. Goldberg, Michael. Jews and Christians: Getting Our Stories Straight. Trinity Press International: Philadelphia, 1991. A devotee of narrative theology, Goldberg examines how the master stories of Judaism and Christianity shape the doctrines and practices of those faiths, namely, the exodus story, and the passion-resurrection story.
  10. Martin, Paul Maurice. Original Faith: Finding the Interfaith Soul of Progressive Religion and Spirituality. Lucid Interface: Springfield, PA, 2008. The spiritual auto-biography of a young man who had a peak experience then learned to cope with chronic illness. These brief sentences from Martin’s Preface express his valuing of spiritual experience over doctrine: “The Word that rises on or own breath is consistent with anyone’s beliefs or lack of beliefs. To speak the Word in this way is to feel and know something original to ourselves. It can only enrich us. It can only unite us. Every person of good will already stands in the one position that doesn’t need defending. That could matter more than everything we disagree about.”
  11. Matlins, Stuart M. and Arthur J. Magida, editors. How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook. Skylight Paths Publishing: Woodstock, Vermont, 2006. Things to do and not do when visiting an unfamilar religious group. 29 religious groups are covered. In the appendixes are a glossary of religious terms and names, the meaning of popular religious symbols, and a calendar of religious holidays and festivals.
  12. Patel, Eboo. Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. Beacon Press: Boston, Massachusetts, 2007. Eboo Patel founded The Interfaith Youth Core, a global youth organization promoting religious pluralism. Acts of Faith is his life story. IFYC’s method is action-reflection. Youth from various faith communities organize and conduct service projects. Working alongside each other and then reflecting on their experience together helps them get to know and respect each other.
  13. Payne, Robert. The History of Islam. Barnes and Noble: New York, NY, 1959. More a socio-political history of Islamists than the recounting of the development of their religious beliefs and practices.
  14. Prabhu, Joseph, editor. The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar. Orbis Books: Maryknoll, New York, 1996. A kind of festschrift honoring the 50+ year writing career of Raimon Pannikkar, East Indian philosopher, scientist, poet, and mystic, whose thought is influenced by his Christian upbringing, the Hinduism of his father, and his exploration of Buddhism. Essays from thirteen admirers, followed by a self-critical one by Pannikkar himself.
  15. Puligandla, R. Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy. Abingdon Press: Nashville and New York, 1975. One is better prepared to understand the Eastern religions of Buddhism, Hinuism, and Jainism by reading this book.
  16. Smith, Huston. The World’s Religions. Harper-Collins: San Francisco, 1991. Excellent introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the primal religions of Australia.
  17. Stedman, Chris. Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious. Beacon Press: Boston, Massachusetts, 2012. Most current popular atheistic writers debunk religion. Not Stedman. Although not a believer, he respects people of faith, and even thinks himself as a faithful person, though not religious. This book is recounts his spiritual journey.
  18. Steinsaltz, Adin. A Guide to Jewish Prayer. Shocken Books: New York, 2000. An exhaustive look at prayer in the Judaic tradition, including individual and communal prayer, the history of prayer, and the use of prayer in synagogues, though music and special services.
  19. Thistlethwaite, Susan Brooks. Interfaith Just Peacemaking. Saint Martin’s Press: New York, NY, 2012. Twenty-seven Jewish, Muslim, and Christian scholars and religious leaders write about ten “practice norms” of a peacemaking paradigm called “Just Peace,” which is related to the longstanding moral paradigm of “just war theory.” Under the just peace paradigm each practice norm is a separate chapter with a general introduction and then a commentary by one Christian, Jewish, and Muslim contributor, and a short conclusion. This is a scholarly work intended as a textbook for interfaith and peace studies courses.
  20. Trible, Phyllis and Letty M. Russell, editors. Hagar, Sarah, and Their Children: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives. Westminster John Knox: Louisville, Kentucky, 2006. The peoples of a book, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all trace their origins to Abraham, their founding father. This book, providing an enriching feminist perspective, examines the influences of the founding mothers, and their children.
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