Thursday, April 16, 2009

Book #12: The Faith Club

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 by Ranya Idliby

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I saw this book in the general religion section at Borders and immediately knew I'd like the book. Since my conversion, comparative religion seems like a natural interest to me. Not only do I love learning about the nuances with Judaism, but I love to learn about the differences in other faiths as well. The book is told through the perspectives of three very different women — a Catholic-turned-Episcopal from Kansas City, a Palestinian-born modern Muslim and a Boston-born Jewish artist.

It is easy to stereotype people because of their faith. I find myself doing it in my daily life. It's something we all do whether we want to cop to it or not. I loved that this book featured three REAL women who were willing to talk about their stereotypes of each others' faiths and break down so many walls in the process.

My only beef with this book was the Jewish author. I think Priscilla is like a lot of Jewish women — at least of the ones I know. She culturally identifies herself as a Jew, but when it comes to the issue of theology she is unsure. She even goes further to question her ties to Israel itself. While I think these are common traits for the average Jewish woman (and I'm glad to see it represented in some way), I did not like that out of the three women she was clearly the weakest in her faith. Throughout the book she seemed to assimilate the most — going so far as to call Jesus "her friend" and called herself "born again."

Now, I do think it's intriguing that a Christian woman and a Muslim woman were able to bring a Jewish woman closer to G-d. But I worry that the book paints Jews as people of rote traditions and lacking emotional connections to their religion.

Of course, the idea of this book is to break down stereotypes, so maybe I'm not giving the average reader enough credit. I'd love for more people to read this book and see what they think.

My favorite line of the book is actually a quote from Gandhi: "A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance."

View all my reviews.

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