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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.
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Vendor: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2006
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After September 11th, Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, faced constant questions about Islam, God, and death from her children, the only Muslims in their classrooms. Inspired by a story about Muhammad, Ranya reached out to two other mothers—a Christian and a Jew—to try to understand and answer these questions for her children. After just a few meetings, however, it became clear that the women themselves needed an honest and open environment where they could admit—and discuss—their concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings about one another. After hours of soul-searching about the issues that divided them, Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla grew close enough to discover and explore what united them.
The Faith Club is a memoir of spiritual reflections in three voices that will make readers feel as if they are eavesdropping on the authors' private conversations, provocative discussions, and often controversial opinions and conclusions. The authors wrestle with the issues of anti-Semitism, prejudice against Muslims, and preconceptions of Christians at a time when fundamentalists dominate the public face of Christianity. They write beautifully and affectingly of their families, their losses and grief, their fears and hopes for themselves and their loved ones. And as the authors reveal their deepest beliefs, readers watch the blossoming of a profound interfaith friendship and the birth of a new way of relating to others.
In a final chapter, they provide detailed advice on how to start a faith club: the questions to ask, the books to read, and most important, the open-minded attitude to maintain in order to come through the experience with an enriched personal faith and understanding of others.
Pioneering, timely, and deeply thoughtful, The Faith Club's caring message will resonate with people of all faiths.
-- Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born
"I loved The Faith Club because it provides hope for mothers of all backgrounds that it is indeed possible to create dialogue among us in a post-9/11 world. The book is a brilliant blueprint for creating peace among diverse people everywhere. And if there's one thing about The Faith Club I have faith in, it's that it will catch fire among women's groups and book clubs across America."
-- Donna Dees-Thomases, author of Looking for a Few Good Moms and founder of the Million Mom March
"Violent conflict, painful contradiction, and heated controversy make up the headlines on religion today. But a deeper story is unfolding as well: Three contemporary women -- Jew, Christian, and Muslim -- search together across the divides of prejudice and fear. Their honesty becomes a path to connection; their courage leads into the ranges of the heart opened by their own religions. Working together, they each arrive where alone they could not go. Read this important book."
-- Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General, World Conference of Religions for Peace
"This book is the real thing: three tough, strong women take on each other's religious differences. Achieving a true sisterhood in faith that crosses the religious traditions, these sassy moms will knock you out."
-- Asma Gull Hasan, author of Why I Am a Muslim and American Muslims: The New Generation
"Three mothers' engaging account of their interfaith dialogue. . . . The three charming narrators transform potentially dry theological discourses into personal, intimate heart-to-hearts. . . . An invitation to discussion that's hard to turn down -- and a natural for book groups."
"More Fight Club than book club, the coauthors pull no punches; their outstanding honesty makes for a page-turning read, rare for a religion non-fiction book . . . almost every taboo topic is explored on this engaging spiritual ride."
-- Publishers Weekly
"I loved The Faith Club because it provides hope for mothers of all backgrounds that it is indeed possible to create dialogue among us in a post-9/11 world. The book is a brilliant blueprint for creating peace among diverse people everywhere. And if there's one thing about The Faith Club I have faith in, it's that it will catch fire among women's groups and book clubs across America." -- Donna Dees-Thomases, author of Looking for a Few Good Moms and founder of the Million Mom March
"Violent conflict, painful contradiction, and heated controversy make up the headlines on religion today. But a deeper story is unfolding as well: Three contemporary women -- Jew, Christian, and Muslim -- search together across the divides of prejudice and fear. Their honesty becomes a path to connection; their courage leads into the ranges of the heart opened by their own religions. Working together, they each arrive where alone they could not go. Read this important book." -- Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General, World Conference of Religions for Peace
"This book is the real thing: three tough, strong women take on each other's religious differences. Achieving a true sisterhood in faith that crosses the religious traditions, these sassy moms will knock you out." -- Asma Gull Hasan, author of Why I Am a Muslim and American Muslims: The New Generation
"Three mothers' engaging account of their interfaith dialogue. . . . The three charming narrators transform potentially dry theological discourses into personal, intimate heart-to-hearts. . . . An invitation to discussion that's hard to turn down -- and a natural for book groups." -- Kirkus
monpanache2 Stars Out Of 5A disappointmentDecember 16, 2014monpanacheQuality: 3Value: 2Meets Expectations: 1I agree with wallflower's review; I was very disappointed that none of these women had an intimate longterm relationship with God that I was hoping to see exemplified in the book. And it was very disconcerting to see Suzanne over the course of the book recreate her idea of God in her own image. There was no evidence that she referenced Scripture or asked God to show her the truth; she just decided what was comfortable for her and decided that was the kind of God she wanted to believe in. They accomplished what they set out to do, but it is disappointing that they don't have much passion for knowing the truth. I found Nabeel Qureshi's testimony, Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, a much more compelling read, far more challenging and concerned with knowing the truth about God and seeking it wholeheartedly by seeking God and investigating the foundation and the tenets of both the Christian and the Muslim faith. We women put so much value on being relational that perhaps this book, more than anything, demonstrates a fundamental pitfall of putting human relationships on a higher level than truth and knowing God. They created a worldview that made them feel comfortable together with a common belief that all roads lead to heaven. But to me that is irrational, illogical and deceptively untrue. I don't think respect and tolerance for others requires that we renegotiate our faith in God or that we abandon reason. Above all, we should want those we love and care about to know the true God and to recognize the peerless worth of our Lord Jesus.
wallflowerAge: 45-54Gender: female2 Stars Out Of 5Lots of courage but little faith.January 25, 2013wallflowerAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 2Value: 2Meets Expectations: 1Based on the description and the title for this book, I have to say I was pretty disappointed. I am a devout Christian, I have been given a new and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, and by that faith the Holy Spirit has and is changing my heart. I am utterly a slave to Christ (or attaining to be). My life is His and He is my Lord and Savior. This is the essence of Christianity, not just what I believe but what the Bible teaches.
My disappointment with this book is that I was seeking a guide as well as a book for our church book club for the true believer on how be respecting Christian in the face of other religions. I desired a means by which I could connect with those who didn't hold my steadfast conviction but could still share our commonality of humanness and strive to come together despite our differentness.
This book was deceiving though, because although it's titled, A Faith Club, A Muslim, A Jew and a Christian_, I don't believe at the core, any of these women could claim to be any of these titles, anymore than I am a chef because I occasionally make dinner. I felt particularly mislead by Suzanne who had so many comments in the book that were offensive to me as a Christian. And, when she explained the Christian faith at end of the book, she didn't even factor the most important premise of Christianity exemplified in Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." The practices, statistics, holidays, biblical format were included but there was very little about the work of Christ on the cross, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit available to believers.
It was as though she alluded to believing in a god but really never claimed to Jesus' supreme deity; she denounced original sin and more or less stated that all religions lead to God. This would really bother me if it hadn't sounded so much like me a lifetime ago. But through bible study, prayer, Christian fellowship, and the Holy Spirit, I have learned the truth that Christ is the center of Christianity and Lord of all.
I do appreciate the courage and passion these women had to create a "safe" environment where they could reach a common goal of dispelling cultural prejudices, share persecution experience, and share a desire to know and understand God through their combined faiths. But I do feel there was a greater issue that wasn't resolved that I was hoping for. What if you truly believe that your God is the true God - the only God? In my case, I believe in the teachings of the bible not just the Old Testament but the revelation of the Old Testament by the arrival of Christ in the New Testament. You see my response to the question posed by Suzanne's student (p. 260 who asked: "In order for you to believe in your religion, don't you have to believe that the others are wrong") is a resounding YES. I will not compromise my belief by believing that all faiths are true and that God speaks through all religions. Jesus did not say "I am "one of the ways" but THE WAY. This book is further proof that man (and women) seems determined to assemble a god out of pieces of other faiths, casting out and adding to create a god to their liking. But the result is that confidence in this made up god begins to falter, because although each of them carries a picture or an idea of who their god is, until they experience the real thing, faith has no substance. Jesus Christ is the substance; He is our foundation, the one true God. I believe a deeper religious persecution is experienced when you are bold enough to profess your faith as the indisputable ONLY way and further this by submitting your life to this faith. As Christ was persecuted so he calls all believers to expect the same. I now know that by choosing this book, I was looking for a worldly response to my question, rather than a biblical response. I trust that through prayer, studying the Word, and through fellowship with other Christians, I will gain insight and guidance into lovingly living along those who aren't.
I pray that each of these women can arrive at this place of assurance. If they claim to believe in the Old Testament God and in the character of Christ, maybe they will continue and delve into a rich bible study and truly learn the Scriptures and discover Christ our Lord in the process. What a faith club book that would make!
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