Sunday, March 25, 2007
An excellent learning experience
When I first started reading The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, I figured I would be reading a memoir of a spiritual learning journey taken on by three women who never imagined they would become such close friends. I never thought I would be taken on my own spiritual learning expedition, but that is exactly what happened.
When Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla, a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew, first begin their meetings it is with the purpose of creating a children's book centering on faith and the teachings of different faiths. As their meetings progress the woman have several intense arguments and many complex discussions regarding each other's beliefs in God and stereotypes regarding each other's religions. Though often disagreeing, these women were constantly learning from each other and their families practices and by the end of the book they could each see the changes they had made in each other. This change is shown most prominently when Ranya and Suzanne observe Yom Kippur with Priscilla in the last few pages.
There is a quote that I read from the book while finishing it that I will write down and read every so often. "I've started thinking about religion like college degrees. One person might earn a BA in literature while another earns one in history. They're equally educated, though differently educated. The real test is how they apply knowledge in their lives." It is a reminder that as a Christian woman, my religion is not the only religion in the world. It is what I personally believe and structure my life around, however to others it is not all there is. It is important to learn about the people that we reside in this world with, include each other's religious beliefs and backgrounds and though we may not agree with certain aspects of these beliefs, it is important to understand them and not judge them as wrong.
This book was beautifully written, going back and forth between each woman and her opinions of their Faith Club and of what she is learning about the others. There is also quite a bit of history on all three religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, allowing the reader to learn some basics on the different belief systems. This really was an excellent book and I would recommend it to any person who is questioning his or her faith, simply wanting to know more about other religions, or even non-believers. As a rating, it gets a 9.