Book Review - Caleb's Crossing
Geraldine Brooks, HarperCollins, 2011
In the novel there are a number of characters who are very real people in the story. However we can see in them attitudes and people who typify responses to people who are different, and those who have different approaches to evangelism.
The story is about a group of Puritans with names such as Makepeace, Solace, and the hero who is named Caleb.
Book Review - Bismallah
Bismillah: Christian Muslim Ramadan Reflections
Dave Andrews, Mosaic Press, 2012
It is not surprising that Dave Andrew’s love for Jesus moves him to observe Ramadan with his Muslim friends. This is no impulsive career change. Dave has always been motivated by his passion for living lovingly with an eye for social justice for the poor and marginalised. And poverty and marginalisation can be blind to religion.
For me, this little book takes me with him on steps beyond words – talking about our relations with other faiths, or further on, conversing with those of other faiths (interfaith dialogue) – to compassionate embrace of the other; and all the while, intelligently reflecting dialogically on our Christian tradition.
So, for me, this little book is important not for its own sake, as yet another book of meditations, but for what it signifies. It’s a kind of demonstration lesson.
Book Review - The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims
The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Sr Joan Chittister, Murshid Saadi Shakur Chishti, Beacon Press: Massechusetts, 2006
The storiy of Abraham and his two sons are re-told in this book from two different perspectives - the Jewish as known from Jewish scriptures, and Muslim as it is known from the Qu'ran. Readers hear of and the conflict that rages between the peoples descended from his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael.
The three authors of this book interpret Abraham's journey from the frame of reference of their own religion. It is this part of the book that offers the greatest opportunity to learn, listen and understand a variety of perspectives on a single story. A number of interrelated essays on both scriptural studies and the contemporary situation of Israel and the Palestinian territories offer wonderful insight into the importance of Abraham in a number of ways.
Movie Review - Where do we go now?
Where do we go now?
Directed by Nadine Labaki, 2012
Renowned Lebanese actor and director Nadine Labaki had created a film film full of pathos and humour, a film tackling the most difficult of subjects with both sensitivity and fun.
The film is an over the top look at an isolated Lebanese village where the small Christian and Muslim communities exist more or less peacefully side by side. As the opening scene shows, both are mourning significant losses of young men from their midst. The women are together on their way to the cemetery to visit their men who, even in death, lie on separate sides of the path.
Book Review - Letters to the Next Generation 2
Letters to the Next Generation 2: Reflections on Jewish Life
Cheif Rabbi Lord Sacks, Office of the Chief Rabbi, 2011
On Wednesday 25 January, 2012, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks, visited Sydney’s Great Synagogue to engage in conversation with Dr Norman Swan, Medical and Science Broadcaster for ABC Radio National.
Gifted to each attendee of the event was the small volume “Letters to the Next Generation 2: Reflections on Jewish Life”, authored by Lord Sacks. Both this and the first volume are available in pdf format at http://www.chiefrabbi.org/ReadArtical1808.aspx and http://www.chiefrabbi.org/ReadArtical1552.aspx respectively.
Book Review - An Improbable Feast: The Surprising Dynamic of Hospitality at the Heart of Multifaith Chaplaincy
An Improbable Feast: The surprising dynamic of hospitality at the heart
of multifaith chaplaincy
Geoff Boyce, 2010
This book has surprised and delighted me. I approached the book expecting a “good read” about tertiary chaplaincy. Yes, it is certainly that. But it is far more!
What Geoff Boyce has done is to provide considered reflection on recent world history and its impact on the ways the world in general, and Australians in particular, have responded to “the other” in our midst.
Book Review - Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
Karen Armstrong, Knopf: New York, 2010
Karen Armstrong is a religious historian well known for her many writings on faith and the major religions, including the best selling History of God (1999). In 2008 she was awarded the TED prize - a prize which is given annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and “One Wish to Change the World.” Armstrong’s wish was to draw a wide range of people together to develop the Charter for Compassion, information about which can be found at Charter for Compassion and also on this website at Australian Launch of the Charter for Compassion
Book Review - Controversies in Interreligious Dialogue and the Theology of Religions
Controversies in Interreligious Dialogue and the Theology of Religions
Paul Hedges, SCM Press: London, 2010
In this book Paul Hedges presents a comprehensive account of the debate in the current field of interreligious dialogue and Christian theologies of religions. It has been the case, although not always the intention, to treat interreligious dialogue and the theology of religions as if they are two separate entities unrelated to each other. Hedges not only dispels this notion but evaluates and brings together both the necessity of dialogue and the importance of sound theological reflection. According to Hedges ‘the two should be seen as intimately interrelated, the theology of religions is the theoria that informs the praxis of interreligious dialogue, while interreligious dialogue is the praxis that informs the theoria of the theology of religions. While they can be practiced alone, one without the other is to some extent meaningless, even impossible…’ (Hedges, 2010, p. 13)
DVD Review - Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Pray the Devil Back to Hell
Abigail E Disney and Gini Reticker, USA, 2008
This is a remarkable documentary about the journey from a cruel devastating war to peace for the people of Liberia. What makes it particularly remarkable is that it is a story of ordinary women - Christian and Muslim - working together to bring about peace in their beloved Liberia.
“Some say the war was about the gap between the rich and the poor. Some also say that the war was about the hatred between the different ethnic groups. Others say the war was to control natural resources. Power, money, ethnicity, greed. But there’s nothing, in my mind, that should make people do what they did to the children of Liberia.” [Leymah Gbowee]
Gbowe had a dream, a dream that she shared with her fellow Christians at St Peter’s Lutheran Church in Monrovia in June 2002, a dream that Christian women of all denominations in Monrovia should work together for peace.
DVD Review - Peace Through Education and Dialogue
Peace through Education and Dialogue
Affinity Intercultural Foundation
Since 11th September, 2001, terrorism has been brought more acutely into the thinking of those in the West. Of course, terrorism is not a new occurrence. Random acts of violence in which innocent civilians are harmed or killed have been going on long before the Towers fell.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of the World Trade Centre act, and the London suicide bombings in 2005, was that the perpetrators professed to be Muslim. They claimed to carry out those acts in the name of Islam. This has meant that increasingly, there is a confluence in the minds of many between acts of terrorism and the practice of Islam.