I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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The Faith Club–first impressions

I want to share with you all a book I’ve enjoyed immensely: 

The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew–Three Women Search for Understanding

by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner

In this true story, three mothers meet after September 11 to write a children’s book about the Abrahamic connections between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Along the way, the women realize that they themselves needed an honest and open environment where they can admit–and discuss–their concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings.  The reader journeys with them through conversations about Abraham, Jesus and the crucifixion, cultural stereotypes, Israeli/Palestinian relations, family issues, and much more.

These women aren’t perfect; they have their own issues, hangups, and baggage to carry.  Nor are they the ideal representative of each religion, but who is?   They are real, open, and honest about their biased perspectives.  What touches me is the way they earnestly seek to understand the others’ viewpoints–the way true friends would–after a few awkward conversations, misinterpretations, and bumps in the road. 

My mom’s group is reading The Faith Club, and it’s taken more weeks than we planned because the conversation has been so rich and engaging.  We’ve talked about our family legacies, surveyed children’s books, dug into crucifixion beliefs and doubts, blurted out our stereotypes, and shared our experiences of different religious services.  And we’re not even halfway through the book. 

This book won’t thrill everyone.  It focuses on connections between all three traditions, and it challenges some traditional views which some may find unsettling.   Like many people, the women don’t agree wholeheartedley with every single aspect of their religions, they might not present your point of view, and they raise more questions than answers.  I’ll admit I found this frustrating at times, liberating at others. 

Personally, this book has helped me grow.  It has opened my eyes to many aspects of Islam and Judaism that I misunderstood, and it shined a mirror on perceptions of Christianity that I hadn’t noticed.  It has challenged my prejudices, inspired me to do more research, and helped me better articulate my own beliefs.  It has encouraged me to reach out, ask questions, and spark conversation with my diverse neighbors.  Most of all, it has helped me understand someone with different beliefs on a personal, human, womanly level.  After all, we mothers have a lot in common. 

If there is any hope for peace in this crazy world, where better to start than a group of moms? 

What about you?  Have you read The Faith Club?  What were your impressions? 

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