Book Review of “The Faith Club”

Three very brave women came together after 9/11 and dared to trust each other enough to share their feelings on diversity of faith. “The Faith Club” is for anyone brave enough to listen to others. Written by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner, this was a life changing experience for each of them.

Ranya is Muslim, Priscilla is Jewish and Suzanne is Catholic. In the beginning, they set out to write an interfaith children’s book. The agreed to ask each other any question, with nothing off limits. It was a painful beginning. They never dreamed they would feel the emotions they felt.

Once they covered the differences, they focused on the shared foundations such as Moses and Abraham. It was a start. Then, they went to each other’s services and family gatherings to learn about traditions.

In the end, they experienced healing and completed their projects.

This book took me longer to read because I had to pay close attention and not miss any details. Much of it is a transcript of their recorded conversations followed by each individuals’ feelings on the conversation.

I enjoyed it very much but had some thoughts of my own. I would welcome such friendships but there are a few scenarios I can think of that would cause a dilemma.

One, is that a conservative Protestant would have a different view than a Catholic. Then, if you add Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Buddhists and Hindus or other religions, it could get tense.

Second, is the fact that in communist countries, one is not permitted to believe in anything. In many scenarios throughout history, every group has been guilty of harming others at one time. In many countries, Christianity is punishable by death, torture and imprisonment in labor camps. The Holocaust and genocide is something we must never allow to happen. In war, what if you couldn’t protect your friends?

The main difference between Protestant Christianity and all other religions is the belief of Jesus and the Savior and the idea of an afterlife in either Heaven or hell. This is a painful topic for many.

As a Protestant Christian, I don’t believe I would ever convert to another religion but I do enjoy my friendships with those from other cultures and we do have mutual respect for each other. I thank God that I was born after slavery was abolished, women were given rights and civil rights were won. I am fortunate to have benefitted from all those before me who had to work things out for the betterment of all.