Wednesday, September 11, 2013


There are so many things I keep thinking about as I process all that I read in the book "Religion Gone Astray."  First, the title is appealing to someone like me who is distrustful of religious institutions.  Sadly, that may mean the important messages conveyed won't be considered by those who are quite certain there is nothing at all wrong with their religious institutions.  In fact, the title alone will likely cause them to dismiss the book entirely.
It should be noted that after a decade long journey together none of the three - the pastor, the rabbi or the imam - converted to another religion.  Their journey together was not about conversion.  It was about finding common ground and shared spiritual values.  To do that, they had to take an honest look at the historical context of their religion, the historical context of their own views, and seek the central important values of what they believed.  They had to examine their own misconceptions.  They had to examine the shortcomings of their own religious group.  Then they could begin to understand the perspectives of others.
This is very deep, tough work.  We are good at pointing out the shortcomings of another persons belief system but not so good at seeing the frailties of our own.  Beyond that, are we able to look at a foreign belief structure and find our common ground - appreciate the good that is there for us to see?
We cannot grow if we don't see where we may fall short.  We cannot aspire to more if we are not open to see something different.
I am thankful for this book and the challenge it has presented.  If you believe your religious belief is beyond question, I challenge you to read this book.  If you are right, the short pages of this book will mean nothing to you.  It's not about converting you so you need not fear.  If you are truly a person filled with the desire to learn to love better, read this book.

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