Welcome to the deeper dimensions of interfaith dialogue—
exploring that which divides us personally, spiritually and institutionally.
"We believe that interfaith dialogue holds the key to a healing that calls us back to purpose and to meaning. We have risked confronting aspects of our traditions usually hidden, and the consequences have been deeply life-affirming. We risk becoming vulnerable as we share awkward and even unacceptable texts and interpretations, but it is this very vulnerability that allows our dialogue to move forward."
—from the Introduction
Expanding on the conversation started with their very successful first book, the Interfaith Amigos—a pastor, a rabbi and an imam—probe more deeply into the problem aspects of our religious institutions to provide a profound understanding of the nature of what divides us. They identify four common problem areas in the Abrahamic faiths:
Exclusivity: Staking Claim to a One and Only Truth
Violence: Justifying Brutality in the Name of Faith
Inequality of Men and Women: The Patriarchal Stranglehold on Power
Homophobia: A Denial of Legitimacy
They explore the origins of these issues and the ways critics use these beliefs as divisive weapons. And they present ways we can use these vulnerabilities to open doors for the collaboration required to address our common issues, more profound personal relationships, and true interfaith healing.
A pastor (Mackenzie), rabbi (Falcon), and imam (Rahman) team up again, building on techniques described in their first book (Getting to the Heart of Interfaith). Here, they move beyond the now clich d post-9/11 discussions of tolerance and toward real critique. The authors seek to eliminate the violent, exclusivist, sexist, and homophobic aspects of their own religions, and then use interfaith dialogue to heal those hurt by such negativity. The book is most intriguing when the authors stop blaming extremism and admit to faults inherent in their traditions. Writing honestly about their personal struggles and misconceptions, they humanize the issues and make them impossible to ignore (what do you do when scripture commands killing?). Some readers may find it difficult to abandon their theological and political beliefs, and therefore may not be able to swallow some of the authors' more progressive ideas (e.g., discarding sexist scriptures). The authors also fail to address how a religion can remain unique in a nonexclusivist, pluralistic environment. Yet the book offers a tangible use for interfaith dialogue: it can encourage much-needed healing for readers of all faith backgrounds.