Islam: The Religion and the People by Bernard Lewis and Buntzie Ellis Churchill - deals with such topics as the pillars of faith, how Islam differs from Judaism and Christianity, the scripture, tradition and law, diversity and tolerance, Islam as it relates to the economy, dress, women, language and writing, war and peace and other such topics.
The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner -- three women explore each other's faith; of interest the views of the crucifixion and why the Jewish woman felt threatened by that; after having never learned too much about Jesus how the Jewish woman read stories about Jesus and watched a movie about him and felt she finally met Jesus and had good thoughts about him...Jesus became a "good friend" to her and she told her teenage sons about him; the topic of anti-Semitism and how talking about the Jewish state of Israel brought emotions to a head
Priscilla (Jew) -- struggled with whether or not she even believed in God at times; thought of herself as a "M.O.T." -- member of tribe -- minority in this world; said the Holocaust was with her and with Jews every day; shared that Israel was important to Jews in case another Holocaust happened -- at least this one nation would accept them
Suzanne (Christian) -- raised as a Catholic in the Midwest, went to NYC and became Episcopalian (more liberal in re: to women priests, priests ability to marry, not hypocritical on areas such as birth control and abortion); found her faith challenged by new doubts after meeting these two ladies; became a bit more "Universalist" (her word) in her approach to who would make it to heaven
Rayna (Muslim) -- non-hijabi, wine-drinking Palestinian who never attended the local mosque because it was too conservative; raised in Dubai, but college educated at Georgetown; lived several years in the US and became US citizen; searching for a faith community where she would not be judged for being a non-traditional Muslim; interesting to read her views on Israel and also how she claims Muslims and Arabs have a "habit" of blaming all of their woes on America
Interesting to hear the Jewish views of the book of life as opposed to the Muslim one. Enjoyed the Yom Kippur service and how Jews prayed for another year of life. No promise of an afterlife in the Jewish faith so they pray for another year and seek to find beauty in each day of life on earth.
My Hope for Peace by Jehan Sadat -- quote from her on page 171, "I hope I will be remembered as a feminist, an Arab and a Muslim woman dedicated to the struggle for women's rights. I do not want to be remembered as a radical, because I am not. True, I have always expressed my opinions, but I have never been extreme in my views - except when it comes to passivity. I hate watching and waiting as if an injustice can correct itself or an ill of society can discover its own cure." In this book Mrs. Sadat discusses the importance of her faith, her husband's legacy, how pro-women Islam is, a brief overview of Middle Eastern (especially pertaining to Egypt) history since 1948 and her work in America after her husband's death and in recent years.
The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin -- a man tells his story in rural SC as he waits for his wife to awake from a coma. He learns to find God in the struggles of life; fiction
Maggie by Charles Martin -- the sequel to the above-mentioned book. Shares Dylan and Maggie's life after her coma and as they seek to have or adopt a child among other things.
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke -- the fiction story of Robert, a young abolitionist, and his journey to see his uncle in a Union prison and how he helps a wounded Confederate soldier make his way home in time for the Moravian Christmas Eve service and his quest to help the southern branch of his family and return his mother home
My favorite part was Robert's talk with a chaplain working at the Confederate field hospital. Chaplain Goforth said daily he'd hear soldiers from both sides asking God for help and then continued, "What I know is that the Creator of Eternity is not a marionette, thrown this way or that by our arguments or by our blood baths. The question is not whose side is God on, but whose side are we on? Do we stand for God or against Him? Do we stand and serve where we are called or where it is convenient?" (pg. 98-99)
How Did We Get the Bible? by Tracy Macon Sumner is a short version of how the Bible was transmitted, preserved, compiled, translated and how the printing press transformed Bible distribution.