Inspiration from the women of WISDOM
A few years ago, I connected with several women from a group called Women's Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit - WISDOM. They were from different faith traditions but had one goal in mind: To bring women together for open discussions about faith. Because of the project I worked on for them, I thought I'd gotten to know organization pretty well. But until I opened the book Friendship & Faith, I did not realize its membership included so many remarkable women. The book shares the stories of 28 WISDOM members who have all had life-altering interfaith experiences and have committed to fostering peace and understanding in our world.
The chapters are tightly edited, so reading this book is a breeze. Each essay is inspiring, and many introduce readers to faith traditions and other organizations working toward the same goal. For instance, Brenda Naomi Rosenberg shares the story of how she came to create a project that brings young people together through the story of Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Abraham, who were raised separately but came together to bury their father. I have a particular interest in interfaith relationships, because my marriage is interfaith. I was raised Christian; my husband is Jewish. People often ask whether I will convert. After eight years, my answer is still, "Not yet." Neither of us is particularly observant, and we haven't felt the overwhelming need to find a "home," so to speak, in one religion or the other. Instead, we have forged a new path in our study of kabbalah. Commonly known as Jewish mysticism, kabbalah has become my personal spiritual path. The philosophy embraces concepts like universal love, healing the world and recognizing a spark of divinity exists in all of us. More importantly, it resonates with both of our faith traditions.
Kabbalah does not require conversion or attendance at religious services, only a genuine thirst for knowledge, an open mind and an open heart. That's really the essence of Faith & Friendship. Every essay relates the joy that come from opening our minds and hearts. The authors write of bonds formed by sharing their stories, learning about other faith traditions and dispeling the whole notion of "other" that creates opportunities for us to think of ourselves, our race or our religion as better or more "right" than someone else's.The book is published by David Crumm Media, Inc., which has produced two other essay collections, Interfaith Heroes I & Interfaith Heroes II. If you are looking for a source of hope, I suggest you read all three. These people live in our communities and work in the service of peace and understanding. We are blessed to have them among us.
Interfaith resources:Read the Spirit: http://www.readthespirit.com/
Friendship & Faith: http://www.readthespirit.com/friendship-and-faith-book/
Interfaith Heroes: http://www.readthespirit.com/interfaith_heroes/
Joni Hubred-Golden is publisher of MichiganWomensForum.com, a web site devoted to sharing stories by, for and about Michigan women. She and her husband Brian live in beautiful Downtown Farmington, Michigan.