A 77-Year-Old Reader Writes
I just finished reading "Why did Jesus,Moses, the Buddha and Muhammad cross the road." To use a Quaker phrase "It spoke to my condition." I am a retired military chaplain, an Anglican priest, and a sometime mentor of EfM and a reading group. We will be tackling your book in October.
Why did the book speak to me? Because as a chaplain [in two different armies, US and Canadian] I was in the interesting position of being responsible for everyone in my unit except Roman Catholics, who had their own priests. That, by the way does not mean that I would turn them down if they came to me with a problem, but it was a separation that was recognized "officially". I was, at various times, "the Gentile rabbi", as well as working with many non or "a" religious members and families. Your comments about "us" and "thems" and about hospitality instead of hostility really struck home.
I am also a third generation clergy person, both Grandfathers, both mother and father, all of whom had different persuasions. One grandfather worked with E. Stanley Jones in India as the head of the Student Christian Movement for China, Japan and India. I hadn't heard that name for a number of years but it brought back memories. I was strongly influenced by Quakerism although raised in a Congregational [UCC] church and became an Episcopalian during seminary at PSR by going across the street to Evensong at CDSP in Berkeley. Along the way I did advanced work in History and a ThM at the Jesuit faculty of Regis College at the University of Toronto School of Theology. Last year our group also spent several months reading "Paradoxy" by Ken Howard.
I don't really have any questions, I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated your book, that it rang all the right kinds of bells for me and even though I am 77, it truly spoke to themes that have tracked me for years, across several continents and a lot of countries. I think you have caught an image of the message of Jesus that the early "followers on the Way" would recognize and some of us latecomers are trying to catch in our own lives. Cheers ...
Thanks so much for your note. Your story - crossing all kinds of boundaries in all kinds of ways - is the new reality so many of us experience. I'm really glad you enjoyed the book, and your encouragement means a lot to me.