Faith seeking understanding …

I’m in day 5 of the Ramadan fast. It’s not easy. As I wrote in Finding Our Way Again, I’ve never been one to feel euphoria when fasting; from about 2 p.m. to sundown, I feel a little sick and weak. It’s not easy (especially the water part), but it’s good.
One of the benefits of the fast is that I’ve been able to help a few of my Christian friends overturn some common misconceptions about Islam. There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding on both sides. Perhaps as the month goes by I’ll share some of those conversations. But if you are a Christian who is willing to question some of the standard and sanctioned propaganda about Muslims, let me recommend three books by Christians today, and three books by Muslims tomorrow.
1. Mark Siljander was a conservative political leader who epitomized the Religious Right. (He was the Republican protagonist in Charlie Wilson’s War, if you’ve seen that movie.) He had the courage to face some of his misconceptions and wrote an important book called A Deadly Misunderstanding. It’s really worth reading.
2. Paul-Gordon Chandler is an Episcopal priest who served for many years in Egypt. There he met a fascinating person whom I’ve also had the privilege to get to know – Mazhar Mallouhi. In Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road, he tells Mazhar’s story – and sketches out what it might look like for Christians and Muslims to learn to walk together in peace as pilgrims of Christ.
3. If you’re not a big reader, but do like a good story, I’d recommend you begin with Father Elias Chacour’s Blood Brothers. This Christian priest tells the story of the Palestinian-Jewish conflict as someone who experienced it firsthand … and manifests a spirit of reconciliation rather than revenge or resentment.
True faith seeks true understanding – of God, of one’s neighbor, and of oneself.
More tomorrow.