Families of Faith: An Introduction to World Religions for Christians

Families of Faith: An Introduction to World Religions for Christians

Families of Faith: An Introduction to World Religions for Christians

Families of Faith: An Introduction to World Religions for Christians

Excerpt

This text has arisen from a variety of contexts. Some of it began to take shape in congregational presentations and lay classes, some of it in seminary classes, and some of it in my study and travels. It first became a serious project when Alice Peppier, attending a lay class, suggested that I develop my presentations into a manuscript. It has dithered along the way since then—until now.

My goal was to present information that would be useful in congregational contexts while embedding many theological implications within the text without the use of technical language or methodological sophistication. But, nonetheless, I hoped to make the material interesting for academic settings as well. Readers will have to decide if I have been successful.

Many persons are to be thanked. First of all, those who endured some of this in presentations are to be thanked for not objecting more loudly. A student or two has been referred to in the text, but since I have not received specific permission to use names, I leave such unnamed. A number of colleagues were helpful along the way: Duane Olson, with whom I taught several classes in tandem, patiently listened to parts of this. Some of his influences are present in the text. I also gained much from exchanges with Paul Sponheim. He looked at a major part of this manuscript early on and raised a number of important points. I have responded to a number of these; although, I am not sure I have done so adequately. Lois Malcolm graciously read a good portion of the manuscript amidst her own busy schedule. Her counsel is valued. Craig Moran also gave good counsel. He has had to endure this text more patiently than others since we have used it in various stages in our teaching together. Mary Knutson made some use of essay material I had written in one or another of her classes, and her appreciation of it encouraged me to use some of the material in this text. Many other colleagues have greatly influenced my thinking over the years. I express my gratitude to all of them. Also to be thanked are Ron Klug for suggesting the inclusion of the material on Judaism, and Timothy Larson for his careful editorial work.

I trust that this book will be helpful for Christian people who wish to think intelligently about their faith as it relates to that of others. I also hope that I have been honest and fair in the presentation of the various faiths. I have learned much from my study of them and through meetings and discussions with committed adherents of them.

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