Try to imagine. if you can. a time and place when and where Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindu, Buddhist and others could all gather in love and peace in a common pursuit of love, compassion, justice and community. Now that sounds absurd, ridiculous, crazy and ain’t never going to happen, right? Well, actually wrong, because there is a growing movement in our world called interfaith where practitioners of every background and religious belief can and do come together in peace to explore and expand their mutual respect and love; embrace their differences and appreciate their diversity. The Interfaith Church is growing rapidly and one of its early proponents and advocates is a man who was raised and remains a Jew but a man who among many interesting things was also the choir director of a Methodist church. That amazing man is also a well known and published author and his most recent and arguably most profound book is entitled: ONE FAMILY:INDIVISIBLE. That man is the truly inspiring Steven Greenebaum, and I recently had the true pleasure of chatting with him over lunch at a Chinese restaurant.
I never gave it a thought when we set up our meeting but in looking back on all of the elements it seems particularly in keeping with the general topic of our conversation – inclusion. There we were a Jewish man from America’s West meeting a Christian guy from the Midwest at a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles Chinatown. In keeping with the spirit of i”t is okay to be different”, he ate vegetarian and I enjoyed a duck . Yes the table was truly set.
Our conversation started with Steven Greenebaum admitting that for the first 50 years of his life he didn’t accomplish much. Well perhaps that was a wee bit too modest for a man with three Master’s degrees. But that is one of his profound charms, a very large dose of very real humility. Already, I was deeply enjoying being with this most unique man.
As our conversation continued he made the statement that all religions seek to lead their practitioners on a path of love, compassion, justice and community. I had never before thought of religion in that light but Steven made a huge amount of sense. From that observation he moved in the direction of inclusion and that too made great sense. Why couldn’t and why shouldn’t Jews and Muslims and Christians share their common goals through inclusion. The differences make life interesting but the underlying objectives is what and can bring people of different faiths together and so the Interfaith Church was born.
Traditional religions pretty much demand that to become a member of their church one must forsake all other churches. Typically Muslims are not welcome at synagogues and Jews don’t often visit a mosque. Christians tend to avoid both mosques and synagogues and so forth and so on. But the Interfaith Church invites all people of all faiths and does not ask them to forsake their current religion. Differences are embraced and the common thread of pursuit of love, compassion, justice and community are warmly embraced. All of this is far more thoroughly and cogently embraced in the latest book by Steven Greenebaum entitled: ONE FAMILY: INDIVISIBLE. Apparently that book has already earned a huge following with nearly a half million ratings on Amazon alone with an approval of more than 96%. Could it be that this powerful book will be seen as the Torah/Bible/Quran for the future of mankind? That is, of course, somewhat wild eyed speculation but what I can say is that I do believe ONE FAMILY:INDIVISIBLE truly is a great read that is thoroughly enjoyed by the vast majority of those who have read it. ONE FAMILY:INDIVISIBLE may be purchased at book stores, or online by just clicking right here right now.
I confess that I have not yet finished reading this remarkable book but I shall do so because what I have read so far is genuinely captivating and brilliant. And a final observation about author and solid advocate of the Interfaith Church, Steven Greenebaum. I have never met anyone so thoroughly pleasant, real and genuinely sincere. I truly hope I will have the opportunity to visit with him again in the future but regardless the positive power he literally brings to the table will be a bright and positive light in my life forever.
For other great reads check this out: Ron Irwin Reads