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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reading now: Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?

Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?: What You Need To Know When Attending Religious Occasions (Simple Guides)by Akasha Lonsdale, (Kuperard, 2010)

About the Author:
AKASHA LONSDALE is an Interfaith Minister. Her two-year seminary training in London included instruction in the major religions and sacred traditions of the world, and her vocation brings her into frequent contact with people of every faith and none.

Product Description:
In today’s multicultural society we are increasingly likely to meet and become friends with people from different religious backgrounds, and to find ourselves attending an unfamiliar ceremony. When this happens, there can be few of us who know exactly what to expect, or are confident about how to behave.

Each religious occasion is categorized in a helpful sequence. For e.g., Buddhist ceremonies (p. 298) > festivals and holy days (p. 314) > Wesak, Vesak, Vesakha (Buddha Day) What do I do? (p. 317) ... Similarly, Sikh ceremonies (p. 260) > Vaisakhi, Baisakhi (what do they do) (p. 281);

You will find description of each faith's practice, theology, what do I do, What happens, and much more...

In terms of coverage of ceremonies, Western Christianity gets the largest share: 60 pages; Orthodox Christianity: 20 pages; Jewish: 50 pages; Muslim: 25 pages; Hindu: 50 pages; Sikh: 38 pages; and Buddhist: 30 pages.

"Armed with this basic information, you will feel relaxed enough to enjoy the occasion–and perhaps inspired to discover more about the spiritual world view of another cultural tradition. "

  • It is a 'how to' manual for those desiring to understand seven faiths' religious occasions.
  • It is easy to read, easier to follow and educating everyone.
  • Each faith (except Christianity) ends with a glossary ('Some Useful Words & Phrases').
  • It has a detailed Table of Contents, equally detailed index and a useful list of resources (Further Readings)

  • The background information of each faith takes away precious space, and this factor makes the book bulky (336 pages); Just the details of 'Bow, Kneel, Prostrate and Hand Shake' would have taken only 200 pages, making it cheaper, handy and unique. In a future revision, the author / publisher may consider a more appropriate title for this book, such as, 'Bow, Kneel, Prostrate and Hand Shake: unique and common practices in major theistic religions of the world.'
  • This book’s wonderful detailed description of faith practices is simply short of visuals.
  • Missing in glossary: Sajda, singular (prostration) in Muslim practice; Eight-limbed (ashtanga pranama) and five-limbed (panchanga pranama) prostrations in Hinduism; “Bet-Resh-Kaf (Knee) The words barukh and berakhah are both derived from the Hebrew root Bet-Resh-Kaf, meaning "knee," and refer to the practice of showing respect by bending the knee and bowing.” See here more on: Did the Jews pray as Muslims do ?!

    This book is a handy resource for the following: (a) you, to understand the other and learn how best to accommodate; (b) any one interested in building bridges (or interested in comparative religion, interfaith dialog, etc.), c) a teacher who can use it as textbook to learn and teach 'what do I do' 'when invited to attend their ceremony.'

    In short, all school libraries and public libraries must have a copy. This is a valuable reference source. Read other reviews, here: Simply Divine Ceremonies
    On the same shelf:

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