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Praise the Name of the Lord

Meditations on the Names of God in the Qur'an and the Bible

Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, Foreword by Mary Margaret Funk, Afterword by Zeki Saritoprak

Christians and Muslims both have an abundance of names for God. The Bible provides Christians with a rich array of names for God, and the ninety-nine Names that Islam gives traditionally to God are drawn from the Qur'an. Praise the Name of the Lord is an offering of texts, from the Qur'an and the Bible, meant to lead to meditation and prayer. To pray starting from the texts of another religion can help us to acquire a better appreciation of that religion. It is possible that we will find different echoes that can capture our attention and may nourish our prayer, encouraging dialogue with the persons among whom we are living.Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, MAfr, was ordained priest as a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1961, and he obtained his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1965) and a BAhons in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University (1968). He served on the General Council of the Missionaries of Africa (1980-1986) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He was ordained bishop in 1992 and was raised to the rank of archbishop in 2002. From 2006 to 2012, he was apostolic nuncio in Egypt and delegate to the League of Arab States. He is author (with R. Caspar) of Signs of Dialogue (1992); Dieu rêve d'unité (2005); (with John Borelli) of Interfaith Dialogue (2006), and of numerous articles.

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Praise the Name of the Lord

Praise the Name of the Lord

Meditations on the Names of God in the Qur'an and the Bible

Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, Foreword by Mary Margaret Funk, Afterword by Zeki Saritoprak

Christians and Muslims both have an abundance of names for God. The Bible provides Christians with a rich array of names for God, and the ninety-nine Names that Islam gives traditionally to God are drawn from the Qur'an. Praise the Name of the Lord is an offering of texts, from the Qur'an and the Bible, meant to lead to meditation and prayer. To pray starting from the texts of another religion can help us to acquire a better appreciation of that religion. It is possible that we will find different echoes that can capture our attention and may nourish our prayer, encouraging dialogue with the persons among whom we are living.Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, MAfr, was ordained priest as a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1961, and he obtained his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1965) and a BAhons in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University (1968). He served on the General Council of the Missionaries of Africa (1980-1986) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He was ordained bishop in 1992 and was raised to the rank of archbishop in 2002. From 2006 to 2012, he was apostolic nuncio in Egypt and delegate to the League of Arab States. He is author (with R. Caspar) of Signs of Dialogue (1992); Dieu rêve d'unité (2005); (with John Borelli) of Interfaith Dialogue (2006), and of numerous articles.

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Praise the Name of the Lord

Meditations on the Names of God in the Qur'an and the Bible

Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, Foreword by Mary Margaret Funk, Afterword by Zeki Saritoprak

Christians and Muslims both have an abundance of names for God. The Bible provides Christians with a rich array of names for God, and the ninety-nine Names that Islam gives traditionally to God are drawn from the Qur'an. Praise the Name of the Lord is an offering of texts, from the Qur'an and the Bible, meant to lead to meditation and prayer. To pray starting from the texts of another religion can help us to acquire a better appreciation of that religion. It is possible that we will find different echoes that can capture our attention and may nourish our prayer, encouraging dialogue with the persons among whom we are living.Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, MAfr, was ordained priest as a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1961, and he obtained his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1965) and a BAhons in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University (1968). He served on the General Council of the Missionaries of Africa (1980-1986) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He was ordained bishop in 1992 and was raised to the rank of archbishop in 2002. From 2006 to 2012, he was apostolic nuncio in Egypt and delegate to the League of Arab States. He is author (with R. Caspar) of Signs of Dialogue (1992); Dieu rêve d'unité (2005); (with John Borelli) of Interfaith Dialogue (2006), and of numerous articles.

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Demythologizing Celibacy

Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism

William Skudlarek, OSB

When St. Benedict compiled his Rule for Monasteries in the early decades of the sixth century, the Buddhist monastic code had already been in existence for about nine hundred years. Since monastic life is shaped by spiritual practices that are very similar across different religious traditions, it should not be too much of a stretch to suggest that Christians can learn from the accumulated wisdom of Buddhist monasticism. For Buddhists, celibacy, accompanied by skillful reflection on their personal reactions to it, is a means of letting go of attachment to sensory pleasure. Buddhist monks do not marry; they strive to relinquish the desire for sexual pleasure because this form of gratification obstructs the one-pointed stillness that leads to insight. For Christians, celibacy—like marriage—is ultimately about love: responding to God's love for us and expressing selfless love for others. In light of the Christian understanding of marriage as an authentic—indeed, the ordinary—path to holiness, Skudlarek proposes a demythologized view of celibacy, presenting it as an alternate and equally valid spiritual practice for those who choose not to accept the demands of a committed sexual relationship. Drawing on the monastic interreligious dialogue, Skudlarek considers the Buddhist view of celibacy, which is not mythologized as a response to a divine call or as a superhuman way of life. He examines their regard for it as simply—and profoundly—a path to freedom, peace, and happiness. As Christians become aware of the benefits of celibacy for monks who observe it without reference to the Gospel, they may be able to appreciate all the more its importance and value for those who wish to follow Christ as celibates, and in this way come to share in the freedom of the children of God. William Skudlarek, OSB, is a monk of Saint John's Abbey and administrative assistant to the abbot. In addition to having taught theology and homiletics at Saint John’s University, he served as a Maryknoll Associate in Brazil and was a member of Saint John’s Abbey’s priory in Japan. During his years in Japan he began to practice zazen with the Sanbyo Kyodan. After serving for five years as president and then executive director of the North American branch of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, he was appointed General Secretary of Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue in September 2007.

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Monks and Muslims II

Creating Communities of Friendship

Edited by Mohammad Ali Shomali and William Skudlarek

If Christians and Muslims are to live in peace, encouraging one another to grow in holiness and working together for the good of all God's creation, they must move beyond politicized and often negative images of one another. Monastic/Muslim dialogue issuing from friendship and focused on revelation, prayer, and witness is an important component in this effort. Indeed, it is essential.A conference jointly sponsored by the International Institute for Islamic Studies and Monastic Interreligious Dialogue brought together Iranian Shi'a Muslims and Christian monastics to Qum, Iran. Their first gathering was held a year previous in Rome, Italy and focused on spiritual topics like meditation and prayer. The second meeting in Qum was an occasion to deepen the bonds of friendship that had already been established. The conference theme centered on friendship and the dialogue explored the scriptural, theological, spiritual, philosophical, and practical bases for friendship between monks and Muslims. This follow-up book invites readers to listen in and learn from their conversation and witness.Mohammad Ali Shomali is the author of several books, including Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality, Discovering Shi'a Islam, and Shi'a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices. He is also coeditor of Catholics & Shi'a in Dialogue: Studies in Theology & Spirituality, Catholic-Shi'a Engagement: Reason & Faith in Theory and Practice, and A Catholic-Shi'a Dialogue: Ethics in Today's Society. William Skudlarek, OSB, is a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. His books include The Attentive Voice: Reflections on the Meaning and Practice of Interreligious Dialogue (ed.) and Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism.

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Sharing Sacred Space

Interreligious Dialogue as Spiritual Encounter

Benoît Standaert

If interreligious dialogue is to bear fruit—the fruit of mutual understanding, respect, and peace—it needs to be rooted in the specific spiritual space or milieu of each religious tradition. For Christians, that milieu is "Jesus space," a space shaped by faith in the paschal mysteries and nurtured by prayer, study, and love. With Jesus space as his starting point Benoît Standaert invites us to join him as he visits different religious spaces—those of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and agnostics. If we are willing to enter into and even dwell for a time in another spiritual space, we will be able to return to the space we call home, enriched by the gifts we have received and prepared to live in peace with those who dwell in a spiritual space that is very different from our own. Benoît Standaert is a Benedictine monk of Saint Andrew's Abbey in Bruges, Belgium. He teaches Scripture, spirituality, and interreligious dialogue. After completing a doctorate at the University of Nijmegen on the composition and literary genre of the Gospel of Mark, he published numerous works on Scripture and spirituality in Dutch, several of which have been translated into French and Italian. His most recent work (2007 Dutch; 2009 French) is on spirituality as the art of living and contains numerous references to different practices of the spiritual life.

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All Creation is Groaning

An Interdisciplinary Vision for Life in a Sacred Universe

Carol J. Dempsey and Russell A. Butkus, Editors and Weavers; Foreword by Walter Brueggemann

This multi-academic perspective on contemporary environmental issues reminds us of our oneness with the natural world and what that calls us to as moral creatures. Fashioned as a series of stories based on the model of biblical narrative, these seemingly multivalent voices and perspectives are joined together with biblical stories, references, and theological reflection to create in All Creation Is Groaning a seamless story that is both provocative and revelatory. All Creation Is Groaning provides a clear vision of living life in a sacred universe. This vision is linked to the biblical vision of justice and righteousness for all of creation, and humankind's responsibility to hasten the vision through a call to ethical practice. Critical and hermeneutical, this book reflects an interdisciplinary approach so as to "build bridges of understanding between the Bible and contemporary disciplines." Chapters are “Stories from the Heart,” “New Ways of Knowing and Being Known,” “An Islamic Perspective on the Environment,” “Christian Values, Technology, and the Environment Crisis,” “Feeding the Hungry and Protecting the Environment,” “Mental Cartography in a Time of Environmental Crisis,” “Toward an Understanding of International Geopolitics and the Environment,” “Sustainability: An Eco- Theological Analysis,” “The Stewardship of Natural and Human Resources,” “Development of Environmental Responsibility in Children,” “An Ecological View of Elders and Their Families: Needs for the Twenty-First Century,” “Symphonies of Nature: Creation and Re-creation,” “A Sense of Place,” and “Hope Amidst Crisis: A Prophetic Vision of Cosmic Redemption.”

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Interreligious Hospitality

The Fulfillment of Dialogue

Pierre-François de Béthune, OSB; Foreword by Raimon Panikkar

Interreligious Hospitality is an enlightening account of one Catholic monk's search for God through dialogue with another religious tradition. Interreligious dialogue will sometimes involve discussions about doctrine, sometimes promote joint action for the common good. But ultimately it is about hospitality: accepting the invitation of others to experience their spiritual practices and welcoming others to experience ours. Pierre de Béthune's engaging description of learning the "way of tea" and of living in a Japanese Zen monastery, along with his probing reflections on the meaning of those experiences, shows how the dialogue of religious experience can lead Christians to a deepened faith and a more intense and rewarding spiritual life. Pierre-François de Béthune, OSB, served as Secretary General of all the regional commissions of Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIM/MID) from 1992 to 2007 and continues as editor of the International Bulletin. He is a monk of the monastery of Saint-André de Clerlande in Belgium. His previous books include By Faith and Hospitality: The Monastic Tradition as a Model for Interreligious Encounter.

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No Peace without Prayer

Encouraging Muslims and Christians to Pray Together; A Benedictine Approach

Abbot Timothy Wright

Abbot Timothy Wright proposes sowing a small seed from which might grow a greater respect between the world's two largest religions, Christianity and Islam. Indeed, he believes that the seed has already been planted. Christians give unique value to their revealed Scriptures as the "Word of God." Muslims speak of the Qur'an as God speaking to them.In No Peace without Prayer, Wright presents the case for developing this faith in the Word of God to establish groups of Christians and Muslims dedicated to sharing their respective "Divine Word" in ways that enhance the "other." This is not a tussle for converts but a way into greater mutual understanding-under the eye of the God who communicates this Word-to create a new shared memory. Such is a work of prayer, a prayer that could lead to greater peace. The key word, says Wright, is partnership, arising from their shared belief in the One God, creator of the universe, communicating with the human world and merciful to the repentant.Abbot Timothy Wright, OSB, presently teaches at Benedictine University, Lisle, Illinois, and is the delegate of the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation for Monastic-Muslim Relations. He served as abbot of Ampleforth Abbey from 1997 to 2005, during which time he and Mohammad Ali Shomali organized a series of dialogues between Catholic monks and theologians and Shi'a Muslims from Iran.

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No Peace without Prayer

Encouraging Muslims and Christians to Pray Together; A Benedictine Approach

Timothy Wright

Abbot Timothy Wright proposes sowing a small seed from which might grow a greater respect between the world's two largest religions, Christianity and Islam. Indeed, he believes that the seed has already been planted. Christians give unique value to their revealed Scriptures as the "Word of God." Muslims speak of the Qur'an as God speaking to them.In No Peace without Prayer, Wright presents the case for developing this faith in the Word of God to establish groups of Christians and Muslims dedicated to sharing their respective "Divine Word" in ways that enhance the "other." This is not a tussle for converts but a way into greater mutual understanding-under the eye of the God who communicates this Word-to create a new shared memory. Such is a work of prayer, a prayer that could lead to greater peace. The key word, says Wright, is partnership, arising from their shared belief in the One God, creator of the universe, communicating with the human world and merciful to the repentant.Abbot Timothy Wright, OSB, presently teaches at Benedictine University, Lisle, Illinois, and is the delegate of the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation for Monastic-Muslim Relations. He served as abbot of Ampleforth Abbey from 1997 to 2005, during which time he and Mohammad Ali Shomali organized a series of dialogues between Catholic monks and theologians and Shi'a Muslims from Iran.

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Islam Considered

A Christian View

Margot Patterson

What do Muslims believe? Why do they pray five times a day and what do these prayers mean? Are the conflicts between the Middle East and West truly reflective of a holy war? Christians are only beginning to understand Islam and the people who practice it. The media is full of images of fundamentalist extremists, violence and war, constantly blurring political and historical situations with religious identity. But the very word Islam is based on a root (s-l-m) related to the Hebrew word shalom, meaning peace. Allah is the Arabic name for the God of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. In diverse cultural contexts, Muslims pray and worship God and attempt to follow the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, just as Jews and Christians attempt to follow their Scriptures. Islam Considered: A Christian View gives an overview of the history, beliefs, and practices of Islam and explains some of the sources of tension between the Middle East and the West. In this lively and readable book, Patterson points out the common roots and shared values of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and assists Christians in identifying the connections between all three of the great monotheistic religions. Margot Patterson is a journalist on the staff of the National Catholic Reporter.

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Monks and Muslims

Monastic and Shi'a Spirituality in Dialogue

Edited by Mohammad Ali Shomali and William Skudlarek, OSB

If Christians and Muslims are to live in peace, encouraging one another to grow in holiness and working together for the good of all God's creation, they must move beyond politicized and often negative images of one another. Monastic/Muslim dialogue—issuing from friendship and focused on revelation, prayer, and witness—is an important component in this effort. Indeed, it is essential. Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is a commission of the Benedictine Confederation that promotes and coordinates dialogue between Catholic monastic men and women and spiritual practitioners of other religious traditions. The organization invited Iranian Shi'a Muslims and Christian monastics to share their faith in a revealing God, their understanding and practice of prayer, and their desire to be witnesses to the world of divine mercy and justice. This book invites readers to listen in and learn from their conversation. Mohammad Ali Shomali is the author of several books, including Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality, Discovering Shi'a Islam, and Shi'a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices. He is also coeditor of Catholics & Shi'a in Dialogue: Studies in Theology & Spirituality, Catholic-Shi'a Engagement: Reason & Faith in Theory and Practice, and A Catholic-Shi'a Dialogue: Ethics in Today's Society. William Skudlarek is a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. His books include The Attentive Voice: Reflections on the Meaning and Practice of Interreligious Dialogue and Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism.

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Monks and Muslims

Monastic and Shi'a Spirituality in Dialogue

Edited by Mohammad Ali Shomali and William Skudlarek, OSB

If Christians and Muslims are to live in peace, encouraging one another to grow in holiness and working together for the good of all God's creation, they must move beyond politicized and often negative images of one another. Monastic/Muslim dialogue—issuing from friendship and focused on revelation, prayer, and witness—is an important component in this effort. Indeed, it is essential. Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is a commission of the Benedictine Confederation that promotes and coordinates dialogue between Catholic monastic men and women and spiritual practitioners of other religious traditions. The organization invited Iranian Shi'a Muslims and Christian monastics to share their faith in a revealing God, their understanding and practice of prayer, and their desire to be witnesses to the world of divine mercy and justice. This book invites readers to listen in and learn from their conversation. Mohammad Ali Shomali is the author of several books, including Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality, Discovering Shi'a Islam, and Shi'a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices. He is also coeditor of Catholics & Shi'a in Dialogue: Studies in Theology & Spirituality, Catholic-Shi'a Engagement: Reason & Faith in Theory and Practice, and A Catholic-Shi'a Dialogue: Ethics in Today's Society. William Skudlarek is a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. His books include The Attentive Voice: Reflections on the Meaning and Practice of Interreligious Dialogue and Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism.

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Price: $19.95

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Monks and Muslims II

Creating Communities of Friendship

Edited by Mohammad Ali Shomali and William Skudlarek

If Christians and Muslims are to live in peace, encouraging one another to grow in holiness and working together for the good of all God's creation, they must move beyond politicized and often negative images of one another. Monastic/Muslim dialogue issuing from friendship and focused on revelation, prayer, and witness is an important component in this effort. Indeed, it is essential.A conference jointly sponsored by the International Institute for Islamic Studies and Monastic Interreligious Dialogue brought together Iranian Shi'a Muslims and Christian monastics to Qum, Iran. Their first gathering was held a year previous in Rome, Italy and focused on spiritual topics like meditation and prayer. The second meeting in Qum was an occasion to deepen the bonds of friendship that had already been established. The conference theme centered on friendship and the dialogue explored the scriptural, theological, spiritual, philosophical, and practical bases for friendship between monks and Muslims. This follow-up book invites readers to listen in and learn from their conversation and witness.Mohammad Ali Shomali is the author of several books, including Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality, Discovering Shi'a Islam, and Shi'a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices. He is also coeditor of Catholics & Shi'a in Dialogue: Studies in Theology & Spirituality, Catholic-Shi'a Engagement: Reason & Faith in Theory and Practice, and A Catholic-Shi'a Dialogue: Ethics in Today's Society. William Skudlarek, OSB, is a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. His books include The Attentive Voice: Reflections on the Meaning and Practice of Interreligious Dialogue (ed.) and Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism.

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Ishmael Instructs Isaac

An Introduction to the Qur'an for Bible Readers

John Kaltner

Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace their roots to Abraham and yet it is a shock to many Bible readers that some of the characters and stories in their sacred text are also found in the pages of Islam's sacred text, the Qur’an. By exploring the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an in Ishmael Instructs Isaac, John Kaltner challenges Bible readers to think about their sacred book in new, exciting ways. In doing so, he leads all to a better appreciation of Islam. After a brief overview of the text, themes, structure, and use of the Qur’an, Kaltner focuses on traditions that are shared with the Bible. He explains that the Bible and Qur’an contain many of the same themes, figures, and episodes. However, at times, there are significant differences in their descriptions of the same event or figure. By discussing such topics and figures as God, humanity, prophecy, creation, life after death, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mary, Kaltner examines the similarities and differences between the two texts. This comparative method allows readers to better appreciate both what is distinctive about Islam and what it shares with Judaism and Christianity. Jews and Christians view Isaac as the son of Abraham in whom the family line continued. Muslims, on the other hand, view Isaac's brother Ishmael as the rightful heir. This difference must not obscure what is held in common: a belief in the one God and a family—albeit distant—relationship. Written for undergraduate and seminary courses on Islam, the Qur’an, comparative religions, inter-religious dialogue, world scriptures, and biblical interpretation, Ishmael Instructs Isaac is also a useful resource for discussion groups in churches, synagogues, and mosques. Includes English translations of the Qur’anic texts discussed. John Kaltner, PhD, is assistant professor of religious studies at Rhodes College where he teaches courses in the Bible and Islam. He has worked in the Middle East with the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America.

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