There is a strong and pointed lesson here in a world and at a time when boundaries and walls are dividing the human family.
The Bible Today
Nancy Haught's fresh Sacred Strangers is a brilliant conversation with the rest of us about unsung role models in the Bible. Haught makes the case that people we hardly know in Scripture-or in our lives today-could light our paths and elevate humanity in the twenty-first century. Prepare for delicious prose, insight, and inspiration.
Joann Byrd, longtime newspaper reporter, editor, and former Pulitzer Prize board member, author
In an age in which the stranger is distrusted and rejected, Haught's book calls Christians to explore the rich spiritual gifts awaiting them from "the other." Sacred Strangers is not only pertinent-it is a necessary compass in these trying times.
Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, Minister Emerita, First Unitarian Church, Portland, Oregon
"Strangers mystify us," Nancy Haught writes, yet they help us learn about ourselves, our beliefs, and our world-and for these reasons they are people to engage, not fear and reject. With clarity, insight, and skill, Haught convincingly shows how the Bible compels Christians to enter relationship and dialogue with those of other faiths and beliefs. This book is a much-needed contribution to interfaith and cross-cultural understanding in a time of deepening division.
Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today contributing columnist, Author, Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower
Reading Sacred Strangers is like hearing six inspiring homilies, attending an uplifting retreat, and learning from your favorite scripture professor all at the same time. Haught has the ability to make scripture come alive as she weaves the scholarly with the practical. There has never been a more important time for a book like Sacred Strangers. The discussion questions are excellent. I can't wait to use this book with our parents and faculty.
Patricia Gorman, Theology Department Chairperson, St. Mary's Academy, Portland, Oregon
With vivid and lively prose, this insightful study invites readers to consider the ethnic and religious "others" in the Scriptures that we frequently ignore or have been trained to read past. Utterly faithful to the text, Haught's rich interpretations challenge unfounded fears, suspicions and stereotypes that too often account for the exclusion of "the other". Instead, this timely project summons us to move beyond such sentiments and consider that these strangers in Scripture and in our own world might actually be vital examples of holiness, ones we dare not overlook.
Gina Hens-Piazza, Joseph S. Alemany Professor of Biblical Studies, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Sacred Strangers reminds us that God cares for and protects the very people whom we identify as foreign and suspect. Through careful examination of several Bible stories about those "other" people, Sacred Strangers shows us that these outsiders are both blessed by God and used by God to carry out God's work in the world. This book is a timely antidote against xenophobia and religious intolerance: the people whom we push away and exclude may be God's messengers and part of God's divine plan. This book is an excellent resource for group and individual Bible study, preachers and teachers, or anybody who wants to more fully appreciate the mysterious ways God works in our lives.
The Rev. Sarah Coakley Lewis, pastor, Piedmont Presbyterian Church, Portland, Oregon
Through biblical stories and careful exegesis, Nancy Haught shows how God's abundant grace is oftentimes present and active where we least expect it: in the outsiders, the marginalized, the strangers in the land. By re-examining familiar stories and lesser-known characters in the Bible, Haught confirms the words of St. Paul that "God chose the lowly and despised, those who count for nothing," to bring God's revelation and truth "to those who count for something" (1 Cor 1:28). Beautifully written in a clear, engaging, and poetic style, Sacred Strangers will inspire the reader to look beyond religious and societal stereotypes to see how God's abiding love creates prophets and saviors, even in "the least" among us. We need this book now more than ever.
Msgr. Patrick S. Brennan, Pastor, St. Mary's Cathedral, Portland, Oregon