Encounters of the interfaith kind

Published April 1, 1998

MICHAEL INGHAM’S BOOK is intellectually stimulating and practically useful – an excellent starting point for interfaith encounters.

Bishop Ingham reviews the history of Christian encounters with other faiths, the different organizations that sprang from these encounters, the different theological positions that they generated and the various personality types that distinguish the participants. How does he manage to cover so much in one short book?

One reason is that he is willing to let the reader do some thinking. Why do I resent Jesus’s parable of the workers in the vineyard? Bishop Ingham has an opinion, but he leaves room for mine too.

A second reason is that he is serious about learning from the insights of other religious traditions. He shows us how to appreciate a Buddhist insight as a Buddhist insight, not as a second-rate echo of the Gospel of John.

A third reason is that he models critical thinking so well. This book is not for those who think it impolite to disagree with someone else over religious positions. But it is also not for those who are looking for a bludgeon with which to crush enemies of the True Faith.

Those who liked Karen Armstrong’s A History of God will not fully appreciate Bishop Ingham ‘s book. Ms. Armstrong is an ex-nun who wants people to try many different approaches to religious faith, discarding what does not work.

Michael Ingham is an Anglican bishop who thinks that those who are most firmly grounded in a religious community are the ones most fit to encounter other religious traditions, for they will have the confidence to welcome the strange and wonderful without losing the familiar and stable.

Mansions of the Spirit

The Gospel in a

Multi-Faith World

by Michael Ingham

Anglican Book Centre

$18.95 (paper) ISBN 1-55126-185-5

Someone wanting to begin to explore other religious traditions would do well to read Ms. Armstrong and Bishop Ingham side by side.

Tom Faulkner is professor of Comparative Religion at Dalhousie University, and director of Christian Development at St. Andrew’s United Church, both in Halifax.


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