Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Patio Party Celebrates "Hard" Interfaith Dialogue

My call for a new kind of inter-religious dialogue sparked lots of good ideas and enthusiasm at my first book party held on the leafy patio of my corner Pasha Cafe. 15 of us enjoyed a lovely spread of Middle Eastern Appetizers while supporters and I re-enacted scenes from my book "The Bishop and The Seeker." Although my co-author Bishop Phil Thomas couldn't be there, Dietra Jones from his staff did a great job of reading his part in our dialogues. Laurie Bolster from my New Thought church played herself, and my husband Andy played my intefaith chaplain friend Ed Preston. (more photos below)

Here are some highlights:
  • Laurie, who helped edit the book, said she was amazed upon reading the finished product to see how much it surpassed the individual chapters she had worked on. "Makes complex concepts easy-to-read, accessible while drawing a vivid portrait of Pastor Thomas that makes his openness and integrity jump off the page."
  • Amy Roth said what she loves about the book is the "humanness" with which I drew the characters and the concepts, bringing down to earth a debate that is usually about extractions.
  • Neighbor Jason Powell and his transformational coach friend Chris didn't say anything during the presentation, but afterwards I overheard them scheming, "Every congregation has one person who would fully appreciate the power of this approach and be lit on fire to share it. How do we get it into the hands of that person?"
  • Jason, who is a member of a Meetup for Polymaths (people interested in everything) suggested I start a Meetup devoted solely to my book. Hey, there's a thought, eh?
  • Matthew and Wendy from Memorial Baptist bought a copy for themselves and one for their pastor. "Most of my friends are New Age and can't imagine why I would choose to be Christian. I've been waiting for a book like this to help me explain it to them," Wendy said.
  • Wendy also told of having mixed feelings reading Stephen Prothero's new book "God is not One." Because my Wilber Meetup buddy Ron Walkow (in blue shirt below) keeps me abreast of blogs like Rod Dreher's at Beliefnet, I was able to quote Dreher espousing hard-edged interfaith dialogue showing how all religions could be describing the same high truths from mushy interfaith dialogue that assumes everyone in all religions already does.
  • Belinda from Clarendon Baptist came on the prior night, when rain forced us indoors, and bought a book to get ideas for the public series they hold annually on "Blunt Questions for God and Christians."
  • Nurse Lynn, who remained a Catholic while her mother left Catholicism for a Black protestant church, bought two copies--one for her mom so they can begin a fresh conversation.
  • Also on the prior night, Nell Minow, who writes the "Movie Mom" blog on, recommended Guestfinder radio placement service as the best use of my advertising dollars. She also responded to my discussion of balancing humility with self esteem by telling the Jewish advice, "In one pocket you must keep a note to remind you that you are so important God created the entire world for you, and in the other pocket you must keep another note reminding you that you are so unimportant he created you last."
More info about the book is at

Many thanks to Pasha Cafe which gave us a great deal on the evening and splendid service from our favorite waiter Alex. Some gorgeous additional photos posted by Dietra.

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