From the back cover-
‘We live in an incredibly divided world…The problem with these divisions that seem so natural, however, is that they cause us to separate ourselves from people who don’t think/believe/act the way we do’.
Many books have been written about Judaism, Christianity, & Islam, from broad academic overviews to critiques of one over against the others. In general, these books can feel impractical and overly academic to “normal” people.
This is not that sort of book.
Of Strangers & Enemies sheds light on what we can actually do in our daily lives to break down such divisions. The reader will encounter history and Scripture, personal stories and conversations with other “strangers”, all in order to discover what it is that creates these divisions and how to identify them within ourselves. But this is not simply a book which identifies and acknowledges divisions between Jews, Christians, and Muslims; it is an encouragement to all people to find ways to engage in life changing and life giving relationships across lines of religious and cultural difference.
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Of Strangers & Enemies explores what we can do in our daily lives to break down the divisions between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. History and Scripture, personal stories, and conversations illustrate what it is that creates these divisions, how to identify them within ourselves, and how to overcome them.
Much of this thoughtful book is composed of a survey of what the texts and traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each have to say about their followers’ interactions with neighbors, strangers, and enemies. The author calls us to imagine what it would look like if we all lived according to the best our religions have to offer.
Writing to Christians, Eagan proposes we pursue peace through “dialogical friendships”: not merely tolerating differences as if they do not matter but engaging one another in relationship that seek understanding and peace in our multi-faith world. The author shares his own journey and present struggles as well as making helpful suggestions for ways to connect across religious lines.
This book is self-published (though carefully edited) and has some ambitious goals; the results are a bit uneven. With its double-spacing, extensive research, overuse of footnotes, and font/design choices, the book feels too much like a seminary paper in some respects: is this book really written for a popular audience? The humor and stories, though, say it is. Some might find find its call to peace rather than evangelism a kind of falling short. If, however, you are up for reconsidering your own response to Muslim neighbors (or interested in strategies to see Muslims as neighbors instead of strangers or enemies), this book might be a great choice for you. A good read for Ramadan, which is just around the corner. ” ~ Missions Catalyst
“…[Provides] a compelling argument for interpersonal relationships as the foundation of peace among people of different groups, in particular religions of the Abrahamic tradition…The personal stories in the interludes are particularly effective in emphasizing the author’s main points…. In my opinion, the author does a good job of making his point and defending his thesis that individual, interpersonal relationships across religious lines are the key to peace among followers of Abrahamic faiths (and eventually all of humanity).” ~ Editor’s Note
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Read an excerpt from Chapter 3, published in Outreach Magazine