About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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When you consider that the greatest hymns ever written—the plainchant hymns—are pushing the age of eight hundred and that the noble chorale hymn tunes of Bach date from the early eighteenth century, then what is the significance of the word “old” applied to “Mother at Thy Feet Is Kneeling”? Most of the old St. Basil hymns date from the Victorian era, particularly the 1870s and 1880s.
— Paul Hume (1956)

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Attitudes toward those of other Religions
published 15 July 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

At the institute I am teaching at this summer in LA there are many shelves of books collected over decades. When I come to a new place I pray to the Holy Spirit to find me something to read that is not part of my teaching. This time I took one called “The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew – Three Women Search for Understanding.” I figured with such a title it was probably written by women who had in common a less than traditional relationship to their religions, but that I might learn something from reading it anyhow, especially about Islam about which I know very little.

The book relates the gist of conversations 3 women in the New York City area conducted in the course of trying to write a children’s book about their three faiths rooted in the one God.

I am learning. For example, I never considered what it might feel like to be a truly moderate modern Muslim woman living in the US with a strong love of God and neighbor, and having to be identified the moment she mentions her faith as part of what most of us now think of as a terrorist religion! Besides feeling herself to be the brunt of that stereotype, she is having trouble finding a mosque to attend since the mosques are full of what she considers to be extremist fanatics. Could she, and others like her, be feeling the way we, pro-lifers, do when someone casually assumes that all those in front of abortion clinics are only interested in yelling that abortion is murder rather than in saving babies and helping the mothers?

Reading the words of the Jewish woman, very culturally Jewish, but like many modern Jews not even sure there is a personal God, pierced my heart. So many Catholics think we don’t have to evangelize Jews because, from years of hearing passages from the O.T., they think Jews are like Isaiah or Esther. A rabbi teaching Jewish roots at the LA seminary told me that surveys show that only about 10 % of Jews in the US believe in a personal God! Others hope there is such a God, especially when they are facing the death of others or themselves, but really most of them live in great confusion about God even if they still attend services 2x a year – like Catholics nowadays who go only at Christmas and Easter to Church but still pray?

The ex-Catholic Episcopal woman, who I thought would be a totally watered down Christian comes out rather well because she really does believe that Jesus was God and that He is our redeemer and manages to have a good influence on the other two women.

Waking up after reading a few chapters of the book made me want to pray much more earnestly for all those represented by these three. Since I assume that most of those going to Watershed are Catholics, I want to ask you how much you pray for those of other faiths except when they are in your own family?

Here is what I am praying this morning: Dear Jesus, you prayed that all would be one. May our witness as members of the one, true, Church truly be a light for those who are seeking God, our Father, by different means, or in Christian churches who see much of the light but are still not united with us.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda by visiting RONDAVIEW. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.