In the Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life book, one of the steps encouraged becoming more knowledgeable about other religions.I felt that a good follow-up to that book would be something that demonstrates ways for people of differing faiths to understand each other.I did some searches and came up with this book.It is an outgrowth of annual two week conferences (referred to as Snowmass conferences because many of them were held at the Benedictine Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado) held between 1984 and 2004 that brought together spiritual leaders from all over the world from all major world religions.The decision was made to not record or publish any of the meetings except the notes taken by one of the participants so that all could feel free to express their feelings openly. They always opened with participants sharing their personal spiritual journey.The first few years, they worked to develop points of agreement.After that they tackled ideas in which they knew there were differences, but would help them understand each other.A sample question would be the one used when homosexuality issues were becoming more of an open issue:What does your tradition believe, and what do you believe about homosexuality and same sex marriage?Their surprising discovery was that they bonded more closely when talking about the differences. They came up with 8 principles plus 10 examples of disciplined practice common to all. After the 2004 conference they made the decision to share their experience through this book.Portions of the book are from interviews of participants.Also included are statements made during the conferences reconstructed through the notes. While this book provided only glimpses into understanding of different religions, it was an amazing testimony to the fact that people with strongly held belief systems can communicate and appreciate each other.I will offer this book as a possible choice for our next study, but whether the group chooses it or not, I'm glad I read it.
eBook The Common Heart