Memphis Inter-Religious Group
(items added 06/26/2018)
Sources of books.
Bookstores; on-line (//amazon.com has one of the largest
lists, //alibris.com often has the lowest prices on used or
out-of-print copies.) In Memphis, commercial bookstores often
tend to more Christian books than others: gift shops at
synagogues and the Jewish Community Center often have more Jewish
books. One of the best sources for Muslim books in Memphis is the
Mediterranean Market on Park near Highland. Other suggestions
are welcome. There are several Christian bookstores but I really
like the Episcopal Bookshop at St. Mary's Cathedral, see our Addresses
Yes, we lend books.
New additions added at
the top of the list. (I
really need to sort this in a more useful way. I'm not sure
whether I need to annotate the ones that can be researched on
The Lynching Sites of Memphis Project
has a book list (suggested reading) at https://lynchingsitesmem.org/resources
April 1, 2018
Do not overlook the wealth of material in the Calvary Episcopal
Lenten Lecture Series, at
Pema Karpo Meditation Center
(Buddhist) now streams its Friday evening and Sunday morning
The Church Health Center Reader is now online at http://chreader.org/
January 2018 -
Wendi Thomas and photographer Andrea Morales compiled, from public
suggestions, a list of sites where one might like to take Martin
Luther King, Jr., to visit if he came to Memphis
Chabad (an orthodox Jewish organization in Memphis) has links to
interesting Jewish stories and films at
The American Association of University Women has given us permission
to post a flier on "How to talk to your Legislators", designed for
upcoming visits by the AAUW to Nashville. but in the present
political climate it may be of wider interest. It is at http://MemphisIRG.org/AAUW_Visit.pdf
In this context, I remind you that the page Eunice Ordman prepared
years ago on how to write your congressman, newspaper editors, etc.,
is still online at http://ordman.net/Eunice/Political_Letter_Writing.html
The current online issue
of "Teaching Tolerance" will be of special interest to educators
(including clergy, religious teachers, discussion groups and
organization program planners.)
We have a copy of the movie "Timbuktu",
recommended to us by Jophnathan Judaken, which concerns the
radical Muslim takeopver of the city in Mali a few years
ago. Of considerable interest for its portrayal of differing
form of Muslim life and viewpoints. Available to lend.
FACING HISTORY has a
program on teaching the Reconstruction period (post-Civil
Read What I Got
Wrong When I Taught Reconstruction on the Facing
free unit on teaching Reconstruction.
writing strategies that supplement our Reconstruction
development for teaching the Reconstruction era.
There will be a major online course for teachers
starting October 29, 2015
The program Teaching Tolerance has an excellent blog.
A sample and possible entry point is at http://www.tolerance.org/blog/voting-rights-act-50
Should we be listing web
links to, e.g., magazines of religious interest? On
Hiroshima Day we were sent this pointer to an article
and Sojourners Magazine certainly seems to be of interest.
source of brief Jewish commentaries on the weekly Torah
reading in the synagogue:
Chabad Memphis has a website with lots of answers to
questions about traditional (Orthodox and Chassidic)
The Papal encyclical on environment introduced at the UN:
There are some remarks about the drafting process of the
I need to hear if people are using this page - is it worth doing a
major sort on the stuff? Let me know:
DVD - Disney Movie, Miracle at Midnight. The evacuation of
the Danish Jews to Sweden in World War Two.
late February 2015
FACING HISTORY has a lot of material
available free for teachers, e.g a set of materials to use with To
Kill A Mockingbird but also many others sets.
late January 2015:
Germantown Presbyterian Church has sermons on-line:
Yasir Qadhi has completed his "Life of the
Prophet" series of lectures at the Memphis Islamic Center,
Wednesday evenings. I haven't hear what comes next from this
outstanding speaker. For anyone who has never listened to him
preach to Muslims, an excellent place to start (an exposition of
the Muslim equivalent of Christian parables) is at
Marcus Borg died January 21, 2015. He preached in the Lenten
Lecture series at Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis for
twenty years, and several of his sermons there in recent years are
available through their website.
An interesting introduction to his mode of Biblical interpretation
is available in a YouTube of a debate with the much more
traditional William Lane Craig at
Some On-line Links added November 2014:
There is a large amount of information about Bahá’í ion line,
including a remarkable quantity of their sacred writings.
the root, with much documentation at http://reference.bahai.org/en/.
I'm told a nice writing to start with is The Epistle to the Son of
the Wolf, http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/ESW/
Another one that seems to be an "official" website is http://www.mormon.org/
with the whole Book of Mormon (and also the Old Testament, New
Testament, and other documents) online at
A full set of traditional Jewish scripture readings, Torah and
Haftorah readings (the Torah readings for a year include the
entire first five books of the Bible, the Haftorahs or "second
lessons" are selections from elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible) are
online in Hebrew and English at http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/readingp.htm
see also http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0.htm
An Arabic and English Quran, including oral traditional
recitations, is at http://www.alislam.org/quran/search2/
I'd appreciate other interesting links.
DVDs added 2014 - June -
Different Books, Common Word (Baptist/Muslim)
DVD 1 hour. An Interfaith piece of special interest since the
married couple at its center is a Muslim man and a Baptist woman,
bothy active in First Baptist Church in Memphis.
Children's March on Birmingham. DVD. From the Teaching
Tolerance progrm of the Southern Poverty Law Center. An essential
story from the Civil Rights Movement, extremely well told.
At the River I Stand DVD. This
documentary of the Memphis strikle leading to the assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr., has so far as I know never been publiocly
available, but it has been shown a few timnes on Public TV.
I videotaped it and copied it to DVD(not an ideal copy - it was
over the air during a thunderstown, so there is some static and
dropouts, but it is very playable) and can lend it privately. It
is an extremely well done documentary of an essential piece of
Memphis history. I may be able to help negotiations with the
University of Memphis to arrange other showings.
Gates of Jerusalem, DVD 1996 2 hours. (Tourist material)
Little town of Bethlehem. DVD, 77 minutes. A
Christian, A Mulsim, and a Jew wish to bring an end to violence.
The Hiding Place, DVD, A Dutrch family hides Jews
from the Nazis.
Hester Street DVD, A afimily of Jewish immigrants
attempting to adjust in New York.
West of Hester Street. DVD Jewish immigrants in
the American West.
Prince of Slaves. DVD, from public TV. A very educated
Muslim African is taken to the US as a slave.
Tariq Ramadan, "God's Design". DVD
Bolling, Searching for Peace in the Middle East. DVD.
Excellent, but from about 2007 or earlier- rather dated.
A Man of Galilee, Elias Chacour (DVD). 22 minutes. A
Christian from Galilee involved in trying to build
excellent interfaith schools.
Chacour at Montreat. DVD. A talk Chacour gave to a church
camp in the US.
Amy-Jill Levine, Reassessing Jewish-Christian Relations.
DVD, 1 hour lecture
(we also have several of Prof. Levine's "Great Courses" from the
Islam, Empire of Faith. DVD. PBS, 3 hours
12/8/2013- I strongly suspect that modern Jewish use of ritual
immersion does not very closely match that of John The Baptist,
although it is clearly directly descended. Those who have ever
wondered about Jewish conversion ceremonies, or about the origins
of baptism by immersion, will likely enjoy this semi-humorous
essay recently put up in a Jewish on-line magazine:
Hindu Temple Photos:
The Indian Cultural Center and Temple has put photos of many of
its recent events on-line. If you've been there and frustrated
at their rules against photographs, here you can see them!
"Did you miss the Temple Anniversary celebrations
last week ? No worries!
You can view the photos by going to ICCT website
I know that link looks odd if you
analyze its internals)
and clicking on "Photos" link from the top
navigation menu. All the photos are displayed at:
"Photos -> 2013 Events -> Temple 19th Anniversary - 2013"
You can also view photos and videos of the recently concluded
Yagnam by clicking the links below:
We have the movie "Genocide", a major 1981 movie narrated by
Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles. 83 minutes.
Our local professor and activist Jonathan Judaken
has an essay on anti-semitism in the February 4 religion
section of The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-judaken/anti-antisemitic-hitmen_b_2617494.html
The Conversation, a discussion about end-of-life
issues (communicating with adult children,
Dr. Scott Morris of the Church
Health Center, Dr. Raza Dilawari, Dr. Asma Diliwari
(an oncologist dying of cancer, and his daughter,
also an oncologist. DVD, about 23 minutes,
excellent for religious or other group
discussions. Free from us or the Church Health Center.
"dying well video Dilawari" The
entire video is also on-line at
Health Center now publishes a
quarterly magazine, "CH Reader"
quarterly in print or
online at http://www.chreader.org/
2011 One Faith, Many Colors lectures sponsored by MIFA are on-line
We have DVDs available to lend of -
The Vanderhaar Symposium lecture, March 6,
2011: - "Peacemakers, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim"
Movie, "A Prince Among Slaves"
and others, see our "Book list" page.
Ordman's talk to the Collierville Civitan Club, March 10 is now
March 2012: I have to note as of special interest the 2012 issue
of the magazine of the American University in Beirut, Main Gate, which can be
big pdf, takes awhile to download.) There are excellent
pieces such as "The Citizen and History Return to the Arab World",
p. 28 and several others.
We also have a paper copy if you'd prefer to borrow that.
March 2012: I note with mild distress that
man of the Calvary Lenten lectures from earlier years no longer
seem to be on the Calvary or iTunes websites (or maybe they are
just hard to find.) I have saved a great many of the
2008 and 2010 lectures, and a selection of the 2009 lectures. Let
me know if you would like any.
2011: The Fares Center at Tufts
University , http://farescenter.tufts.edu ,
has posted two lectures (Sept 14 and Sept 19) about Libya and The
Arab Spring. It has a great many good lectures on the Middle East
available on line.
Temple Israel has substantially enlarged its
collection of sermons available as on-line videos.
The people at 30mosques.com have
reorganized their website. The piece about Heartsong Church is
and the love letter to the Ordmans is now at
Memphis on NPR. NPR in Auguist
2011 did a segment on the national broadcast (4 min 12
seconds) "A Ramadan Story Of Two Faiths Bound In
Friendship", about Heartsong Church and the Memphis Islamic
Center. It is on-line at
Those of us who hope that the good interfaith model in Memphis
can be spread more widely are much encouraged by this.
MIFA program on world
religions from the summer of 2011:
All five of these talks are now available on line,
Rev. Buck, a wonderful history of Christianity, and the page has
pointers to the talks by Rabbi Adam Grossman, Nabil Bayakly, Burton Carley, and Sandeep
Feb 18-19, 2011, we encouraged people to attend the Trinity Institute discussions, "Reading
the Scriptures through other eyes." While if you
didn't get there you missed some excellent local discussions in
Memphis, the talks that were used in the Memphis meetings are
available on-line at
On Feb 10,11,13, 2011 Rabbi Marmor, a leader of Hebrew Union College
and distinguished scholar, visited Temple Israel. He gave quite a
few talks. On Thursday evening, Feb 10, he spoke about the
biography and philoisphy and social activism of Rabbi Abraham Joshua
Heschel, a major Jewish philosopher who was also the rabbi who most
frequently marched arm-in-arm with Martin Luther King.
A news article (King's Birthday) about interaction of Jews with
Martin Luther King is at
(This article appeared in the Hebrew Watchman, the Memphis Jewish
The handout - excerpts from Heschel's writing - that Marmor
used Feb 11 is at
and the video of the talk (about an hour and 20 minutes) is
I can provide this on a DVD if that is more convenient.
Finally, ifg you'd like a Jewish sermon and discussion of Biblical
Rabbi Marmor's sermon for Friday Feb 11, on "The eternal light", is
is a nationally known storyteller.
We have videotapes of his 5-hour TV series (shoiwn on
Brigham Young Univ television in January 2011) on how to gather,
compose, and pass on stories. As this is a princial way of
passing on to our children our values, beliefs, family heritage,
and memories of where our family came from, it is an ability
that many of us wish to cultivate.
Imam Feisal Abdul
Rauf, What's Right
With Islam Is What's Right With America.
Imam Rauf is Imam of a mosque located twelve blocks from the site of
the former World Trade Center in New York. We speaks of
the extent to which Muslim Values and American values agree, and the
ways in which American Muslims may influence the rest of the Muslim
world, among other issues. Introduction by Karen Armstrong.
People sometimes wonder what the sermons are about, or what they
sound like, in another religion. Nice examples of Memphis
sermons can be found on line, among other places, at
Many of Yasir Qadhi's talks at the Memphis Islamic Center are now
on-line at http://www.memphisislamiccenter.org/multimedia/video/
(Don't be put off that the Muslim ones
start with a quotation in Arabic - they switch to English after a
few minutes. Many of the talks here are longer lectures or what
others might call "Sunday school lessons." Actual sermons are called
At our March 2010 meeting, some of us got into a discussion of the
different images of Satan (Shaitan) in the different
religions. Tanvir Kazmi has provided a rather large collection
of Quran quotations on the subject. I've put them in the
"discussion" section of the Facebook.com page for the group
MemphisIRG. Is that a good place for them? Would people
like to start other discussions there?
Some Books of interest -
This is an initial list, incomplete, and with no idea yet how it
should be organized. Suggestions are very welcome.
January 30, 2010.
Rebecca Peters and Elizabeth
Hinson-Hasty, To Do
Justice: A Guide for Progressive Christians.
Balmoral Presbyterian has a lot of Sunday School classes; one in
Spring semester 2010 is using this one which may be of general
interest. A survey of areas in which a religious person might
be concerned about modern American society: family, education, the
economy, war, and others.
J. Clinton McCann, Jr.
Great Psalms of the Bible.
Another Balmoral Sunday School book. It takes twelve psalms and goes
through them carefully, line by line, to get the context and
meaning, then discusses implications for today.
Ibn Kathir, Stories of the Prophets.
A Muslim book that serves as an adult "Sunday School Book",
this retells the stories of the major Biblical figures from a Muslim
viewpoint. Adam, Enoch(Idris), Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Job,
Jonah, and many others up to John the Baptist and Jesus.
Wonderful reading for Jews and Christians who are frustrated by the
fact that the Koran isn't chronological.
Milton Steinberg, As a Driven Leaf.
A fictionalized life of an important first-century Rabbi, the only
Rabbi ever expelled from the Sanhedrin (for attending Church too
often, among other reasons.) An excellent
exposition of life in Palestine in the first century C.E.,
used as a study text at Temple Israel.
Chilton, Rabbi Jesus.
An Episcopal priest but rather nonconforming, Chilton tries to
portray Jesus in the light of what we know of Jewish society at the
time. This is interesting to compare with the Milton Steinberg book
set just a few decades later.
Elias Chacour, Blood Brothers
Elias Chacour is a Christian Priest
(now an Archbishop) born in Galilee before 1948, who remained
there as an Israeli citizen. He has devoted himself to
building schools that teach tolerance and respect. These schools
have a very large Muslim enrollment and are so very well regarded by
the Israeli Education Ministry that they receive high subsidies from
the Israeli government. He recounts the close relationship and
active cooperation between the Muslim and Christian communities in
the village of Ibilin, and his difficulties with the Israeli
goverment. Chacour has lectured at Montreat, a Presbyterian camp
many members at Balmoral are acquainted with (We can lend a DVD of
that lecture, which tells many of the stories in the book.)
Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith.
Patel is an American Muslim of Indian heritage, who has become a
major leader in interfaith youth work.
Howard R. Greenstein, K.G. Hotz. J.
Kaltner, What do our
An introduction to multiple faiths, organized by topic (Sacred
Texts, Beliefs, Practices, Social Issues, ...) rather than by
faith. Our local Rabbi Greenstein's father was one of the
Jeffrey K. Salkin, Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible.
A book on non-Jewish characters in the Hebrew Bible, by Rabbi Salkin
who is a very popular occasional guest lecturer at Temple Israel.
Bruce Feiler, Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of
A life of Abraham with references to his role in Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam.
Richard Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God. A
history of the time around the Council of Nicea, about 325 C.E.,
when the doctrine of the Trinity was being formed.
Sari Nusseibeh, Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian
The autobiography of the president of Al-Quds University, the
Palestinian university in East Jerusalem. A vivid picture of
the career of an intellectual caught up in the Israeli-Palestinian
Tariq Ramadan, In the Footsteps of the Prophet:
Lessons from the Life of Muhammad.
A modern life of Muhammad by a Fellow at Oxford who has been called
"Europe's leading Muslim Intellectual."
Rashi, a Light after the Dark Ages.
Educational DVD, 1 hour, of an important Jewish scholar working in
the time of Charlemagne.
Rambam, the Story of Maimonides.
Educational DVD, 1 hour, of one of the most important Jewish
scholars, working primarily in Muslim Spain and Egypt.
Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood
Vilifies a People. DVD
Documentary, under 1 hour. excerpts from famous films showing the
use of Arabs as villains.
Muhammad, Legacy of a
Life of Muhammad. Full length movie.
Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall
of Islamic Spain. DVD.
Usually in the US we learn of the "Christian reconquest of Spain"
from a north-European viewpoint. This is a far more Muslim
viewpoint, but with a very interesting treatment of the Christians
and Jews of the Iberian penensula. Full length movie.
The story of the Breaved Fanilies Association: An Israeli whose
daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber, and a
Palestinian whose son was killed by an Israeli soldier, come
together in sympathy and speak to Israeli and Palestinian audiences
about the need to end the fighting. Full length movie.
The Childrens March on Birmingham.
Documentary, about 40 minutes. At a critical point in the Civil
Rights movement, when the Black adults in Birmingham Alabama were
afraid to act for fear of retaliation, the childen gathered at a
church and went out to successfully face down the loal police and
New Muslim Cool. DVD
Movie for the general market, aimed at youth / young adults. The
story of a young Puerto Rican convert to Islam who moves to
Pittsburgh, trying to make a living as a rap performer and a
hospital chaplain. There are problems with security clearance at the
prison and an FBI raid on the mosque. Productive interaction with
Jews. The problems of a young married couple.
Children of Abraham. DVD.
Short DVD to encourage interfaith discussion, produced jointly by
the Union for Reform Judaism and the Islamic Society of North
Sayyed Hossain Nasr: God, The
Reality to Serve, Love, and Know. DVD
Lecture at Trinity Church Conference, New York, 2000.
The life of a Hungarian Jewish family from before World War
One to after the fall of communism. An outstanding commercial movie,
unfortunately with much too much sex.
Azadeh Moaveni, Honeymoon in Tehran . In the
early 2000's, an Iranian-American reporter for Time goes to Tehran to be a
journalist, falls in love, marries, and stays for two years. very
good not only on Iranian politics, but on the relations between
religious and secular Iranians and day-to-day life in the Islamic
Avraham Burg, The Holocaust is Over, We Must Rise
From its Ashes. Burg is the Israeli-born son of
Holocaust survivors, and a former speaker of the Israeli Knesset. He
feels that by identifying itself too stongly as victim, Israel is
losng sight of the Jewish prophetic message.
Samuel G. Freedman, Upon this Rock. The
story of a Black Baptist church in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn,
NY. Used in a Univrsity of Memphis course about community organizing
and inner-city anthropology.
Greg Mortenson & David Oliver
Relin, Three Cups of Tea.
Lost in a mountain-climbing accident in the Himalayas, Mortenson was
rescued by Pakistani villagers. Learning of their needs, he has
devoted his life to building schools - espacially for girls - in
Pakistan and Afghanistan. A major best-seller and thrilling to
Madeleine L'Engle. The Rock that is Higher: Story as
Truth. Another Balmoral Presbyterian Church Sunday School
book, a good book for group discussions. How we tell stories, read
stories, listen to stories, and how we use stories to build
community. Many examples from the Gospel parables, as well as other
Hanan Ashrawi, This side of Peace. Ashrawi is
a professor at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, a Christian
Palestinain woman who was long a spokesperson and negotiator for
Fatah and a member of the Palestinian parliament. 1995, so
dated, but wonerful for its image of Palestine and Palestinian
politics of the time.
Arthur Waskow, Godwrestling. Long out of
print, but used copies are readily available. A rabbi who suggests
ways that people can meet and talk informally about God, taking
God's message seriously but without the need for heavy
scholarship or professional leadership. Look at a passge in
the Bible or Koran: what does it mean to us today?
W. Guther Plaut, Torah: a Modern Commentary,
of the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, often used for discussion in
the Saturday morning discussion group at Temple Israel. Compare
Ali's Koran commentary.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Koran.
and spirit to the Plaut Torah commentary. This one is
frequently used for the Sunday afternoon Koran classes at Masjid
Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri (ed.
and abridged by).
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, (Vol. 1) For Jews who
wonder what the Muslims have instead of the Talmud, it is the Hadith; the recollections of
the companions of the prophet as to what Mohammed said and did.
There are also very elaborate commentaries on the Koran, almost as
elaborate as the Talmud. This is one of the best presentations
of some of this material in English that I've found for sale
(more coming shortly)