How to Be a Perfect Stranger: Volume 2: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies

Arthur J. Magida, Editor, Stuart M. Matlins, Editor, Joan Brown Campbell, Foreword by
Arthur J. Magida, Editor, Stuart M. Matlins, Editor, Joan Brown Campbell, Foreword by Jewish Lights Publishing $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-879045-63-7
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-879045-39-2
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-893361-01-0
Paperback - 2 pages - 978-1-893361-02-7
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Jewish Lights' two-volume set on how to participate in other people's religious ceremonies is destined to become the Miss Manners of religious etiquette. Volume one, published in 1996, considered ""mainstream"" American religious custom in congregations of the Assemblies of God, Baptists, Buddhists, Episcopalians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Methodists, Mormons and others. This volume explores the religious ceremonies of less mainstream faiths, such as the African American Methodist Church, Baha'i, the Church of the Nazarene, the Mennonites and the Amish, the Sikhs and the Pentecostal Church of God. An interesting feature of this second volume is its discussion of Native American religious ceremony. Because Native American ceremonies represent the cultural experiences of many different Native American peoples using a variety of native languages, the format of the book had to be redesigned to embrace their customs. Each section includes divisions on ""History and Beliefs,"" ""The Basic Service,"" ""Holy Days and Festivals,"" ""Life Cycle Events"" and ""Home Celebrations."" Also included in each section are questions such as: ""What is appropriate attire?"" (to wear to services or other ceremonies); ""Are gifts expected?""; ""When should guests arrive and where should they sit?""; ""Will a guest be expected to do anything but sit?"" Also included in each section is a lexicon of special vocabulary and descriptions of ritual objects. The arrangement of the book also invites comparison between the essential beliefs and ceremonies of the religious faiths examined. The book's accessible style and its thorough content make it a useful tool for a deeper understanding of the variety of religious faith and practice. (Mar.)
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