cover image Paths of Faith: Conversations about Religion and Spirituality

Paths of Faith: Conversations about Religion and Spirituality

Michael Thomas Ford. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82263-6

Bringing the interdenominational approach of such anthologies as Reeve Lindbergh's In Every Tiny Grain of Sand to an older and more critical audience, Ford (Outspoken: Role Models from the Lesbian and Gay Communities) interviews 11 individuals fully committed to as many different forms of religion. From a Reform rabbi to the cofounder of the Reclaiming Witchcraft Tradition, from the Eldress of the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake to the president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, the speakers here are consistently articulate about their beliefs, their spiritual struggles and their practices. Ford's questions often elicit the kind of responses that humanize his cerebral subjects. He asks Cardinal John O'Connor if he ever wishes that he ""could just call up one of [his] friends and go to a movie or baseball game""; he asks the Quaker who oversaw the relief work of the American Friends Service Committee in Europe just after WWII if the terrible things he witnessed caused him to doubt the workings of God. Throughout, Ford does an expert job of balancing discussions about the particulars of a religion with the overarching concerns common to most faiths, with the result that readers will find both reflections of their own spiritual lives and sympathetic insights into other religious experiences. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)