Well...much has changed since mid September.
We discovered that Abraham of the Torah, Old Testament, and Quran is complex. In some ways there are three different Abrahams, just as there are three different faiths who share him. And yet there are many places where these monotheistic faiths agree about our common ancestor. Rabbi Rosen says in the book, "We should keep the differences and learn to respect them. Each religion has is particular approach to God. But we also have a universal dimension to our traditions that we share, and we must emphasize that as well."
Our conversation flowed back and forth over not only both the differences and similarities of Abraham but also of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We agreed from the outset that collectively we didn't know much at all about Islam. We also discovered that while we were more familiar with the Torah especially in the ways it connects with our Old Testament, we lacked deep insight into how those stories are the foundation for living out the Jewish faith.
Over the last 4 weeks, this book has given us a chance to wrestle with how people act upon their beliefs in the world, both extremists and centrists. It gave us perspective on how we too easily group "like" people together when they really are very different. We agreed there is danger in grouping all Muslims together and we also agreed that it is unfair and even dangerous to group all Christians together.
Reading this book did not provide any easy answers. We agreed that we need to slow down and listen to each other, to not jump to conclusions or opinions when we have only a rudimentary understanding of another faith.
Reading this book did provide us the opportunity to talk to others in depth about current events, religion and faith in a way that we otherwise would not have had. That was key! We slowed down, listened, questioned, sometimes even just sat in silence when no one had an "answer". It was a holy conversation.
Abraham brought the three faiths together (again!) in a living room in the suburbs of Chicago. Because Judaism, Christianity and Islam share this complex ancestor, the possibility is there for shared understanding of each other in a complex world. Feiler ends by saying, "In a life blessed by God and hallowed by descendants as numerous as the stars, this may be his greatest legacy of all: Abraham is the seed of hope."