Read the Table of Contents and the Foreword
In just a few decades, the United States has changed from a largely Christian nation to the most religiously diverse country in the world. In this new book, retired professor, and pastor Dick Olson reflects on living faithfully as a Christian in this new interreligious world. Reading the Gospels in this changing context, the author finds fresh insight and guidance to live out our faith with respect, love, and regard for those who follow a different religious path. In a conversational style, Olson shares a personal journey of encounters, experiences, and readings, inviting the reader to join him in a venture of discovery to reflect, explore, and meditate. Focuses on relations among Christians, Jews, and Muslims and with the "spiritual but not religious," as well as on how to navigate conflicts between Christian traditions.
"How can committed Christians embrace other faiths while deepening our own encounter with God? With scholarship, story, and practical tips, Richard P. Olson's journey points us to the Holy Ground toward which all faiths beckon." Vern Barnet, DMin, Founder, Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, and President, World Faiths Center for Religious Experience and Study
"If the call to Americans in the twentieth century was to get racial harmony right (a work still in progress), the call in the twenty-first century is to get religious harmony right in our increasingly pluralistic society. Richard P. Olson has written an extraordinarily helpful guide on how to do that. Rooted in experience, grounded in Christian generosity, reflective of necessary wisdom, and accessible to a wide audience, Side by Side is the book to keep by your side as you engage in interfaith explorations." Bill Tammeus, journalist, Presbyterian elder, and author of The Value of Doubt: Why Unanswered Questions, Not Unquestioned Answers, Build Faith
"Deeply learned, yet eminently accessible, this text maps Christian faith and action in a religiously plural world. Olson rightly identifies that peace depends upon a fresh approach to religious neighbors, who also warrant religious liberty. The author's journey of transformation as he relates to Muslims and Jews is a compelling witness for this essential practice of faith. This book moves beyond theory about dialogue, providing practical guidance for learning the ways God is at work in the religious pursuits of the great Abrahamic traditions. Useful for seminary courses or thoughtful Sunday school classes, Olson's book is timely in a fracturing world." Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall, President, Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Richard P. Olson, MDiv, STM, PhD, is recently retired from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas, where he was Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Theology. He has also had extensive ministry experience as a pastor in a variety of congregational settings. He earned his PhD in Social Ethics and Sociology of Religion from Boston University.
More pertinently, Olson has had career-long participation in ecumenical organizations. He has studied at the United States Holocaust Museum and participated in 5-week study course, "A Religious Mosaic in the Holy Land," at Galilee College, Israel. He chaired the planning committee for the ABCUSA sponsored Midwest Baptist-Muslim Dialogue event, and continues in extensive interfaith activity, study, and speaking on these matters. His current activities include conversations with leaders at the local Islamic Center, bringing seminary classes to Shabbat services at a nearby synagogue, taking a short online course on the Sufis (Muslim mystics), and helping with a summer interfaith study-action program for elementary school children at his local church.