Synopses & Reviews
Praise for It's Really All About God
"Why are thousands not saying what this man is saying? Such obvious truth must be made even more obvious, and this is exactly what Samir Selmanovic is doing for all of us and for the future of humanity. After you read this wise book, you will say, 'Of course!' and 'Thank God!'"
Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
"We need a million more Samirs on the planetpeople of conviction and humility who know that the vast mystery called God calls us not to the arrogance of 'ownership' but to the beloved community."
Parker J. Palmer, author, A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach
"Samir Selmanovic offers a deeply personal reflection on faith, doubt, and ultimately, spiritual peace. . . . [He tells] a sophisticated and introspective story that simultaneously stirs the heart, challenges the intellect, and inspires the soul."
Daisy Khan, executive director, American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA)
"In a world in which religious traditions are too often digging their heels into the tired sod of exclusionary self-righteousness, this love song to the God of all Existence is a much longed for work of hope and optimism."
Rabbi Marcia Prager, author, The Path of Blessing: Experiencing the Energy and Abundance of the Divine
"If atheists, agnostics, and non-religious people like myself want to gain understanding and improve the world . . . we need to read not only the hard-line voices of ancient religions but also the freshest and wisest voices of modern progressive religion. Samir Selmanovic's is just such a fresh voice."
Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain, Harvard University, and author, Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe
"For all Seekers of the Truth, Samir's deeply insightful, uniquely personal, lyrical quest for a relationship with God provides a clear vision on the need to dig deep, transcending traditional boundaries of faith and theology, be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu."
Rathi Raja, president, Arsha Vedanta Center of Long Island, and executive director, Young Indian CultureGroup
"New York City pastor Selmanovic synthesizes his upbringing in a Muslim-atheist household and his own conversion to Christianity as a young adult to create this concise and entertaining interfaith memoir. The author vividly describes his childhood in Yugoslavia, where his Muslim father and Christian mother reveled in multicultural cooking and entertaining. Essentially raised to be an atheist, Selmanovic shattered his parents' world when he converted to Christianity at age 18 during his required army service. Searching for his own Christian identity, he eventually came to the United States in 1990, only to become frustrated that American organized religion confirmed some of his father's criticisms. Selmanovic's story goes much deeper while still being respectful of, and fair to, all faiths and beliefs. An active member of the interfaith movement, Selmanovic actually moves beyond just creating harmony between faiths toward achieving a dtente between people of faith and atheists. He challenges clergy to reclaim a space outside institutional walls and Christians to tone down conversion rhetoric. Sprinkled throughout are Selmanovic's entertaining and illustrative anecdotes, including the quite memorable 'Theology of Hemorrhoids.' (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Selmanovic's (founder & Christian coleader, Faith House Manhattan) book is in part the story of his remarkable spiritual and personal journey from Croatian Islam to Christianity to, finally, something richer beyond the conventions of Christian faith. To Selmanovic, modern religions and denominations have become self-serving God-management systems, containers and dispensers of God, and his aim is to embrace the diversities and even the mutually exclusive mysteries of the three Abrahamic faiths and atheism to gain a new perspective that is not about ourselves but about God. VERDICT A touching and personal point of entry into cross-denominational thinking. Recommended. (Library Journal, October 8, 2009)
Millions of us look at religion and say, No thanks, I'd rather be spiritual than religious. For those of us who feel like this, religion has been losing its credibility and relevance. But our departure from religion is simultaneously a departure from its rich treasures of spiritual practice, community, organized action, and hard lessons learned, often leaving us isolated, incoherent, and ill-equipped for our spiritual journeys. It's Really All About God is a very personal story and a thrilling exploration of a redeeming, dynamic, and radically different way to hold one's religion. Readers will deepen their religious identities while discovering God, goodness, and grace beyond their own religious boundaries.
A fresh exploration of a redeeming, dynamic, and radically different way to hold one's religion
Samir Selmanovic—who grew up a in a culturally Muslim family in Croatia, converted to Christianity as a soldier in the then-Yugoslavian army, and went on to become a Christian pastor in Manhattan and in Southern California—looks at how our ongoing and sometimes violent power struggles over who owns God and what God wants for the world and its peoples are not serving God, humanity, or our planet.
- Shows how our religions have become self-serving, God-management systems, however Selmanovic contends—change is possible
- Offers a path for people of all faiths and traditions for living together on our fragile earth
- Karen Armstrong said that the book is "asking the right questions at the right time"
This is a personal story and a moving exploration of a new way of treasuring one's own religion while discovering God, goodness, and grace in others and in their traditions.
It's Really All About God
Many of us say "Religion? No thanks. I'd rather be spiritual than religious."
But our departure from religion is at the very same time a departure from its rich treasures of community, insight, art, practice, organized action, and hard lessons. Without religion, we find ourselves isolated, incoherent, and naïve on our spiritual journeys.
It's Really All About God is Samir Selmanovic's personal and moving exploration of a very different way of seeing religion. Selmanovicwho grew up a in a culturally Muslim family in Croatia, converted to Christianity as a soldier in the then-Yugoslavian army, and went on to become a Christian pastor in Manhattan and in Southern Californialooks at how our ongoing and sometimes violent power struggles over who owns God and what God wants for the world and its peoples are serving neither God, humanity, nor our planet. Our religions have become self-serving God management systems. Yetas Selmanovic contendschange is possible. To learn to live together on this fragile earth, authentic believers of all traditions need to see that it's really not about their religion it's really all about GodGod who is about all of us and cannot be owned by any of us.
This book is an attempt to look at our religions not merely as adherents but as human beings. Selmanovic believes that love for one's religion is meant to be as dynamic as any love relationship. There must be distance as well as embrace. It's Really All About God is an invitation to acknowledge this tension and serves as a guide to a safe, honest, and hopeful relational place where wholesome love for our religions can thrive.
It's Really All About God is a very personal story and a thrilling exploration of a redeeming, dynamic, and radically different way of treasuring one's own religion while discovering God, goodness, and grace in others and in their traditions.
About the Author
Samir Selmanovic, Ph.D., is a founder and Christian co-leader of Faith House Manhattan, an interfaith "community of communities" that brings together forward-looking Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and others who seek to thrive interdependently. Samir is also the director of a Christian community in New York City called Citylights and serves on the Interfaith Relations commission of the National Council of Churches and speaks nationally and internationally (www.samirselmanovic.com).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Living with a Splinter.
Chapter 2 The Secret of the Ordinary.
Chapter 3 God Management Systems.
Chapter 4 Why Is God Not More Obvious?
Chapter 5 Where Does Your Heart Go?
Chapter 6 Your God Is Too Big.
Chapter 7 The Blessing of Atheism.
Chapter 8 One World at a Time.
Chapter 9 When My God Becomes Our God.
Epilogue My Story and Maybe Yours.