Customer Reviews

10
4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
"How to Be a Perfect Stranger" is the ultimate reference on how to act and what to expect when attending a religious service at any of the most common religions in America. Would you know what to do if a Hindu invited you to their infant's naming ceremony? What if a Christian Scientist family had a death in the family and you were invited to the funeral? Or what if you were invited to a Latter Day Saint, African American Methodist Episcopal, Lutheran, or Mennonite service, would you know the appropriate dress and order of service? All these questions and more are answered in this book.
The section on each faith has a short history of the faith, appropriate dress for service, ritual objects used in the service, parts of the sanctuary, appropriate conduct during the service, what to expect after the service, a section on dogma and ideology, celebrated holy days and festivals, various ceremonies related to the life cycle (births, marriage, initiation, funerals, mourning) and what to expect at those ceremonies. If you are seeking understanding of others of a different faith then this is an important place to start.
Faiths examined include African American Methodist Churches, Assemblies of God, Baha'i, Baptist, Buddhist, Christian Church, Christian Science, Churches of Christ, Episcopalian and Anglican, Hindu, Islam, Jehovah's Witness, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite/Amish, Methodist, Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Native American/First Nations, Orthodox Churches, Pentecostal Church of God, Presbyterian, Quaker (Religious Society of Friends), Reformed Church in America/Canada, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Canada, and United Church of Christ.
Filled with clear information that will allow anyone to feel perfectly comfortable visiting any one of these faiths whether for curiosity, courtesy, or whatever reason, it is a very highly recommended read that should be on the shelf of anyone sensitive to the faiths of others.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Not only is this an invaluable reference book that provides reassuring guidance on how to act, what to wear, what to expect from the liturgical services of virtually all world religions, it also gives a concise, handy detailing of exactly what each of the religions believes in, teaches, and how and when it got its start. Handy for when you're about to attend a wedding or other life-cycle event within a faith with which you're unfamiliar, or if you're simply going to be a guest at a religion's worship service. A well-written, informative study done in plain, everyday language.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
A neighbor invites you to a Seder; what should you bring? Your Hindi coworkers are getting married; what's an appropriate wedding present? You're visiting a new church with family; how much should you put in the offering plate? The mosque in your neighborhood is having an open house during Ramadan; is it OK to wear a crucifix?

All these mundane issues related with being a polite and gracious visitor in other people's homes and places of worship are covered in this handy reference book. When my son was very young, my husband and I agreed he could visit any church he liked, as long as I accomanied him. I got this book so that, no matter what kind of church we attend, we are always respectful of the worshippers there. It turned out to be useful for more than that, though, because they do not just explain the standard worship services. Customs for birth initiations (infant baptisms, naming ritutals), coming of age initiations (bar mitzvahs and adult baptism), weddings, funerals, and interments are all presented to help a visitor understand his hosts better.

Various Christian denominations and non-Christian faiths are presented, along with the basic tenets of their faiths (this is NOT intended to be a primer on theology, just a heads-up on what to expect), proper dress code for any kind of service, and an understanding of what constitutes polite in various religions. The authors are sensitive both to the guests and the hosts in their descriptions of everything from marriage customs and wedding ceremonies to whether or not a woman's hem needs to fall below her knees. Concepts about why these customs exist are not presented, so there is no judgment even implied about what is an acceptable custom. It is never suggested that a visitor must do something that is against their religious beliefs. In fact, the authors go so far as to explain what foods may be served and whether or not wine is served at meals and communions so the visitor won't be breaking any of his own doctrinal rules.

This is not intended to be a book read from cover-to-cover, as it repeats itself often. However, it is good to at least skim ahead of time so you are prepared when meeting someone from a new (to you) faith. One note, this books is only interested in organized faiths that are generally opened to outsiders, have large-ish populations, and that have set times and places to meet. They also do not dwell on the differences between sects of Judaism and Islam. Again, they are not explaining the tenets of faith in depth, just the outward polite practices.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Deftly edited by Stuart M. Matlins and Arthur J. Magida, How To Be A Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook is an outstanding compendium and documentation of what is ultimately the religions of the world. Inclusive of a great detailing of the African American Methodist Churches, Assemblies of God, Bahai, Baptist, Buddhist, Christian Church, Christian Science, Churches of Christ, Episcopalian and Anglican, Hindu, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite/Amish, Methodist, Mormon, Native American/First Nations, Orthodox Churches, Penticostal Church of God, Presbyterian, Quaker, Reformed Church in America/Canada, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ, How To Be A Perfect Stranger acts as a reference and well researched guide to a significant understanding of many of today's religions and their progression from historical backgrounds. How To Be A Perfect Stranger is very strongly recommended to all students of religion, those searching for a religion which may righteously favor their beliefs, or those merely seeking a greater understanding of societal religious perspectives.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Very useful reference to be used over and over as our world becomes smaller. It just isn't sensitive to assume that other people's religious practices are the same as your own. This book helps you to understand what to do when you come into contact with the diversity of religions and cultures that mark postmodern society.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Excellent reference. I use it often. It is not religious. It is about learning to respect customs & etiquette for multi-ethnic understanding in social situations. I have referred to it for community fund raising, business meetings, scheduling meetings, how to do what when and what to wear to funerals, batisms, weddings, etc.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you are going to a religious service outside of your personal experience, then this book is for you. Maybe it's the wedding of a friend in a synagogue, an invitation to a Tibetan Buddhist Chod ceremony, or simply a Baptist baptism, and you don't want to stand out or give offense. Wikipedia will not tell you how to behave, what to wear, or how to respond. This book will. I have been to religious services in a dozen Christian denominations from Orthodox to pentecostal, synagogues, Tibetan Buddhist services of many kinds, and others. (I'm an Episcopalian nun.) I can state that the author has pretty well hit the nail on the head in terms of basic accuracy. Some behaviors are too complex to explain, but if you are going to be at a Chod ceremony, you can expect the friend who invited you to explain the specific ropes. The author sticks to the basic or foundational service and explains a bit of the structure of the service, so you know what to expect, and then goes into whatever do's and dont's will help you be as invisible as you choose. I was particularly amused at the author's major do when attending Mass in an Episcopal church: Stand up for the Gospel; otherwise, you can pretty much stand, sit or kneel as you please. Truer words were never spoken!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on July 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
This book attempts to uncover the diverse society that exists in North American with regard to religious identity.

I found this book incredibly helpful for learning more about other faiths. I feel like I am more equipped for dealing with every day situations with people in the community, but also with people in my role as a chaplain. This book easily outlines each faith into chunks that give you a wide perception of the beliefs of the faith group.

For each religious section is covers History and Beliefs along with facts; The Basic Service, with a subset of appropriate attire, the sanctuary, the service, guest behavior during the service, general guidelines and dogma and ideology. The next section is Holy Days and Festivals followed by a section on Life Cycle Events. For Life Cycle Events, it goes into before the ceremony, appropriate attire, gifts, the ceremony and after the ceremony. The last section is on home celebrations.

It was definitely worth the read and an excellent resource to keep around.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is a very handy book for anyone who has contact with cultures outside their own or who is simply curious. My insecurities were comforted by the understanding and real-world advice. For instance, if one is attending a religious service and takes care to avoid the basic taboos that would cause offence, their is little to worry about. NO ONE EXPECTS YOU TO DO ANYTHING OUTSIDE YOUR OWN RELIGION. For example: If you are at a Catholic Church, don't worry about when to stand or sit or kneel or knowing the liturgy. Just sit respectfully and reverently. No one should be offended if a non-Catholic doesn't do the Catholic ritual as long as he/she is respectful. That is good news for self-conscious people such as myself who worry about offending people. This same rule seems to apply to every religion dealt with in the book. Because of this, the sections dealing with behavior during religious services are unexpectedly short. Where the real value is, other than that simple rule just explained, is in matters more cultural than specifically religious. Should I bring a gift to a specific celebration, etc. The only drawback to the book is that it is so short. I would like to have more of an explanation of why things are done a specific way, but then again I am a student of religion and am more interested than most in theoretical issues. Overall this book is very useful for the purpose it was designed to meet.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on July 11, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Used often when I present on culture in a certificate course.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook
How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook by Arthur J. Magida (Paperback - November 1, 2010)
$12.43


How To Be A Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook
How To Be A Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook by Arthur J. Magida (Paperback - March 5, 2015)
$17.86
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.