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Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?: What You Need To Know When Attending Religious Occasions (Simple Guides) [Kindle Edition]

Akasha Lonsdale
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In today’s multicultural society we are increasingly likely to meet and become friends with people from different religious backgrounds, and to find ourselves attending an unfamiliar ceremony. When this happens, there can be few of us who know exactly what to expect, or are confident about how to behave.

This book will help you:
• to understand the backgrounds to the key festivals, ceremonies, and practices of the major world religions
• to participate in the main holidays and festivals of the different religious calendars
• to know what to expect and how to behave when invited to attend a Protestant, Catholic, Christian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, or Buddhist service
• to join in the family celebrations of friends from different backgrounds

Armed with this basic information, you will feel relaxed enough to enjoy the occasion–and perhaps inspired to discover more about the spiritual world view of another cultural tradition.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

AKASHA LONSDALE is an Interfaith Minister. Her two-year seminary training in London included instruction in the major religions and sacred traditions of the world, and her vocation brings her into frequent contact with people of every faith and none.

She has practiced as a psychotherapist, both privately and within Britain’s National Health Service. Her corporate background was in senior human resource management. She is an effective and experienced executive coach, trainer, seminar speaker, and EAP counsellor, specializing in Emotional Intelligence and Stress Management. She has written for a variety of publications, and her book How to Do Life–Powerful Pointers for Powerful Living became one of the most popular self-help titles in the United Kingdom.

Akasha Lonsdale brings to Do I Kneel or Do I Bow an informed, sensitive, and enlightened approach born of wide knowledge, personal experience, and psychological insight.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2441 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simple Guides (March 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4E3C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,198,488 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book of limited usefulness June 9, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read the Christian and Muslim sections of this book first in order to see if what was written lined up with my own knowledge and experience. I was completely turned off by the second sentence of the Christian section which included this statement: "This fundamental doctrine [the doctrine of the Holy Trinity], agreed at the council of Nicea in AD 325,* is known as the Nicene Creed, and also as the Apostles Creed." Is there a typo here or is she really saying that the doctrine of the Trinity is synonymous with the Apostles Creed? Not true. So I continued on with the book with a highly skeptical eye, wondering what of other religions would be misrepresented, that I would not have the prior knowledge to recognize.

Other reviewers have pointed out the very British perspective from which this book was written. It is somewhat humorous to consider what would happen if a non-Westerner read this book and then attended a Baptist church in North America. In all fairness she does acknowledge that other persuasions of "Christian" exist.

I read the Muslim section with the context of having lived in Turkey for 13 years. I found many pointers which were acurate as well as some things that didn't apply to Turkey.

I don't have this experiential perspective with which to comment on the veracity of the other sections of the book, but what concerns me is that the reason one buys this book is to learn in preparation for interacting with someone of another faith. Faith practices differ so much from country to country and by sect or denomination, that this book, however well intentioned, would certainly not be a dependable help, though much of it appears to be accurate for some places and sects.

So regretfully, I cannot recommend this book. The reader who wants this kind of information would be better served to read a book focused on the religious practices of a particular country, or better yet to simply ask their foreign friend what to expect.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars At least for me . . . June 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
. . . this book did not deliver on its basic premise -- and the premise is extremely important. Many (arguably most) people will, at various times in their lives and for various reasons, will have occasions where they will be visitors at religious ceremonies different from their own. Basic knowledge and understanding of religious traditions other than one's own is important so as not to embarrass one's self (and more importantly, one's host!) Disrespect out of ignorance is still disrespect, and should be avoided!

I reviewed this book through the Vine program because the subject matter interested me. I have had occasion to worship in almost every Christian tradition imaginable and have been a guest in the Reform Jewish tradition as well. In addition, I have taught theology to students from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh traditions. So yes, I have more than a passing interest in the topic.

This book just failed to deliver.

First, the author: Akasha Lonsdale describes herself as an "Interfaith Minister" who attended two years of seminary (unnamed). The "seminary" is, in fact, the "Interfaith Foundation" in the United Kingdom which is not affiliated with any church, temple, or religion -- and grants no degrees. Apparently the graduates are permitted to function as clergy in the United Kingdom. I wonder, however, how many of the religious traditions discussed in "Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?" would recognize "Interfaith Ministers" as clergy at all.

Second, the audience: "Do I Kneel or Do I Bow?" is written entirely to a United Kingdom audience. This, in and of itself is fine -- but does reduce the book's value to anyone living outside the UK. The author uses colloquialisms common to a British audience, but far less so to an American audience.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and well-structured April 21, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a compact, well-structured, easy-to-read and easy-to-understand guide to religious customs all around the world. It is organized as follows: Western Christian Ceremonies (Roman Catholic, Protestant), Orthodox Christian Ceremonies, Jewish Ceremonies, Muslim Ceremonies, Hindu Ceremonies, Sikh Ceremonies and Buddhist Ceremonies.

Each of these sections starts with an overview chapter on the beliefs of the respective religion. It also incorporates brief references to its history. Then follows a chapter on the places of worship (churches, synagogues, mosques...). The author describes what it looks like in each of these places and what to expect and do during services. The next chapter deals with the festivals and holy days of each religion and describes the main characteristics of services on these occasions. For example, during Pentecost in an orthodox church "Churches are decorated with masses of greenery and the flowers that pack the church symbolise the giving of the Holy Spirit to the faithful". The chapters on Rituals and Ceremonies deal with special occasions such as birth of a child, marriages and funerals. The final chapter in each section lists Useful Words and Phrases (with the exception of the section on Western Christian Ceremonies). Lastly, the book contains recommendations for further reading and also has an index which comes in handy when one wants to look up a specific phrase, term or word.

Most useful are the colored information boxes found throughout the book: "What Do I Do?" and "What Happens?". These contain the real hands-on information for the reader. For example, the box for What Do I Do?" at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah states (excerpt) "Smart dress is usual, as for a wedding. Women wear hats. It is usual to bring a present for the boy or girl...".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Religious Etiquette Guide
As someone who works in a highly diverse setting (an administrator in a correctional facility) with often unfamiliar religions, I find this book to be highly useful and succinct in... Read more
Published on December 19, 2010 by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for What It Is
I picked this handy little book up more as a writing reference than anything to use in day-to-day life, and in that it's functioned just fine. Read more
Published on November 6, 2010 by S. Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential guide if you have questions about propriety during religious...
Living in an ever-more diverse society can be challenging. I have attended many events where I was unsure of the correct behavior when religious rites were a focus. Read more
Published on October 5, 2010 by D. Summerfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable information for a multicultural world.
Whether you need this book soon to attend a religious event that might otherwise mystify you, or whether you're just curious about different ceremonies; this book is a marvelous... Read more
Published on September 14, 2010 by Michael Meredith
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for UUs, but better for the British
This book is a fascinating and mostly accurate look at the traditions and ceremonies of the dominant religions of the world. Read more
Published on July 31, 2010 by Timothy Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but not perfect
This book sets out to help people understand different religions, with an emphasis on the practical-how to behave at "religious occasions. Read more
Published on July 24, 2010 by Dave Schwartz
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for living in a multi-cultural society
I belong to a group with 55 members, who seem to embrace 55 faiths. I have had more than a few phone calls from friends, asking what they should expect at a ceremony of my faith. Read more
Published on July 14, 2010 by K. Varraso
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited by its UK perspective
I was happy to receive this book, as I'd like to learn more about the world, and of course how to behave in unfamiliar situations. Read more
Published on July 13, 2010 by Suz
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reference book
This book is a short, simple guide to the traditions and celebrations of various religions. The religions covered include: Roman Catholic, Protestant, (Russian) Orthodox... Read more
Published on July 1, 2010 by MommaMia
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice reference
The two dozen or so reviews posted here already aptly and accurately describe this book. It is a nicely-done primer on a large handful of the world's major religions covering core... Read more
Published on June 8, 2010 by John A. Suda
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