Book Review: Sacred Ground

Published on: June 1, 2014

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There are particular books that speak profoundly to a reader’s heart, more often than not because that heart resonates with the heart of the writer. In my case, the book Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America by Eboo Patel resonates deeply.

This is the book I want my children to read, the book I want my friends to read, and the book I want my spiritual community to read. Why? Because the message delivered is one I believe can change our world—starting in our own country.

Patel is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that “brings together young people of different religious and moral traditions for cooperative service and dialogue around shared values.” He is a man with a mission to teach a diverse world of people how to live together on one planet. I found his book captivating.

The author invites us into numerous stories: about the media’s influence on our perspectives, about groups that have suffered prejudice in early America, about how one man can make a difference, about seminary students and the importance of learning the distinction between concept and application. It’s meaty and rich, full of names and situations you will recognize.

The most important thing Patel does is reframe our country and its purpose. He made me feel proud to be an American at a time when polarization and politics have left me skeptical about the future of our nation. “Sacred Ground” is the perfect name for what is being offered—a fresh and inspiring perspective of the American melting pot and its immense value in our world.

Addressing our 21st century culture and its current challenges, the author suggests that “the great fault line in the world is not between Americans and Arabs or Muslims and Christians. It is between the moderates of all traditions and the extremists who belong to only one—extremism.”

No Pollyanna, Patel brings heart to what he shares, exploring the pain that drives us to change, as well as the rationale for such change. I highly recommend reading Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America. And when you are done, pass it on to a friend.

Ahriana Platten
Spiritual Leader at Unity in the Rockies

Rev Dr Ahriana Platten serves Unity Spiritual Center in the Rockies, Colorado Springs, CO. She leads the Ambassador Advisory Committee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, produces “In Good Faith,” a weekly newspaper article read by 120,000 people, and hosts a radio show of the same name.

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