Review from Publishers Weekly God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Mirabai Starr. Monkfish
$15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-9833589-2-3
Religion in Review - February 29, 2012
"She writes about the three Abrahamic religions as a woman in love, not as a tenure-hungry prof."
Maybe if Starr (Dark Night of the Soul) were less of a storyteller, her style would be less invitational, but she writes about the three Abrahamic religions as a woman in love, not as a tenure-hungry prof. The result, bearing the brilliance of her surname, plaits a strong braid from the essences of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: God is love. Starr’s inter-spiritual quest (a birthright, she asserts) follows the same formula in each chapter, covering topics such as suffering, silence, and the feminine.
Each begins with quotations from the three religions’ holy books and seekers; then come scenarios that define the theme in a warm second-person voice; for example, in the chapter “Welcoming the Stranger,” Starr, who teaches world religions, describes doors you open--or do not. After knowledgeable and humbling descriptions, she lays out the religions’ teachings and profiles practitioners, for example, Christianity’s Dorothy Day, Judaism’s Baal Shem Tov, and the Sufi ecstatic Rabia Al-Adawiyya. In the non-fluffy afterword, Starr nudges travelers on the three paths to follow her sure-footed approach.
"In the introduction, Starr explains that Mary is 'the quintessential Mother, the face of the Holy One, fierce protector and gentle consoler.' Mary is also a “sympathetic companion” to those who suffer. Each of Starr’s reflections does justice to these claims. Brief and easy to read and comprehend, her words provide the necessary naming of the longing, grief, and questions that spring from pain. She speaks to Mary as she would to any deeply loved and trusted mother, spiritual guide, or companion. Reading these reflections, especially aloud, evokes a feeling of spontaneity and recollection, as if the Divine has provided the words we all long to have when unspeakable grief descends on us. Mingling a sense of hope and joy, Starr deftly expresses the paradox of meaning that accompanies the shock of loss."
Reviewed by Donna Erickson Couch in Presence, the bulletin for Spiritual Directors International
"Mirabai's poetry reaches into the depth of the womb to rebirth a consciousness of the Great Mother effectively joining Mary the Mother, Mary the lover and other female figures (Isis, Kali, Quan Yin, the Shekhina, Sophia, both archetypes and living women of the past) into a larger than life stream of love that include compassion, truth, and comfort. The magic of her work makes surrender into the reality of being a woman and feeling womanly rich and rewarding. Her poems evoke emotions that are shared by all women in the deepest recesses of the psyche."