The essays collected here, prepared by a think tank of the Elijah Interfaith Academy, address the subject of religious leadership.
The subject is of broad relevance in the training of religious leaders and in the practice of religious leadership.
It is also germane to religious thought as such, where reflections on religious leadership occupy an important place.
What does it mean to be a religious leader in today's world?
To what degree are the challenges that confront religious leadership the perennial challenges that have arrested the attention of the faithful and their leaders for generations, and to what degree do we encounter today challenges that are unique to our day and age?
One dimension is surely unique and that is the very ability to explore these issues from an interreligious perspective and to consider challenges, opportunities and strategies across religious traditions.
Some challenges confront leaders of all traditions, and therefore unite them.
Studying the theme across six faith traditions-Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism-we recognize the common challenges to present day religious leadership. Chapters examine the nature of religious leadership in each tradition in relation to the goals of the tradition.
They then present a typology of leadership in each of the traditions.
These provide the background to a review of both systemic and contemporary challenges to religious leadership, and allow us to consider points of connection and intersection between the different faith traditions.
This leads us to a reflection on religious leadership for the future, including the role of interfaith engagement in the profile of the ideal future religious leader.