Categorized | Bloom_Dan, Books & Poetry

Columnist who studied Shoah now writes about Pope

By Dan Bloom

Danny Bloom

Danny Bloom

CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan — Bill Tammeus is a former religion columnist for the Kansas City Star and the author of several books over the years, among them They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust, which he co-authored with Jacques Cukierkorn. He knows the Jewish community in Kansas City well and keeps himself busy in “retirement” writing a religion blog.

The Holocaust book tells the stories of Polish Holocaust survivors and their rescuers. The two co-authors traveled extensively in the United States and Poland to interview some of the few remaining participants before their generation is gone. The book tells many stories that have never before been made public before: gripping narratives of Jews who survived against all odds and courageous non-Jews who risked their own lives to provide shelter.

Now Tammeus has written a new book titled Jesus, Pope Francis and a Protestant Walk into a Bar: Lessons for the Christian Church, which he co-authored with the Rev. Dr. Paul T. Rock in Kansas City.

​I asked Tammeus the other day how the new book came about, and he shot me back an email in Internet time, from his office in Missouri to my office in Taiwan.

​”Paul Rock and I wrote this book after he had led a 2014 sermon series about Pope Francis because we sensed a public hunger to know not just more about this remarkable pontiff but also how his words and deeds might connect to Protestants and to people of other (and no) faiths,” Tammeus said.

​”The book in other words, is an invitation to understanding and dialogue, without which we get ignorance and bigotry.​”

​When I asked who the target audience was for the book, and if rabbis and Jewish temple leaders might benefit from the volume. he said it’s for everyone.

​”We see this small book as an excellent study guide primarily for Protestant and Catholic adults​​, of course,” he said.​​ “But it also can help people of any tradition open their eyes and hearts to learn about a path not their own. The goal is not conversion. The goal is to know and to be known, and we think our book helps with that.”

​I also asked about the semi-humorous title, and without missing a beat Tammeus told me: ​”The title came from a joke that Paul Rock used to open the sermon series. Where do such jokes come from? I think there’s a joke factory in some Third World country that exports them. But that’s just a guess.”

As you can see, Bill Tammeus is a very serious man who maintains a good streak of humorous mischief in his outgoing and ecumenical spirit as well.

*
Bloom is a freelance writer based in Taiwan.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

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Copyright 2015 San Diego Jewish World

One Response to “Columnist who studied Shoah now writes about Pope”

  1. Bill Tammeus says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Dan Bloom.
    –Bill Tammeus, Kansas City

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