J. Dana Trent

Author of the interfaith memoir, Saffron Cross

Saffron Cross in the News

“I had become complacent in my Christianity,” said Trent, an ordained Baptist minister. “Now my religion and spirituality have become much more integrated in my life.”

Baptist-Hindu Couple Write How-To Book on Interfaith Marriage
Religion News Service, Bob Smietana, October 25, 2013

Q: How do you reconcile your church’s teachings on heaven, hell, and the afterlife with your husband’s very different beliefs? Do you hope/pray for his conversion to Christianity?

A: I have accepted Jesus as my personal savior and Christianity as my individual spiritual path. But I have also learned—in the most humble of ways—through mistakes, seminary, program ministries, chaplain and nonprofit work—that Jesus is not everyone’s chosen savior.

Ask an Interfaith Couple: Questions and Responses
Rachel Held Evans, October 1, 2013 and October 8, 2013

20 New Religious Books to Give This Holiday Season
Huffington Post, C. Christopher Smith, December, 3, 2013

Mentioned in: Children of a Not So Lesser God
Wall Street Journal, Naomi Schaefer Riley, November, 28 2013

The Love Story of an Unlikely Pair
Beliefnet, Angela Guzman, November 7, 2013

Love Conquers Faith (Video)
WRAL, Bill Leslie, October 4, 2013

“It’s difficult for me to deny the validity of the global traditions—given their rich history, scripture and most importantly their results,” she said. “The essential discernment is: does the faith path deepen the individual’s experience and relationship with God and their fellow humans? For me, that is the ultimate truth of religion.”

New Book Details Baptist/Hindu Marriage
Associated Baptist Press, Bob Allen, October 28, 2013

Dana is most in her theological element when she has ostensibly stepped outside of it. Her deepest insights into her relationship with God (and Fred) almost spring up underfoot as she moves, serves, and worships her way around the 20-acre Hindu monastery in northern California where Fred lived for two years as a celibate priest and student.

Review: Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk
Harmonist, Gopal dasa, October 1, 2013

“We are very fortunate to belong to two faith communities that are extremely progressive,” Trent said. “My church has welcomed Fred—he teaches Sunday School, we had our book opening there. The Hindu community has welcomed me, and we’ve had the support of our faith communities and families, surprisingly.”

Divinity School Grad Presents Memoir on Interfaith Marriage
Duke University Chronicle, Katie Becker, October 16, 2013

Trent’s book describes how she—a Baptist minister—met and fell in love with Fred Eaker, a practicing Hindu. The rapid increase in interfaith marriage poses a significant pastoral challenge for the Christian church. It’s important to remember that this is not the first time in which the Christian church has had to engage in pastoral and theological reflection on the nature of marriage and of marriage to those who are outside the household of faith.

A Hindu Monk and a Baptist Preacher Got Married
Juicy Ecumenism, Jeff Gissing, November 29, 2013

One of the most positive changes for me was that being married to a Hindu has actually enriched my Christian tradition. Faith and life are so integrated in Hinduism, and being married to Fred has forced me to do that more. One of the main ways has been vegetarianism. One of the main misconceptions about interfaith marriage has been that people will lose their own faith. I’ve found that the opposite is actually true. Being with Fred has made me ask more questions about my faith and it has deepened my spiritual journey. Vegetarianism is something that I do all day, every day, so it’s made me more mindful both of food and consumption in general.

So I Married a Hindu: A Q&A about “Saffron Cross”
Flunking Sainthood, Jana Riess, October 2, 2013

An Interview with Dana Trent and Fred Eaker on “Saffron Cross” and interfaith marriage (podcast)
Foundation on Religious Diplomacy, John W. Morehead, October 28, 2013

Saffron Cross invites us to reflect upon what it takes for love to thrive in an interfaith marriage, and one brave and devoted couple’s commitment to showing how the love between a husband and wife has an amazing potential to deepen love of God.

A Sexless Honeymoon?
Elephant Journal, Catherine Ghosh, December 20, 2013

4 Comments

  1. How will you or would you handle your kids’ faith? Obviously you would teach them about both.. But I’m curious as some parts of teaching both would be hard. For example, in the 10 commandments it says “thou shall not worship another God”.. How will you cross that bridge?

    • Rachel:

      Thanks so much for reading and for your comment.

      Fred and I don’t have children, but it’s a frequent and serious conversation in our household. Should we have a child, our hope would be to raise him/her in both Christianity and Hinduism. Many interfaith parents do this successfully, and Susan Katz Miller, author of Being Both, has chronicled their journeys.

      Per the first commandment, for me, the “God” of Fred’s Hindu faith is the same God of my Abrahamic faith. I call it “God with a capital G,” because when I am in Hinduism’s holy spaces, I feel the same Divine presence that I feel in my Baptist Church. Therefore, in terms of parenting, I hope that Fred and I could adequately convey this to our child.

      Again, Susan Katz Miller is the expert in the field of interfaith parenting. It’s difficult to imagine how things would unfold without having yet attempted them, but my hope is that we’d expose our child to how God (and God’s love) has manifested in many faith traditions.

      I hope this helps! Thanks again for your question.

      Best,
      Dana

  2. Hi Dana,

    Your story is beautiful! I’m so glad to be able to read about it!

    I wanted to know how you dealt with the possible social backlash or opposition that you may have faced ever since you have been part of this relationship (now, marriage)?

    I do, have so many questions on something like this because I am living through a phase in life not unlike yours. It does, however make me very happy to read your story!

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Apologies for my delay–as I hadn’t seen this in my comment bank waiting for approval!

      We’ve had much backlash since marrying in 2010 and publishing Saffron Cross in 2013. That said, all of the backlash has come from folks who don’t know us personally (but have read our story online). In a way this helps keep the hurtful comments at a distance, because they are not coming from our dearest friends and family. But, it’s still hard to deal with those who think your marriage (and interfaith dialogue) is unethical or “bad.”

      I’d love to learn more about your story and what, specifically, you’ve faced.

      What I’ve learned from the naysaying is that not everyone will agree with what Fred and I are trying to accomplish. But, if ONE couple is inspired by our story, or ONE friendship blossoms because someone was not afraid to lean in and ask questions about another person’s faith, then it’s all worth it! 🙂

      I hope this helps!

      Take good care!

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