Last night (4/24/06) and again today I have been in contact with Mary Ann Brussat who has been kind enough to dialogue with me concerning the inclusion of Richard Foster and Alan Jones among other teachers in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project. Mary Ann, who told me she is a Christian and a sister in Christ, along with Frederic is Director of These are the people behind the Living Spiritual Teachers Project which according to their website “spotlights people from different traditions we think you should meet on your journey.”

At the Site we are also told that “Frederic is a United Church of Christ clergyman with a journalism ministry, and Mary Ann is studying to become an interfaith minister. The Brussats are also members of the Mevlevi Sufi order that traces its inspiration to Rumi.” Unfortunately she was unwilling to answer the following two questions which I had asked her in regard to the Living Spiritual Teachers Project.

I wrote:

I wish to know from you 1) Did Richard Foster and Alan Jones contact you to become a part of this project and 2) Do they in fact know that they are part of this project? Please understand that if these men do know and/or are willing participants with your multifaith Living Spiritual Teachers Project it will affect how they are perceived in the larger Christian community. As such it becomes very important that everyone be made aware of these facts. By all means if these men do wish to be part of your Project they have every right to, but the people that they work with in the evangelical community also have a right to know whether they are doing so willingly, that’s all.

Although she flatly refused to answer my questions Mary Ann Brussat was gracious enough however to grant permission for me to post her response in its entirety and unedited in any way:

Dear Rev. Silva,

I am not going to answer your questions because I do not approve of the use to which I believe you will put my answers. If I answer that Richard Foster and Alan Jones are aware of the Living Spiritual Teachers Project, you, like Deborah Dombrowski, will conclude that if they do not ask to be removed from the Project, then they are “yoked” to unbelievers and heretics. If I answer that they were not aware of the Project, you will demand that they be informed (and you know as well as I do that Deborah contacted Foster’s office about this on March 28), and that they be given the opportunity to remove their names and if they don’t, you will say they are “yoked” to unbelievers and heretics. This is what I mean by saying you have an agenda, and the agenda is not getting out the truth or clearing anyone’s name. Your agenda is branding these fine servants of God as heretics.

My answer to you is very simple. The teachers in our Project are not unbelievers and heretics. They may not have the same beliefs as you do, but they are all respected and authenticated teachers in one of the world’s religions. is a multifaith site. We respect all religious traditions and the people who belong to them. We are not trying to create “one world religion” or say all the religions say the same thing. In fact, through our book reviews we point out the distinctions among religions.

For me to answer your questions about Richard Foster and Alan Jones would be for me to imply that there might be something wrong with being in a list with Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Matthew Fox, Andrew Harvey, and Harold Kushner. I will not insult these teachers by allowing myself to be used by you to support that implication.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Ann Brussat