The Rev. J. Dana Trent is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and professor of World Religions and Critical Thinking at Wake Tech Community College. An ordained Baptist minister and former hospital chaplain, she has been featured on Time.com, Religion News Service, Religion Dispatches, as well as in Sojourners and The Christian Century.
Dana is the award-winning author of books on holistic wellness and multifaith spiritual practices: One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic's Guide to Christian Meditation, For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community, and Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk. Her fourth book, Dessert First: Beginning with the End in Mind, releases in September 2019 from Chalice Press.
Dana is a certified group fitness instructor and teaches for the YMCA. She and her husband, Fred, are longtime vegetarians and live in Raleigh, North Carolina, with their orange tabby cat.
"Dana Trent puts a human, and often humorous, face on the growing reality of interfaith marriage. From her struggles to become a vegetarian to her Hindu husband's efforts to understand prayer, Trent's account reveals an east-meets-west partnership that succeeds in mutual respect and love."
–Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less
"J. Dana Trent takes an exceptional story and makes it somehow universal. By turns funny, endearing, challenging and illuminating, Saffron Cross describes the interfaith future of our global village.
–Susan Katz Miller, author of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions
in One Interfaith Family
“J. Dana Trent's remarkable memoir is a compelling exploration of love at the edge of spirit. This story points toward a revolution in brand-name religion that may be a hallmark of America's religious landscape in the not-too-distant future. I heartily recommend you read this book.”
—Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro
Award-winning author, poet, liturgist
Director, One River Foundation
"Saffron Cross is a heartfelt, beautiful story of an already faithful Christian being pulled closer to Christ through the most unlikely teacher. This book has the capacity to make you yearn for a life in which Jesus really is at the center as you journey through a budding romance, the crowded streets of India, and a nearby temple where you may find yourself bowing to a strange (but faithful) altar, as well."
–The Rev. Dr. Donna Claycomb Sokol, Blogger and Pastor, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
"Ordained Baptist minister J. Dana Trent engagingly uses her own experience (including both eharmony and spirituality) to inform and enrich the lives of others. This is a wonderful lesson for living!"
–Lucy Daniels, PhD, psychologist, author, and Guggenheim Fellow
“An articulate, seasoned author, Dana Trent's writing style is engaging and her memoir descriptive. On almost every page, one finds deep truths colorfully and effortlessly conveyed through everyday adventures. Here is a person who really understands the nonsectarian and pluralistic component of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, not merely on an intellectual level but through real-life experience. Trent’s work is a gift that will be cherished for generations.”
–Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa), author of 31 books on Vaishnavism, including Christ and Krishna: Where the Jordan Meets the Ganges
Saffron Cross was a stimulating, and joyous adventure that I could barely put down. I devoured its tasty contents in two sittings and wanted more. It is truly a sincere, painfully honest, account that is sure to charm readers. Considering Dana’s background as a Baptist minister, I found her encounter with Gaudiya Vaishnava theology and practice especially courageous, proving that by love, sincerity, and intense prayer, we can understand that which is beyond both material reasoning and religious formularies.
Like every good story, Dana’s journey with her husband to find spiritual unity in diversity was a struggle, and yet their success together in honoring both faith traditions demonstrates the grace of God, the pilgrim’s journey. This book can encourage others who embark on an interfaith marriage, revealing the universality of the One Power and God of all, reminding us that we will notice what we focus on with faith, either disparities or harmony.
–Karnamrita Das, Bhakti practitioner, spiritual teacher, hope broker, and author of Give to Live
"As a multiracial democracy, America is only a teenager. As a multifaith society, we're just a toddler. I'm deeply grateful for my Baptist sister Dana, who loves Jesus with all her heart and also loves her Hindu husband. We need stories like this one to help us imagine who we might become. The good news of this book is the hope that Christians can know Jesus better by loving the spiritual stranger next door."
–Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, author of Strangers at My Door