Recommended religious and spiritual books
Tentatively scheduled books
for the upcoming months
We feel that these books should be of interest to everyone:
Those who follow a conservative Christian belief system should find the books helpful when proselytizing. It is important to know what Christians from other faith traditions, religious liberals, and secularists believe and why they believe it.
Agnostics, Atheists, and other secularists should find the books helpful because they may increase their understanding of their own beliefs, and those of various organized religious traditions.
Everyone may benefit from these books because they combat with reason the high levels of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, hatred and mistrust of Atheists, religious intolerance, etc. in the North American culture and the rest of the world.
Marcus J. Borg, "Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power - And How They Can Be Restored."
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Amazon.com's book description:
"Modern Christians are steeped in a language so distorted that it has become a stumbling block to the religion, says internationally renowned Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg. Borg argues that Christianity’s important words, and the sacred texts and stories in which those words are embedded, have been narrowed by a modern framework for the faith that emphasizes sin, forgiveness, Jesus dying for our sins, and the afterlife. Here, Borg employs the “historical-metaphorical” method for understanding Christian language that can restore for us these words of power and transformation. For example,
- Redemption: now narrowly understood as Jesus saving us from sins so we can go to heaven, but in the Bible it refers to being set free from slavery.
- Savior: now refers to Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins, but in the Bible it has a rich and wonderful variety of meanings having nothing to do with the afterlife.
- Sacrifice: now refers to Jesus’s death on the cross as payment for our sins, but in the Bible it is never about substitutionary payment for sin.
In Speaking Christian, Borg delivers a language for twenty-first-century Christians that grounds the faith in its deep and rich original roots and allows it once again to transform our lives."
"This book could start a revolution. Borg cracks open the encrusted words of faith and pops them into fresh language that people can understand and trust. The last time this happened, we got the Reformation." (Anne Sutherland Howard, Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society)"
"'Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity… When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means. (CNN)"
"Ranks with his earlier volumes as efforts to renew and rebuild Christianity by healing long-standing wounds and welcoming millions of alienated men and women.” (Read the Spirit)
"A primer to help correct misunderstandings and help those unfamiliar with Christian language become fluent. . . . An important figure on topics from the historical Jesus to religion and culture, he challenges Christians to live for God’s justice in the world and not just focus on the next world." (Englewood Review of Books )
HarperOne, (2011). Available in hardcover, Kindle, --- and after 2013-MAR-12 -- in paperback versions, Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Amazon.com's book description:
For all the Christians facing conflict between Jesus’ words and their own lives, for all the non-Christians who feel they rarely see Jesus’ commands reflected in the choices of his followers, Red Letter Revolution is a blueprint for a new kind of Christianity, one consciously centered on the words of Jesus, the Bible’s 'red letters.'
Framed as a captivating dialogue between Shane Claiborne, a progressive young evangelical, and Tony Campolo, a seasoned pastor and professor of sociology, Red Letter Revolution is a life-altering manifesto for skeptics and Christians alike. It is a call to a lifestyle that considers first and foremost Jesus’ explicit, liberating message of sacrificial love.
Shane and Tony candidly bring the words of Jesus to bear on contemporary issues of violence, community, Islam, hell, sexuality, civil disobedience, and twenty other critical topics for people of faith and conscience today. The resulting conversations reveal the striking truth that Christians guided unequivocally by the words of Jesus will frequently reach conclusions utterly contrary to those of mainstream evangelical Christianity.
If the Jesus who speaks to you through the Gospels is at odds with the Christian culture you know, if you have ever wanted to stand up and say, “I love Jesus, but that’s not me,” Red Letter Revolution will prove that you are not alone—you may have been a Red Letter Christian all along.
This book, by a young and an elderly Christian, will help you decide how we Christians could change the world if we took the ‘red letter’ words of Jesus literally and seriously.” —President Jimmy Carter
“In Red Letter Revolution the uncompromised truth of Jesus' teachings are given voice by two modern-day Christian leaders who do more than preach this Good News. They walk the talk and lead the way.” —Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“I started reading this book and couldn't stop. . . . Thank you, Tony and Shane. Thank you for this book. May the movement spread around the world.” —Abuna Elias Chacour, Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Galilee
“Red Letter Revolution is an adrenaline-producing conversation with prophetic bite.” —Eugene H. Peterson, author of The Message Bible
“I cannot over-emphasize or exaggerate the richness of this book.” —Phyllis Tickle, author of Emergence Christianity
“In this courageous and well crafted book, we have a return to the core message of the Gospel from two Christians who first tried to live it themselves—and only then spoke." —Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation
“Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo are two of the most significant prophetic voices in the Christian world.” —Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine (tikkun.org)
“This is a must-read book for anyone who is seeking to take Jesus’ call on their lives seriously.” —Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine
“If you ever wished you could eavesdrop on a conversation with two of the world's most interesting and inspiring Christians, just turn to page one.” —Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker (brianmclaren.net)
Amazon.com's book description:
There is a strange silence in churches about biblical and theological scholarship. A huge knowledge gap exists between the pulpit and the pew. Consequently, many Christians cannot reconcile their belief system with modernity. Paul Jones explores seven secrets that jeopardize the nature and purpose of the church. These secrets, he asserts, must be exposed to restore the church to vigor and vitality.
Amazon.com's book description:
A Convenient Hatred chronicles a very particular hatred through powerful stories that allow readers to see themselves in the tarnished mirror of history. It raises important questions about the consequences of our assumptions and beliefs and the ways we, as individuals and as members of a society, make distinctions between "us" and "them," right and wrong, good and evil. These questions are both universal and particular.
Polebridge Press' book description:
Progressive Christianity is not new. It has been around for two hundred years or more. But the anger and disappointment of those who have encountered it only recently is palpable: 'Why weren't we told?' This international collection of cameos and articles on the themes and issues addressed by progressive Christianity is a response to that cry.
Some editorial reviews:
- Sarah Hulcy: "A wonderful, biting, incisive 'Cultural Arsonist's Literal Reading of The Bible' in plain English, with terrific descriptions of the Old Testament God and the New Testament God (somewhat different individuals...); very tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic and pointed, dedicated to Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Paine, both of whom would, I believe, really enjoy this book! I know I did. Having a sense of humor is required to enjoy this book."
- Bill Baker: "This is hilarious! Joe Wenke gives a nod to Mark Twain as he looks at the Bible with fresh eyes and with the pen of thinking comic. I know there will be those who will get out their pitchforks and light their torches and see Joe Wenke out, but as for me - someone who went to a Quaker high school and had religion each year and was one course shy of having religion be part of a dual major as an undergraduate, Joe Wenke's YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING is refreshing and should be a part of any library, especially a church library.
- Christopher Rudolph of The Advocate: "Born the oldest of 11 children in a strict Catholic household, comedian Joe Wenke, a self-proclaimed 'trisexual,' dissects the Bible and asks questions that many never thought or dared to ask. Example: If the Wise Men were so wise, why did they get lost? How big was Noah's Ark and who cleaned up after the animals? [It's a] radically funny book that examines how ludicrous parts of the Bible are when taken literally. Bonus, ...transgender model Gisele graces the cover."
Neil J. Kressel, "The Sons of Pigs and Apes: Muslim Antisemitism and the conspiracy of Silence"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $18.67 plus postage in paperback & $16.17 in Kindle format
Some editorial reviews:
- "A lucid, compelling, and much-needed account of how the crucial issue of antisemitism in the Muslim world is currently being minimized, downplayed, obfuscated, and in many cases completely ignored in much of the Western world. This book should be required reading for decision makers, opinion molders, and not least ‘experts’ in academia, who have been particularly complicit in this policy of silence."—Robert S. Wistrich, director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and author of A Lethal Obsession and From Ambivalence to Betrayal
- “All religions and cultures suffer from sources that preach hate against the ‘other.’ Throughout history some have, tragically, practiced what their sources preached, while some have sought to dismiss or even counteract the hateful words of their sources. In this book, Neil Kressel shows how extremists within Islam, many in leadership roles, have exploited some of their hateful sources to preach and practice a virulent form of antisemitism. Read this book and judge for yourself.”—Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion
- “While parts of this book make me uncomfortable, I must admit that it represents, rather sadly, what many of my coreligionists think.”—Khaleel Mohammed, Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies, San Diego State University
- “Kressel handles one of the hottest topics in the world carefully, calmly, and coolly. He explains the dangers of Muslim antisemitism while destroying the many excuses for it that are so often offered—and shaming those in the Muslim world or in the West who downplay these modern forms of the oldest, and one of the bloodiest, hatreds in world history.”—Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
Originally written: 2008-MAR-16
Latest update and review: 2013-APR-15
Author: B.A. Robinson