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Recommended religious and spiritual books

Part 1 of four parts

Tentatively scheduled books
for 2016-SEP and OCT:

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Webmaster's note:

We feel that these books should be of interest to everyone:

  • Those who follow a conservative religious 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 -- above all -- 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. Taken as a group, they combat with reason the high levels of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, hatred and mistrust of Atheists, general pervasive and entrenched religious intolerance, etc. in the North American culture and the rest of the world.

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Previous months' recommendations

Current month's selection

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Note to those without a Kindle reader:

Amazon supplies a free Kindle reader application that is available in various versions, for Android phones, PCs, Macs, tablet, etc.:

  • Go to the Amazon web site at: https://www.amazon.com/

  • Go to the search bar at the top of the screen. Enter free reading app

  • There should be a "Free Kindle Reading App" link as the top selection customized to the device you are using.

Once you download it, you can buy ebooks from Amazon which are usually significantly cheaper than paperback or hardcover versons. And, if you download the app to your tablet or phone, you will be able to carry dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of books with you! No need to build additional book shelves!

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2016-September's selection

book cover

"Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians
Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior"

by Bart Ehrman

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
18.77 plus postage in Hardcover, $15.70 in Kindle format, or $21.95 in audible formats. .

Some book reviews:

“Ehrman provides an intriguing overview of memory studies and introduces readers to a variety of important pioneers and studies. ... Ehrman concludes that ‘the historical Jesus did not make history; the remembered Jesus did.’ An intriguing new angle on the well-worn field of ‘historical Jesus’ studies.” (Kirkus Review)

“An intriguing and entertaining take on the formation of the Gospels.” (Library Journal)

“With his typical humor, passion, and vivacity, Ehrman explores the ways that memory shapes, distorts, changes, and preserves the stories of Jesus passed along by the Christian community. Ehrman’s provocative book raises engaging questions that drive readers back to the sources of our information about Jesus.” (Publishers Weekly)

“One can see why Ehrman is so widely known and respected by so many people. Here Ehrman takes a completely different approach from his previous books. This book is a new approach to the study of the beginnings of Christianity.” (Association for Mormon Letters)

”Jesus Before the Gospels is a scholarly yet readable study of Jesus and the Gospels. Ehrman’s scholarship remains unmatched. Ehrman unveils several unexplored aspects of the life of Jesus and the Gospels. Everybody with an interest in Christianity and religion in general will find this fascinating book useful.” (Washington Book Review)

“With Jesus Before the Gospels, Bart D. Ehrman has written a thought-provoking book prompted by his interest as a historian in the various traditions about Jesus. Enjoyable to read ” (America Magazine)

Average rating in reviews by 38 Amazon customers: 4.3 out of 5 stars.

During 2016-APR, Amazon.com reported that this book was the #1 best seller in New Testament commentaries.

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2016-October's selection

book cover

"Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People," by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
17.80 plus postage in Paperback, $13.99 in Kindle format, or $22.99 in hardcover.

A sampling of Amazon.com book reviews:

“Unflinchingly honest (and funny)…You don't have to be religious to get something out of this book.”
-NPR’s “Best Books of 2015”

"[Bolz-Weber] is one of the most important Christian voices around -- not because she has come up with some catchy, easy new way to do faith, but because when talks about the destructive power of sin, as well as redemption and grace, she knows of what she speaks."
-Huffington Post

"Wickedly funny and painfully vulnerable, theologically nuanced and lyrically sonorous. [Bolz-Weber's] voice communicates the scandal of the Christ and the sacraments of his church with more force and vitality than most writers can hope to summon."
-The Christian Century

“Engaging and accessible…Bolz-Weber is clear-eyed about the personal travails faced by the marginalized and those without faith.”
–Booklist

"If Saint Augustine were to return to life and live among us now, he would be Bolz-Weber; and if his Confessions were to be written in 21st century rhetoric and style, they would be this book. Accidental Saints is what every Christian yearns to know is possible." 
-Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours and The Great Emergence 

About the Author:

Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is the au­thor of the New York Times best-selling memoir Pastrix. Nadia has been featured on CNN and in the Washington Post, Bitch Magazine, NPR’s Morning Edition, More Magazine, and the Daily Beast.

Average rating in reviews by 259 Amazon customers: 4.6 out of 5 stars. The book was on the New York Times list of bestsellers in 2015.

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This list of books continues in the next essay

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Originally written: 2008-MAR-16
Latest update: 2016-JUN-01
Assembled by: B.A. Robinson

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