Arguments for and against God, or same sex relationships, both feature in this month’s arrivals to the library collection.
Rastafarian children of Solomon : the legacy of the Kebra Nagast and the path to peace and understanding, by Gerald Hausman.
“Hausman came to know Jamaica from the “inside out,” developing deep friendships with an intriguing cast of Rastas, who trace their lineage to King Solomon, “the wisest man on earth.” … Rastafarian spiritual wisdom, recounted here in authentic Jamaican patois, emphasizes equality: an unwavering faith and hope in the holy spirit that lives in each human being. As followers of the Kebra Nagast-the African gospel excised from the King James version of the Bible-these Rasta “old ways” are epitomized by a statement from Jesus: “According to your faith, be it unto you.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
Bible, gender, sexuality : reframing the church’s debate on same-sex relationships, by James V. Brownson.
*Starred Review in Booklist* “In an outstanding presentation of academic scholarship to general readers, Brownson, a New Testament professor, does indeed, as the subtitle avers, reframe biblical debate about same-sex relationships. … we discover the scriptures’ wisdom in the presence of new questions and points out the shortcomings of both traditional and revisionist positions on the Bible and homosexuality. …Out of rigorous inspection, then, Brownson establishes that what the Bible condemns is same-sex abuse, and that the moral logic that applies to abuse doesn’t speak to the committed, loving, consecrated same-sex relationships we see today. Demanding focused but not labored reading, this strikes to the heart of the Bible-versus-homosexuality fracas.” (drawn from Booklist courtesy of Syndetics)
Astrology and cosmology in the world’s religions, by Nicholas Campion.
“… This new volume reviews a mixed bag of world literature. Many of his sources are themselves interpretations. He touches upon texts that bear on origins, stars, climatological phenomena, navigation, and just about anything else that relates to peoples’ apprehension of the sky. Campion packs the cultures of whole continents into single chapters, juxtaposing living belief systems, such as many of those in India, in one chapter, with those of ancient Babylon in the next chapter. The book is crammed with information, occasionally punctuated by interpretation or analysis. …. Summing Up: Recommended. Public and general libraries.” (drawn from Choice, courtesy of Syndetics)
The Gospel according to Bob Dylan : the old, old story for modern times, by Michael J. Gilmour.
“Since the early 1960s, music fans have found Bob Dylan’s spirituality fascinating, and many of them have identified Dylan as a kind of spiritual guru. This book examines Dylan’s mystique, asking why audiences respond to him as a spiritual guide.” (Syndetics summary)
Kingdom of fools : the unlikely rise of the early church, by Nick Page.
“Fools. Rebels. Ignorant peasants. That’s how the Roman world saw the first Christians. Led by fishermen, tax collectors and renegade Pharisees, the first Christians shunned power and welcomed the poor and uneducated. Roman commentators mocked their upside-down values, but the apostle Paul – himself a Roman citizen, and a Pharisee to boot, affirmed that ‘God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.’ Its followers were persecuted and its leaders killed, yet this ragged collection of lowly tradesmen, women, slaves – and a smattering of turncoat high-born Jews – created a movement that changed the world. How did this happen? …” (Drawn from Synetics summary)
Understanding Taoism : origins, beliefs, practices, holy texts, sacred places, by Jennifer Oldstone-Moore.
“Understanding Shinto provides a succinct, authoritative and accessible introduction to one of the great religious traditions. The book is organize around nine key themes: Origins and Historical Development, Aspects of the Divine, Sacred Texts, Sacred Persons, Ethical Principles, Sacred Spaces Sacred Time, Death and the Afterlife, and Society and Religion. Each of these themes is supplemented by extracts from or summaries of historical texts with an author commentary that explains the significance of each piece or places it in context…” (Syndetics summary)
Finding the mind : a Buddhist view, by Robin Cooper.
“How does Buddhism view consciousness? This approachable introduction considers the nature of the mind, asking questions about the Buddhist search for the “I” that gazes out on the world and experiences it.” (Syndetics summary)
The narrow way : a memoir of coming out, getting clean and finding Buddha, by Chris Lemig.
A personal memoir of Chris Lemig who finds “sanity and healing in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and without looking back, sets off on an inspired pilgrimage to India and Nepal. The Narrow Way is the harrowing and sometimes beautiful story of a man who lost his mind only to find it again in a strange new religion, in a strange new place, halfway across the world.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)
Dreaming, by Barbara A. Holmes.
“Dreaming is an ordinary practice that weaves the mystery of consciousness into everyday life. On any given night, we can experience lucid visions, nightmares, or prophetic dreams that invite us to see the world differently. Christians are betrothed to a God who dreams. As the book of Genesis unfolds, we find God busily untangling the chaos in the cosmos. …. This book connects Christian traditions and dream stories to our everyday lives so that we might engage the mysteries of life” — Publisher description.
God : a story of revelation, by Deepak Chopra.
“In Deepak Chopra’s powerful, groundbreaking, and imaginative new work, a unique blend of storytelling and teaching, the New York Times bestselling author explores the evolution of God. By capturing the lives of ten historical prophets, saints, mystics, and martyrs who are touched by a divine power, Chopra reveals a riveting portrait of a constantly changing God. …Tearing at our hearts and uplifting our souls, “God” leads us to a profound and life-altering understanding about the nature of belief, the power of faith, and the spirit that resides within us all.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)
The God argument : the case against religion and for humanism, by A. C. Grayling.
“In his 31st book, the eminent English philosopher re-examines the arguments for and against God and falls firmly in the camp of the nonbelievers. There is not a lot of new ground covered here – Kant, Descartes, Hume and Locke all fall under the microscope, and Grayling has intelligently tackled religious belief in a long list of other books, including The Good Book (2011). … Until Grayling and other atheist writers recognize that religious believers, too, have brains that can be appealed to and must also be reached not only with emotion, his book and others like it are just more preaching to the atheist choir.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
The Pope’s last crusade : how an American Jesuit helped Pope Pius XI’s campaign to stop Hitler, by Peter Eisner.
“Draws on new archival research to examine Pope Pius XI’s effort to reject Nazism, discussing how he enlisted the assistance of John La Farge, a virtually unknown American Jesuit, to craft a papal encyclical condemning Hitler’s campaign against the Jews” (Syndetics summary) “This engrossing look behind the scenes of the Vatican at a pivotal moment in world history will appeal to history buffs.” (drawn from Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics)