Once again, this selection covers a wide range – from the culture of Biblical times, to ethics, forgiveness and the latest from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Wisdom of compassion: stories of remarkable encounters and timeless insights
“An attendee at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s meetings all over the world and coauthor with him (The Wisdom of Forgiveness), Chan provides an insider’s account of the spiritual master’s teachings at venues large and small. “This is the Dalai Lama in context,” he writes, “live, unscripted, and at his most charismatic.” Encounters are arranged by theme: “Overcoming Adversity,” “Educating the Heart,” and “Compassion in Action.” … These inspiring dialogues communicate His Holiness’s worldwide appeal and essential commitment to compassion. (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
Jews and words, by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger.
“These four long essays – really more of a free-flowing conversation between the noted Israeli novelist and his daughter, a historian-focus primarily on the Jews as “a nation only by virtue of its texts,” from the Bible to the work of contemporary Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai – and the interpretations and argumentations that flow from them. The authors, secular Jews who are lovers of the Hebrew Bible, note that “Genesis, Isaiah, and Proverbs are our pyramids… our Gothic cathedrals… undemolished in the flow of time.” They look specifically at the role of “vocal women,” such as Eve and Lilith, in the Bible and biblical legends…. it will appeal to lay readers interested in a nonreligious Judaism based on contemporary readings of traditional and more modern Jewish texts. (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
The saint who would be Santa Claus : the true life and trials of Nicholas of Myra, by Adam C. English.
“Serving up a fresh look at St. Nicholas of Myra-of Santa Claus fame-English, (religion, Campbell Univ.; Theology Remixed: Christianity as Story, Game, Language, Culture) reexamines new evidence about the personal life and ministry of the saint whose acts of charity led to the legend of St. Nick…. Expertly weaving through the web of historical facts and legend, English does a solid job of fleshing out the life and ministry of this man who became a saint who still inspires today. This academic work is best suited for those who have knowledge of early church history. (drawn from Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics)
Fool me twice : fighting the assault on science in America, by Shawn Lawrence Otto.
“Otto (founder and CEO, ScienceDebate.org) provides the latest defense of science in the ongoing culture wars. From the space program to the public debates on evolution and global warming, Otto makes the case that postmodern ideologies like the “marketplace of ideas” and the equality of different “ways of knowing” have resulted in a devaluation of scientific knowledge in the media, the general public, and the political spheres. Politicians, journalists, the public, and scientists themselves all share the blame for the shrinking role science plays in public discourse and policy….. Although overly polemic at times, the arguments are eloquent and the sources rigorous and thorough. The information contained in the book is critical to an informed electorate and enlightened policy makers. (drawn from CHOICE review, courtesy of Syndetics)
Paul and Jesus : how the Apostle transformed Christianity, by James D. Tabor.
“Historians know almost nothing about the two decades following the crucifixion of Jesus, when his followers regrouped and began to spread his message. During this time the apostle Paul joined the movement and began to preach to the gentiles. Using the oldest Christian documents that we have – the letters of Paul – as well as other early Christian sources, historian and scholar James Tabor reconstructs the origins of Christianity. Tabor shows how Paul separated himself from Peter and James to introduce his own version of Christianity, which would continue to develop independently of the message that Jesus, James, and Peter preached. (drawn from the publisher’s description)
Not for happiness : a guide to the so-called preliminary practices, “plagiarised by” Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse.
“This stylish and wonderfully written guide to the so-called Preliminary Practises is not only very much written for and easily chewable by a western audience but also and most importantly is extremely profound and clear, all the way widening limited views and removing tons of misconceptions and misunderstandings about the Vajrayana path and Dharma practice in general. It is full of pith instructions suitable and fitting for this time and age Dharma practitioners. Every single Dharma practitioner interested in seriously engaging in the Vajrayana path should definitely take a good look at this timely masterwork by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.” (Amazon customer review)
The passionate Jesus : what we can learn from Jesus about love, fear, grief, joy and living authentically, by Peter Wallace.
“The author (Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul) is a gay Episcopal priest who looks at Christ through the lens of a Bible scholar. Knowing the text of the Bible is the key to knowing Jesus. “In all four gospels, strong and emotionally intense language dominates the Passion narratives,” Wallace writes. For the reader looking for a Bible study, the author goes deeply into the scriptures that convey a loving Christ, seeking to portray Jesus as a man with human characteristics, a Jesus who is vividly there in times of fear and grief and joy….This book will appeal to the reader looking for a deep Bible meditation.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
Ethics, by Julian Baggini ; series editor, Simon Blackburn.
The Big Questions series is designed to let renowned experts confront the 20 most fundamental and frequently asked questions of a major branch of science or philosophy. In ‘The Big Questions: Ethics’ Julian Baggini, one of Britain’s best-known philosophers, condenses complex, contemporary issues of right and wrong into 20 key questions. He examines how we can start to answer them, what they might mean to us and how they influence the way we choose to live our lives. The ideas debated include : Can it ever be right to kill? Should euthanasia be legal? Do animals have rights? (drawn from goodreads.com)
Let it go : forgive so you can be forgiven, by T.D. Jakes.
This book explores forgiveness as an idea and at the same time offers specific and clear actions for readers who seek to apply the idea in their daily lives. Offenses are a part of life, he says. But conflicts can be resolved and relationships do have a future, if we learn how to forgive. No matter how great or small the injustice, Jakes shows how the matter can be put behind you for the sake of a better tomorrow if you can “Let It Go.”
A cultural handbook to the Bible, by John J. Pilch.
“Pilch, author of The Cultural Dictionary of the Bible (1999), provides Bible scholars and readers with another insightful collection of articles that helps place the Bible in a historically accurate cultural context. …Pilch has a knack for making potentially dry material lively and interesting, using pop-culture references like Garrison Keillor and Hollywood musicals to illustrate a particular point in a relevant and entertaining way. While this is first and foremost a reference book for those seeking to broaden their understanding of the Bible using current knowledge of Middle Eastern cultures, it may prove to be a draw for history buffs as well. (Drawn from Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics)
Unapologetic : Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense, by Francis Spufford.
“A book written for atheists. I was giggling all of the way through. A very sweary book but I think the language helps make his point. For once we have a defence of faith which is predicated not on nit picking arguments but rather on how it feels to believe, and how it feels right to the author. I identify with him a lot. I love the honesty of his writing. He has no pat answers. I’m sure many traditional Christians will be offended by this book. And that is sad. Couldn’t put it down…” Goodreads customer review.
Unleash! : breaking free from normalcy, by Perry Noble.
Why is it that we trust Jesus with our salvation but never fully trust him with our lives? God longs to unleash his full measure of power in our lives to fill us with passion and purpose. But too often the things of our past-fear, anger, bitterness, worry and doubt-hold us back. Rather than focusing on the reality of who Christ is and what he has done for us, we allow ourselves to be identified by all the things we aren’t. … Join Perry on this journey as he digs into the major barriers holding people back and shows how Jesus calls and equips his followers to experience a life most of us never dreamed possible. (drawn from the publisher’s description)