Public and private faith emerges as one theme across several of our beliefs arrivals in September, together with sacred design and architecture.
The Buddha walks into the office : a guide to livelihood for a new generation, by Lodro Rinzler.
Rinzler’s aim is to draw on Buddhist principles and recommend their use in the Western workplace. There are four parts : Hinayana: Live with Purpose, Mahayana: On-the-Job Compassion, Mahayana: Six Tools for Compassionate Leadership, and Vajrayana: Be Awake for Every Moment. Rinzler refers often to his own experiences as examples of how to apply Buddhist ideals. Easy to read, with plenty of practical suggestions for building strong teams for anyone looking to build a harmonious working environment.
The secret language of sacred spaces : decoding churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship around the world, by Jon Cannon.
How are sacred ideals expressed in architecture? From the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, to the Angkor Wat, Cambodia, to the Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China, the key strength of this book is the fantastic photos which illustrate how various religious traditions used design elements to express differing ideas about worship and beliefs, and how those changed over time (or in different locations) within the same faith tradition. A fascinating contribution and approach to comparative world religions. Another recent arrival focusing more on design than architecture is Gateway to the heavens : how geometric shapes, patterns and symbols form our reality, by Karen L. French.
Shigeru Ban : cardboard cathedral, by Andrew Barrie ; photographs by Bridgit Anderson & Stephen Goodenough.
Shigeru Ban is a world-class architect and expert in disaster-zone building – and now designer of the new transitional Christchurch cathedral, which is his largest post-disaster structure yet. Originally it was conceived as a temporary building, but the finished, now permanent structure seems set to become an enduring symbol of Christchurch’s revival. Includes essays, building plans and excellent photography.
The complete illustrated history of Catholicism & the Catholic saints : a comprehensive account of the history, philosophy and practice of Catholic Christianity and a guide to the most significant saints, by Tessa Paul ; consultant, Ronald Creighton-Jobe.
Despite it’s inclusive title, this book focuses solely on the Roman tradition, with no reference to any other, as one reviewer notes. However, even taking that into account, there is much to recommend if you want a one volume history of its rich history and church traditions, significant rituals, festivals and holy Days. Well illustrated.
The shamanism bible : all you ever wanted to know about shamanism, by John Matthews.
Shaman John Matthews shares his incomparable breadth of knowledge of shamanism and the significance of power animals. The book opens with a survey of the roots of shamanism among the Celtic, Siberian, Norse, Sami and Inuit cultures, as well as in Africa, the Americas, the Far East and Oceania. Chapter 2 covers the tools a shaman uses such as ritual, costume, dance and drumming, plant medicine or healing, while the last section covers practical topics such as making a shrine, or divinization.
Encounters with Jesus : unexpected answers to life’s biggest questions, by Timothy Keller.
“Jesus changed the life of every person he met in the Gospels, through powerful experiences and words that led them to unexpected and transforming answers to their big questions. These conversations can still address our questions and doubts today.” (publisher’s description) Studies several encounters reported in the Gospels, even Jesus’ mother.
Public Zen, personal Zen : a Buddhist introduction, by Peter D. Hershock.
As the title suggests, the author presents an overview of Zen from two different viewpoints: its “public” or institutional history and its “personal” or practiced history. The development of Zen as a religious institution in Japan is traced, together with how Zen has been practiced by both laypeople, clergy, and the ruling classes throughout its history. This is also a good study of the connections between a religion and the political, social, and economic institutions with which it lives.
Waking up : a guide to spirituality without religion, by Sam Harris.
Neuroscientist Harris argues from a growing body of scientific research that the idea of ‘self’, is both “an illusion and the primary cause of human suffering”. He argues that we need to transcend this, which will lead to a deeper sense of personal well-being, plus increased ethical behaviour towards others.
As it was in the days of Noah, by Jeff Kinley.
This takes a different tack to many others. It does not focus so much on the famous rainbow story we were told as a child, or recent archaeological excavations for the ark, or even Flood legends. The title is drawn from a quote by Jesus recorded in the gospels. The author attempts to compare contemporary society with Noah’s ancient times, and to explore this prophetic insight from Jesus.