Gems about Henri Nouwen, and by Richard Rohr, together with books on prayer, monasticism, spiritual road maps, saints, and miraculous icons are all featured in this month’s latest arrivals.
Henri Nouwen and spiritual polarities : a life of tension, by Wil Hernandez.
This important book by Dr. Hernandez on the life and the creative genius of Nouwen reminds us that truth is often found in synthesising polar opposites, such as caring/confronting, presence/absence, and healing/woundedness. Dr. Hernandez provides insight into Nouwen, who showed us that contemplation and compassionate action belong together. There are contemplative exercises at the end of each chapter – opportunity to really digest the material. For those unfamiliar with Nouwen’s writings Seeds of hope, also held by the library, features excerpts from more than 20 published books and articles as well as selections from unpublished writings.
Immortal diamond : the search for our true self, by Richard Rohr.
“Rohr, a Franciscan priest and founding director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.Mex., leads a narrative excursion to the “True Self,” the core of character that lies like a diamond buried within. Writing for secular seekers, the author claims that individuals need to allow the false self to fall away in order to get in touch with the true self, allowing it to breathe and flourish. …God is always communicating with humans, but those who cling to ego and social position can’t hear these divine messages.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
How to pray when you’re pissed at God : or anyone else for that matter, by Ian Punnett.
“The emotion most people are wariest of is anger. Yet not expressing or at least acknowledging anger, we’re told, may lead to a host of illnesses, including depression. What to do? Bring it to the Lord in prayer, Punnett says. If that seems outrageous, it’s nevertheless prodigiously attested in the Bible, especially among the Psalms. Problem is, Punnett continues, contemporary Christians tend not to know that….” (drawn from Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics)
Transforming prayer : how everything changes when you seek God’s face, by Daniel Henderson.
“It’s no wonder so many people are discouraged with prayer. Instead of a genuine encounter with God, prayer is little more than a grocery list of requests. Maybe you, too, seek God’s hand rather than His face. How do you truly connect with God through prayer? For almost three decades, renewal leader and pastor Daniel Henderson has helped innumerable Christians transform their prayer life.” (drawn from the book jacket)
The Gods are broken! : the hidden legacy of Abraham, by Jeffrey K. Salkin.
“Although it involves biblical characters, the widely known story of Abraham’s smashing the idols in the shop of his father, Terah, is not in the Bible. Nevertheless, according to author Salkin (The Modern Men’s Torah Commentary), it is the forerunner of monotheism, the beginning of Jewish history, and may “be the most important Jewish story ever told.” … He examines the implications of the story for Christians and Muslims and its relationship to anti-Semitism. … ” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
Rituals of celebration : honoring the seasons of life through the wheel of the year, by Jane Meredith.
“In Rituals of Celebration, author Jane Meredith provides lyrical accounts of the most memorable rituals she’s organized, as well as how-to instructions for creating them. Inspired by Pagan, Druid, and Goddess traditions, the rituals are crafted to help us honor the changing seasons and to mark the important milestones of our personal journeys in a way that is relevant to contemporary life. Along with the rituals, you will discover craft projects that go hand-in-hand with each festival – perfect ideas for artistic expression whether you are practicing alone, with a group, or celebrating with children. With additional instructions for building an altar and other basic tasks, this guide includes everything you need to create celebrations that will resonate deeply within you, your family, and your life.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)
Finding the on-ramp to your spiritual path : a road map to joy and rejuvenation, by Jan Phillips.
“Recent decades have seen a steady rise in the number of individuals who have broken free from traditional religion and yet still want to live a life of faith. For those embarking on this quest, as well as those already on a spiritual journey, this book identifies the signposts of a spiritual path with a lucidity and succinctness rarely articulated by others. Interweaving story, poetry, and reflections on her own spiritual journey, Phillips elegantly answers the fundamental questions: what is the spiritual path? Who else is on it? And where does it lead? … And while the path itself is hardly new, this book provides an innovative and inspirational map of the landscape that typifies 21st-century spiritual consciousness.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
A silent action : engagements with Thomas Merton, by Rowan Williams.
“As the bond between Rowan Williams and Thomas Merton bears witness, not all friendships depend on being of the same generation. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams explores the mind and influence of Thomas Merton through essays on such topics as the connection Merton had with Paul Evdokimov, the Orthodox theologian, and Karl Barth, the Reformed theologian. … Williams shows that he and Merton share the regard that Christian life without a contemplative dimension is incomplete and, furthermore, that a contemplative life is accessible not only to those living in monasteries but to anyone who seeks an “interiorized” monasticism.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)
A nun always : the story of Teresa Grigolini, an Italian missionary sister in the Sudan, 1876-98, edited by Thérèse Pickard.
“This extraordinary but true story of Sister Teresa Grigolini, missionary in the Sudan from 1878, is both an uplifting heroic one and a dark and terrible one. … The personal and tragic life events of Teresa Grigolini occur at the time of the rise of the Mahdists against the long and oppressive rule of the Sudan by Egypt, supported by English colonial interests, the 1885 fall of Khartoum, and eventually the Battle of Omdurman in 1898, the decisive event in the re-taking of Khartoum and the Sudan by Horatio Kitchener’s Anglo-Egyptian army. In 1898 the remaining few of the missionary captives were freed after sixteen years in captivity, but life for Sister Teresa had changed forever. Her story has been pieced together from her own and other letters. These documents enchant, edify, shock and sadden, but ultimately leave the reader with spirits raised for the love, strength and commitment of a remarkable woman.” (drawn from www.wheelers.co.nz description)
Spectacular miracles : transforming images in Italy, from the Renaissance to the present, by Jane Garnett and Gevase Rosser.
“Spectacular Miracles confronts an enduring western belief in the supernatural power of images: that a statue or painting of the Madonna can fly through the air, speak, weep, or produce miraculous cures. Although discomforting to widely held assumptions, the cults of particular paintings and statues held to be miraculous have persisted beyond the middle ages into the present, even in a modern European city such as Genoa, the primary focus of this book…. Engaging with the history, anthropology, and visual culture of images and religion, Spectacular Miracles is a convincing study of the continuing power of faith and art.” (drawn from www.wheelers.co.nz description)
Francis of Assisi : a new biography, by Augustine Thompson.
“In this authoritative and engaging new biography, Augustine Thompson, a Dominican priest and church historian, sifts through the surviving evidence for the life of Francis using modern historical methods. The result is a complex yet sympathetic portrait of the man and the saint. … Unlike the saint of legend, this Francis never had a unique divine inspiration to provide him with rules for following the teachings of Jesus. Rather, he spent his life reacting to unexpected challenges, before which he often found himself unprepared and uncertain. The Francis who emerges here is both more complex and more conflicted than that of older biographies…” (drawn from the publisher’s description)