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The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
The revealing "New York Times" bestseller examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the papal conclave process, and the history of one of the worlds oldest and most mysterious institutions For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican. His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life. Thavis takes readers from a bell tower high above St. Peters to the depths of the basilica and the saints burial place, from the politicking surrounding the election of a new pope and the ever-growing sexual abuse scandals around the world to controversies about the Vaticans stand on contraception, and more. Perceptive, sharply written, and witty, "The Vatican Diaries" will appeal not only to Catholics (lapsed as well as devout) but to any readers interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.
C. S. Lewis - A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Fifty years after his death, C.S. Lewis continues to inspire and fascinate millions. He was a towering intellectual figure, a popular fiction author, and an atheist-turned-Christian thinker. McGrath paints a definitive portrait of the life of C.S. Lewis.
Book of Genesis: A Biography
During its 2,500-year life, the book of Genesis has been the keystone to almost every important claim about reality, humanity, and God in Judaism and Christianity. And it continues to play a central role in debates about science, politics, and human rights. With clarity and skill, acclaimed biblical scholar Ronald Hendel provides a panoramic history of this iconic book, exploring its impact on Western religion, philosophy, science, politics, literature, and more. Hendel traces how Genesis has shaped views of reality, and how changing views of reality have shaped interpretations of Genesis. Literal and figurative readings have long competed with each other. Hendel tells how Luther's criticisms of traditional figurative accounts of Genesis undermined the Catholic Church; how Galileo made the radical argument that the cosmology of Genesis wasn't scientific evidence; and how Spinoza made the equally radical argument that the scientific method should be applied to Genesis itself. Indeed, Hendel shows how many high points of Western thought and art have taken the form of encounters with Genesis--from Paul and Augustine to Darwin, Emily Dickinson, and Kafka. From debates about slavery, gender, and sexuality to the struggles over creationism and evolution, Genesis has shaped our world and continues to do so today. This wide-ranging account tells the remarkable story of the life of Genesis like no other book.
May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga, and Changing My Mind
In the candid, contemplative memoir "May I Be Happy," revered yoga teacher Lee gives readers an unforgettable gift: the ability to focus on experiences as people encounter them, on the way to a lighter life. Applying the ancient Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation to herself, Lee learned that compassion is the only antidote to hatred, thereby healing her heart.
Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity
This fascinating examination of the earliest years of Christianity reveals sharply competing ideas about the significance of Jesus and his teachings and shows how the man we call St. Paul shaped Christianity as we know it today. 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 reveals that the familiar figures of James, Peter, and Paul sometimes disagreed fiercely over everything from the meaning of Jesus' message to the question of whether converts must first become Jews. 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. Paul and Jesus gives us a new and deeper understanding of Paul as it illuminates the fascinating period of history when Christianity was born out of Judaism and became the religion we recognize today.
The Pope's Jews: The Vatican's Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis
This revelatory account of how the Vatican saved thousands of Jews during WWII shows why history must exonerate "Hitler's Pope" Accused of being "silent" during the Holocaust, Pope Pius XII and the Vatican of World War II are now exonerated in Gordon Thomas's newest investigative work, The Pope's Jews . Thomas's careful research into new, first-hand accounts reveal an underground network of priests, nuns and citizens that risked their lives daily to protect Roman Jews. Investigating assassination plots, conspiracies, and secret conversions, Thomas unveils faked documentation, quarantines, and more extraordinary actions taken by Catholics and the Vatican. The Pope's Jews finally answers the great moral question of the War: Why did Pope Pius XII refuse to condemn the genocide of Europe's Jews?
Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
Brigham Young was a rough-hewn craftsman from New York whose impoverished and obscure life was electrified by the Mormon faith. He trudged around the United States and England to gain converts for Mormonism, spoke in spiritual tongues, married more than fifty women, and eventually transformed a barren desert into his vision of the Kingdom of God. While previous accounts of his life have been distorted by hagiography or polemical exposé, John Turner provides a fully realized portrait of a colossal figure in American religion, politics, and westward expansion. After the 1844 murder of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, Young gathered those Latter-day Saints who would follow him and led them over the Rocky Mountains. In Utah, he styled himself after the patriarchs, judges, and prophets of ancient Israel. As charismatic as he was autocratic, he was viewed by his followers as an indispensable protector and by his opponents as a theocratic, treasonous heretic. Under his fiery tutelage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defended plural marriage, restricted the place of African Americans within the church, fought the U.S. Army in 1857, and obstructed federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. At the same time, Young's tenacity and faith brought tens of thousands of Mormons to the American West, imbued their everyday lives with sacred purpose, and sustained his church against adversity. Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet, whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West.
The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning
An impassioned, erudite, thoroughly researched, and beautifully reasoned book from one of the most admired religious thinkers of our time that argues not only that science and religion are compatible, but that they complement each other--and that the world needs both. "Atheism deserves better than the new atheists," states Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, "whose methodology consists of criticizing religion without understanding it, quoting texts without contexts, taking exceptions as the rule, confusing folk belief with reflective theology, abusing, mocking, ridiculing, caricaturing, and demonizing religious faith and holding it responsible for the great crimes against humanity. Religion has done harm; I acknowledge that. But the cure for bad religion is good religion, not no religion, just as the cure for bad science is good science, not the abandonment of science." Rabbi Sacks's counterargument is that religion and science are the two essential perspectives that allow us to see the universe in its three-dimensional depth. Science teaches us where we come from. Religion explains to us why we are here. Science is the search for explanation. Religion is the search for meaning. We need scientific explanation to understand nature. We need meaning to understand human behavior. There have been times when religion tried to dominate science. And there have been times, including our own, when it is believed that we can learn all we need to know about meaning and relationships through biochemistry, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology. In this fascinating look at the interdependence of religion and science, Rabbi Sacks explains why both views are tragically wrong.
Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
New York Times-bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life.Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott's funny and perceptive writing about her own faith through decades of trial and error. And in her new book, Help, Thanks, Wow, she has coalesced everything she knows about prayer to these fundamentals.It is these three prayers -- asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating what we have that is good, and feeling awe at the world around us -- that can get us through the day and can show us the way forward. In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they mean to her and how they have helped, and explores how others have embraced these same ideas.Insightful and honest as only Anne Lamott can be, Help, Thanks, Wow is the everyday faith book that new Lamott readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will treasure.
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems
What does it mean to give church a try when you haven't really tried since you were twelve? At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress , Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, though her future felt uncertain. But when she starts dating a churchgoer, this skeptic begins a surprising journey to faith and love. Rhoda doesn't slide back into the dignified simplicity of the Mennonite church. Instead she finds herself hanging with the Pentecostals, who really know how to get down with sparkler pom-poms. Amid the hand waving and hallelujahs Rhoda finds a faith richly practical for life--just in time for some impressive lady problems, an unexpected romance, and a quirky new family. Does This Church Make Me Look Fat'is for people who have a problem with organized religion, but can't quite dismiss the notion of God, and for those who secretly sing hymns in their cars, but prefer a nice mimosa brunch to church. This is the story of what it means to find joy in love, comfort in prayer, and--incredibly, surprisingly--faith in a big-hearted God.
Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans
A new group of Americans is challenging the reign of the Religious Right Today, nearly one in five Americans are nonbelievers - a rapidly growing group at a time when traditional Christian churches are dwindling in numbers - and they are flexing their muscles like never before. Yet we still see almost none of them openly serving in elected office, while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and many others continue to loudly proclaim the myth of America as a Christian nation. In Nonbeliever Nation , leading secular advocate David Niose explores what this new force in politics means for the unchallenged dominance of the Religious Right. Hitting on all the hot-button issues that divide the country - from gay marriage to education policy to contentious church-state battles - he shows how this movement is gaining traction, and fighting for its rights. Now, Secular Americans--a group comprised not just of atheists and agnostics, but lapsed Catholics, secular Jews, and millions of others who have walked away from religion--are mobilizing and forming groups all over the country (even atheist clubs in Bible-belt high schools) to challenge the exaltation of religion in American politics and public life. This is a timely and important look at how growing numbers of nonbelievers, disenchanted at how far America has wandered from its secular roots, are emerging to fight for equality and rational public policy.
The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith
From her days of feeling like "a root beer among the Cokes"--Coca-Cola being a forbidden fruit for Mormon girls like her--Joanna Brooks always understood that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set her apart from others. But, in her eyes, that made her special; the devout LDS home she grew up in was filled with love, spirituality, and an emphasis on service. With Marie Osmond as her celebrity role model and plenty of Sunday School teachers to fill in the rest of the details, Joanna felt warmly embraced by the community that was such an integral part of her family. But as she grew older, Joanna began to wrestle with some tenets of her religion, including the Church's stance on women's rights and homosexuality. In 1993, when the Church excommunicated a group of feminists for speaking out about an LDS controversy, Joanna found herself searching for a way to live by the leadings of her heart and the faith she loved. The Book of Mormon Girl is a story about leaving behind the innocence of childhood belief and embracing the complications and heartbreaks that come to every adult life of faith. Joanna's journey through her faith explores a side of the religion that is rarely put on display: its humanity, its tenderness, its humor, its internal struggles. In Joanna's hands, the everyday experience of being a Mormon--without polygamy, without fundamentalism--unfolds in fascinating detail. With its revelations about a faith so often misunderstood and characterized by secrecy, The Book of Mormon Girl is a welcome advocate and necessary guide.
Evolution of the Word: Reading the New Testament in the Order It Was Written
In Evolution of the Word, bestselling author and Bible scholar Marcus J. Borg challenges us to read the Bible in an altogether new way.
Inside the Other Side: Soul Contracts, Life Lessons, and How Dead People Help Us, Between Here and Heaven
Psychic Medium Concetta Bertoldi Knows How it is: Heaven is Perfection. Life on Earth is the Tough Part.
When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God
How does God become and remain real for modern evangelicals? How are rational, sensible people of faith able to experience the presence of a powerful yet invisible being and sustain that belief in an environment of overwhelming skepticism? T. M. Luhrmann, an anthropologist trained in psychology and the acclaimed author of Of Two Minds, explores the extraordinary process that leads some believers to a place where God is profoundly real and his voice can be heard amid the clutter of everyday thoughts. While attending services and various small group meetings at her local branch of the Vineyard, an evangelical church with hundreds of congregations across the country, Luhrmann sought to understand how some members were able to communicate with God, not just through one-sided prayers but with discernable feedback. Some saw visions, while others claimed to hear the voice of God himself. For these congregants and many other Christians, God was intensely alive. After holding a series of honest, personal interviews with Vineyard members who claimed to have had isolated or ongoing supernatural experiences with God, Luhrmann hypothesized that the practice of prayer could train a person to hear God's voice-to use one's mind differently and focus on God's voice until it became clear. A subsequent experiment conducted between people who were and weren't practiced in prayer further illuminated her conclusion. For those who have trained themselves to concentrate on their inner experiences, God is experienced in the brain as an actual social relationship: his voice was identified, and that identification was trusted and regarded as real and interactive. Astute, deeply intelligent, and sensitive, When God Talks Back is a remarkable approach to the intersection of religion, psychology, and science, and the effect it has on the daily practices of the faithful.
Francis of Assisi: A New Biography
Thompson (history, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley) seeks to strip away the legendary anecdotes about Francis (1182-1226) and present a picture of the man himself. Academic and popular accounts almost all draw on the same set of stories, and even when they admit that the tales are probably not true, do not try to see past them. He privileges Francis' own writing over that of others, and sources from his own time over those from later generations, and accounts that do not portray him taking sides in ideological disputes that arose within the order after his death. The stages of his career are the penitent from Assisi, the primitive fraternity, expansion and consolidation, Francis returns home, rules and retirement, the way of the cross, and from penitent to saint. He includes a bibliographic essay for each chapter. Annotation Â©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ
In July 2008 a front-page story in the New York Times reported on the discovery of an ancient Hebrew tablet, dating from before the birth of Jesus, which predicted a Messiah who would rise from the dead after three days. Commenting on this startling discovery at the time, noted Talmud scholar Daniel Boyarin argued that #147;some Christians will find it shocking--a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology." Guiding us through a rich tapestry of new discoveries and ancient scriptures, The Jewish Gospels makes the powerful case that our conventional understandings of Jesus and of the origins of Christianity are wrong. In Boyarin's scrupulously illustrated account, the coming of the Messiah was fully imagined in the ancient Jewish texts. Jesus, moreover, was embraced by many Jews as this person, and his core teachings were not at all a break from Jewish beliefs and teachings. Jesus and his followers, Boyarin shows, were simply Jewish. What came to be known as Christianity came much later, as religious and political leaders sought to impose a new religious orthodoxy that was not present at the time of Jesus's life. In the vein of Elaine Pagels's The Gnostic Gospels , here is a brilliant new work that will break open some of our culture's most cherished assumptions.
Born Believers: The Science of Children's Religious Belief
From a noted developmental psychologist and anthropologist at Oxford University, this fascinating theory about the value of religious faith finds that we are all predisposed to believe in God from birth. We are all Born Believers , explains Oxford University's Professor Justin L. Barrett in this enlightening and provocative book on how human beings, across every culture, instinctively develop a belief in a divine power. It all begins in the brain. Infants, under the sway of powerful internal and external forces, make sense of their environments by imagining a creative and intelligent agent, a grand controller who makes the sun shine and the night fall. In the chaos of childhood, where so much is out of the child's control, this belief in a morally good creator can bring tremendous comfort and calm. A child's world is then filled with beings who intentionally act upon the environment, maintaining order. Summarizing scientific experiments conducted with children across the globe, Professor Barrett illustrates the ways human beings have come to develop complex belief systems about God's omniscience, the afterlife, and the immortality of deities. He shows how the science of childhood religiosity reveals, across humanity, a "Natural Religion," the organization of those beliefs that humans gravitate to organically, and how it underlies all of the major world religions, uniting them under one common source. For believers and non-believers alike, Barrett offers a compelling argument for the human instinct for religion, as he guides parents on how to effectively encourage children in developing a healthy constellation of beliefs about the world around them.
The True Icon: From the Shroud of Turin to the Veil of Manoppello
The Shroud of Turin has long been the most thoroughly investigated piece of cloth in the world. Bestselling author Badde dives into the rich and textured history of the Shroud and that other relic honored as a burial cloth of Christ--the Veil of Manoppello.
Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
In the critically acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God , Lauren F. Winner chronicled her sojourn from Judaism to Christianity. Now, in Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis , Winner describes how experiences of loss and failure unexpectedly slam her into a wall of doubt and spiritual despair: ?My belief has faltered, my sense of God's closeness has grown strained, my efforts at living in accord with what I take to be the call of the gospel have come undone.' Witty, relatable, and fiercely honest, Winner lays bare her experience of what she calls the ?middle? of the spiritual life. In elegant and spare prose, she explores why'in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety, loneliness, and boredom of her deepest questioning about where (or if) God is'the Christian story still explains who she is better than any other story she's ever known. Still is an absorbing meditation combining literary grace with spiritual wisdom. It is sure to resonate with anyone looking to sustain a spiritual life in the midst of real life.
Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation
A startling exploration of the history of the most controversial book of the Bible, by the bestselling author of Beyond Belief. Through the bestselling books of Elaine Pagels, thousands of readers have come to know and treasure the suppressed biblical texts known as the Gnostic Gospels. As one of the world's foremost religion scholars, she has been a pioneer in interpreting these books and illuminating their place in the early history of Christianity. Her new book, however, tackles a text that is firmly, dramatically within the New Testament canon: The Book of Revelation, the surreal apocalyptic vision of the end of the world . . . or is it? In this startling and timely book, Pagels returns The Book of Revelation to its historical origin, written as its author John of Patmos took aim at the Roman Empire after what is now known as "the Jewish War," in 66 CE. Militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome's occupation of Judea and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple. Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. Soon after, however, a new sect known as "Christians" seized on John's text as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds-Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies. In a time when global religious violence surges, Revelations explores how often those in power throughout history have sought to force "God's enemies" to submit or be killed. It is sure to appeal to Pagels's committed readers and bring her a whole new audience who want to understand the roots of dissent, violence, and division in the world's religions, and to appreciate the lasting appeal of this extraordinary text.
When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays
Ever since the 1981 publication of her stunning debut, Housekeeping , Marilynne Robinson has built a sterling reputation as a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, not only as a major American novelist (her second novel, Gilead , was awarded the Pulitzer Prize) but also a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. Her compelling and demanding collection The Death of Adam --in which she reflected on her Presbyterian upbringing, investigated the roots of Midwestern abolitionism, and mounted a memorable defense of Calvinism--is respected as a classic of the genre, praised by Doris Lessing as "a useful antidote to the increasingly crude and slogan-loving culture we inhabit." In When I Was a Child I Read Books she returns to and expands upon the themes which have preoccupied her work with renewed vigor. In "Austerity as Ideology," she tackles the global debt crisis, and the charged political and social political climate in this country that makes finding a solution to our financial troubles so challengin. In "Open Thy Hand Wide" she searches out the deeply embedded role of generosity in Christian faith. And in "When I Was a Child," one of her most personal essays to date, an account of her childhood in Idaho becomes an exploration of individualism and the myth of the American West. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our essential writers.
Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State and the Birtg of Liberty
A revelatory look at how Roger Williams shaped the nature of religion, political power, and individual rights in America. For four hundred years, Americans have wrestled with and fought over two concepts that define the nature of the nation: the proper relation between church and state and between a free individual and the state. These debates began with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by "reason of state"-i.e. national security-and its perceived "will of God" and the "ancient rights and liberties" of individuals. This is a story of power, set against Puritan America and the English Civil War. Williams's interactions with King James, Francis Bacon, Oliver Cromwell, and his mentor Edward Coke set his course, but his fundamental ideas came to fruition in America, as Williams, though a Puritan, collided with John Winthrop's vision of his "City upon a Hill." Acclaimed historian John M. Barry explores the development of these fundamental ideas through the story of the man who was the first to link religious freedom to individual liberty, and who created in America the first government and society on earth informed by those beliefs. The story is essential to the continuing debate over how we define the role of religion and political power in modern American life.
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion
From the author of "The Consolations of Philosophy" comes a deeply provocative and useful argument about how readers can benefit from the wisdom and power of religion--without having to "believe" in any of it.
Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power
This empowering resource engages women in an interactive exploration of the challenges and opportunities on the frontier of women's spiritual leadership.
Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor
This wry memoir tackles twelve different spiritual practices in a quest to become more saintly, including fasting, fixed-hour prayer, the Jesus Prayer, gratitude, Sabbath-keeping, and generosity.
Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World
A stirring call to move beyond religion for the guidance to improve human life on individual, community, and global levels--including a guided meditation practice for cultivating key human values Ten years ago, in his best-selling Ethics for a New Millennium , His Holiness the Dalai Lama first proposed an approach to ethics based on universal rather than religious principles. Now, in Beyond Religion , the Dalai Lama, at his most compassionate and outspoken, elaborates and deepens his vision for the nonreligious way. Transcending the mere "religion wars," he outlines a system of secular ethics that gives tolerant respect to religion--those that ground ethics in a belief in God and an afterlife, and those that understand good actions as leading to better states of existence in future lives. And yet, with the highest level of spiritual and intellectual authority, the Dalai Lama makes a claim for what he calls a third way. This is a system of secular ethics that transcends religion as a way to recognize our common humanity and so contributes to a global human community based on understanding and mutual respect. Beyond Religion is an essential statement from the Dalai Lama, a blueprint for all those who yearn for a life of spiritual fulfillment as they work for a better world.
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
There has never been a marriage book like THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE. Based on the acclaimed sermon series by New York Times bestselling author Timothy Keller, this book shows everyone-Christians, skeptics, singles, long-time married couples, and those about to be engaged-the vision of what marriage should be according to the Bible.
Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation
Patel (founder and executive director, Interfaith Youth Core, "a Chicago-based international nonprofit building the interfaith youth movement") is an Indian Muslim who grew up outside of Chicago. In this memoir, he explores the evolution of his own religious and cultural identity as he gradually came to reject anger at being excluded from mainstream American society in order to promote interfaith awareness with a focus on younger generations. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism
*A 2011 National Book Award Finalist* A spellbinding story of renunciation, conversion, and radicalism from Pulitzer Prize-finalist biographer Deborah Baker What drives a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont became Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam's argument with the West. A cache of Maryam's letters to her parents in the archives of the New York Public Library sends the acclaimed biographer Deborah Baker on her own odyssey into the labyrinthine heart of twentieth-century Islam. Casting a shadow over these letters is the mysterious figure of Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, both Maryam's adoptive father and the man who laid the intellectual foundations for militant Islam. As she assembles the pieces of a singularly perplexing life, Baker finds herself captive to questions raised by Maryam's journey. Is her story just another bleak chapter in a so-called clash of civilizations? Or does it signify something else entirely? And then there's this: Is the life depicted in Maryam's letters home and in her books an honest reflection of the one she lived? Like many compelling and true tales, The Convert is stranger than fiction. It is a gripping account of a life lived on the radical edge and a profound meditation on the cultural conflicts that frustrate mutual understanding.
Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
"This woman is a major hero of our time." --Richard Dawkins Ayaan Hirsi Ali captured the world’s attention with Infidel, her compelling coming-of-age memoir, which spent thirty-one weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Now, in Nomad, Hirsi Ali tells of coming to America to build a new life, an ocean away from the death threats made to her by European Islamists, the strife she witnessed, and the inner conflict she suffered. It is the story of her physical journey to freedom and, more crucially, her emotional journey to freedom--her transition from a tribal mind-set that restricts women’s every thought and action to a life as a free and equal citizen in an open society. Through stories of the challenges she has faced, she shows the difficulty of reconciling the contradictions of Islam with Western values. In these pages Hirsi Ali recounts the many turns her life took after she broke with her family, and how she struggled to throw off restrictive superstitions and misconceptions that initially hobbled her ability to assimilate into Western society. She writes movingly of her reconciliation, on his deathbed, with her devout father, who had disowned her when she renounced Islam after 9/11, as well as with her mother and cousins in Somalia and in Europe. Nomad is a portrait of a family torn apart by the clash of civilizations. But it is also a touching, uplifting, and often funny account of one woman’s discovery of today’s America. While Hirsi Ali loves much of what she encounters, she fears we are repeating the European mistake of underestimating radical Islam. She calls on key institutions of the West--including universities, the feminist movement, and the Christian churches--to enact specific, innovative remedies that would help other Muslim immigrants to overcome the challenges she has experienced and to resist the fatal allure of fundamentalism and terrorism. This is Hirsi Ali’s intellectual coming-of-age, a memoir that conveys her philosophy as well as her experiences, and that also conveys an urgent message and mission--to inform the West of the extent of the threat from Islam, both from outside and from within our open societies. A celebration of free speech and democracy, Nomad is an important contribution to the history of ideas, but above all a rousing call to action.
No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic state be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights? A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has earned international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions. In No god but God , challenging the "clash of civilizations" mentality that has distorted our view of Islam, Aslan explains this critical faith in all its complexity, beauty, and compassion. Contrary to popular perception in the West, Islam is a religion firmly rooted in the prophetic traditions of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Aslan begins with a vivid account of the social and religious milieu in which the Prophet Muhammad lilved. The revelations that Muhammad received in Mecca and Medina, which were recorded in the Quran, became the foundation for a radically more egalitarian community, the likes of which had never been seen before. Soon after his death, the Prophet's successors set about the overwhelming task of defining and interpreting Muhammad's message for future generations. Their efforts led to the development of a comprehensive code of conduct that was expected to regulate every aspect of the believer's life. But this attempt only widened the chasm between orthodox Islam and its two major sects, Shiism and Sufism, both of which Aslan discusses in rich detail. Finally, No god but God examines how, in the shadow of European colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile traditional Islamic values with the social and political realities of the modern world. With the emergence of the Islamic state in the twentieth century, this contest over the future of Islam has become a passionate, sometimes violent battle between those who seek to enforce a rigid and archaic legal code and those who struggle to harmonize the teachings of the Prophet with contemporary ideals of democracy and human rights. According to Reza Aslan, we are now living in the era of "the Islamic Reformation." No god but God is a persuasive and elegantly written account of the roots of this reformation and the future of Islamic faith. From the Hardcover edition.
Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom
Tradition has it that King Solomon knew everything there was to know--the mysteries of nature, of love, of God himself--but what do we know of him? Esteemed biblical scholar Steven Weitzman reintroduces readers to Solomon's story and its surprising influence in shaping Western culture, and he also examines what Solomon's life, wisdom, and writings have come to mean for Jews, Christians, and Muslims over the past two thousand years. Weitzman's Solomon is populated by a colorful cast of ambitious characters--Byzantine emperors, explorers, rabbis, saints, scientists, poets, archaeologists, trial judges, reggae singers, and moviemakers among them--whose common goal is to unearth the truth about Solomon's life and wisdom. Filled with the Solomonic texts of the Bible, along with lesser-known magical texts and other writings, this book challenges both religious and secular assumptions. Even as it seeks to tell the story of ancient Israel's greatest ruler, this insightful book is also a meditation on the Solomonic desire to know all of life's secrets, and on the role of this desire in world history.
Exploring Bible Prophecy from Genesis to Revelation: Clarifying the Meaning of Every Prophetic Passage
Here is an indispensable, all-in-one resource on the prophecies of the Bible! It’s all here—clear and concise explanations for the key Bible prophecies from Genesis to Revelation. Written by Bible scholars but created for everyday readers and Bible students, this volume makes it possible for users to expand their knowledge of prophecy in ways unmatched by other books. Among the notable features are& more than 500 easy-to-read pages of explanatory comments about the prophecies in God’s Word useful charts, diagrams, and time lines simple format for easy referencing helpful word definitions special attention to Bible passages that are particularly difficult or important Assembled by bestselling prophecy teachers Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, along with a team of highly qualified contributors, this is a must-have for every Christian library. Rerelease of The Popular Bible Prophecy Commentary.
Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
From the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" comes a hope and humor-filled plea to recover the most neglected hallmark of faith--a life filled with joy, laughter, and delight in God and with each other. 240 pp.
Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer
"At the very heart of God is the passionate disposition to be in loving fellowship with you. . . . From the human side of this equation it is meditative prayer that ushers us into this divine-human fellowship."Richard Foster, bestselling author and founder of Renovaré, writes these words as one who has experienced what they describe. And in this new book he will beautifully guide you in this transformational way, that you might come to know deeper fellowship with God.Weaving together quotes and stories from the lives of mothers and fathers of the faith as well as powerful encounters with God from his own life, Foster describes the riches of quieting your mind and heart in order to listen to and obey God more closely. Along the way, at perhaps his clearest, most practical best, he also provides the biblical teaching and step-by-step help you need to begin this prayer practice for yourself.The journey into meditative prayer is not easy, but it is essential. And, as Foster shows, it's possible, even in the midst of the noisy, often chaotic world we live in. Your soul can become a sanctuary where you fellowship with the very God of the universe, who knows you and loves you deeply. These pages point the way.
War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality
Two bestselling authors first met in a televised Caltech debate on "the future of God," one an articulate advocate for spirituality, the other a prominent physicist. This remarkable book is the product of that serendipitous encounter and the contentious-but respectful-clash of worldviews that grew along with their friendship. In War of the Worldviews these two great thinkers battle over the cosmos, evolution and life, the human brain, and God, probing the fundamental questions that define the human experience. How did the universe emerge? What is the nature of time? What is life? Did Darwin go wrong? What makes us human? What is the connection between mind and brain? Is God an illusion? This extraordinary book will fascinate millions of readers of science and spirituality alike, as well as anyone who has ever asked themselves, What does it mean that I am alive?