From time to time this year I've reviewed or at least taken note of books in which I thought you might have some interest.
One of my favorite recent books, Unapologetic, by Francis Spofford, is reviewed here.
And don't miss The Healing Gospel, by Derek Flood, reviewed here.
The Myth of Persecution, by Candida Moss, is pretty provocative and intriguing, too. I reviewed it here.
John L. Allen Jr. of The National Catholic Reporter issued The Catholic Church: What Everyone Needs to Know this year, and I reviewed it here.
One of the more beautiful and touching books I read this year was Stations of the Heart, by Richard Lischer of Duke Divinity School. I reviewed it here.
There were many others in 2013, but one only indirectly related to the field of faith was Richard Lawrence Miller's amazing four-volume series called Lincoln and His World. I sat down with Miller earlier this year and talked with him about Lincoln's religion. You can find that conversation here.
And now for brief mention of some new ones:
* Drawn to Freedom Today: Christian Faith Today in Conversation with the Heidelberg Catechism, by Eberhard Busch. The Heidelberg Catechism was written in 1563 and is included in the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) still today. The author, a German theologian in the Reformed Tradition, also has written extensively about Karl Barth.
* Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible, by Debbie Blue. Jesus said to consider the birds of the air, and that's just what this author and pastor does in this engaging read. You may never again heard a bird inadvertently smash into a window in your house without thinking, as Debbie Blue does, that it's some kind of terrible disaster.
* Beyond the Possible, by Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani. This is the story of the amazing and inspiring Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco by two people intimately connected with it.
* Radical Jesus: A Graphic History of Faith, edited by Paul Buhle. A comic book exploration of Jesus and what his vision for society was.
* Your Divine Fingerprint: The Force That Makes You Unstoppable, by Keith Craft. The author is founder and lead pastor of Elevate Life Church in Frisco, Texas.
* Luminous: Living the Presence and Power of Jesus, by T. David Beck. The author is lead pastor of the Sanctuary Covenant Church in Sacramento.
* God: A Story of Revelation, by Deepak Chopra. We have here this popular author's take on the evolution of ideas about God.
* Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, by Shirley Hershey Showalter. For people interested in the Anabaptist world and how some of its members negotiate modernity, this memoir will be enlightening.
* The Seven Paths: Changing One's Way of Walking in the World, by the Anasazi Foundation. This is a poetic effort to move people from the path of "me" to the path of "we."
* The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America, by Candy Gunther Brown. The author teaches religious studies at Indiana University. She raises lots of issues here having to do with holistic healing methods.
* The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential Self-Healing, by Bernie S. Siegel. A new look at making people whole by this popular retired surgeon.
* Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, by Alice Walker. This book contains new poems from the author of The Color Purple.
* Finally, I'm sure I don't need to remind you (but will) that my last book, They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust, co-authored by Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, is available. If you want a copy autographed by both of us, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll tell you how we can arrange that.
All royalties from this book are going to Holocaust-related charities so you can feel good about buying a dozen copies a week for the rest of your life and giving them all away.
Well, all but one to keep for yourself.
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OK. Just for fun this weekend, here's a little cartoon video taking note of the fact that because Hanukkah is earlier than usual this year and Thanksgiving later than usual, they overlap. The opening of the video says it's approved for all audiences. But no doubt that doesn't include the humor-impaired.
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P.S.: Next weekend in the Kansas City area you have the opportunity to hear an Episcopal priest and interfaith advocate talk about Christian-Muslim relations. The Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler will preach and speak several times at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, 123rd and Antioch, in Overland Park, Kan. For details, download this pdf flier: Download Paul-Gordon Chandler Poster