THIS JUST IN:
A Wiccan says the new Harry Potter movie has nothing to do with religion.
* * *
In my Kansas City Star column this weekend, I have highlighted some new books with religious themes. But because the religious book publishing industry cranks out so many titles these days, it's impossible to list all the interesting ones in one column.
So I'm going to use my blog this weekend as an extension of my column and list other books I didn't have space for in the newspaper.
* Radical Wisdom: A Feminist Mystical Theology, by Beveryly J. Lanzetta. An excerpt: "When women turn inward to their most authentic center, they cannot avoid the pain, despair and anguish of exploitation and domination."
* Frequently Avoided Questions: An Uncensorted Dialogue on Faith, by Chuck Smith Jr. and Matt Whitlock. An excerpt: ". . .the church has been pushed to the margin of society. What are we to make of this new geographical location? We are to make the most of it, knowing that everyone else on the margin is exactly the kind of person who has been invited to enter God's kingdom."
* Opus Dei: An Object Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church, by John Allen. The author, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, does his usual good job of detail and balance.
* Behond the House of the False Lama: Travels with Monks, Nomads and Outlaws, by George Crane. An engaging book about searching for life's meaning.
* The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason, by Sam Harris. An excerpt: "Without death, the influence of faith-based religion would be unthinkable. Clearly, the fact of death is intolerable to us, and faith is little more than the shadow cast by our hope for a better life beyond the grave."
* Everything You Always Wanted to Know about God (But Were Afraid to Ask), by Eric Metaxas. An excerpt: "Let's get one fact out of the way right off the bat. The very idea that someone would write a book with (this title). . .is patently insane."
* One Song: A New Illuminated Rumi, by Michael Green. A new look at this famous Persian mystic poet.
* From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective, edited by David Rhoads. Some help here in understanding the difficult book of Revelation in the New Testament.
* Beyond the Passion: Rethinking the Death and LIfe of Jesus, by Stephen J. Patterson. A professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis offers an updated look at what is central to the Christian religion.
* The Jezebel Letters: Religion and Politics in Ninth-Century Israel, by Eleanor Ferris Beach. An intriguing combination of scholarly research and fiction. And, by the way, that's the Ninth Century BCE.
* Living in God's Love, the New York Crusade, by Billy Graham. This is a collection of sermons the Graham gave at his 2005 evangelistic event in the Big Apple.
* A Love Supreme: A History of the Johannine Tradition, by Allen Dwight Callahan. A professor of New Testament at a seminary in Brazil offers insight into the community that produced the New Tesatment epistles of John and the Gospel of John.
* Nephilim: The First Human Clones, by Matthew Omaye Ajiake. Thoughts on the ethical and moral issues raised by cloning.
* Christ Present in Faith: Luther's View of Justification, by Tuomo Mannermaa. New thoughts about how to interpret the great reformer's thinking.
* Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, by Rob Bell. A kicky approach to thinking about the core of the religion.
* When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity, by O.M. Bakke. A church history professor helps us understand how the ancient world thought about children.
* Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting, by Holly W. Whitcomb. Some help here with spiritual disciplines.
* Through the Fire: Spiritual Restoration for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, by Rick Meyer. A useful resource in a time of family dysfunction and abuse scandals in the church.
* Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana, by Demetria Martinez. An excerpt: "Throughout the ages human beings have opened up the Bible and seen reasons to keep slaves, deny that Native peoples and blacks have souls, burn Jews at the stake, stone women, kill innocent civilians to advance national interests, deny women access to birth control -- the list goes on. Yet through it all, God has raised up individuals who have rescued the Word from those whose strange interpretations advance cruelty and injustice."
* Celebrating the Rest of Your LIfe: A Baby Boomer's Guide to Spirituality, by David Yount. Some thinking about how to make the most of retirement now.
* Step Up: A Vital Process for Spiritual Renewal, by Richard C. Meyer. Some fresh thinking about using and moving beyond 12-step programs.
* Worth Remembering: Irish-American Family Stories of Seven Generations, by James J. Cuddy. An Irish-Catholic writes about an immigrant family's survival.
* Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble, by Mitri Raheb. A moving account of the 2002 seige at the Church of the Nativity.
* How the Republicans Stole Christmas: The Republican Party's Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take it Back, by Bill Press. An opinionated look at the role of religion in politics today.
* The Voice of Our Congregation: Seeking and Celebrating God's Song for Us, by Terry W. York and C. David Bolin. Challenging thoughts on how to find your congregation's voice. York teaches music at Baylor and Bolin is a Baptist pastor in Waco.
* In LIfe and Death: The Shaping of Faith, by LeRoy H. Aden. Help from a Lutheran professor of pastoral theology in the major crises of our lives.
* What God Wants for Your LIfe, by Frederick W. Schmidt. A Episcopal priest's thoughts about finding God's will.
* Leading Lessons: Insights on Leadership from Women of the Bible, by Jeanne Porter. What we can learn from biblical women about how to lead.
* Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality, by Bradley P. Holt. A religion professor looks at the history of spiritual formation in various Christian traditions.
* LIfe Principles: Feeling Good by Doing Good, by Bruce Weinstein. This Knight Ridder syndicated ethics columnist shares thoughts about why keeping foundational principles in mind leads to a happier life.
* The Complete Idiot's Guide(s) to: The Gnostic Gospels, by J. Michael Matkin; Understanding Mormonism, by Drew Williams, and Jewish History and Culture, by Rabbi Benjamin Blech. Useful primers on three subjects, despite the annoying name of this book series.
* Ordinary Joy: Finding Fresh Promise in Routine Moments, by Joe Campeau. An excerpt: "It is the shocking surprise of God's love that God chooses to need us. . . . Think of it. The Creator chooses to need the created."
* The Church Enslaved: A Spirituality of Racial Reconciliation, by Tony Campolo and Michael Battle. A white and a black professor help us confront racism.
* Learning from the Tanya, Volume II, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. This offers help in understanding a book of moral teaching important in the study of Kabbalah, a Jewish mysticism.
* Religion, Politics and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire, by Mark Lewis Taylor. A seminary professor worries about the relation between conservative Christians and the government.
* Family Man: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson, by Dale Buss. An admiring look at a man who has risen to the top tier of evangelical leaders in the U.S.
* The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World, by Robin Griffith-Jones. An Anglican writer gives us yet another look at this foundational New Testament figure.
* From Science to God, by Peter Russell. A physicist and computer scientist writes about his journey to understand spiritual realities.
See my About page to find out how to read online what I've written for The Kansas City Star.
Today's religious holiday: Christ the King (Christian) (Nov. 20).