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The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

A national bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us — whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed — he develops a portrait of the American way of eating.

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Beasts of the Southern Wild:

Film Review By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) resides with her charismatic and often crazy father Wink (Dwight Henry) in a rural backwoods patch of land in Louisiana called “the Bathtub”; this low land is separated from the rest of the Louisiana bayou by a huge levee. They live in outrageous poverty: each has a shack on stilts filled with memorabilia and junk accumulated over the years. Wink, an ardent believer in his right to live the way he wants, is convinced that they reside in “the prettiest place on Earth.” When push comes to shove, there’s no way that anybody’s ever going to force him to relocate.

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Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation

This book is a call to action for a new era of spirituality-infused activism. Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world.

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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Film Review By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

In pursuit of his art and his love of freedom, artist and activist AI Weiwei has been a pain in the neck for Chinese authorities. When they have shut one door, he opens another like the clever and indomitable cat in the opening of this astonishing documentary directed by Alison Klayman. Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, it also was featured as the opening night selection for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in 2012.

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Love Free or Die

Film Review

Gene Robinson was elected bishop in the rural Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. As Christendom’s first openly gay bishop he received a lot of publicity as “the most controversial Christian in the world.” Robinson’s faith and courage have been tested every step of the way; he’s had to endure death threats and the hatred of Bible-waving fundamentalists who see him as the spawn of hell.In this edifying and enlightening documentary, winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, director Macky Alston provides an up-close and personal look at Robinson and an overview of the struggles and challenges he has faced in his pioneering ministry of hospitality, reconciliation, and understanding.Robinson has not had an easy time of it.

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As My Own Soul: The Blessing of Same-Gender Marriage

Ever wonder why marriage for same-gender couples generates such passion? Why is it so important to gay people? And why is it felt as an attack on “traditional” marriage by others? Writing accessibly for the general reader, author Chris Glaser narrows it down—first to taboos around sexuality, then to taboos around the sacred.

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Evolution of the Word:

The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written

the full-text of the New Testament—and one of the only Bibles organized in chronological order and including explanatory annotations that give readers a more informed understanding of the Scripture

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The Lost Gospel of the Earth:

A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit and Politics

More timely and necessary than ever in the wake of recent calamities like Hurricane Katrina and the Republican war against the environment, The Lost Gospel of the Earth is legendary activist Tom Hayden’s eco-spiritual call for revamping traditional religious doctrine to reflect a greater environmental consciousness, which he believes is the only way to save the planet from catastrophe.

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Guns, Fear, and Power

Beyond the stats, beyond the grief, beyond the finger-pointing, beyond the “culture wars” lies the solution to eleven thousand deaths by gunfire per year in the United States.

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Imagining a Different World

I do not believe there is such a thing as a just war anymore, if there ever was one. Our weapons are too destructive and wars are seldom about territory or borders. They cannot be decisively won. Today wars are mostly about ideology and religion. They are about culture. Certainly we have not been winners in the last three wars which we have initiated and participated in. There are far more meaningful and sophisticated ways to deal with conflict today. We could do better if we developed different attitudes and skills at conflict resolution. It would also help if our leaders knew a little more about the history and cultures of the areas in which we get involved.

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