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Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world’s cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in their beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest that sometimes it’s in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.

By vividly detailing the burgeoning effects of our cumulative presence, Countdown reveals what may be the fastest, most acceptable, practical, and affordable way of returning our planet and our presence on it to balance. Weisman again shows that he is one of the most provocative journalists at work today, with a book whose message is so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.

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Food, Inc.- DVD

This hard-hitting documentary charts the sad and sometimes scary state of affairs in America’s food industry. Director Robert Kenner presents interviews with farmers, ranchers, and chicken farmers who are increasingly being squeezed out by large and powerful corporations (like Monsanto who over the past decade has increased its share of the soybean market from 2% to 90 %). In addition to exerting control over the nation’s food supply, Big Agriculture has the clout to influence the regulatory agencies which are supposed to protect the consumer. On the one hand the public has more choices in the marketplace (bigger-breasted chickens and insect-resistant soybean seeds); on the other, they are getting sick from the food they eat as new strains of e coli cause illness in an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. In 1972, The FDA conducted 50,000 food inspections and in 2006, the number was down to a dismal 9,200.

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Food for Life

Food for Life draws on L. Shannon Jung’s gifts as theologian, ethicist, pastor, and eater extraordinaire. In this deeply thoughtful but very lively book, he encourages us to see our humdrum habits of eating and drinking as a spiritual practice that can renew and transform us and our world. In a fascinating sequence that takes us from the personal to the global, Jung establishes the religious meaning of eating and shows how it dictates a healthy order of eating. He exposes Christians’ complicity in the face of widespread eating disorders we experience personally, culturally, and globally, and he argues that these disorders can be reversed through faith, Christian practices, attention to habitual activities like cooking and gardening, the church’s ministry, and transforming our cultural policies about food.

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Fast Food Nation The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.

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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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A Candle Burns

A candle is burning yellow near the rail of an altar
In the church setting its flame will likely not falter

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Discoveries

Look at me! Check it out! I am grinning like a kid again!
I am one with the world in a flow of wonder!
Land, sea and sky join in my delight

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Part One

I consider myself a seeker. I’m seeking a version of Christianity that satisfies both the head and the heart. What I’ve found most often is one or the other. The “heart” churches seem to be so emotional that they are afraid of intellect and the “head” churches are frightened of emotion for fear that it lessens the intellectual.

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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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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Film Review By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) is a fisheries scientist working for the British government who is more interested in his research than anything else. His wife Mary (Rachael Stirling) has lost interest in their love relationship as she demonstrates by her post-sex comment, “That should do you for a while.” An ambitious financier, she has scheduled a six-week working stint in Geneva.

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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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Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History’s Best Teachers

Book Review By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Gary Neal Hansen is assistant professor of church history and theology division at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He is also an ordained Presbyterian minister with the Presbyterian Church USA.

Hansen commends the creativity of the Great Artist in giving human beings so many ways to pray. With energy and precision he has selected ten master teachers of prayer down through the centuries and matched each of them with a specific prayer method. The book is divided into four sections.

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