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Concise Scrooge

Progressive thinkers cannot avail ourselves of the false security fundamentalist believers bring to church Sundays and to the Bible daily. We can, however, compensate for our dismissal of literalism with an answerably intense commitment to metaphor. And metaphor proves especially powerful in narratives. Narrative masters like Dickens can move our hearts as they bring our fellow creatures vividly and credibly alive. But they can do more: they can provoke our intellects and excite our imaginations. We love a story, instinctively, but we go a step farther and subject the tale to closer scrutiny and more probing critical analysis. (That, incidentally, is why I find Luke’s story of the road to Emmaus one of the most affecting New Testament narratives. It’s an account of a real-life journey, peopled with thoughtful and feeling human beings, who move from grief to joyful insight.)

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A Review of John Shelby Spong’s “Unbelievable”

By Zachary Houle

Once in awhile, a book comes along that completely shatters your Christian world view… Unbelievable basically takes all you think you knew about the church and the Bible, and aims to turn everything on its head.

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Who was “Detroit’s” intended movie audience?

Fifty years ago, this summer an urban rebellion took place. One hundred and fifty-nine riots erupted in African American cities across the country. The civil unrest took place in cities like New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Birmingham, and Boston, to name a few. The worst riots that summer were in Newark, New Jersey and Detroit, Michigan.

The movie “Detroit” attempts to capture the eponymous riot of 1967.

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My Journey with “A Beautiful Silence”

Inspired by the films of Terrence Malick and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, the film tells the story of a young woman who is dealing with an intense case of spiritual doubt that has been building within her for quite some time. Plagued with nightmares, she arises early one morning, says a prayer by candlelight, and goes downstairs for a cup of tea and to quietly reflect on recent events. At this moment, we flashback to a worship service at her church. In a moment of frustration, she storms out, and is followed by a friend who confronts her and reminds her that doubt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing.

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Book Review – “The Three Secrets” of Aging by John C. Robinson

Review by Carol Orsborn, Editor in Chief, Fierce with Age

This month’s Digest is a special edition, dedicated for the first time solely to the work of one thought leader. I encountered Dr. John C. Robinson’s work on aging 5 years ago. Until then, I thought of spirituality as a solution to the challenges of aging. Over time, I grew to view aging as a spiritual path. But it was John Robinson’s books that opened the portal to my understanding of aging as a mystical experience, in and of itself.

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The Soul of Christmas

With a review by Frederic & MaryAnn Brussat, Spirituality & Practice

The Christ Child reminds us of the infinite possibilities of life available to us, and we celebrate that vitality in the season of good cheer, gift-giving, and community. Christmas also offers an opportunity to get in touch with our own mystical side, to recreate the Nativity in our hearts. “If we could but mix just a small measure of the child’s naïveté with an intelligent appreciation of the traditional Christmas symbols, myths, and images,” Moore asserts, “we might be surprised at the profundity.” The enchantment of Christmas is a taste of what is possible if human beings could really love each other. The infant in the manger symbolizes new life, the potential all human beings have to be a new kind of being dedicated to agape, a love of the other—whoever that “other” may be.

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Book Review: Prayers of Via De Cristo: Calls to Worship for Progressive Christians

by James Armstrong

  For the many churches that have asked us for a book with calls to Worship and other liturgies, we now have an excellent one. It is Prayers of Via De Christo. It is the product of …

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Book Review by Duane M. Gebhard: “Testing Traditions and Liberating Theology”

Val Webb, a lay theologian par excellence, set out to address a void in the realm of conversations about faith, praxis, and the written word. In her most recent book she not only enters the space that is so often left untouched with careful explanation and teaching, she also assists the reader to gain new understandings and find a voice in the dialogue of faith and life. Entering the book, one hears the invitation to put on earphones and be guided through the development of Christian theology from the time of the disciples through to followers of Christ in this day, as though one were being led through a museum of the development of artistic expression.

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Storyteller’s Storyteller: Joan Chittister

Book Review of

As storytellers go, Joan Chittister is one of the best! That she is also an extraordinary theologian who has an uncanny ability to communicate wisdom in ways that both enlighten and enchant her audiences is a wonder to behold. Here Sister Joan weaves two tales from one of her latest books “Two Dogs and a Parrot.” While I am throughly enjoying the book, I dearly wish that I could watch and listen to her embody more of these stories as only she can. Enjoy!

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Book Review: “Breakthrough” by John C. Robinson

John Robinson takes on a challenge that befuddles most of us in this interesting and even challenging book, Breakthrough. How does a scientist, or in this case a psychologist, deal with someone who has had a deeply, life changing spiritual experience, and yet has had no religious or spiritual experience himself. Most professional psychologist are not trained for this kind of thing, and Tom was no exception.

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Book Review: “Inside the Miracle” by Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for more than 40 years. Inside the Miracle is his 16th book. We have happily profiled him in S&P’s Living Spiritual Teachers Project. He focuses his writing and teaching on the process of inner transformation and the salutary dimensions of relationship. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages.

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Eliminating Satan and Hell – Affirming a Compassionate Creator-God

This book is an academic and exegetical critique that the ancient myths of Satan and Hell are no longer valid from a biblical review or from current science. The manuscript begins by looking at the nature of myths and concepts of evil gods and punishment in ancient Mesopotamian. It works systematically through early Hebrew myths of evil, life, death, and through Hebrew canon texts of hassatan (Satan) as one of God’s council and concept of death in Sheol

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Book Review by Noel Preston: “Testing Traditions and Liberating Theology”

Testing Traditions and Liberating Theology may well be the best volume to come from Val Webb’s prolific key pad – and that is quite a rap! Her primary audience is the inquiring lay person. In Val’s own words, she “wrote this book because I meet so many people that either know very little about the development of theology within their church tradition; or else have left their church because what they hear there makes little sense to them, or is even harmful to them. Like Richard Dawkins’ attacks on Christianity, they only know one version and have no idea that theology has actually changed considerably over the centuries and keeps on changing.(p.1)”

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Book Review by Bruce Mullan: “Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology”

“Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology is a little Aussie gem from our own pre-eminent lay theologian Dr Val Webb. Webb’s goal in this book is to unlock theological process from the rarefied academic world of the seminary and encourage everyone to do their own theological thinking, “rather than continually accepting the often dumbed-down scraps from the altar of others”.

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Book Review: Spiritual Defiance: Building a Beloved Community of Resistance

“This is Robin Meyers at his pastoral and prophetic best. Read it, and then for the love of God—RESIST!” –Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

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Fred Plumer’s Review and Forward for “Crazy Wisdom” by Tom Thresher

This book … is about doing something new and it is not going to be simple for a lot of people. It is about changing the way we learn, the way we think and the way we relate. It is about going deeper than most people are used to going in our competitive, goal driven society. The book is designed for those in small groups who sincerely want to dive more deeply into the profound wisdom of their traditions to make essential personal changes in their lives through a growing awareness.

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Book Review: “Crazy Wisdom: Tools for Evolving Consciousness”

What I love about the book is that Thresher writes it with a mystic’s consciousness. At times you can practically catch the twinkle in his eye as he writes. But make no mistake, he has attained a mastery, and the accompanying sense of humor, that only somebody who has tasted Spirit directly and knows in heart that all manner of things shall be well. The book is full of wisdom, insight, and most importantly very practical tools for transformation. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”

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Every Dinner Table Is an Altar: The “Cowbalah” of Jim Corbett

a review of SANCTUARY FOR ALL LIFE: The Cowbalah of Jim Corbett

Sanctuary for All Life hallows humans’ relationship to the earth in words that point to a realm beyond words, a Peaceable Kingdom beyond the thrall of kings and states, living a law that trumps all written codes because it is “in your mouth and in your heart” (Deuteronomy 30:14). To show the way, Corbett obstinately synthesized the disparate disciplines in which he had steeped himself, from analysis of the range-grasses of the Sonoran desert to dissection of the finer points of the medieval Jewish mysticism of Spain. But what else could we have expected from a Quaker cowboy with a masters in philosophy from Harvard?

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