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Religion

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

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American Grace is a major achievement, a groundbreaking examination of religion in America.

Unique among nations, America is deeply religious, religiously diverse, and remarkably tolerant. But in recent decades the nation's religious landscape has been reshaped.

America has experienced three seismic shocks, say Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In the 1960s, religious observance plummeted. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, a conservative reaction produced the rise of evangelicalism and the Religious Right. Since the 1990s, however, young people, turned off by that linkage between faith and conservative politics, have abandoned organized religion. The result has been a growing polarization--the ranks of religious conservatives and secular liberals have swelled, leaving a dwindling group of religious moderates in between. At the same time, personal interfaith ties are strengthening. Interfaith marriage has increased while religious identities have become more fluid. Putnam and Campbell show how this denser web of personal ties brings surprising interfaith tolerance, notwithstanding the so-called culture wars.

American Grace is based on two of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on religion and public life in America. It includes a dozen in-depth profiles of diverse congregations across the country, which illuminate how the trends described by Putnam and Campbell affect the lives of real Americans.

Nearly every chapter of American Grace contains a surprise about American religious life. Among them:

- Between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith;

- Roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives;

- Young people are more opposed to abortion than their parents but more accepting of gay marriage;

- Even fervently religious Americans believe that people of other faiths can go to heaven;

- Religious Americans are better neighbors than secular Americans: more generous with their time and treasure even for secular causes--but the explanation has less to do with faith than with their communities of faith;

- Jews are the most broadly popular religious group in America today.


American Grace
promises to be the most important book in decades about American religious life and an essential book for understanding our nation today.

American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country

American Prophets: The Religious Roots of Progressive Politics and the Ongoing Fight for the Soul of the Country

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From one of the country's most respected religion reporters, a paradigm-shifting discussion of how the Religious Left is actually the moral compass that has long steered America's political debates, including today.

Since the ascendancy of the Religious Right in the 1970s, common wisdom holds that it is a coalition of fundamentalist powerbrokers who are the "moral majority," setting the standard for conservative Christian values and working to preserve the status quo.

But, as national religion reporter Jack Jenkins contends, the country is also driven by a vibrant, long-standing moral force from the left. Constituting an amorphous group of interfaith activists that goes by many names and takes many forms, this coalition has operated since America's founding -- praying, protesting, and marching for common goals that have moved society forward. Throughout our history, the Religious Left has embodied and championed the progressive values at the heart of American democracy--abolition, labor reform, civil rights, environmental preservation.

Drawing on his years of reporting, Jenkins examines the re-emergence of progressive faith-based activism, detailing its origins and contrasting its goals with those of the Religious Right. Today's rapidly expanding interfaith coalition -- which includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other faiths -- has become a force within the larger "resistance" movement. Jenkins profiles Washington political insiders--including former White House staffers and faith outreach directors for the campaigns of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton--as well as a new generation of progressive faith leaders at the forefront today, including:

  • Rev. William Barber II, leader of North Carolina's Moral Mondays and co-chair of the nationwide Poor People's campaign
  • Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women's March
  • Rev. Traci Blackmon, a pastor near Ferguson, Missouri who works to lift up black liberation efforts across the country
  • Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice lobby and the "Nuns on the Bus" tour organizer
  • Native American "water protectors" who demonstrated against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock
  • Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop
  • An exciting reevaluation of America's moral center and an inspiring portrait of progressive faith-in-action, American Prophets will change the way we think about the intersection of politics and religion.

    American Quran

    American Quran

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    At a time when the United States was involved in two wars against Islamic nations, American-born artist Sandow Birk wanted to understand the Qur'an as it is, and always has been intended: a universal message to humankind. But to do so, he first needed to comprehend what Islam's holiest book meant to an American living in the twenty-first century. Indeed, how has the Qur'an related to us, as Americans, in this life, in this time?

    In an attempt to answer his own question, Birk embarked on the most ambitious work of his career. Following in the grand traditions of ancient Arabic and Islamic artists, he began hand-transcribing the entire Qur'an as was done in centuries past--abiding by the traditional prescriptions as to the colors of ink, the formatting of the pages, the size of margins and illuminations of page headings and medallions marking verses and passages. He then took each sura and set it against a backdrop from everyday American life, one that reflected his renowned skate-surf ascetic.

    Even before the first images of what became known as the American Qur'an began appearing in public, in 2009, veteran art critics were concerned about its reception. While Birk wasn't illustrating the Qur'an itself, the pairing of Islam's holiest text with scenes from contemporary American life seemed adventuresome, given the climate of the times. The project, however, was not only welcomed by the Muslim community but also celebrated as an ambitious and valuable undertaking (New York Times). At the same time, many saw it as taking part in an ancient tradition, one that, according to Yale University professor Zareena Grewal, eschewed the irony and satire that have become the knee-jerk impulse of so many Western artists.

    Now appearing in full for the first time ever, this lavishly designed volume--containing all 114 suras--melds the past with the present, East with the West like nothing before it. The result, hailed by Reza Aslan as a great favor, not only to Muslims, but also to Americans, is one of the most original art books to appear in decades.

    Americas Prophet

    Americas Prophet

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    Bruce Feiler's New York Times bestsellers Abraham, Walking the Bible, and Where God Was Born brilliantly explored the roots of faith. With America's Prophet, Feiler looks at Moses and the essential role the prophet has played in our nation's history and development. Bruce Feiler's most fascinating and thought-provoking book to date, America's Prophet delves deeply into how the Exodus story and America's true "Spiritual Founding Father" have inspired many of the most important figures and defining events in this country's history--from the Mayflower Pilgrims to the Civil Rights movement--and how Moses can provide meaning in times of national crisis, even today.
    Analects

    Analects

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    One of the most influential books in human history, in a revelatory new translation

    The book that the Chinese have returned to repeatedly for reflection, renewal, and validation of their own views, The Analects was compiled by the disciples of Confucius, China's earliest teacher and moral thinker, from his remarks and his conversations with rulers, political operators, and people he happened to meet. It laid the foundation of the Chinese idea of what is moral and what is politically viable, what is a good government and who has integrity.

    Featuring both the English and Chinese texts, this new translation, by one of the pre-eminent scholars of Confucius, draws on the most recent excavated manuscripts and centuries of scholarship to illuminate the historical context of Confucius' teachings, explaining who the many local figures referenced are, and navigating a rich tradition of commentaries. The result is a map of Confucian thought that brings us as close as possible to experiencing Confucius as his followers might have 2,500 years ago.

    For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

    Analects of Confucius Everman's Library Hardcover

    Analects of Confucius Everman's Library Hardcover

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    Confucius is one of the most humane, rational, and lucid of moral teachers, concerned not with arcane metaphysics but with practical issues of life and conduct. What is virtue? What sort of life is most conducive to happiness? How should the state be ruled? What is the proper relationship between human beings and their environment?

    In this classic translation of The Analects by Arthur Waley, the questions Confucius addressed two and a half millennia ago remain as relevant as ever.

    Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

    Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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    Anam Cara is a rare synthesis of philosophy, poetry, and spirituality. This work will have a powerful and life-transforming experience for those who read it. --Deepak Chopra

    John O'Donohue, poet, philosopher, and scholar, guides you through the spiritual landscape of the Irish imagination. In Anam Cara, Gaelic for soul friend, the ancient teachings, stories, and blessings of Celtic wisdom provide such profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death as:

  • Light is generous
  • The human heart is never completely born
  • Love as ancient recognition
  • The body is the angel of the soul
  • Solitude is luminous
  • Beauty likes neglected places
  • The passionate heart never ages
  • To be natural is to be holy
  • Silence is the sister of the divine
  • Death as an invitation to freedom
  • Anarchy Evolution

    Anarchy Evolution

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    "Take one man who rejects authority and religion, and leads a punk band. Take another man who wonders whether vertebrates arose in rivers or in the ocean, is fascinated by evolution, creativity, and Ice Age animals. Put them together, what do you get? Greg Graffin, and this uniquely fascinating book." --Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

    Anarchy Evolution is a provocative look at the collision between religion and science, by an author with unique authority: UCLA lecturer in Paleontology, and founding member of Bad Religion, Greg Graffin. Alongside science writer Steve Olson (whose Mapping Human History was a National Book Award finalist), Graffin delivers a powerful discussion sure to strike a chord with readers of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion or Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great.

    In this passionate polemic, Graffin argues that art and science have a deep connection. He describes his own coming-of-age as an artist and the formation of his naturalist worldview over the past three decades. Anarchy Evolution sheds new light on the long-standing debate on religion and the human condition. It is a book for anyone who has ever wondered if God really exists.

    Anatomy of the Spirit

    Anatomy of the Spirit

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    Encoded within your body, teaches Caroline Myss, is an energy system linking you directly to the world's great spiritual traditions. Through it, you have direct access to the divine energy that seamlessly connects all life. On Anatomy of the Spirit, Myss offers a stunning picture of the human body's hidden energetic structures, while revealing its precise spiritual code and relationship to the sacred energy of creation.

    Our most revered wisdom traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism, hold in common essential teachings about seven specific levels of spiritual development, the stages of power in life. These seven great truths also grace the human body as an energetic system, a spiritual compass pointing the way to the divine. By honoring this inborn code, you can learn to see the symbolic blocks within your energy centers and their correlations with your health, relationships, and spiritual development.

    Richly interwoven with research, examples, and self-diagnostic guidelines, Anatomy of the Spirit will take you to the heart of the spiritual life and beyond.

    Ancient Israel

    Ancient Israel

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    To read the books of the Former Prophets in this riveting Robert Alter translation is to discover an entertaining amalgam of hair-raising action and high literary achievement. Samson, the vigilante superhero of Judges, slaughters thousands of Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. David, the Machiavellian prince of Samuel and Kings, is one of the great literary figures of antiquity. A ruthless monarch, David embodies a life in full dimension as it moves from brilliant youth through vigorous prime to failing old age.

    Samson and David play emblematic roles in the rise and fall of ancient Israel, a nation beset by internal divisions and external threats. A scattering of contentious desert tribes joined by faith in a special covenant with God, Israel emerges through the bloody massacres of Canaanite populations recounted in Joshua and the anarchic violence of Judges. The resourceful David consolidates national power, but it is power rooted in conspiracy, and David dies bitterly isolated in his court, surrounded by enemies. His successor, Solomon, maintains national unity through his legendary wisdom, wealth, and grand public vision, but after his death Israel succumbs to internal discord and foreign conquest. Near its end, the saga of ancient Israel returns to the supernatural. In Elijah's fiery ascent to heaven many would find the harbinger of a messiah coming to save his people in their time of need.

    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions

    Ancient Sins . . . Modern Addictions

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    About the Contributor(s): R. Scott Sullender is Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is a licensed psychologist in California and a Diplomate in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He is the author of Losses in Later Life: A New Way of Walking with God. His forty years of professional work has focused on the integration of spirituality and psychology in the context of the healing of persons and their families.
    And It Was Good

    And It Was Good

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    Book #1 of The Genesis Trilogy. This special reissue of a classic work of spirituality from the author of A Wrinkle in Time offers life-transforming insights on the rich heritage of the Bible and shows how the characters of this ancient text are relevant for living the good life now. Includes a new reader's guide.

    In the first book of her Genesis Trilogy, beloved author Madeleine L'Engle casts long, loving, and perceptive glances not only at the created universe but also at its Creator. L'Engle often crafted stories that dealt with the complexities of the universe, navigating time and space, religion and science, with uncanny ease and insight. This skill--most famously demonstrated in A Wrinkle in Time--is showcased in this nonfiction work, And It Was Good, through her ability to see the connection between Made and Maker at every level. She examines the vast beauty, order, and complexity of our world with enthusiasm and reverence, illuminating the characteristics of God, the first poet.

    Madeleine L'Engle possesses the same ambidextrous skill of storytelling as other literary giants, including C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald. Her fictional stories appeal to generations of readers, and are equally embraced in both the secular and religious markets. But it is her ability in her nonfiction to engage with the historical text of the Bible through a dynamic unpacking of protagonists, antagonists, and matters of faith that establishes The Genesis Trilogy as a highly treasured collection of spiritual writings. And It Was Good beautifully approaches both the biblical text and creation itself with an intelligence and sensitivity that appeals to all seekers looking for a fresh communion with God in the natural world.

    And Man Created God

    And Man Created God

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    At the time of Jesus' birth, the world was full of gods. Thousands of them jostled, competed, and merged with one another. In Syria, ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets to become priests of Atargatis. In Galilee, holy men turned oil into wine, healed the sick, drove out devils, and claimed to be the Messiah. Every day thousands of people were flocking into brand-new multiethnic cities. The ancient world was in ferment as it underwent the first phase of globalization, and in this ferment, rulers and ruled turned to religion as a source of order and stability.

    To explore the power that religious belief has had over societies through the ages, Selina O'Grady takes the reader on a dazzling journey across the empires of the ancient world and introduces us to rulers, merchants, messiahs, priests, and holy men. Throughout, she seeks to answer why, amongst the countless religious options available, the empires at the time of Jesus chose the religions they did. Why did China's rulers hitch their fate to Confucianism? Why was a tiny Jewish cult led by Jesus eventually adopted by Rome's emperors? The Jesus cult, followed by no more than one hundred people at the time of his death, should, by rights, have disappeared in a few generations. Instead it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Why did Christianity grow so quickly to become the predominant world religion? And Man Created God, an important, thrilling and necessary new work of history, looks at why and how religions have had such an immense impact on human history, and in doing so, uncovers the ineradicable connection between politics and religion--a connection that still defines us in our own age.

    And Man Created God

    And Man Created God

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    At the time of Jesus' birth, the world was full of gods. Thousands of them jostled, competed and merged with one another. In Syria ecstatic devotees castrated themselves in the streets to become priests of Atargatis In Galilee, holy men turned oil into wine, healed the sick, drove out devils, and claimed to be the Messiah. Every day thousands of people were leaving their family and tribes behind them and flocking into brand new multi-ethnic cities. The ancient world was in ferment as it underwent the first phase of globalisation, and in this ferment rulers and ruled turned to religion as a source of order and stability. Augustus, the first emperor of Rome (though he never dared officially to call himself so) was maneuvering his way to becoming worshipped as a god - it was one of the most brilliant makeovers ever undertaken by a ruler and his spin doctors. In North Africa, Amanirenas the warrior queen exploited her god-like status to inspire her armies to face and defeat Rome. In China the usurper Wang Mang won and lost his throne because of his obsession with Confucianism.

    To explore the power that religious belief has had over societies through the ages, Selina O'Grady takes the reader on a dazzling journey across the empires of the ancient world and introduces us to rulers, merchants, messiahs, priests and holy men. Throughout, she seeks to answer why, amongst the countless religious options available, the empires at the time of Jesus 'chose' the religions they did? Why did China's rulers hitch their fate to Confucianism, a philosophy more than a religion? And why was a tiny Jewish cult led by Jesus eventually adopted by Rome's emperors rather than the cult of Isis which was far more popular and widespread? The Jesus cult, followed by no more than 100 people at the time of his death, should, by rights, have disappeared in a few generations. Instead it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Why did Christianity grow so quickly to become the predominant world religion? What was it about its teachings that so appealed to people? And Man Created God looks at why and how religions have had such an immense impact on human history and in doing so uncovers the ineradicable connection between politics and religion - a connection which still defines us in our own age. This is an important, thrilling and necessary new work of history.

    And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy

    And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy

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    An NPR Best Book of 2017

    "The book doubles as a catalogue of America's 'divergent prophetesses' such as Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, the astrologer Linda Goodman, and the silver-tongued evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who faked her own kidnapping to spend five weeks with her lover. These accounts are brief, vivid portraits of women in the 'spiritual avant-garde' . . . and [Shirk's] wide-ranging curiosity delights." --The New Yorker

    And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is a powerful, personal exploration of American women and their theologies, weaving connections between Adrian Shirk's own varied spiritual experiences and the prophetesses, feminists, and spiritual icons who have shaped this country.

    Laced throughout this hybrid memoir are stories of American religious traditions revised by women. Shirk collects the histories of astrologers, faith healers, preachers, priestesses, mambos, and mediums who've had to find their own ways toward divinity outside prescribed patriarchal orders. Each woman represents a pathway for Shirk's own spiritual inquiries. She introduces us to the New Orleans high priestess Marie Laveau, the pop New Age pioneer Linda Goodman, the prophetic vision of intersectionality as preached by Sojourner Truth, "saint" Flannery O'Connor, and so many more.

    Through her journey, Shirk discovers that, as the culture wars flatten religious discourse and shred institutional trust, more and more Americans are yearning for alternative, individualized, feminist routes through religion. And women, having spent so much time at the margins of religious discourse, illuminate its darkened corners.

    And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy is a beacon to those who are searching for a spirituality of resistance, for an unsteady truth. It draws a line from our own era of unrest to the women who came before us, those fascinating innovators, boundary crossers, paradoxes, and radical justice seekers.

    Angels

    Angels

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    Angels appear in every major world religion--from Christianity to Judaism, Islam to the Native American Thunderbirds. This book is a celebration of all the world's divine messengers and a definitive resource containing all of the knowledge collected about these awe-inspiring beings.

    Rigorously researched, Angels is packed with knowledge about these protectors and guides, including:

    - who (or what) angels are, their duties to the people of earth, their appearance, and their origins
    - prayers for invoking your guardian angel and chasing away negative emotions
    - the many rituals that will help you call on angels to help transform your life and guide, protect, and steer you toward love and success

    . . . and much more.

    This tome of ancient and modern angel wisdom offers a perspective on a world we could only have previously imagined, as well as practical tools to bring more love, light, and energy into our lives.

    Answers from the Heart

    Answers from the Heart

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    We all share the experience of carrying with us the one question that has always seemingly stood in the way of the next step in our personal development, the development of our spiritual practice, or our understanding of ourselves. Answers from the Heartcollects 50 of these most important and heartfelt questions posed to Thich Nhat Hanh by participants in his retreats and from his students, and offers his personal, heartfelt, and often surprising answers.

    These exchanges offer an accessible way into Buddhist teachings and often mix practical immediately applicable suggestions with ideas for further study and contemplation. The conversations also provide a lively glimpse into the connection between students and their teacher.

    Answers from the Heart's six thematic sections -- Daily Life, Living and Dying, Engaged Buddhism, Mindfulness Practice, Family and Relationships, and Children's Questions, make the book easily accessible for those new to Buddhism as well as for more experienced practitioners. Thich Nhat Hanh's answers condense Buddhist wisdom of 2500 years into individual answers that shine with diamond-like clarity and summarize Thich Nhat Hanh's own insight based on his lifetime of practice.

    Anthony de Mello

    Anthony de Mello

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    Essential writings provide a penetrating introduction to the Indian Jesuit who bridged East and West with his stories and parables.