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Religion

Baptized in Tear Gas: From White Moderate to Abolitionist

Baptized in Tear Gas: From White Moderate to Abolitionist

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For years Elle Dowd considered herself an advocate for justice, but her well-meaning support always took a back burner to what Martin Luther King Jr. called the tension-free, ordered ""negative peace"" of white moderates. Then Michael Brown, a Black man, was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent Uprising changed everything.

In Baptized in Tear Gas, minister and activist Elle Dowd tells the gripping story of her transformation into an Assata Shakur-reading, courthouse-occupying abolitionist with an arrest record, hungry for the revolution. Thanks to deep relationships with people in Ferguson and St. Louis, and to experiencing a fraction of the system for herself--including the fear of rubber bullets, the shock of sound cannons, and running from tear gas--Dowd fully committed to the work of anti-racism and abolition. Now she wants to help other white allies do the same.

Like in baptism, this transformation requires parts of us to die: our lack of power analysis, our commitment to white niceness, our tone policing, our respectability politics--all of those impulses we have been socialized by since birth must die so that something new can be resurrected in our lives and in the world. The uprising in Ferguson changed Dowd, and through it, God made her into something new.

Now it's our turn.

Barking to the Choir

Barking to the Choir

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"This is a beautiful and important and soul-transporting book. . . . Please read it." --Elizabeth Gilbert

"If you're in the market for genuine inspiration, I urge you to read Barking to the Choir." --Ann Patchett

In a moving example of unconditional love in dif-ficult times, the Jesuit priest and bestselling author of Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle, shares what three decades of working with gang members in Los Angeles has taught him about faith, compassion, and the enduring power of kinship.

In his first book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Gregory Boyle introduced us to Homeboy Industries, the largest gang-intervention program in the world. Critics hailed that book as an "astounding literary and spiritual feat" (Publishers Weekly) that is "destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality" (Los Angeles Times). Now, after the suc-cessful expansion of Homeboy Industries, Boyle returns with Barking to the Choir to reveal how com-passion is transforming the lives of gang members.

In a nation deeply divided and plagued by poverty and violence, Barking to the Choir offers a snapshot into the challenges and joys of life on the margins. Sergio, arrested at nine, in a gang by twelve, and serving time shortly thereafter, now works with the substance-abuse team at Homeboy to help others find sobriety. Jamal, abandoned by his family when he tried to attend school at age seven, gradually finds forgive-ness for his schizophrenic mother. New father Cuco, who never knew his own dad, thinks of a daily adventure on which to take his four-year-old son. These former gang members uplift the soul and reveal how bright life can be when filled with unconditional love and kindness.

This book is guaranteed to shake up our ideas about God and about people with a glimpse at a world defined by more compassion and fewer barriers. Gently and humorously, Barking to the Choir invites us to find kinship with one another and reconvinces us all of our own goodness.

Basic Judaism

Basic Judaism

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Concise and elegant, this is a book about the Jewish religion - not about the Jewish culture or Zionism, but about those beliefs, ideals, and practices that make up the historic Jewish faith. Including both the modernist and the traditionalist view in his exploration, Rabbi Steinberg discusses the Torah, what Judaism says about God and the relationship, and what exists in the Kingdom of God. He also talks about the laws that define Judaism, the practices and rituals that sustain it, and the synagogue and the rabbinate that support it.

For all students of Judaism - be they practicing Jews, uncommitted Jews, or curious non-Jews - Rabbi Steinberg offers a brilliant chance to understand what the Jewish faith is, why it has elicited such intense devotion, and why it remains such a mighty force in the lives of its believers and, beyond them, the world.

Basic Teachings of the Buddha

Basic Teachings of the Buddha

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In Basic Teachings of the Buddha, Glenn Wallis selects sixteen essential dialogues drawn from more than five thousand Pali-dialect suttas of the Buddhist canon. The result is a vibrant introductory guide to studying Buddhist thought, applying its principles to everyday life, and gaining a deeper understanding of Buddhist themes in modern literature. Focusing on the most crucial topics for today's readers, Wallis presents writings that address modern psychological, religious, ethical, and philosophical concerns. This practical, inspiring, and engaging volume provides an overview of the history of Buddhism and an illuminating analysis of the core writings that personalizes the suttas for each reader.

"Glenn Wallis brings wisdom and compassion to this work of scholarship. Everyone should read this book."
-Christopher Queen, Harvard University

"A valuable sourcebook with a good selection of the fundamental suttas enhanced by an eloquent introduction and comprehensive notes-altogether a very useful text."
-Peter Matthiessen (Roshi), author of The Snow Leopard and Nine-Headed Dragon River

"Glenn Wallis's new and accessible translations of some of the Buddha's lectures to his original students, along with Wallis's elegant guide to the texts, gives twenty-first-century readers in the modern West a fresh chance to learn from this teacher."
-Charles Hallisey, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Battle for God

Battle for God

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In the late twentieth century, fundamentalism has emerged as one of the most powerful forces at work in the world, contesting the dominance of modern secular values and threatening peace and harmony around the globe. Yet it remains incomprehensible to a large number of people. In The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong brilliantly and sympathetically shows us how and why fundamentalist groups came into existence and what they yearn to accomplish.

We see the West in the sixteenth century beginning to create an entirely new kind of civilization, which brought in its wake change in every aspect of life -- often painful and violent, even if liberating. Armstrong argues that one of the things that changed most was religion. People could no longer think about or experience the divine in the same way; they had to develop new forms of faith to fit their new circumstances.

Armstrong characterizes fundamentalism as one of these new ways of being religious that have emerged in every major faith tradition. Focusing on Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, and Muslim fundamentalism in Egypt and Iran, she examines the ways in which these movements, while not monolithic, have each sprung from a dread of modernity -- often in response to assault (sometimes unwitting, sometimes intentional) by the mainstream society.

Armstrong sees fundamentalist groups as complex, innovative, and modern -- rather than as throwbacks to the past -- but contends that they have failed in religious terms. Maintaining that fundamentalism often exists in symbiotic relationship with an aggressive modernity, each impelling the other on to greater excess, she suggests compassion as a way to defuse what is now an intensifying conflict.

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.

Be Here Now

Be Here Now

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Beloved guru Ram Dass tells the story of his spiritual awakening and gives you the tools to take control of your life in this "counterculture bible" (The New York Times) featuring powerful guidance on yoga, meditation, and finding your true self.

When Be Here Now was first published in 1971, it filled a deep spiritual emptiness, launched the ongoing mindfulness revolution, and established Ram Dass as perhaps the preeminent seeker of the twentieth century.

Just ten years earlier, he was known as Professor Richard Alpert. He held appointments in four departments at Harvard University. He published books, drove a Mercedes and regularly vacationed in the Caribbean. By most societal standards, he had achieved great success. . . . And yet he couldn't escape the feeling that something was missing.

Psilocybin and LSD changed that. During a period of experimentation, Alpert peeled away each layer of his identity, disassociating from himself as a professor, a social cosmopolite, and lastly, as a physical being. Fear turned into exaltation upon the realization that at his truest, he was just his inner-self: a luminous being that he could trust indefinitely and love infinitely.

And thus, a spiritual journey commenced. Alpert headed to India where his guru renamed him Baba Ram Dass--"servant of God." He was introduced to mindful breathing exercises, hatha yoga, and Eastern philosophy. If he found himself reminiscing or planning, he was reminded to "Be Here Now." He started upon the path of enlightenment, and has been journeying along it ever since.

Be Here Now is a vehicle for sharing the true message, and a guide to self-determination.

Be Kind to Yourself: Releasing Frustrations and Embracing Joy

Be Kind to Yourself: Releasing Frustrations and Embracing Joy

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When we experience frustrations in daily life, many of us hold ourselves to blame. Self-criticism is often our default setting. But we can have a more gracious posture toward ourselves. We can practice disciplines of self-kindness. Editor and spiritual director Cindy Bunch calls us to self-care through greater compassion for ourselves. She helps us pay attention to the frustrations that bug us in order to identify negative thinking about ourselves or others. As we do so, we can discern what we need to let go. This allows us to lean into the things that bring us joy. Each chapter is filled with spiritual practices and creative exercises for reflection and celebration. The pages of the appealing smaller book format are illustrated with photographs and art from the author. Be kind to yourself. And discover new opportunities to embrace joy.

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - ECPA BESTSELLER - "When it comes to the intersection of race, privilege, justice, and the church, Tasha is without question my best teacher. Be the Bridge is THE tool I wish to put in every set of hands."--Jen Hatmaker

WINNER OF THE CHRISTIAN BOOK AWARD(R) - Winner of the Christianity Today Book Award - A leading advocate for racial reconciliation calls Christians to move toward deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture.

In an era where we seem to be increasingly divided along racial lines, many are hesitant to step into the gap, fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing. At times the silence, particularly within the church, seems deafening.

But change begins with an honest conversation among a group of Christians willing to give a voice to unspoken hurts, hidden fears, and mounting tensions. These ongoing dialogues have formed the foundation of a global movement called Be the Bridge--a nonprofit organization whose goal is to equip the church to have a distinctive and transformative response to racism and racial division.

In this perspective-shifting book, founder Latasha Morrison shows how you can participate in this incredible work and replicate it in your own community. With conviction and grace, she examines the historical complexities of racism. She expertly applies biblical principles, such as lamentation, confession, and forgiveness, to lay the framework for restoration.

Along with prayers, discussion questions, and other resources to enhance group engagement, Be the Bridge presents a compelling vision of what it means for every follower of Jesus to become a bridge builder--committed to pursuing justice and racial unity in light of the gospel.

Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists

Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists

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A must-read for modern sanghas--Asian American Buddhists in their own words, on their own terms.

Despite the fact that two thirds of U.S. Buddhists identify as Asian American, mainstream perceptions about what it means to be Buddhist in America often whitewash and invisibilize the diverse, inclusive, and intersectional communities that lie at the heart of American Buddhism.

Be the Refuge is both critique and celebration, calling out the erasure of Asian American Buddhists while uplifting the complexity and nuance of their authentic stories and vital, thriving communities. Drawn from in-depth interviews with a pan-ethnic, pan-Buddhist group, Be the Refuge is the first book to center young Asian American Buddhists' own voices. With insights from multi-generational, second-generation, convert, and socially engaged Asian American Buddhists, Be the Refuge includes the stories of trailblazers, bridge-builders, integrators, and refuge-makers who hail from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

Championing nuanced representation over stale stereotypes, Han and the 89 interviewees in Be the Refuge push back against false narratives like the Oriental monk, the superstitious immigrant, and the banana Buddhist--typecasting that collapses the multivocality of Asian American Buddhists into tired, essentialized tropes. Encouraging frank conversations about race, representation, and inclusivity among Buddhists of all backgrounds, Be the Refuge embodies the spirit of interconnection that glows at the heart of American Buddhism.

Bearing False Witness

Bearing False Witness

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As we all know and as many of our well established textbooks have argued for decades, the Inquisition was one of the most frightening and bloody chapters in Western history, Pope Pius XII was anti-Semitic and rightfully called "Hitler's Pope," the Dark Ages were a stunting of the progress of knowledge to be redeemed only by the secular spirit of the Enlightenment, and the religious Crusades were an early example of the rapacious Western thirst for riches and power. But what if these long held beliefs were all wrong?
In this stunning, powerful, and ultimately persuasive book, Rodney Stark, one of the most highly regarded sociologists of religion and bestselling author of The Rise of Christianity (HarperSanFrancisco 1997) argues that some of our most firmly held ideas about history, ideas that paint the Catholic Church in the least positive light are, in fact, fiction. Why have we held these wrongheaded ideas so strongly and for so long? And if our beliefs are wrong, what, in fact, is the truth?
In each chapter, Stark takes on a well-established anti-Catholic myth, gives a fascinating history of how each myth became the conventional wisdom, and presents a startling picture of the real truth. For example,
  • Instead of the Spanish Inquisition being an anomaly of torture and murder of innocent people persecuted for "imaginary" crimes such as witchcraft and blasphemy, Stark argues that not only did the Spanish Inquisition spill very little blood, but it was a major force in support of moderation and justice.
  • Instead of Pope Pius XII being apathetic or even helpful to the Nazi movement, such as to merit the title, "Hitler's Pope," Stark shows that the campaign to link Pope Pius XII to Hitler was initiated by the Soviet Union, presumably in hopes of neutralizing the Vatican in post-World War II affairs. Pope Pius XII was widely praised for his vigorous and devoted efforts to saving Jewish lives during the war.
  • Instead of the Dark Ages being understood as a millennium of ignorance and backwardness inspired by the Catholic Church's power, Stark argues that the whole notion of the "Dark Ages" was an act of pride perpetuated by anti-religious intellectuals who were determined to claim that theirs was the era of "Enlightenment."
  • In the end, readers will not only have a more accurate history of the Catholic Church, they will come to understand why it became unfairly maligned for so long. Bearing False Witness is a compelling and sobering account of how egotism and ideology often work together to give us a false truth.
    Beating the Cloth Drum

    Beating the Cloth Drum

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    Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1769) is one of the most influential figures in Zen Buddhism. He revitalized the Rinzai Zen tradition (which emphasizes the use of koans, or unanswerable questions, in meditation practice), and all masters of that school today trace their lineage back through him. He is responsible for the most famous of all koans: What is the sound of one hand clapping? He is also famous for his striking and humorous art, which he also regarded as teaching. This book provides a rare, intimate look at Hakuin the man, through his personal correspondence. Beating the Cloth Drum contains twenty-eight of Hakuin's letters to students, political figures, fellow teachers, laypeople, and friends. Each letter is accompanied by extensive commentary and notes. They showcase Hakuin's formidable, thoughtful, and sometimes playful personality--and they show that the great master used every activity, including letter-writing, as an opportunity to impart the teachings that were so close to his heart.
    Become A Better You

    Become A Better You

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    Updated for its tenth anniversary, this #1 New York Times bestseller is an inspiring and motivating guide to help you uncover your God-given strengths and live with more joy, hope, and peace every day.

    Joel Osteen, pastor of America's largest church, has inspired millions to live to their fullest potential. His practical insights in Become a Better You have helped people look within themselves to find their authentic soul and become a better person.

    Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Become a Better You has been updated for a whole new generation of readers with a new foreword and new chapter--inside Osteen offers seven simple yet profound steps to help you discover your purpose and destiny, and includes key biblical principles, devotions, and personal testimonies that will uplift and enlighten. As you incorporate these key principles into your life, you will be amazed by how much more God has in store for you.

    Become a Better You encourages you to reach your full, unique, God-given potential and helps you enjoy every day of life, no matter your circumstances.

    Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

    Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

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    Incorporating biblical lessons with personal stories, the bestselling author of Your Best Life Now offers seven action steps to help readers discover the better things they were born for: their individual purpose and destiny.
    Become What You Are: Expanded Edition (Expanded)

    Become What You Are: Expanded Edition (Expanded)

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    The author of The Wisdom of Insecurity and The Way of Zen draws upon a variety of religious traditions to explore Taoism, living in the present moment, and more

    In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Alan Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners. He draws on a variety of religious traditions, and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one's life "just as it is," the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.

    "Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. . . . You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now." --from Become What You Are

    Becoming Bodhisattvas

    Becoming Bodhisattvas

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    Best-selling American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön presents a friendly and encouraging guide to spiritual practice for all those who want to take up the path of the bodhisattva--one who aspires to live life with courage, generosity, patience, fearlessness, and compassion.


    The Way of the Bodhisattva has long been treasured as an indispensable guide to enlightened living, offering a window into the greatest potential within us all. Written in the eighth century by the scholar and saint Shantideva, it presents a comprehensive view of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition's highest ideal--to commit oneself to the life of a bodhisattva warrior, a person who is wholeheartedly dedicated to the freedom and common good of all beings. And it has inspired many of the tradition's greatest teachers, providing a remarkable source of insight on the means by which we may heal ourselves and our troubled world. These essential teachings present the core of the Buddhist path, from cultivating deep-seated confidence to infusing one's life with selflessness, joyfulness, kindness, and compassion. Pema Chödrön here invites you to journey more deeply into this liberating way of life, presenting Shantideva's text verse-by-verse and offering both illuminating stories and practical exercises to enrich the text and bring its timeless teachings to life in our world today.

    Previously published under the title No Time to Lose.

    Becoming Kuan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion

    Becoming Kuan Yin: The Evolution of Compassion

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    In his long career as a poet, Buddhist teacher, spiritual advisor, and writer, Stephen Levine has changed our understanding of death and dying. In Becoming Kuan Yin, Levine's first new book in many years, he turns to the legend of Kuan Yin, the Bbodhistitva venerated by East Asian Buddhists for her compassion.

    In Becoming Kuan Yin, Levine shares the tale of Miao Shan, born centuries ago to a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. This is the story of how Miao Shan refused to follow the path her father had in mind and, instead, became Kuan Yin, the first acknowledged female Buddha who watches over the dying and those who work with them.

    Levine weaves together story and practice and helps readers discover their own infinite capacity for mercy and compassion under difficult circumstances. This book will have resonance for Kuan Yin's millions of followers.

    Becoming Wise

    Becoming Wise

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    A New York Times bestseller!

    "We need Krista Tippett's voice and wisdom now more than ever. She has elevated the art of listening and the practice of being present in a way that is both accessible and soulful. Becoming Wise is what I've been waiting for . . . This is brilliant thinking, beautiful storytelling, and practical insight." --Brené Brown, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Rising Strong

    "A thoughtful chronicle of spiritual discovery. A hopeful consideration of the human potential for enlightenment." --Kirkus Reviews

    I'm not sure there's such a thing as the cultural 'center, ' nor that it's very interesting if it exists. But left of center and right of center, in the expansive middle and heart of our life together, most of us have some questions left alongside our answers, some curiosity alongside our convictions. This book is for people who want to take up the great questions of our time with imagination and courage, to nurture new realities in the spaces we inhabit, and to do so expectantly and with joy.

    In Becoming Wise, Krista Tippett has created a master class in living for a fractured world. Fracture, she says, is not the whole story of our time. The enduring question of what it means to be human has become inextricable from the challenge of who we are to one another. She insists on the possibility of personal depth and common life for this century, nurtured by science and "spiritual technologies," with civility and love as muscular public practice. And, accompanied by a cross-disciplinary dream team of a teaching faculty, she shows us how.

    Becoming Wise

    Becoming Wise

    $28.00
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    A New York Times bestseller!

    "We need Krista Tippett's voice and wisdom now more than ever. She has elevated the art of listening and the practice of being present in a way that is both accessible and soulful. Becoming Wise is what I've been waiting for . . . This is brilliant thinking, beautiful storytelling, and practical insight." --Brené Brown, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Rising Strong

    "A thoughtful chronicle of spiritual discovery. A hopeful consideration of the human potential for enlightenment." --Kirkus Reviews

    I'm not sure there's such a thing as the cultural 'center, ' nor that it's very interesting if it exists. But left of center and right of center, in the expansive middle and heart of our life together, most of us have some questions left alongside our answers, some curiosity alongside our convictions. This book is for people who want to take up the great questions of our time with imagination and courage, to nurture new realities in the spaces we inhabit, and to do so expectantly and with joy.

    In Becoming Wise, Krista Tippett has created a master class in living for a fractured world. Fracture, she says, is not the whole story of our time. The enduring question of what it means to be human has become inextricable from the challenge of who we are to one another. She insists on the possibility of personal depth and common life for this century, nurtured by science and "spiritual technologies," with civility and love as muscular public practice. And, accompanied by a cross-disciplinary dream team of a teaching faculty, she shows us how.