Guides for Topic: Spirituality and Church Life

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Still

by Lauren Winner

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In Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, Lauren Winner describes how experiences of loss and failure unexpectedly slam her into a wall of doubt and spiritual despair. Witty, relatable, and fiercely honest, Winner lays bare her experience of what she calls the “middle” of the spiritual life. In elegant and spare prose, she explores why—in the midst of the overwhelming anxiety, loneliness, and boredom of her deepest questioning about where (or if) God is—the Christian story still explains who she is better than any other story she’s ever known. Still is an absorbing meditation combining literary grace with spiritual wisdom. It is sure to resonate with anyone looking to sustain a spiritual life in the midst of real life.

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The Abolition of Man

by C. S. Lewis

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C. S. Lewis sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society.

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The Hidden Power of the Gospels

by Alexander Shaia

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The Hidden Power of the Gospels reveals how the recurring cycles of change, loss, enlightenment, and maturation are illuminated by the Bible’s four gospels. Combining ancient Christian traditions, anthropology, and modern psychology, he reveals how each gospel focuses on a vital spiritual question. Matthew begins with “How do we face change?” Mark faces the hard question of “How do we move through suffering?” John stirs and elevates the soul as he asks, “How do we receive joy?” And Luke moves forward on the practical journey, as he inquires, “How do we mature in service?” By using this lens, the gospels become practical guides for creating faith-filled lives and a map for our never-ending spiritual journey.

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Speaking Christian

by Marcus J. Borg

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In a revolutionary argument vital to every person of faith in the English-speaking world, acclaimed Bible scholar Marcus Borg—author of Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time—argues that the very language Christians use has become dangerously distilled, distorted, and disconnected from the beliefs which once underpinned it. Stating a case that will resonate with readers of N. T. Wright’s Simply Christian, Borg calls for a radical change to the language we use to invoke our beliefs—the only remedy that will allow the Church’s words to once again ring with truth, power, and hope.

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Naked Spirituality

by Brian D. McLaren

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In the same way he revitalized our faith in A New Kind of Christianity, church leader Brian McLaren reinvigorates our approach to spiritual fulfillment in Naked Spirituality—by tearing down the old dogmatic practices that hamper our spiritual growth, and leading us toward the meaningful spiritual practices that can help transform our lives.

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The Greatest Prayer

by John Dominic Crossan

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Every Sunday, the Lord’s Prayer echoes in churches around the world.

It is an indisputable principle of Christian faith. It is the way Jesus taught his followers to pray and distills the most essential beliefs required of every one of the world’s 2.5 billion Christians. In The Greatest Prayer, our foremost Jesus scholar explores this foundational prayer line by line for the richest and fullest understanding of a prayer every Christian knows by heart.

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The Promise

by Father Jonathan Morris

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In his work as a priest and commentator for FOX News, Father Jonathan Morris has traveled to the troubled spots of the world, meeting with Muslim youth during the rioting in Paris, sitting down with populists at odds with the Church in Venezuela, and investigating human trafficking in Germany. Now Father Jonathan peels back the layers of questions that arise when someone asks, “Why me?” in response to human suffering. With an accessible voice and calming pastoral guidance, Father Jonathan leads readers through each step of suffering—from doubt and anger to healing and acceptance.

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A New Kind of Christianity

by Brian D. McLaren

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In this much anticipated book, Brian McLaren examines ten questions facing today’s church—questions about how to articulate the faith itself, the nature of its authority, who God is, whether we have to understand Jesus through only an ancient Greco-Roman lens, what exactly the good news is that the gospel proclaims, how we understand the church and all its varieties, why we are so preoccupied with sex, how we should think of the future and people from other faiths, and the most intimidating question of all: what do we do next? Here you will find a provocative and enticing introduction to the Christian faith of tomorrow.

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In Praise of Doubt

by Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld

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In In Praise of Doubt, two world-renowned social scientists, Peter L. Berger and Anton C. Zijderveld, map out how we can survive the political, moral, and religious challenges raised by the extreme poles of relativism and fundamentalism. A book that asks and answers Big Questions, In Praise of Doubt offers invaluable guidance on how to have convictions without becoming a fanatic.

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Death by Suburb

by Dave L. Goetz

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A great number of seekers find themselves in the seemingly unreal world of the suburbs. They read spirituality books but find themselves in carpools and coaching soccer, not in monasteries. Dave Goetz, a former pastor, shows that the suburbs are a real world, but a spiritually corrosive one. The land of SUVs and soccer leagues can truly be toxic to the soul. Suburbanites need to understand how the environment affects them and what spiritual disciplines are needed for their faith to survive and thrive. Goetz weaves sociology studies, his own experiences, current events, wisdom of the spiritual masters, and a little humor to equip spiritual suburbanites for how to relate to God amidst Starbucks, strip-malls, and perfect lawns.

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An Altar in the World

by Barbara Brown Taylor

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In An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor shares how she learned to encounter God far beyond the walls of the church. She reveals meaningful ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see, from simple practices such as walking, working, and prayer. Something as ordinary as hanging clothes on a clothesline becomes an act of meditation if we pay attention to what we’re doing and take time to notice the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Allowing yourself to get lost leads to new discoveries. As we incorporate these practices into our daily lives, we begin to discover altars everywhere we go, in nearly everything we do. Through Taylor’s expert guidance and delicate, thought-provoking prose, we learn to live with purpose, pay attention, slow down, and revere the world we live in.

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Leaving Church

by Barbara Brown Taylor

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After five successful years as the pastor of her own small congregation in Clarkesville, Georgia, Barbara Brown Taylor ultimately finds herself experiencing “compassion fatigue” and wonders what exactly God has called her to do. She realizes that in order to keep her faith, she may have to leave. Taylor describes a rich spiritual journey in which God has given her more questions than answers. As she becomes part of the flock instead of the shepherd, she describes her poignant and sincere struggle to regain her footing in the world without her defining collar. Taylor’s realization that this may in fact be God’s surprising path for her leads her to a refreshing search to find Him in new places. Leaving Church will remind even the most skeptical among us that life is about both disappointment and hope—and ultimately, renewal.

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If the Church Were Christian

by Philip Gulley

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Quaker minister Philip Gulley, author of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, returns with If the Church Were Christian: a challenging and thought-provoking examination of the author’s vision for today’s church… if Christians truly followed the core values of Jesus Christ. Fans of Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, and unChristian will find much to discuss in If the Church Were Christian, as will anyone interested in the future of this institution.

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Addiction and Grace

by Gerald G. May

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An inspiring and hope-filled vision for those who desire to explore the mystery of who and what they really are. May examines the “processes of attachment” that lead to addiction and describes the relationship between addiction and spiritual awareness. He also details the various addictions from which we can suffer, not only to substances like alcohol and drugs, but to work, sex, performance, responsibility, and intimacy. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist working with the chemically dependent, May emphasizes that addiction represents an attempt to assert complete control over our lives. Addiction and Grace is a compassionate and wise treatment of a topic of major concern in these most addictive of times, one that can provide a critical yet hopeful guide to a place of freedom based on contemplative spirituality.

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The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

by James Martin, SJ

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A practical spiritual guidebook based on the life and teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by the Reverend James Martin (My Life with the Saints) shows us how to manage relationships, money, work, prayer, and decision-making, all while keeping a sense of humor about it all. Fans of Kathleen Norris and other Christian spiritual writers, as well as just the curious, are sure to appreciate the helpful and effective advice in this New York Times bestseller.

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When the Heart Waits

by Sue Monk Kidd

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Blending her own experiences with an intimate grasp of spirituality, Sue Monk Kidd relates the passionate and moving tale of her spiritual crisis, when life seemed to have lost meaning and her longing for a hasty escape from the pain yielded to a discipline of “active waiting.”

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The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

by Sue Monk Kidd

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For years, Sue Monk Kidd was a conventionally religious woman. Then, in the late 1980s, she experienced an unexpected awakening, and began a journey toward a feminine spirituality. With the exceptional storytelling skills that have helped make her name, the author of When the Heart Waits tells her very personal story of the fear, anger, healing, and freedom she experienced on the path toward the wholeness that many women have lost in the church. Kidd reveals a new level of feminine spiritual consciousness for all women—one that retains a meaningful connection with the “deep song of Christianity,” embraces the sacredness of ordinary women’s experience, and has the power to transform in the most positive ways every fundamental relationship in a woman’s life—her marriage, her career, and her religion.

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Forgive and Forget

by Lewis B. Smedes

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For all of us who have been wounded by another and struggled to understand and move beyond our feelings of hurt and anger, Lewis Smedes’s classic book on forgiveness shows that it is possible to heal our pain and find room in our hearts to forgive. Breaking down the process of healing into four stages and offering stories of real people’s experience throughout, this wise book provides hope and solace for all who long for the peace that comes with forgiveness.

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Mere Christianity

by C. S. Lewis

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A forceful and accessible discussion of Christian belief that has become one of the most popular introductions to Christianity and one of the most popular of Lewis’s books. Uncovers common ground upon which all Christians can stand together.

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God’s Politics

by Jim Wallis

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New York Times bestseller God’s Politics struck a chord with Americans disenchanted with how the Right had co-opted all talk about integrating religious values into our politics, and with the Left, who were mute on the subject. Jim Wallis argues that America’s separation of church and state does not require banishing moral and religious values from the public square. God’s Politics offers a vision for how to convert spiritual values into real social change and has started a grassroots movement to hold our political leaders accountable by incorporating our deepest convictions about war, poverty, racism, abortion, capital punishment, and other moral issues into our nation’s public life. Who can change the political wind? Only we can.

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