In Luke and Vergil MacDonald proposes that the author of Luke-Acts followed Mark’s lead in imitating Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, but greatly expanded his project, especially in the Acts, but adding imitations not only of the epics but also of Euripides’ Bacchae and Plato’s Socratic dialogues. The potential imitations include spectacular miracles, official resistance, epiphanies, prison breaks, and more. The book applies mimesis criticism and uses side-by-side comparisons to show how early Christian authors portrayed the origins of Christianity as more compelling than the Augustan Golden Age.
In this provocative challenge to prevailing views of New Testament sources, Dennis R. MacDonald argues that the origins of passages in the book of Acts are to be found not in early Christian legends but in the epics of Homer. MacDonald focuses on four passages in the book of Acts, examines their potential parallels in the Iliad, and concludes that the author of Acts composed them using famous scenes in Homer’s work as a model.
Tracing the influence of passages from the Iliad on subsequent ancient literature, MacDonald shows how the story generated a vibrant, mimetic literary tradition long before Luke composed the Acts. Luke could have expected educated readers to recognize his transformation of these tales and to see that the Christian God and heroes were superior to Homeric gods and heroes. Building upon and extending the analytic methods of his earlier book, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark, MacDonald opens an original and promising appreciation not only of Acts but also of the composition of early Christian narrative in general.
In The Gospels and Homer MacDonald leads readers through Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, highlighting models that the authors of the Gospel of Mark and Luke-Acts may have imitated for their portrayals of Jesus and his earliest followers such as Paul. The book applies mimesis criticism to show the popularity of the targets being imitated, the distinctiveness in the Gospels, and evidence that ancient readers recognized these similarities. Using side-by-side comparisons, the book provides English translations of Byzantine poetry that shows how Christian writers used lines from Homer to retell the life of Jesus.
The potential imitations include adventures and shipwrecks, savages living in cages, meals for thousands, transfigurations, visits from the dead, blind seers, and more. MacDonald makes a compelling case that the Gospel writers successfully imitated the epics to provide their readers with heroes and an authoritative foundation for Christianity.
Jakes understands that he and fellow Christians share spiritual truths “that transcend time and culture and reflect a universal understanding of human nature.” The spiritual truth he explores in Let It Go concerns forgiveness and why it is important for those on the receiving end of wrongful behavior as well as those who commit acts of wrongdoing.
“Forgiveness is a big idea and it works best when it is invested into people who have the courage to grasp the seven-foot-high idea of what’s best for their future rather than the four-foot-high idea of recompense for what has happened in their past,” Jakes writes in Let It Go. This book explores forgiveness as an idea and at the same time offers specific and clear actions for readers who seek to apply the idea in their daily lives. Offenses are a part of life, he says. But conflicts can be resolved and relationships do have a future, if we learn how to forgive. No matter how great or small the injustice, Jakes shows how the matter can be put behind you for the sake of a better tomorrow if you can Let It Go.
-- T.D. Jakes
In his latest book, Reposition Yourself, bestselling author T.D. Jakes shares insights that will help readers adjust to the many changes that life brings. This is a shrill wake-up call to take charge of your life now. Not only does it confront areas where subtle passivity or even poor choices may have stifled the reader's creativity, but it also instructs how to manage change and maximize life now. Using wisdom collected from his more than thirty years of counseling and working with everyday and high-profile people, Jakes covers financial, relational, and spiritual creativity and shows how adapting to transitional moments in your life is the path to an enriched existence filled with contentment at every stage.
Reposition Yourself offers reality-based plans for those seeking to make the years ahead even more productive. Jakes accepts the inevitability of change, teaching how to embrace and expect it rather than fear it. Mixing both sacred and secular insights, he shares a unique blend of practical and pragmatic steps coupled with the sage wisdom of Scripture for which he is noted.
This new book is without question a makeover for the soul. It gives you permission to succeed and the how-to's necessary to position yourself for the limitless potential that comes from making minor adjustments in your thinking and plans. Jakes believes there is nothing more important than your next decision. Before you make another choice, this is a must-read!
When Dr. Eben Alexander told the story of his near-death experience and his vivid journey to the other side, many readers wrote to say it resonated with them profoundly. Thanks to them, Dr. Alexander realized that sharing his story allowed people to rediscover what so many in ancient times knew: there is more to life, and the to the universe, than this single earthly life.
Dr. Alexander and his co-author Ptolemy Tompkins were surprised to see how often his readers’ visions of the afterlife synced up with each other and with those of the world’s spiritual leaders, as well as its philosophers and scientists. In The Map of Heaven, he shares the stories people have told him and shows how they are echoed both in the world’s faiths and in its latest scientific insights. It turns out there is much agreement, across time and terrain, about the journey of the soul and its survival beyond death.
In this book, Dr. Alexander makes the case for heaven as a genuine place, showing how we have forgotten, but are now at last remembering, who we really are and what our destiny truly is.
Their lives are nothing but drama. . . .
Camille can't believe her bad luck when she's ordered to join a church youth group after hiding her boyfriend from the police. She'll bide her time if that's what it takes to get everyone off her back, but it's the last place she ever expected to make a new friend. Angel has a secret that's got her running scared, so when she sees a flyer for the group, she heads to the church, hoping to find an answer to her problem. Now Rachel, their group leader, has a task for them that may just end their daily dramas and give them a whole new beginning.
They just have to take a leap of faith. . . .
Along the way, they meet tough-as-nails Jasmine and society-darling Alexis, forging friendships built on strength, loyalty, and faith. As the girls take up Rachel's challenge to honor their parents, they find that walking a new path isn't always the easiest way to go. But together, Camille, Angel, Jasmine, and Alexis will embark on adventures that only the best of friends can share.
Since its publication in 1942, The Screwtape Letters has sold millions of copies worldwide and is recognized as a milestone in the history of popular theology. A masterpiece of satire, it offers a sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, The Screwtape Letters comprises the correspondence of the worldly-wise devil Screwtape and his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man.
For the first time, The Screwtape Letters will be presented in full-text accompanied by helpful annotations in a striking two-color format. These annotations will give fans a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the popular book, providing background information, explanations of terms, historical significance, and excerpts from Lewis’s other works that more fully explain the ideas in this volume.
For both expert Lewis fans and casual readers, The Screwtape Letters: Annotated Edition will be a beautiful and insightful guide to a beloved classic.
Buechner's words, both written and spoken, have the power to revolutionize and revitalize belief and faith. He reveals the presence of God in the midst of daily life. He faces and embraces difficult questions and doubt as essential components of our lives, rather than as enemies that destroy us. "Listen to your life!" is his clarion call. This theme pervades this definitive collection of sermons, delivered throughout Buechner's lifetime. Presented chronologically, they provide a clear picture of the development of his theology and thinking. Reflecting Buechner's exquisite gift for storytelling and his compassionate pastor's heart, Secrets in the Dark will inspire laughter, hope, and bring great solace. Turn the pages and rediscover what it means to be thoughtful about faith. See why this renowned writer has been quoted in countless pulpits and beloved by Americans for generations.
“This is an astonishing book. . . . Taylor is a better writer than LaMott and a better theologian than Norris. In a word, she is the best there is.” —Living Church
Barbara Brown Taylor, once hailed as one of America’s most effective and beloved preachers, eloquently tells the moving and delightful story of her search to find an authentic way of being Christian—even when it meant giving up her pulpit.
The eBook includes a special excerpt from Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark.
Written in Father Tim Kavanagh's own hand, this wonderful collection of quotes brings to life the personal reflections of Mitford's beloved Episcopal priest. Here Father Tim has carefully recorded his favorite quotes from a variety of thinkers, philosophers, and poets whom he has admired over the years. Next to the quotes are Father Tim's personal comments, scribblings, and doodlings. From C. S. Lewis and Mark Twain to Aristophanes and St. Paul, these heartwarming words on love, life, and faith are a perfect addition to the Mitford series--and a must-have for Jan Karon's millions of readers.
Further inspirational and uplifting quotes are collected in a second volume, A Continual Feast.
The first has two children--twins, a boy and girl, who are seniors in high school. She wants their last Christmas as a family living in the same home to be perfect, but her husband is delayed returning from a business trip abroad. And then there's an accident--a fatal one involving a drunk driver.
Meanwhile, the other mother has a daughter who needs a new heart, and so the loss of one woman becomes the miracle the other has desperately prayed for. While one mother grieves, and pulls away from her family, the other finds that even miracles aren't always easy to receive.
The Gnostic Gospels is a landmark study of the long-buried roots of Christianity, a work of luminous scholarship and wide popular appeal. First published in 1979 to critical acclaim, winning the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Gnostic Gospels has continued to grow in reputation and influence over the past two decades. It is now widely recognized as one of the most brilliant and accessible histories of early Christian spirituality published in our time.
In 1945 an Egyptian peasant unearthed what proved to be the Gnostic Gospels, thirteen papyrus volumes that expounded a radically different view of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ from that of the New Testament. In this spellbinding book, renowned religious scholar Elaine Pagels elucidates the mysteries and meanings of these sacred texts both in the world of the first Christians and in the context of Christianity today.
With insight and passion, Pagels explores a remarkable range of recently discovered gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, to show how a variety of “Christianities” emerged at a time of extraordinary spiritual upheaval. Some Christians questioned the need for clergy and church doctrine, and taught that the divine could be discovered through spiritual search. Many others, like Buddhists and Hindus, sought enlightenment—and access to God—within. Such explorations raised questions: Was the resurrection to be understood symbolically and not literally? Was God to be envisioned only in masculine form, or feminine as well? Was martyrdom a necessary—or worthy—expression of faith? These early Christians dared to ask questions that orthodox Christians later suppressed—and their explorations led to profoundly different visions of Jesus and his message.
Brilliant, provocative, and stunning in its implications, The Gnostic Gospels is a radical, eloquent reconsideration of the origins of the Christian faith.
Tim Reiterman’s Raven provides the seminal history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown in 1978.
This PEN Award–winning work explores the ideals-gone-wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of South America. Reiterman’s reportage clarifies enduring misperceptions of the character and motives of Jim Jones, the reasons why people followed him, and the important truth that many of those who perished at Jonestown were victims of mass murder rather than suicide.
This widely sought work is restored to print after many years with a new preface by the author, as well as the more than sixty-five rare photographs from the original volume.
What is Catholicism? A 2,000-year-old living tradition? A worldview? A way of life? A relationship? A mystery? In Catholicism Father Robert Barron examines all these questions and more, seeking to capture the body, heart and mind of the Catholic faith.
Starting from the essential foundation of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, life, and teaching, Father Barron moves through the defining elements of Catholicism--from sacraments, worship, and prayer, to Mary, the Apostles, and Saints, to grace, salvation, heaven, and hell--using his distinct and dynamic grasp of art, literature, architecture, personal stories, Scripture, theology, philosophy, and history to present the Church to the world.
Paired with his documentary film series of the same title, Catholicism is an intimate journey, capturing “The Catholic Thing” in all its depth and beauty. Eclectic, unique, and inspiring, Father Barron brings the faith to life for a new generation, in a style that is both faithful to timeless truths, while simultaneously speaking in the language of contemporary life.
Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential religious writer of his day. An Oxford don and scholar of medieval literature, he loved to debate philosophy at his local pub, and his wartime broadcasts on the basics of Christian belief made him a celebrity in his native Britain. Yet one of the most intriguing aspects of Clive Staples Lewis remains a mystery. How did this middle-aged Irish bachelor turn to the writing of stories for children -- stories that would become among the most popular and beloved ever written?
Alan Jacobs masterfully tells the story of the original Narnian. From Lewis's childhood days in Ireland playing with his brother, Warnie, to his horrific experiences in the trenches during World War I, to his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien (and other members of the "Inklings"), and his remarkable late-life marriage to Joy Davidman, Jacobs traces the events and people that shaped Lewis's philosophy, theology, and fiction. The result is much more than a conventional biography of Lewis: Jacobs tells the story of a profound and extraordinary imagination. For those who grew up with Narnia, or for those just discovering it, The Narnian tells a remarkable tale of a man who knew great loss and great delight, but who knew above all that the world holds far more richness and meaning than the average eye can see.
The Christian World of The Hobbit does what no book has done: it brings Tolkien fans new delight by introducing a side of Tolkien that is rarely explored but vitally important to his writings—especially The Hobbit. Written by internationally regarded Tolkien-scholar Devin Brown, this approachable, witty, and highly entertaining book offers up fresh perspectives to fans of The Hobbit, both the book and the film adaptation.
Click here to download the FREE Study Guide.
No matter your age, you were born into a plethora of expectations of what it means to be a woman. How easily we assume impoverished views of womanhood as we hoist beauty and desirability above the more enduring traits of self-possession and dignity. We tend to live as divided and distracted selves, allowing our bodies and minds to drift to opposite poles while swapping our pursuit of God for tamer, lesser loves.
This collection of essays is more than a call to modesty or chastity. It is a thoughtful provocation to speak well, read often, make choices that reflect the character of God, and even to establish a theology of play or leisure. Being intentional with your choices, cultivating your intellect, and taking seriously your voice determines not only what kind of person you are, but also what kind of woman you will be.
“[Unseduced and Unshaken] raises the bar for young Christian women...It’s a call for all Christian women to examine their personal faith presuppositions, deliberately choose a life of Biblical ‘dignity,’ and to not be frightened to allow ‘theology to inform our choices.’”
Just Between Us, Summer 2013 issue
The First World War laid waste to a continent and permanently altered the political and religious landscape of the West. For a generation of men and women, it brought the end of innocence—and the end of faith. Yet for J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, the Great War deepened their spiritual quest. Both men served as soldiers on the Western Front, survived the trenches, and used the experience of that conflict to ignite their Christian imagination. Had there been no Great War, there would have been noHobbit, no Lord of the Rings, no Narnia, and perhaps no conversion to Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
Unlike a generation of young writers who lost faith in the God of the Bible, Tolkien and Lewis produced epic stories infused with the themes of guilt and grace, sorrow and consolation. Giving an unabashedly Christian vision of hope in a world tortured by doubt and disillusionment, the two writers created works that changed the course of literature and shaped the faith of millions. This is the first book to explore their work in light of the spiritual crisis sparked by the conflict.
Reposition Yourself, the narrative book, uses wisdom collected from more than thirty years of Jakes's experience counseling and working with high-profile and everyday people on financial, relational, and spiritual creativity on the path to an enriched life filled with contentment at every stage.
Reposition Yourself Reflections collects the words that ground Reposition Yourself solidly in biblical teachings. Reflections is an essential keepsake, to carry with you in moments when inspiration and encouragement are needed.
I hate to read.
I don’t have time to read.
I only read Christian books.
I’m not good at reading.
There’s too much to read.
Chances are, you’ve thought or said one of these exact phrases before because reading is important and in many ways unavoidable.
Learn how to better read, what to read, when to read, and why you should read with this helpful guide from accomplished reader Tony Reinke. Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.
Relationship decisions come down to five crucial components, according to Bishop Jakes:
Research: gathering information and collecting data
Roadwork: removing obstacles and clearing the path
Rewards: listing choices and imagining their consequences
Revelation: narrowing your options and making your selection
Rearview: looking back and adjusting as necessary to stay on course
Making Great Decisions Reflections collects the words that ground Before You Do in biblical teachings, making this book an essential keepsake, to carry with you in moments when inspiration and encouragement are needed.
In the mid-twentieth century four American Catholics came to believe that the best way to explore the questions of religious faith was to write about them-in works that readers of all kinds could admire. The Life You Save May Be Your Own is their story-a vivid and enthralling account of great writers and their power over us.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk in Kentucky; Dorothy Day the founder of the Catholic Worker in New York; Flannery O'Connor a "Christ-haunted" literary prodigy in Georgia; Walker Percy a doctor in New Orleans who quit medicine to write fiction and philosophy. A friend came up with a name for them-the School of the Holy Ghost-and for three decades they exchanged letters, ardently read one another's books, and grappled with what one of them called a "predicament shared in common."
A pilgrimage is a journey taken in light of a story; and in The Life You Save May Be Your Own Paul Elie tells these writers' story as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary past of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the thrilling chaos of postwar American life. It is a story of how the Catholic faith, in their vision of things, took on forms the faithful could not have anticipated. And it is a story about the ways we look to great books and writers to help us make sense of our experience, about the power of literature to change-to save-our lives.
O'Connor could not be more plain about her literary ambition: "Please help me dear God to be a good writer and to get something else accepted," she writes. Yet she struggles with any trace of self-regard: "Don't let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story."
As W. A. Sessions, who knew O'Connor, writes in his introduction, it was no coincidence that she began writing the stories that would become her first novel, Wise Blood, during the years when she wrote these singularly imaginative Christian meditations. Including a facsimile of the entire journal in O'Connor's own hand, A Prayer Journal is the record of a brilliant young woman's coming-of-age, a cry from the heart for love, grace, and art.
again after her reckless driving led to a 10-year prison sentence and the devastating loss of her son. Having learned to repurpose retired thoroughbred racehorses through an inmate training program, Maggie finds a way to rebuild her life. But it's not until she meets single father Gil Winters and his wheelchair-bound son, Edward, that she finds her calling. In helping Edward with his therapy using
horses, Maggie finds herself coming to life again. But when a shadow from the past returns, Maggie
is forced to choose between her newfound freedom and getting Edward the life-saving help he needs.
FINALIST FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD
In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam—the origins and evolution of the faith—in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam’s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for democracy in the Middle East mean for the future of Islam in the region, how the Internet and social media have affected Islam’s evolution, and how the war on terror has altered the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East. He also provides an update on the contemporary Muslim women’s movement, a discussion of the controversy over veiling in Europe, an in-depth history of Jihadism, and a look at how Muslims living in North America and Europe are changing the face of Islam. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account that explains this magnificent yet misunderstood faith.
Praise for No god but God
“Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined . . . a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.”—The New York Times
“[Reza] Aslan offers an invaluable introduction to the forces that have shaped Islam [in this] eloquent, erudite paean to Islam in all of its complicated glory.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Wise and passionate . . . an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Acutely perceptive . . . For many troubled Muslims, this book will feel like a revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“Thoroughly engaging and excellently written . . . While [Aslan] might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.”—The Oregonian
Author Charles M. Sheldon, a Congregational minister, preached popular sermons that focused on Christ's example. His philosophy derived from the Social Gospel movement within Protestantism, a crusade of the late nineteenth century that applied Christian ethics to problems such as injustice, crime, poverty, and other social issues. Originally published in 1897, this classic continues to speak to modern readers with its thought-provoking explorations of what it really means to be a Christian.
This insightful devotional was created for the thousands of women from across the world who have received healing and restoration through the Woman, Thou Art Loosed! message. The daily devotions have been developed from Woman, Thou Art Loosed by T.D. Jakes, and are taken from the triumphs, failures, trials, and faith of the women in God's Word. Each liberating chapter is designed to assist the reader in keeping the binding chains of the past from refastening themselves in her life.
Master storyteller and essayist C. S. Lewis here tackles the central questions of the Christian faith: Who was Jesus? What did he accomplish? What does it mean for me?
In these classic essays, which began as talks on the BBC during World War II, Lewis creatively and simply explains the basic tenets of Christianity. Taken from the core section of Mere Christianity, the selection in this gift edition provides an accessible way for more people to discover these timeless truths. For those looking to remind themselves of the things they hold true, or those looking for a snapshot of Christianity, this book is a wonderful introduction to the faith.
In his new book From the Cross to the Pentecost, New York Times bestselling author T.D. Jakes explores the importance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives. The ultimate result of Jesus’ death on the cross sealed the disconnect created by Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden and reconnected the cord between God and humanity through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit not only gives us power but anoints us to be witnesses for Him. God has something glorious for every one of us who believes and receives it. The relationship with the Holy Spirit empowers us to serve with joy!
The personal tones of the translations, the blend of reverence and humor so characteristic of him, show how deeply Merton identified with the legendary authors of these sayings and parables, the fourth-century Christian Fathers who sought solitude and contemplation in the deserts of the Near East.
The hermits of Screte who turned their backs on a corrupt society remarkably like our own had much in common with the Zen masters of China and Japan, and Father Merton made his selection from them with an eye to the kind of impact produced by the Zen mondo.
King drafted a furious rebuttal that emerged as the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"-a work that would take its place among the masterpieces of American moral argument alongside those of Thoreau and Lincoln. His insistence on the urgency of "Freedom Now" would inspire not just the marchers of Birmingham and Selma, but peaceful insurgents from Tiananmen to Tahrir Squares.
Scholar Jonathan Rieder delves deeper than anyone before into the Letter-illuminating both its timeless message and its crucial position in the history of civil rights. Rieder has interviewed King's surviving colleagues, and located rare audiotapes of King speaking in the mass meetings of 1963. Gospel of Freedom gives us a startling perspective on the Letter and the man who wrote it: an angry prophet who chastised American whites, found solace in the faith and resilience of the slaves, and knew that moral appeal without struggle never brings justice.
The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins offers a revolutionary view of the history of the Christian church. Subtitled “The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died,” it explores the extinction of the earliest, most influential Christian churches of China, India, and the Middle East, which held the closest historical links to Jesus and were the dominant expression of Christianity throughout its first millennium. The remarkable true story of the demise of the institution that shaped both Asia and Christianity as we know them today, The Lost History of Christianity is a controversial and important work of religious scholarship that sounds a warning that must be heeded.
Scientology is known for its celebrity believers and its team of “volunteer ministers” at disaster sites such as the World Trade Center; its notably aggressive response to criticism or its attacks on psychiatry; its requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the highest levels of salvation. But for all its notoriety, Scientology has remained America’s least understood new religion, even as it has been one of its most successful.
Now Janet Reitman tells its riveting full story in the first objective modern history of Scientology, at last revealing the astonishing truth about life within the controversial religion for its members and ex-members. Based on five years of research, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is an utterly compelling work of nonfiction and the defining work on an elusive faith.
“A meticulously researched history and revealing exposé, a frightening portrait of a religion that many find not just controversial, but dangerous.” — Boston Globe
“This book is fearless.” — Wall Street Journal
A New York Times Notable Book
Amazon.com Best Books of 2011, Nonfiction
San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten of 2011
There’s no shortage of prescriptions for restlessness out there: Seek adventure. Live your life. Don’t hold back.
The Road Trip that Changed the World is a book challenging the contemporary conviction that personal freedom and self-fulfillment are the highest good.
Like the characters in a Jack Kerouac novel, we’ve dirtied the dream of white picket fences with exhaust fumes. The new dream is the open road—and freedom.
Yet we still desire the solace of faith. We like the concept of the sacred, but unwittingly subscribe to secularized, westernized spirituality. We’re convinced that there is a deeper plot to this thing called life, yet watered-down, therapeutic forms of religion are all we choose to swallow, and our personal story trumps any larger narrative.
This is the non-committal culture of the road. Though driving on freely, we have forgotten where we’re headed.
Jesus said His road is narrow. He wasn’t some aimless nomad. He had more than just a half tank of gas—He had passion, objectives, and a destination.
The fourth volume of Thomas Merton's complete journals, one of his final literary legacies, springs from three hundred handwritten pages that capture - in candid, lively, deeply revealing passages - the growing unrest of the 1960s, which Merton witnessed within himself as plainly as in the changing culture around him.
In these decisive years, 1960-1963, Merton, now in his late forties and frequently working in a new hermitage at the Abbey of Gethsemani, finds himself struggling between his longing for a private, spiritual life and the irresistible pull of social concerns. Precisely when he longs for more solitude, and convinces himself he could not cut back on his writing, Merton begins asking complex questions about the contemporary culture ("the 'world' with its funny pants, of which I do not know the name, its sandals and sunglasses"), war, and the churches role in society.
Thus despite his resistance, he is drawn into the world where his celebrity and growing concerns for social issues fuel his writings on civil rights, nonviolence, and pacifism and lead him into conflict with those who urge him to leave the moral issues to bishops and theologians.
This pivotal volume in the Merton journals reveals a man at the height of a brilliant writing career, marking the fourteenth anniversary of his priesthood but yearning still for the key to true happiness and grace. Here, in his most private diaries, Merton is as intellectually curious, critical, and insightful as in his best-known public writings while he documents his movement from the cloister toward the world, from Novice Master to hermit, from ironic critic to joyous witness to the mystery of God's plan.
A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses the globe. It captures the major turning points in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox history and fills in often neglected accounts of conversion and confrontation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. MacCulloch introduces us to monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in shaping human history and the intimate lives of men and women. And he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.
Shortly before she died, Thérèse Martin predicted that her “Little Way” to holiness would be an inspiration for countless people. Time has proved Thérèse’s prediction to be true. Since its publication, Story of a Soul has been translated into over fifty languages. It is acknowledged to be one of the great spiritual testimonies of all times and has inspired millions of readers from all walks of life.
Father John Clarke’s acclaimed translation, first published in 1975 and now accepted as the standard throughout the English-speaking world, is a faithful and unaffected rendering of Thérèse’s own words from the original manuscripts.
Central to this book is the metaphor of a mountaintop where one can find the Immortals. Since the dawn of humanity, everyone – whether they know it or not – has been trying to climb that mountain. But there are only four paths up its treacherous slope, and there have only ever been four paths. Throughout history, people have wagered everything on their choice of the correct path, and fought wars against those who’ve chosen differently.
While Immortality takes the reader on an eye-opening journey from the beginnings of civilization to the present day, the structure is not chronological. Rather it is path driven. As each path is revealed to us, an historical figure serves as our guide.
In drawing back the curtain on what compels humans to “keep on keeping on,” Cave engages the reader in a number of mind-bending thought experiments. He teases out the implications of each immortality gambit, asking, for example, how long a person would live if they did manage to acquire a perfectly disease-free body. Or what would happen if a super-being tried to round up the atomic constituents of all who’ve died in order to resurrect them. Or what our loved ones would really be doing in heaven if it does exist. Or what part of us actually lives in a work of art, and how long that work of art can survive.
Toward the the book’s end, we’re confronted with a series of brain-rattling questions: What would happen if tomorrow humanity discovered that there is no life but this one? Would people continue to care about their favorite sports team, please their boss, vie for the title of Year’s Best Salesman? Would three-hundred-year projects still get started? If the four paths up the Mount of the Immortals lead nowhere -- if there is no getting up to the summit -- is there still reason to live? And can civilization survive?
Immortality is a deeply satisfying book, as optimistic about the human condition as it is insightful about the true arc of history.
From the Hardcover edition.