A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.
We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.
In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.
From the Hardcover edition.
This is the question that sent Gary Gunderson on a journey toward life, realizing that if death defines our efforts, then it will win every time. Once our imagination turns from death it becomes aparent that death isn't the only thing going on out there. The Leading Causes of Life focuses in on five powerful concepts:
Connection Coherence Agency Blessing Hope To write the book, Gary partnered with Larry Pray, a widely traveled speaker who tested out the concepts he and Gary were writing about in places like Big Timber, Montana. Larry felt strongly that their work would only be accurate and useful if it rang true to people who surrounded themselves with life, wilderness, challenges, and the miracles that come with them.
Gary Gunderson, D.Min., M.Div., is the Senior Vice President for Health and Welfare Ministries for Methodist Healthcare and the director for the Interfaith Health Program at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He is a commissioned Deacon in the United Methodist Church.
Lawrence M. Pray is a pastor of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) andcurrently serves the Christian Chruch (Disciples of Christ) in Joliet, Montana and consults with St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings, Montana. He is the Senior Pastoral Scholar for Methodist Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee.
From Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, Waking Up is for the twenty percent of Americans who follow no religion but who suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of such figures as Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives.
Waking Up is part memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it.
In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.
Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.
In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape." Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible.
Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality.
Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our "culture wars," Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.
"I am totally unaware of a more comprehensive treatment of this subject in any book, including those of mine. It should be read by all worshipers, and should be required study for all who aspire to lead congregational worship."
- Dr. Judson Cornwall, from the foreword
Using the texts of the New Testament, Yoder critically examines the traditional portrait of Jesus as an apolitical figure and attempts to clarify the true impact of Jesus' life, work, and teachings on his disciples' social behavior.
The book first surveys the multiple ways the image of an apolitical Jesus has been propagated, then canvasses the Gospel narrative to reveal how Jesus is rightly portrayed as a thinker and leader immediately concerned with the agenda of politics and the related issues of power, status, and right relations. Selected passages from the epistles corroborate a Savior deeply concerned with social, political, and moral issues.
In this thorough revision of his acclaimed 1972 text, Yoder provides updated interaction with publications touching on this subject. Following most of the chapters are new "epilogues" that summarize research conducted during the last two decades -- research that continues to support the insights set forth in Yoder's original work.
Currently a standard in many college and seminary ethics courses, The Politics of Jesus is also an excellent resource for the general reader desiring to understand Christ's response to the world of politics and his will for those who would follow him.
From as early as three years old, Juliana, Celeste and Kristina were treated as sexual beings by their 'guardians' in the infamous religious cult known as the Children of God. They were made to watch and mimic orgies, received love letters and sexual advances from men old enough to be their grandfather, and were forced into abusive relationships. They were denied access to formal schooling, had to wander the streets begging for money, and were mercilessly beaten for 'crimes' as unpredictable as reading an encyclopaedia.
Finally, unable to live with the guilt of what had happened to her children, their mother escaped with Kristina, cutting herself off from her remaining children in a bid to save at least one child. Desperate to save her sisters, Kristina eventually returned to the place of her torture to free Celeste. Years later, Juliana found the courage to escape, knowing that the child she was carrying would be subjected to the same fate if she did not.
Now the three sisters have finally come together to reveal in full and horrific detail their existence within the Children of God cult. Their stories reveal a community spread throughout the world and its legacy of anorexia, depression, drug abuse, suicide and even murder. Lives are ripped apart and painstakingly mended with a shared strength that finally enabled the sisters to free themselves from the shadows of their past.
From the small beginnings of a few Christians in New Testament Jerusalem, the prayer of the Church spread, changing and evolving as it met and was assimilated by different cultures.
This classic study is a major resource for the liturgical scholar.
Characteristics, interests, and values of each group--Builders, Boomers, Busters, and Bridgers--are explored in relation to the historical events and social trends that have shaped them. McIntosh thoughtfully analyzes the factors that influence each generation's relationship to the church, and he gives helpful suggestions for types of ministry and worship styles to draw members of that group.
Helpful tables offer summaries of information relating to each generation, including formative experiences, religious characteristics, and methods of ministry. Pastors, church leaders, seminary professors, and students will find One Church, Four Generations a valuable resource in mapping out strategies for relevant church programming in the twenty-first century.
In this book, Fernando identifies the foundational elements that allow you to be both effective and joyful in your service. He shows from Jesus' own ministry that relating to the people you minister to, retreating from busyness to prayer, being affirmed and empowered by God, discipling younger leaders, and gaining strength from God's Word must be at the heart of your ministry.
Rich in Scripture and full of stories from Fernando's own years of ministry, this book will help men and women commit themselves afresh to those vital basics of ministry that make for long-term service that is both fruitful and joyful.
In Churches That Make a Difference, best-selling author Ron Sider and his coauthors give those involved in community outreach a comprehensive resource for developing holistic ministry--a balance of evangelism and social outreach. Illustrations and helpful organizational tips detail the how-to's of an effective holistic ministry. Case studies that show how different churches across the United States reach out to their communities provide a variety of ideas and practical applications. User-friendly tools are included as well for congregational studies, surveys, evaluations, and community assessments.
The authors draw on extensive experience with church ministries and faith-based organizations as they share the life-changing vision and biblical mandate for living the whole gospel. Church leaders will be encouraged in their process of developing and maintaining a holistic ministry, and local churches will rediscover a passion for loving the whole person the way Jesus did.
For over fifteen hundred years St. Benedict's Rule has been a source of guidance, support, inspiration, challenge, comfort and discomfort for men and women. It has helped both those living under monastic vows and those living outside the cloister in all the mess and muddle of ordinary, busy lives in the world. Esther de Waal's Seeking God serves as an introduction to this life-giving way and encourages people to discover for themselves the gift that St. Benedict can bring to individuals, to the Church, and to the world, now and in the years to come.
Through this definitive classic Esther de Waal has become known as an authority for the lay person on the Rule of St. Benedict. Her ability to communicate clearly the principal values of the Rule when applied to lay people is the ultimate strength of this book. She follows each chapter with a page or two of thoughts and prayers, contributing to its meditative quality.
Esther de Waal is an Anglican lay woman, married with four sons and a number of grandchildren. She lives on the Welsh Borders where she grew up and spends her time gardening, writing, traveling, and taking retreats. She became interested in Benedictine monasticism as a result of living for ten years in Canterbury and has written several books on the Rule of St. Benedict including a life-Giving Way, published by The Liturgical Press, 1995. She holds a PhD. from Cambridge and was given an honorary doctorate from St. John's University for her contribution to Benedictine studies and for her ecumenical work. She was awarded the Templeton Prize for having started the Benedictine Experience weeks which are now widely held throughout America and England.
Humanity has had a long fascination with blood sacrifice. In fact, it has been by no means uncommon for a child to be born into this world only to be patiently and lovingly reared by religious maniacs, who believe that the best way to keep the sun on its course or to ensure a rich harvest is to lead him by tender hand into a field or to a mountaintop and bury, butcher, or burn him alive as offering to an invisible God. The notion that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that his death constitutes a successful propitiation of a “loving” God is a direct and undisguised inheritance of the superstitious bloodletting that has plagued bewildered people throughout history. . .
The three principal hindrances to full participation in the Mass to which all of us are prone The real meaning of "keeping holy" the Sabbath. Its special importance for the family One tendency we must overcome when listening to Scripture readings How to gain control over your wandering attention The one indispensable element of a deep liturgical life What to do when the Mass becomes boring and "routine" How to achieve a genuine not superficial stillness The importance of listening. Inner barriers that prevent it Why it's good to arrive early at Mass whenever possible The true significance of kneeling and standing in church When to start preparing for Mass, and how The source of the sense of monotony. How to break free The primary purpose of attending Mass. How it should inform our bearing and behavior The right way to receive Communion, make the sign of the Cross, and make other holy gestures And dozens of other practical ways to enrich your worship
Although he was an eminent theologian, Msgr. Guardini wrote for ordinary Catholics who are struggling to become closer to Christ. In fact, these pages originated as talks before Mass to help prepare worshippers for its celebration. Practical, straightforward, yet full of wisdom, Meditations Before Mass will help you to quiet your soul, concentrate your mind, and grow more receptive to grace.
"The Preschool Church "provides teachers with practical lesson ideas for preschoolers, recognizing that 3-5 year olds are curious about God and want to learn. Lesson seeds include discussion topics, suggestions for telling Bible stories, songs, activities, supply lists, and craft ideas that are easy for little hands, inexpensive to make, and result in a finished product kids can be proud of. The book also contains suggestions for including preschoolers in the larger church community and involving adults in the church school activities.
This book will be helpful to:
- Sunday school teachers
- Vacation Bible School teachers
- Parents for use in home instruction
- Weekday Church School classes
Eve Parker is an experienced preschool teacher. She is also an attorney, holding a B.A. degree and a J.D. Law degree from the University of Minnesota. She makes her home in Minneapolis where she is raising her two young sons. Her father and sister are ministers in the United Church of Christ.
Wiegele evocatively captures the religious and everyday experiences of her informants' lives in poor squatter neighborhoods of Manila. She is particularly sensitive to El Shaddai's delicate and often contorted relationship with the Catholic Church, which accepts the movement reluctantly, fearful of losing the loyalty of millions of faithful Catholics. While anchored in the local realities of the Philippines, Investing in Miracles will be of great interest to readers elsewhere for its exploration of religious seduction and interpretation, the interface between religion and politics, and the relevance of religion for the urban disenfranchised.
At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.
Father Gary Thomas was working as a parish priest in California when he was asked by his bishop to travel to Rome for training in the rite of exorcism. Though initially surprised, and slightly reluctant, he accepted this call, and enrolled in a new exorcism course at a Vatican-affiliated university, which taught him, among other things, how to distinguish between a genuine possession and mental illness. Eventually he would go on to participate in more than eighty exorcisms as an apprentice to a veteran Italian exorcist. His experiences profoundly changed the way he viewed the spiritual world, and as he moved from rational skeptic to practicing exorcist he came to understand the battle between good and evil in a whole new light. Journalist Matt Baglio had full access to Father Gary over the course of his training, and much of what he learned defies explanation.
The Rite provides fascinating vignettes from the lives of exorcists and people possessed by demons, including firsthand accounts of exorcists at work casting out demons, culminating in Father Gary's own confrontations with the Devil. Baglio also traces the history of exorcism, revealing its rites and rituals, explaining what the Catholic Church really teaches about demonic possession, and delving into such related topics as the hierarchy of angels and demons, satanic cults, black masses, curses, and the various theories used by modern scientists and anthropologists who seek to quantify such phenomena.
Written with an investigative eye that will captivate both skeptics and believers alike, The Rite shows that the truth about demonic possession is not only stranger than fiction, but also far more chilling.
Three-Year Banquet is a concise, clear,
straightforward introduction to the way that Christian
communities have organized their reading of scripture in worship. The Worship
Matters Studies Series examines key worship issues through
studies by pastors, musicians, and laypeople from throughout the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America. Features include the following: 1) Informal and
insightful writing for all
readers; 2) Study questions at the end of every chapter; 3) Examination of vital
issues in weekly worship; 4) Increased ability of leaders and congregants to understand
and experience worship more richly.
"The lessons were awesome! God knew I needed to be there. My heart overflows with joy."
"In your kitchen I learned about seasoning food. In your living room I reacquainted myself with the seasoning work of the Holy Spirit."
"The program gives value to women who are homemakers and wives. The Bible study and cooking lessons improved my perspective on staying home with children. . . . The program is a good eye-opener and refresher to what is really important: God, husband, children, family, and friends."
"So many positive things have happened in my life since, and because of, my Apples of Gold summer. Much confidence was gained that went far beyond the kitchen. . . . This was truly a life changing experience!"
"God knew I needed Apples of Gold. It is probably inconceivable to you to know how you and the mentors have touched the lives of Apples of Gold moms!"
"I loved being with older women, finding out how much we have in common, and building relationships with a different generation."
"Apples of Gold makes you focus on what is really important in your life. We discussed subjects I was not familiar with, like the real meaning of submission and purity. It certainly has changed the way I feel about them."
"Apples of Gold takes the warm atmosphere of the home and teaches how to extend it beyond the immediate family."
Gail Hover Ledbetter
Author, Family Fragrance
Julie Gorman has studied small groups for decades and presents her analysis, insights, and suggestions in Community That Is Christian, an essential resource for building community in church-based small groups. This comprehensive book serves both as a text for those who equip leaders or lead small groups and as an interactive manual for small-group members, helping them transform their relationships into Christ-centered community.
The book begins with biblical support for coming together, contrasting it with our often individualistic mind-set that undermines community. Gorman then sets forth the goals of community and describes the process of transformation. She draws from extensive research to address the why and the how of small-group ministry, giving special attention to gender and cultural distinctions. Community That Is Christian provides readers with charts, discussion questions, and inventories to further help them establish community within their small groups.
Patrick F. O'Connell is professor in the departments of English and theology at Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonaland is coauthor (with William H. Shannon and Christine M. Bochen) of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited four previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom series: Cassian and the Fathers; Pre-Benedictine Monasticism; An Introduction to Christian Mysticism; and The Rule of Saint Benedict.
While the Rule offers much to those seeking a pattern to the structure of their day-to-day, exterior" life, which de Waal's previous commentaries have addressed, this commentary focuses on what Benedict tells us about the interior life. It takes the shape of prayerful reflections on his words of wisdom regarding the disposition of the heart. It leads the reader, as the Rule was meant to lead the novice, to answer the very personal question we must all, as Christians, answer: "Am I truly seeking God?" Includes a copy of the Rule.
Esther de Waal is a well-known author whose interests lie particularly in monastic and Celtic spirituality. Her first book, Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict (The Liturgical Press), continues to be a bestseller and has-been translated world wide. It was followed by Living with Contradiction: Further Reflections on the Rule and, most recently, A World Made Whole: Rediscovering the Celtic Tradition and A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton. She is married with four grown-up sons and lives in the Welsh Borders."
The book tells the story of the Jesuits’ great successes as missionaries, educators, scientists, cartographers, polemicists, theologians, poets, patrons of the arts, and confessors to kings. It tells the story of their failures and of the calamity that struck them in 1773 when Pope Clement XIV suppressed them worldwide. It tells how a subsequent pope restored them to life and how they have fared to this day in virtually every country in the world. Along the way it introduces readers to key figures in Jesuit history, such as Matteo Ricci and Pedro Arrupe, and important Jesuit writings, such as the Spiritual Exercises.
Concise and compelling, The Jesuits is an accessible introduction for anyone interested in world or church history. In addition to the narrative, the book provides a timeline, a list of significant figures, photos of important figures and locations, recommendations for additional reading, and more.
As in his previous and successful book, The Rule of Benedict for Beginners, Will Derkse in this sequel is searching for those basic attitudes and virtues that characterize Benedictine spirituality, making them available for those living and working outside a monastery. The cultivation of silence and restrained speech; the dedication to work and study; the importance of humility (which is the courage to serve); the cultivation of hospitality, care, and stewardship; mutual respect and taking care of speaking good words these are the book's main topics. All these attitudes are boundary conditions for a life on which God's blessing is resting.
Will Derkse is married and a father of two adult daughters. He is an oblate with the Benedictine St. Willibrord's Abbey in Doetinchem, The Netherlands. He has degrees in chemistry and philosophy and has taught at several institutions of secondary and higher education. Since 2001, he is a director responsible for the Soeterbeeck Program for Science, Society, and Worldviews at the Radboud University of Nijmegen, where he also holds the Andreas van Melsen Chair.
In Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, Marva Dawn writes to help local parishes and denominations think more thoroughly about worship and culture so that they can function effectively in contemporary society. She roots her discussion of worship issues in a careful assessment of significant aspects of the present technological, boomer, post-modern society and names criteria by which to judge the various cultural influences. She then sketches essential attributes of worship. Dawn recognizes that the vitality and faithfulness of our personal and corporate Christian lives and the effectiveness of our outreach to the world depend on the character that is formed in individuals and communities.
How can churches best reach out to society without dumbing down this essential character formation? Dawn discusses music, preaching, and all the accouterments of worship and offers practical suggestions for choosing the best tools and forms to deepen worship life, nurture faith development, and increase believers outreach throughout the universal church and to the world.
Beginning not with early Israelite worship, but with creation itself, this work uncovers the glories and beauty of true worship as it is progressively revealed from its beginning in the Garden to its climax in the new heavens and new earth. Throughout the book, the focus is on the integral issue of who we worship . . . and why. Ross then applies these discoveries to the contemporary Christian practice and debate.
Recalling the Hope of Glory stands to become a definitive resource for the pastor, worship leader, and those training for the ministry. Regardless of their denomination, readers will appreciate the author's high view of Scripture and just how much it can and should inform Christian worship.
"The Teacha" also discusses the origination of Hip Hop Kulture and relays specific instances in history wherein one can discover the same spirit and ideas that are at the core of Hip Hop’s current manifestation. He explains Hip Hop down to the actual meaning and linguistic history of the words “hip” and “hop,” and describes the ways in which "Hiphoppas" can change their current circumstances to create a future that incorporates Health, Love, Awareness, and Wealth (H-LAW).
Committed to fervently promoting self-reliance, dedicated study, peace, unity, and truth, The "Teacha" has drawn both criticism and worship from within and from outside of Hip Hop Kulture. In this beautifully written, inspiring book, KRS ONE shines the light of truth, from his own empirical research over a 14-year period, into the fascinating world of Hip Hop.