Articles by ReadTheSpirit.com
Thursday July 29, 2021
One of the most striking series of headlines about religion in July 2021 concerns the decline in self-identified evangelicals in America, triggered by new data from the Public Religion Research Institute. To help put this news in context, here are the perspective of journalist and author Martin Davis.
David Crumm: In ‘Healing a Shattered Soul,’ Mindy Corporon invites us to join her tribe of peacemakers
Tuesday April 13, 2021
Healing a Shattered Soul begins with a news story—like so many others we read these days with heart-breaking regularity: Three Killed in Shootings at Kansas City-Area Jewish Centers. We all have seen far too many of those headlines, haven’t we? Usually, these stories fade as they are eclipsed by the next mass shooting—or they become the fuel of true-crime dramas that take us into the killers’ worlds.
David Crumm: Ken Whitt reminds our troubled world, ‘God Is Just Love,’ then gives us 100 ways to find hope and be love
Thursday February 04, 2021
“What can I do right now?” That’s a question we’ve heard from countless readers and writers since the first days of 2021 as we all seek ways to rebuild America’s shattered community. Having seen this turbulence coming for a long time, the prophetic author Ken Whitt answers with the title affirmation, spread across the front cover of his book: God Is Just Love—Building Spiritual Resilience and Sustainable Communities for the Sake of Our Children and Creation.
David Crumm: ‘Love, Loss and Endurance’ shows how 9/11 extremism evolved to 1/6 storming of the Capitol—and how we can ‘unplug extremism’
Tuesday January 19, 2021
There is a bright red line in journalist Bill Tammeus’s new book, Love, Loss and Endurance that runs from 9/11/2001 through 1/6/2021—as deadly extremism has continued to spread around the world and across the United States.
Wednesday December 16, 2020
When I began my work as a pastoral counselor one of the persons who came to me was a woman in her fifties dying of cancer. I can still remember her saying, “It’s not dying that scares me, it’s my fear of dying alone that haunts me.”
Tuesday December 01, 2020
“I’ll pray for you.” How many times have you said those words in this turbulent pandemic year? How many times will you be saying this as winter sets in and the year-end holidays loom? Pew Research says most Americans pray. But how do we pray? What do we say? Beyond frequency of prayer, Pew research tells us little about the details. That’s where Cara Gilger and her friends lend a hand.
David Crumm: ‘For All Who Hunger’—Emily Scott tells how she began uniting a diverse community, one dinner at a time
Tuesday November 17, 2020
As wise prophets have done for thousands of years, Emily Scott could foresee where American forces of isolation and exclusion were headed. She saw this as far back as 2008. Facing these crises, her pastoral inspiration drew from the ancient Christian church that understood the best way to bridge the chasms of race, ethnicity and culture was to start by breaking bread together.
Monday August 03, 2020
Who will stand beside us as we die? In the midst of a pandemic, this question has arisen in countless families in America and around the world. Who will hold our hand? Offer a prayer? Until this year, the answer was a reassuring memory of generations of loved ones who have died. We all have stories we can share....
David Crumm: Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil on ‘Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now’
Thursday July 02, 2020
The dramatic wave of support for the Black Lives Matter campaign shows an astonishing change in American awareness of systemic racism. So—now is the time to channel that tidal wave toward change, says the Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil.
David Crumm: David Finnegan-Hovey Invites Congregations to Help with a Major Health-Care Concern for Millions
Wednesday May 20, 2020
David Finnegan-Hosey’s new book, Grace Is a Pre-Existing Condition—Faith, Systems, and Mental Healthcare—should be in the hands of clergy and small-group leaders in congregations nationwide, right now. There is not a more timely—and uniquely focused—book for congregations this spring.
Thursday May 14, 2020
We enjoyed naming her—Patience, was the final selection. We considered other names: Unfluffable, Purrsisstent, Queen for the Month, Constance, Perseverant. Patience seemed the most accurate, stable, defining name for our Mallard Mama in these restless, unstable times....
Saturday May 09, 2020
REMEMBERING OUR MOTHERS & GRANDMOTHERS: ”Her home was a palace!” writes Martin Davis, describing, from a little boy’s perspective, the wonders of his grandmother Martha’s house that still stands, but now seems surprisingly small.
Duncan Newcomer’s Abraham Lincoln, Quiet Fire: In this cruel month of death, what will be our legacy?
Wednesday April 22, 2020
Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, we all respect Lincoln’s wisdom—and his articulation of American values. That’s why Duncan Newcomer writes: “Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans.”
David Crumm: Need to smile again? Get a free Bob Alper book and you’ll say: ‘Thanks. I Needed That.’
Tuesday March 31, 2020
In a global crisis, we all need hope—so, we’re giving It to you. In fact, that’s why rabbi and stand-up comedian Bob Alper—famous as a master of clean comedy—has written a book. You can get it for free.
Wednesday March 18, 2020
Two horrific health crises ravaged Abraham Lincoln’s early life. A disorder known in his day as Milk Sick quickly took Lincoln’s mother and two other adults in his seven-person cabin, then the typhoid epidemic took the life of Ann Rutledge, who many scholars now credit as being Lincoln’s first true love. Wide-spread suffering and intense personal suffering are the polarities of Lincoln’s life as president. His frontier early life taught him so.
Tuesday March 17, 2020
"Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices; who from our mothers’ arms, hath blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today." Those words of this well-known hymn are particularly meaningful in our world right now, when the coronavirus has become a pandemic. Ironically, they were penned in 1636-1637, during an outbreak of yet another terrible plague.
Thursday March 05, 2020
“Boys, now I’ve got you” doesn’t sound too spiritual, does it? Yet Lincoln gleefully surprised his young friends in southern Indiana one day with these very words—words not found etched on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial. But who were these boys Lincoln had gotten? Enjoy this excerpt from Duncan Newcomer's book of meditations...
David Crumm: ‘Another Way’: Ancient wisdom for rethinking leadership in our congregations and communities
Wednesday February 26, 2020
The most important thing you need to know about *Another Way: Living & Leading Change on Purpose,* and the book’s three authors, is that you will find their book dramatically different than many of the other leadership books on your shelf. Unlike most authors on leadership, this trio of ministers, activists and scholars is preaching a revolutionary message. That’s revolutionary as in turning popular assumptions upside down.
Friday February 14, 2020
This week, we are celebrating Edward McNulty’s 30th anniversary of his Visual Parables Journal by publishing Ed’s personal reflections on his decades of moving between movie theaters, his role as an online journalist and his ongoing work with congregations and conferences.
Wednesday November 20, 2019
As bad as our national divisions are today, they were far worse in October of 1863. Duncan Newcomer writes in his newly released 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln about what the founder of Thanksgiving, Abraham Lincoln, found to unify a bleeding nation.
Thursday October 31, 2019
What’s so important about this world-changing book? After circling the globe and talking with families both in the U.S. and abroad, Gushee says the answer is very, very simple. “The most important thing about this book is that it helps parents love their children more,” he said in our interview this week about the release of the book’s hardback edition.
Friday October 25, 2019
Now you can join in this call to spiritually reunite our nation by becoming part of the first wave of readers of 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire. This inspirational book collects 30 stories along with links to listen to the original broadcast of each daily story as well.
Thursday December 06, 2018
Did you ever think: Our daily social media fixes are really weapons of mass distraction? Read Henry Brinton's column from ReadtheSpirit.com
Judith Valente on ”˜How to Live’: What St. Benedict’s 6th Century Text Can Teach Us About Our Communities Today
Monday November 26, 2018
Judith Valente’s new book, How to Live, is so timely that we invited her to write our Cover Story, this week, focusing in particular on wisdom from the 6th Century Rule of St. Benedict about leadership. In this column, she is drawing on just one of the nearly two dozen reflections in her new book.
David Crumm: C.S. Lewis Is Alive and Well! Why an Oxford-Cambridge Professor who Died 55 Years Ago Remains a Best-Selling Author
Friday September 28, 2018
Clive Staples Lewis is back! HarperOne has just released two new C.S. Lewis books that fans of the prolific Christian author should regard as magical wardrobes””literary doorways that open into the world of Lewis’s creative mind and heart.
David Crumm: The Original ”˜Outlaw Christian,’ Jacqueline Bussie Leaps from Despair to ”˜Love Without Limits’
Tuesday September 04, 2018
Based on the success of her first book, What Jacqueline Bussie did not realize is that her 'outlaw' idea was edgy and popular with her evangelical editors””until she revealed the next steps she wanted to take in her spiritual journey. In writing this new book, Bussie simply assumed that her editors would follow her lead in calling for loving relationships with actual 'outsiders'””including Muslim and LGBTQ friends.
David Crumm: Reviving Our Soulforce: Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry Distill Dr. King’s Wisdom into Seven Pivots for Courageous Communities
Monday August 27, 2018
“Soul force is where the Spirit of God and our human resilience meet. The Spirit doesn’t override our will, nor does it bypass our humanity. The Spirit works in concert and collaboration with our ingenuity gifts and grit,” Reesheda and Shawn write in the introduction to their new book, Soul Force: Seven Pivots toward Courage, Community and Change.
David Crumm: Solus Jesus: Emily Swan and Ken Wilson are following Jesus into a world where everyone feels safe
Monday August 20, 2018
Just imagine: A world where everyone feels safe. Everyone is loved. That alone is an astonishing vision in this era when each morning’s front-page headlines chronicle yet another crushing confrontation between our nation’s leaders. And then imagine: In this world shaped by Jesus’s vision of compassion and justice, everyone is invited to explore God’s goodness””because everyone recognizes that a loving God continues to remains active in our world.
Monday June 25, 2018
Civility requires courage. In fact, that kind of courage may be the missing ingredient in our anger-drenched era of daily conflict. I was reminded of this truth by an old friend as we compared the conflicts we faced in the 1960s with the conflicts we face today. My friend is 61 now. I’m a good deal older.
Wednesday May 30, 2018
To borrow a couple of Marcus’s own earlier titles, this newbook could have been appropriately titled: "Meeting Marcus Borg Again for the First Time””Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary."
David Crumm: Matthew Kaemingk invites Christians and Muslims to envision a table as the core of healthy community
Monday May 14, 2018
Humility is the first value trampled into the dust of America’s stormy political conflicts these days. So, we start our coverage of Christian ethicist Matthew Kaemingk’s thought-provoking new book by pointing out that Matthew identifies true humility as a foundation for healthy interfaith relationships. If you are among our readers interested in the promising new findings emerging in humility research””then this is a a book you need to add to your bookshelf.
Monday May 07, 2018
“Let me tell you a story.” Those are the first words in the Rev. David Finnegan-Hosey’s memoir, Christ on the Psych Ward, an inspiring book that should be read by anyone who cares about the future of congregational life in America. The personal narrative is David’s struggle to overcome his crisis with mental health. Along the way, he invites us to look at how churches can respond more appropriately to the millions of families facing these issues every year.
Tuesday May 01, 2018
Nearly everyone feels grateful””or so we’re told in a national study by Pew researchers that Diana Butler Bass describes in the opening pages of her new book, 'Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.' So, if you don’t feel grateful most of the time””do you find yourself feeling like a failure? Diana admits that’s how she feels sometimes””like 'a gratitude klutz.'
Tuesday April 24, 2018
Meet John Bellaimey””a veteran educator at the prestigious Breck School, an independent preK-12 college preparatory school in Minnesota. Breck is known for producing more than its share of Merit Scholars and sending students to Ivy League schools. Bellaimey developed The Tree of World Religions to help students understand the religious foundations of our world’s diverse cultures and nations.
Tuesday April 17, 2018
Jon Sweeney’s fascinating new biography of Phyllis devotes two pages to a list of her books, but admits to readers that this is 'not a complete bibliography.' If someone eventually lists all of her publications, including manuscripts she edited plus her own ever-flowing river of journalism””the result would fill another book!
Monday April 09, 2018
Would you invite Stanley Hauerwas””the famously 'angry' theologian””to become your child’s godparent and agree to write a series of letters to your son or daughter? That is what the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells and his wife did two decades ago, fully aware of the famous theologian’s 'happy anger,' as Wells describes it.
David Crumm: Jana Riess on re-discovery of the Christian Prayer Wheel after it was lost for centuries
Wednesday April 04, 2018
Do you remember the headlines about this discovery? Sara Griffiths of The Daily Mail in the UK was among many journalists around the world who reported in 2015 on the mysterious chart, which turned up when a medieval illuminated book of Gospels was placed on the auction block. In the front of that set of Gospels was a strange chart for a kind of spiritual discipline no one could decipher.
David Crumm: John Dominic Crossan on ”˜Resurrecting Easter’ and re-envisioning our relationship to Jesus
Monday March 19, 2018
How do you envision the Resurrection? It’s a timely question as 2 billion Christians around the world soon will mark the most important global holiday in this 2,000-year-old religion: Easter. (April 1 for Western Christians and April 8 for Eastern Christians in 2018.)
Monday March 05, 2018
The publication of Bart’s latest book, 'Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World,' certainly is notable because it is unlikely to spark controversy. In fact, from the perspective of many traditional churchgoers who have shunned Ehrman””this new book is likely to be very popular for some its basic conclusions...
Monday February 26, 2018
As a journalist, specializing in religion and diversity for more than 40 years, I’ve reported my share of stories about the Graham family. Since his death at age 99 on February 21, I have mourned Billy’s passing. As I read the coverage of his life by my colleagues nationwide, I was struck by one thought: Billy’s legacy would look a brighter if his son Franklin Graham hadn’t doubled-down on the family’s earliest bigotry.
Monday February 19, 2018
Why do we need this wisdom from former Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold right now? Because, at the heart of this little book is an invitation from a survivor of conflict to walk along with him through various dramatic encounters and discover, in the end, that Spirit can guide us not only to our own individual solace””but toward re-establishing ties in a deeply divided community.
Monday February 12, 2018
The global trend may be toward secularization in many regions, but certain populations are drawn toward some of the spiritual disciplines, Peter argues. 'Some of the mysterious, powerful, spiritual practices that the churches observed for centuries are being rediscovered particularly by young adults who are seeking a depth to their lives that they are not experiencing in today’s culture.'
Wednesday November 29, 2017
We are recommending an intriguing new book on this often-ignored topic. And, we admit this may seem like an eccentric idea. After all, when was the last time you spontaneously started discussing 'liturgy' with your friends? Perhaps … never?
Thursday November 23, 2017
Join the millions of Americans giving thanks and expressing gratitude over a savory feast, as family and friends gather for the historical and beloved holiday of Thanksgiving.
Friday October 27, 2017
'Embracing Compassion and Hope in a Troubled World' is Wicks' subtitle for this new book””no surprise to his regular readers. He’s been writing about resilience from this perspective for years.
Ben Pratt and James Truxell: As the voice of Doctor No echoes from Las Vegas, can we collectively respond with love?
Thursday October 12, 2017
How can we respond to the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, when the gunman’s dark motives remain such a mystery? There was no war cry from Stephen Paddock. No manifesto awaiting publication. No suicide video. No affiliation with an infamous group.
Friday August 04, 2017
Justin Dillon practices precisely what he is preaching. His 'riot' was a gut-level passion for combatting human trafficking””and he launched a simple, global challenge that has made a huge impact on the darkly shrouded infrastructure of modern-day slavery.
Saturday July 22, 2017
Enter the master translator Willis Barnstone, now 89 (and we may all pray for his good health to continue his work for many more years). Granted, he’s not a household name among American readers like J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, but the world’s literary treasures are grander and richer because of Barnstone’s work over many decades.
Wednesday June 14, 2017
A June 1, 2017, report in The New York Times on the 'Scope of Hate' explored the collective impact of nearly 2,000 incidents of hate and bias in the U.S. in recent months. The next day, the Times reported again on the rise of roving groups of angry right-wing protesters that 'recruit battalions of mainly young white men for one-off confrontations.' While much of this fury swirls around President Trump’s actions toward Muslim and Latino minorities, millions of LGBTQ allies are on alert as well.
Wednesday May 24, 2017
This year, the CDC reports that more than 2.6 million men, women and children will die in the U.S.””leaving tens of millions of family members grieving the loss. Year after year, this is a sad truth about life in America that most of us tend to overlook.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
This is a memoir spanning many years of maternal experiences by Barbara Mahany, perhaps best known from her earlier life as a beloved Chicago Tribune columnist. Even if you don’t live in the Chicago area, you may have enjoyed her columns via wire services or the Internet.
Friday April 07, 2017
What if we’ve been getting the story wrong? That’s the most provocative question historian, author and educator Diana Butler Bass asked a crowd at the First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, across the street from the University of Michigan’s main campus.
Wednesday April 05, 2017
What religion stories are most important to lift up in 2017? What stories are under-covered in the media? Two of us at ReadTheSpirit participated in a global online forum sponsored by the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) asking for responses to those important questions. You’ll be intrigued and inspired to discover what reporters from the six continents had to say.
Wednesday March 22, 2017
Depression affects millions of men and women each year. While it is a psychiatric disorder that needs treatment, as Greg Garrett points out in Crossing Myself, depression also can be intertwined with spiritual crisis. In addition to therapy and medication, recovery can often draw on religious disciplines””and the embrace of religious communities””in restoring one’s balance.
Thursday March 16, 2017
Five hundred years ago, Reformer Martin Luther nailed a manifesto for religious freedom on a church door in Germany and touched off a worldwide revolution in faith. In 2017, as we have reported, Germany is drawing pilgrims from around the world who are celebrating that anniversary. This is a timely moment for a new network of American men and women to follow Luther’s example””by publishing a manifesto calling for an end to barriers in religious life. That’s the hope of Dave Schmelzer and leaders in growing congregations from New England to southern California.
Saturday February 04, 2017
To this day, the two largest religious denominations in the U.S. bar women from full ordination: the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. But that stained-glass ceiling obscures a deeper truth: Women have always been the backbone of American religious life.
Saturday January 28, 2017
At this remarkable milestone in world history””500 years from the start of the Reformation and 200 years from Thoreau’s birth””we invited popular author and columnist Benjamin Pratt to reflect on the challenges of his own life’s work as a pastor, counselor, writer, father, grandfather and talented woodworker.
Tuesday January 17, 2017
To kick off this historic year, we invite author and columnist Benjamin Pratt to stir our reflections on the Reformation by describing his own recent visit to Luther’s home...
Saturday December 17, 2016
As an author, Kent Nerburn’s fingertips have been on the pulse of Indian country for three decades. Now, he has just published with New World Library, Voices in the Stone: Life Lessons in the Native Way.
Wednesday November 23, 2016
Rising from the heart of our nation, central Indiana, comes the voice of Quaker singer-writer Carrie Newcomer in the form of a new album and a book of essays and poetry, collectively called: The Beautiful Not Yet.
Tuesday November 22, 2016
Father James Martin, SJ, is one of America’s most famous Catholic priests””known for such a hearty sense of humor that he wrote an entire book about holy mirth and appeared several times on The Colbert Report. But in late 2016, Martin is deadly serious about one thing: the need to restore civility and balance to our public discourse.
Tuesday August 23, 2016
This summer, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Christian educator Debbie Houghton invite readers to get a copy of Diana Butler Bass’s new “Grounded: Finding God in the World” and read along with us. Over five weeks, David and Debbie have published five reflections on Bass’s book with questions to consider. This week, Debbie offers Part 5, our concluding reflection.
David Crumm: Get ”˜Grounded,’ part 4: Can we see the forest for our trees? - Diana Butler Bass - Day1.org
Tuesday August 16, 2016
This summer, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Christian educator Debbie Houghton invite readers to get a copy of Diana Butler Bass’s new “Grounded: Finding God in the World” and read along with us. For five weeks, David and Debbie will offer five reflections on Bass’s book with questions to consider. This week, David offers Part 4, looking at the sections of Diana’s book on Neighbors and Commons …
Saturday August 13, 2016
Not everyone has dismissed what Richard Beck describes as “Old Scratch” in his new book, Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted. Beck is not alone in talking seriously about Lucifer.
Tuesday August 09, 2016
ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Christian educator Debbie Houghton invite readers to get a copy of Diana Butler Bass’s new “Grounded: Finding God in the World” and read along with us. David and Debbie offer five reflections on Bass’s book with questions to consider. This week, Debbie offers Part 3, looking at the sections of Diana’s book on Dirt, Water and Sky
Friday July 15, 2016
Peter Enns is content, much like the late Marcus Borg, in affirming the value of Christianity””while focusing on changing traditionalist concepts about how to read the Bible within the church.
Tuesday June 21, 2016
After the Orlando shootings, Gushee says, he feels compelled to remind Americans that people of faith bear a collective responsibility to speak out””because religious traditions themselves are at the core of anti-LGBT attitudes.
Thursday June 02, 2016
'Third way'””the phrase is buzzing through religious groups where members are searching desperately for some graceful and faithful way to welcome gay and lesbian members after a long history of condemning them. The Rev. Ken Wilson is widely regarded as the man who turned the 'third way' idea into a national movement.
Friday April 29, 2016
Spring is the perfect season to explore John Shelby Spong’s new book, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy. First, look past the book’s title””those words are a publisher’s way of reminding readers of the controversy retired Bishop 'Jack' Spong has sparked throughout most of his career. Yes, this new book is a provocative re-interpretation of gospel stories and some Christians will disagree with Spong, as usual. But, there’s so much more than mere 'controversy' in this book!
Thursday April 07, 2016
Our memories of our greatest heroes change all the time. Whether Jesus as divine has ever changed is a question for Christian theologians. But the truth is””our human memory of Jesus has changed a lot through the last 2,000 years.
Wednesday February 17, 2016
If you are familiar with Bass’s long and distinguished career as a historian, then you know that she has been a specialist in the history of Christianity and has adapted those insights into consulting with congregations. Compared with her past volumes, this book unfolds in a powerful new blend of prose and personal reflection. She moves seamlessly from scholarly observation””to active participation in finding spiritual awakenings in everyday life.
Tuesday February 09, 2016
After publishing many very popular, longer-format inspirational books, James Martin is publishing a short, small volume for Lent 2016: Seven Last Words””An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus.
Tuesday December 15, 2015
For years, millions of Christians have opened their thick “study Bibles” for personal inspiration and for discussion in the millions of Sunday School classes and small Bible-study groups nationwide. Now, an equally substantial Muslim volume, The Study Quran, joins the groaning shelves of “study Bibles” as a resource for Muslims””and for Christians who want to learn more about this closely related sister faith.
Saturday November 28, 2015
ONLY ONE FIGURE rivals Sherlock Holmes and Santa Claus as the longest-running characters in world cinema. As veteran-faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty points out in his new book, that unique, history-spanning figure is Jesus Christ, Movie Star.
Tuesday November 17, 2015
The joke in this new book’s title is funny. But, the point of the book is earnestly serious: This is a historic moment when Pope Francis and Protestant leaders might finally complete the mission of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and link hands as Christians. The new book says: If our leaders aren’t ready to do that, then we as ordinary men and women can start the process of making friends across the great divide of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.
Saturday November 07, 2015
Dan sometimes describes himself as a 'peace warrior.' One meaning of that phrase is Dan’s ongoing struggle with perceptions of global threats and violence from Hollywood, TV networks, newspapers and magazines. He’s not a media basher, but he says, 'So much of what we see and hear and read, these days, is governed by fear and is trying to set people up in adversarial situations.'
Friday October 16, 2015
One year ago, Dr. David Gushee’s life changed””and so did thousands of lives he began to touch all around the world with the publication of his startling book Changing Our Mind.
Friday October 09, 2015
Announcing an important new book, We Will SEEK PEACE and Pursue It, edited by Iona’s Neil Paynter and featuring contributions from authors around the world, including our own Benjamin Pratt.
Wednesday June 24, 2015
An encyclical is the highest level of teaching any pope can hope to issue from his own pen. It’s a book””in this case more than 180 pages. Today we are publishing some highlights of this enormous letter to the world””with the hope that Pope Francis’s spirit will touch you and encourage further dialogue.
Saturday May 23, 2015
What’s so delightful about Martha Spong’s new book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, is that she lets a little girl make the case in the book’s opening chapter written by the Rev. Ruth Everhart. Indignant at the injustice of her family’s church leadership refusing to ordain her mother””or any woman””young Hannah Everhart declared to her mother: "Even a first grader knows you’re a good minister. Stupid-heads!"
Sunday May 10, 2015
An early sign of spring’s renewing power is the rise of common violets, pushing heart-shaped green leaves through even the thickest thatch of winter-mottled lawns and fields. And just in time for spring, Quaker writer and activist Eileen Flanagan sends us all Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope.
Wednesday April 22, 2015
Much like today, the mid 1700s was 'a perfect seedbed for the revival in which [John] Wesley would play so prominent a part,' Hamilton writes in his new book, Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It. Wesley’s life parallels many religious trends today...
Friday April 10, 2015
A new book by best-selling author Rachel Held Evans is a clarion call to Christians to reclaim the great treasures within their tradition. In our new interview with Rachel, she says that too many “Christians” seem to have forgotten about the core of their faith, especially those conservatives pushing for legalized bias against LGBT men and women. The truth is: Christianity is a spiritual treasure trove, if only Christians would remember and reclaim the best of their tradition. Rachel’s interview is both provocative and filled with hope!
Thursday April 02, 2015
Every day in America, someone chuckles at Bob Alper. Sometimes, hundreds laugh at him. On purpose. Alper is the world’s only practicing rabbi who also is a full-time standup comedian. Alper also is a wise teacher, a sought-after rabbi, and this is the time of the year when the vast majority of Americans””millions of Christians and Jews””are marking treasured holidays.
Sunday March 22, 2015
ASHAMED of your body? Overweight? (Millions of us are.) Not attractive? Not athletic? Addicted to chocolate or cigarettes or worse? Are you wondering: Who could love such a body””including you yourself? If so””then here’s good news. Ragan Sutterfield has written a book just for us: This Is My Body””From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit, and Deeper Faith.
Friday March 20, 2015
Doug Pagitt's new book is called 'Flipped: The Provocative Truth That Changes Everything We Know About God.' In 200 pages, Pagitt lays out his vision of a religious community that focuses far more on the way God unites us””than on our own individual claims about the little pieces of God we may own.
Sunday March 01, 2015
An intrepid explorer of the connections between popular culture and the spiritual realms invites us to travel with him as Dante did with his guide Virgil 700 years ago into Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso””a classic tale that we know as The Divine Comedy. Our guide is Greg Garrett, a noted scholar at Baylor University and author of 20 previous books. He calls his book, Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination.
Tuesday February 24, 2015
After decades of writing for the Chicago Tribune, Barbara Mahany now is sharing her wonderfully engaging insights with the rest of us in Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door. As we have often found, veteran journalists understand their relationship with readers and have polish their craft until their writing feels like a conversation with a good friend.
Sunday February 01, 2015
Whatever we thought our relationships were as we first nurtured them as children, they might someday surprise us in wondrous ways. That’s the magic of 'Love Will Steer Me True,' which Jane and Ellen Knuth have subtitled, 'A Mother and Daughter’s Conversations on Life, Love and God.'
Tuesday January 27, 2015
ReadTheSpirit.com's David Crumm writes a personal reflection on the death of America’s sometimes beloved (and sometimes controversial) Bible scholar, Marcus Borg.
Wednesday January 07, 2015
From childhood, Christians grow up hearing the parables (the stories told by Jesus) so frequently that mentioning 'the Good Samaritan' or 'the Prodigal Son' is more likely to prompt a yawn than an inspiring reflection. But today, we promise you this: If you read this new book about Jesus’s parables, you will close the back cover with far more questions than you dreamed possible.
Tuesday November 11, 2014
News already is spreading that America’s leading evangelical Christian ethicist, Dr. David P. Gushee, has reversed his traditional opposition to LGBT relationships in a landmark book called, 'Changing Our Mind.' ReadTheSpirit.com editor David Crumm interviewed Dr. Gushee about his new book.
Friday September 26, 2014
Whatever your faith and whatever the season, Marcia Falk has blessings, poems and spiritual guidance to help you through a time of reflection and renewal. Her new book is called 'The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season.' It's a series of reflections, readings, blessings and prayers appropriate to each day from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. But this book also is full of timeless spiritual wisdom.
Tuesday September 16, 2014
Journalist and scholar Phyllis Tickle has written a fascinating history of how Christians have come to understand the movement of God’s Holy Spirit. Her new book (written with Jon M. Sweeney) is called 'The Age of the Spirit: How the Ghost of an Ancient Controversy Is Shaping the Church.'
Tuesday September 09, 2014
Anxious Christians, watching young adults slip away from congregations by the millions, have built an entire industry around “church growth.” So, this new book by journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley is both eagerly awaited news””and a startling surprise. What's the big surprise in 'Got Religion? How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back'? Riley's extensive research, backed by the Templeton Press, shows that the advice hawked by a lot of would-be church-growth experts simply isn’t worth the money.
Sunday September 07, 2014
Wake up your spiritual life with best-selling author, theologian and educator Matthew Fox. In his newest book, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, Fox inspires us by connecting dots between the medieval German mystic Meister Eckhart””and the lives of visionary men and women in our times who we, at ReadTheSpirit, would call Interfaith Peacemakers.
Thursday August 21, 2014
BUD HECKMAN is an interfaith Frank Lloyd Wright. This pastor, scholar and author is a global architect designing the structures we all will need””if we are to transform religious conflict into interfaith cooperation that can benefit communities worldwide. You may be meeting him for the first time because the majority of Heckman’s work takes place behind the scenes.
Tuesday August 12, 2014
Millions of American children are heading back to school””and many of them are dreading that first day, wondering: Will I be bullied? Do you know one of these kids? Be honest: Were you once one of these kids?
Sunday August 10, 2014
ReadTheSpirit online magazine recommends Charles Marsh’s new biography, 'Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer' published by Knopf. Marsh compellingly tells the story of Bonhoeffer’s deep Christian faith, but he also more clearly describes Bonhoeffer’s life-changing experiences while studying for a year in the U.S.
Tuesday August 05, 2014
Think of Matthew Vines as a young Gen. George S. Patton. At 24, Matthew Vines is organizing a tough, smart, highly trained force of young evangelicals who are prepared to go toe-to-toe with traditionalist Christians on the issue of whether the Bible allows LGBT inclusion.
Tuesday July 22, 2014
Psychologist Dr. Robert J. Wicks is known around the world for helping to restore lives traumatized by such conflicts. He has served in the wake of massive tragedies, such as conflicts that swept across Rwanda and Cambodia. He regularly helps aid workers, medical professionals as well as men and women serving in the U.S. military.
Tuesday July 08, 2014
While a year-long Bible study may seem like a heavy-duty return to Brian McLaren’s evangelical roots, readers quickly discover that he remains steadfastly committed to his original message all those years ago: The Christian journey is always about change.
Friday June 20, 2014
Marcus Borg is back with a new book that feels like a follow up to 'The Heart of Christianity.' It’s called 'Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most' and, in this case, although the book rests on Marcus’s considerable scholarship, this book mainly explores the roles of 'experience and memory' in our spiritual journeys.
Tuesday June 17, 2014
Restless this summer? Eager to roam? Hoping to discover something that will energize and motivate you all year long? Then, don’t wait: Get Carrie Newcomer’s latest collection, A Permeable Life, and start singing along. Here is my interview with her.
Tuesday June 03, 2014
That idea of Jerusalem as a life-changing destination runs through the popular Jesuit author James Martin’s latest book, 'Jesus: A Pilgrimage.' Read our interview with Father Martin.
Friday May 30, 2014
In his new book, "How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee," Bart Ehrman asks provocative questions--the fresh approach that has made him a best-selling author.
Wednesday April 16, 2014
Everywhere we go, we're asked: 'What are you doing about Facebook?' That’s a natural question. Men and women nationwide are interested in the dramatic changes within Facebook. How dramatically is Facebook changing?Three of our experts respond.
Wednesday October 09, 2013
Every American knows something about the Amish. However, few Americans know much about the Mennonites, a major branch of the centuries-old Anabaptist movement that today is known for its courage and generosity in peacemaking and community building. 'Blush' is a welcoming doorway into that world””a world that Shirley Showalter herself still proudly represents.
Thursday September 19, 2013
Hospitality is all the rage in communities coast to coast this year, in part because we are approaching the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s declaration of a national Thanksgiving. But what is hospitality? Emily Post? Serving tea? A suite at a convention with mixed drinks? Where do we turn to rediscover the spiritual core of hospitality?
Tuesday September 10, 2013
Do not dismiss the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber and her book’s quirky title, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, when you encounter them this week. And, you will encounter her, most likely in multiple sightings. Nadia is debuting as a major Christian author, this week, thanks to Jericho Books””an imprint of the world’s second largest publisher, Hachette.