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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books
Booklist’s most warmly reviewed books on religion during the last 12 months share one quality. They are, to a title, revelatory.
American Crescent: A Muslim Cleric on the Power of His Faith, the Struggle against Prejudice, and the Future of Islam and America. By Hassan Qazwini. 2007. Random, $25.95 (1-4000-6454-6).
The head of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, tells his immigrant success story and calls for Americans to understand and accept Muslims and for Muslims to embrace American liberties and citizenship.
The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition. By Thomas P. Slaughter. 2008. Hill & Wang, $27 (9780809095148).
A thoughtful, scrupulous, enlightening, and engrossing biography of the Quaker ascetic who refused all involvement with slavery, preached abolition throughout the colonies, and wrote a classic of religious literature.
Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution—A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First. By Alister McGrath. 2007. HarperOne, $29.95 (0-06-082213-9).
This title chronicles how the claim that the Bible reveals God’s will to the individual without the mediation of church or priesthood sparked an unstoppable mutability of church forms as colonists and missionaries spread it worldwide.
Crazy for God: How I Helped Found the Religious Right and Ruin America. By Frank Schaeffer. 2007. Carroll & Graf, $25.99 (0-7867-1891-9).
Renowned Evangelical Christian missionary Francis Schaeffer’s son presumed he would follow in his father’s footsteps, but after helping shape a divisive antiabortion strategy, he gave up ministry and eventually learned to face himself in the mirror again.
I Don’t Believe in Atheists. By Chris Hedges. 2008. Free Press, $25 (1-4165-6795-X).
Best-selling celebrity atheists share with liberal churchgoers the delusion of moral progress, which history and human nature argue strongly against. Better that Americans, in particular, accept their limitations.
The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. By Pico Iyer. 2008. Knopf, $24 (0-307-26760-1).
Iyer’s friendship of 30 years has afforded him rare insight into the monk with a passion for science, exiled leader of a nation threatened with extinction, and icon of “global ethics” who is the Dalai Lama.
Out of the Storm: The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther. By Derek Wilson. 2008. St. Martin’s, $29.95 (0-312-37588-3).
After scrutinizing the perplexing titan who unraveled Christian unity in the West and so empowered the individualism endemic to modernity, Wilson concedes that Luther’s once-explosive theology now matters very little.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. By Timothy Keller. 2008. Dutton, $24.95 (9780525950493).
The arguments for unbelief topple before Keller’s unrelenting logic; readers expecting the usual pious bromides may experience shock to their social and spiritual complacency.
Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist. By Sharman Apt Russell. 2008. Basic, $25 (9780465005178).
In a rhapsodic and salutary inquiry, Russell connects the thought of Marcus Aurelius, Giordano Bruno, Baruch Spinoza, and Walt Whitman; chronicles her revelatory experiences as a “scientific pantheist”; and tracks pantheism’s profound influence.
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. By N. T. Wright. 2008. HarperOne, $24.95 (9780061551826).
Christians should revive faith in the resurrection of all in new bodies in a new creation, Wright argues, while remembering that Jesus demonstrated the new creation and enjoins us to imitate him by healing humanity and nature now.
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