Recent Releases - Spirituality and Religion


Spirituality and Religion
July 2021
Recent Releases
The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos
by Sohrab Ahmari

What it's about: the value of religious traditions and rituals in a complex, technologically advanced society.

Why you might like it: Author Sohrab Ahmari grounds his arguments in texts from different centuries, religions, and cultures, from Confucius to Thomas Aquinas to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Is it for you? Some readers might object to Ahmari's conclusions about the effects of secularism, while others may be uneasy with his role as an editor for The New York Post   
Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance
by Mustafa Akyol

What it is: a well-researched survey of Islamic intellectualism which argues that conservative orthodoxy is a recent phenomenon in the religion's history, based more in political circumstances than anything inherent to the faith itself.

Who it's for: readers looking for a scholarly approach to the topic; readers familiar with the basic tenets of Islam, as author Mustafa Akyo explores key figures and complex aspects of Islamic history that may be unfamiliar to the general reader.
Why Do I Feel Like This? Understand Your Difficult Emotions and Find Grace to Move...
by Peace Amadi

What it's about: the importance of learning to manage negative emotions and common avoidance tactics that can get in the way, especially in Christian spaces. 

Read it for: the affirmative and reassuring tone; the use of both scriptural and psychological concepts; and the practical suggestions that make emotional growth more approachable.  

About the author: Dr. Peace Amadi is a psychology professor at Hope International University and co-founder of abuse recovery nonprofit The Ruby Project.
The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth
by Beth Allison Barr

What it is: an impassioned and thought-provoking exploration of the biblical and cultural foundations of the concept of "biblical womanhood," and author Beth Allison Barr's experiences with the fallout of questioning the established order as a youth minister.

Why you might like it: Barr's arguments effectively combine well-researched analysis of scripture with personal reflections from her own journey through making sense of this complex, polemical topic.
Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind
by Barbara Becker

What it's about: In this candid and inspiring memoir, interfaith minister Barbara Becker reflects on how the premature death of a childhood friend profoundly affected her outlook on mortality and what it means to truly live.

Read it for: especially moving chapters, such as those that recount the end of Becker's mother's life or that focus on acknowledging losses which lack established mourning traditions, like suffering a miscarriage or entering hospice.

You might also like: Other candid and moving memoirs that reflect on the line between life and death, like Stardust to Stardust by Erik Olin Wright and The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke.
United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration...
by Lenny Duncan

About the author: Social justice advocate and Lutheran pastor Lenny Duncan is the co-host of The Jesus Jawn podcast and is best known for his first book Dear Church.  

What it is: 
a frank and compelling story of Duncan's rocky start in life, work in ministry, and how the two intersect with issues like white supremacy, mass incarceration, and the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church and wider society.

Want a taste? “There seems to be some force in the universe -- I call it Grace or God, but whatever it is for you is cool with me -- that is highly interested in saving our collective asses.”
Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair
by Duke L. Kwon and Gregory Thompson

What it's about: the Christian case for reparations to Black Americans for the social, economic, and cultural legacy of slavery and the continued effects of white supremacy in the United States.

Why you might like it: The thoughtful approach and persuasive arguments tackling this large, complicated topic are accompanied by scriptural justifications and concrete, workable recommendations for churches and people of faith to approach the issue.

For fans of: The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby.
Bamboozled By Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of My Dreams
by Yvonne Orji

What it is: the upbeat and witty memoir of actor and stand-up comedian Yvoonne Orij, with reflections on her career and her Christian faith. 

Read it for: 
Orji's engaging writing style and grounded approach to service, life, and the lessons to be learned through surviving adversity.

Reviewers say: "Orji’s spirited biblical interpretations and boundless enthusiasm will appeal to her fans and newcomers alike" (Publishers Weekly). 
Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment...
by Wesley J. Wildman PhD and Kate J. Stockly, PhD

What it's about: the intersection of spirituality and emerging technology and how the latter might shape the future of faith.

Why you might like it: 
the accessible writing and thought-provoking tone make for an engaging read for both science enthusiasts and religious believers, and everyone who fits both of those descriptions.

Don't miss: the discussion of tools as an element of religious experience from ancient times, including objects like prayer beads and mandalas.
Beyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven
by Catherine Wolff

What it is: a sweeping cultural history of the concepts of the afterlife, from ancient Mesopotamian and Greek myths to the modern era. 

Read it for: the diversity of perspectives surveyed, from the Abrahamic religions to Hinduism and Buddhism.

Reviewers say: Beyond is a "
soulful, far-reaching primer on what lies beyond" (Kirkus Reviews).
Contact your librarian for more great books!