Spiritual Living Reviews, January 2012

The cold weather has brought an unusual harvest to spiritual reading. Most notable, perhaps, is a new anthology of prayers by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; also covered is a wonderful resource for all seasons that presents the books every Christian should read. Many readers will want to follow Eric Weiner as he shares his journey around the spiritual world with us. Jim Henderson has a sharp warning about the church and its treatment of women. Elsewhere, Buddhism reads its sutras and gets bloggy with the under-30 set, Martin Buber shows us the way to thou, Jesus’s humanity is explored, the story of African American spirituality is retold, and colorful saints fill a volume.

Henderson, Jim. The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam’s Rib Is No Longer Willing To Be the Church’s Backbone? Barna. Feb. 2012. c.284p. ISBN 9781414337302. pap. $14.99. REL

Henderson (Jim and Casper Go to Church: Frank Conversation about Faith, Churches, and Well-Meaning Christians) tells the stories here of many women who, despite their predominance in the life, membership, and mission of most churches and denominations, are routinely rebuked and squashed, if not worse. Henderson’s crucial insight is that the central feature of Christianity is‚ ought to be‚ giving power away, particularly to those who lack it, not craving or needing power or keeping it from women. VERDICT Insightful and moving, Henderson’s book is a mirror of what Christian spirituality ought to be; good for church groups and pastors as well as individual readers.

OrangeReviewStar Spiritual Living Reviews, January 2012King, Martin Luther, Jr. Thou, Dear God: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits. Beacon, dist. by Random. 2011. c.288p. ed. by Lewis V. Baldwin. ISBN 9780807086032. $20. REL MLK Spiritual Living Reviews, January 2012

The reputation of King as a moral leader and exemplar of courage makes a review almost irrelevant; it is hard to believe, moreover, that there is still unpublished material by him. This volume collects most of the known written or spoken private and public prayers uttered by King in his lifetime. Notable for the totality of his achievement‚ eloquence combined with action‚ King often spoke brief, almost epigrammatic prayers, few of them striking in isolation for their content or expression. Yet these, together with the included extracts of biblical verses and Christian writings that were important to King, offer a remarkably informative picture of his spirituality. VERDICT An indispensable resource for any student of African American life, Christian spirituality, or recent American history.

Weiner, Eric. Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine. Twelve: Hachette. 2011. c.352p. ISBN 9780446539470. $26.99. REL

Weiner (former correspondent, NPR; The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World) is noted for his self-confessed status as a grump as well as his understated but consistent humor and wit. These qualities do not fail him in this memoir of his personal quest for a faith that will give meaning to his life and answer some of his questions, a journey that includes Tibetan Buddhists, the dervishes of Konya, Kabbalah, and a visit with the Raelians. Weiner ends almost where he began, with a God reminiscent mostly of the Judaism to which Weiner was born along with bits of the traditions he has since studied. VERDICT Weiner’s memoir is one of the best and most readable spiritual autobiographies of the last few years, worthwhile for a broad ranger of readers and spiritual seekers. [See Prepub Alert, 6/13/11.]


The following titles are reviewed in the January print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.

Engaging the traditions

25 Books Every Christian Should Read. HarperOne: HarperCollins. 2011. c.390p. selected by Renovaré. ed. by Julia L. Roller. ISBN 9780060841430. pap. $18.99. REL

Hayes, Diana L. Forged in the Fiery Furnace: African American Spirituality. Orbis. Apr. 2012. c.160p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781570754722. pap. $22. REL

Henderson, Jim. The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam’s Rib Is No Longer Willing To Be the Church’s Backbone? Barna. Feb. 2012. c.284p. ISBN 9781414337302. pap. $14.99. REL

Kramer, Kenneth Paul. Martin Buber’s Spirituality: Hasidic Wisdom for Everyday Life. Rowman & Littlefield. Jan. 2012. c.200p. index. ISBN 9781442213678. $29.95. REL

The Lankavatara Sutra: Translation and Commentary. Counterpoint. Jan. 2012. c.256p. ed. & tr. by Red Pine. ISBN 9781582437910. $30. REL

Reardon, Patrick Henry. The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ. Thomas Nelson. Feb. 2012. c.204p. ISBN 9781595553713. pap. $15.99. REL

Rinzler, Lodro. The Buddha Walks Into a Bar: A Guide to Life for a New Generation. Shambhala, dist. by Random. Jan. 2012. c.208p. bibliog. ISBN 9781590309377. pap. $14.95. REL

Advice & Self-Help

Cameron, Julia with Emma Lively. The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough. Tarcher: Penguin Group (USA). Jan. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9781585428977. $25.95. REL

Ellis, Linda. Live Your Dash: Make Every Moment Matter. Sterling Ethos. 2011. c.288p. ISBN 9781402787294. $17.95. REL

King, Martin Luther, Jr. Thou, Dear God: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits. Beacon, dist. by Random. 2011. c.288p. ed. by Lewis V. Baldwin. ISBN 9780807086032. $20. REL

Tompkins, Ptolemy. The Modern Book of the Dead: A Revolutionary Perspective on Death, the Soul, and What Really Happens in the Life to Come. Atria: S. & S. Feb. 2012. c.274p. ISBN 9781451616521. $26. REL

Wilkes, Paul. The Art of Confession: Renewing Yourself Through the Practice of Honesty. Workman. Feb. 2012. c.152p. ISBN 9780761155966. $18.95. REL

Memoir & Biography

Markides, Kyriacos C. Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Christian Spirituality. Image: Crown. Mar. 2012. c.315p. ISBN 9780307885876. pap. $15. REL

Weiner, Eric. Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine. Twelve: Hachette. 2011. c.352p. ISBN 9780446539470. $26.99. REL

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Comments

  1. Shashank says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Greetings.

    I am a budding writer on spirituality and have just published my first book on spirituality. The book is titled, ” My Humble Understanding Of Spirituality” and is available on Amazon.com.

    The book attempts to present to readers the purpose of life and enables them to look at life in a much broader perspective. It is written in a lucid and simple style which helps make the concepts easy to understand.

    This book removes many misconceptions and presents to readers the source of immortal bliss. Readers will be exposed to the fact that the source of eternal bliss is internal and the book provides basic information about the route to eternal bliss.

    I was wondering whether this book can be included in your prestigious list of spiritual books. I eagerly look forward to your kind response.

    Thanks and regards

    Shashank

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