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Some Suggestions for Reading

 

          Sometimes, we need to do some challenging reading to keep up our faith. The books below are suggested - not because I agree with everything they say, but in some cases for exactly the opposite reason. Faith must also embrace its own shadows - doubt and questioning. 

          If you're interested in reading something that informs or challenges, give these a try. You may love them; you may hate them. Either way, I hope that they keep you interested. I'll try to add something from time to time, so check back! 

                                                                                       Father Bill White

Bacon, Josephine. The Illustrated Atlas of Jewish Civilization. London: Quantum Books, 2003.   

 

Oh what you didn't know! Actually more of a history than an atlas.

 

Barth, Karl. Dogmatics in Outline. Toronto: Harper & Row, 1959.   Possibly the greatest theologian of the 20th Century explains his beliefs briefly, relating them to the Apostles' Creed.

 

Bibles:

New Revised Standard Version

King James Version

 

These are the two versions I like.  The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) with the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical scriptures is likely the best balance between scholarship and beautiful, readable English.  Get the Oxford Annotated Edition if you want to know some of the twists and turns of meanings and translations.  The King James Version is the traditional and lyrical one that we're really used to hearing.  A lot more poetic; a "little" less accurate.

 

Borg, Marcus J.  Speaking Christian. New York: Harper Collins, 2011. For anyone who is ready to start learning beyond the Sunday School level, or who is trying to escape the illogic and anger of fundamentalism and literalism, the late Dr.. Borg has written a primer.  Read this one first!

 

Borg, Marcus J. & John Dominic Crossan: The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Birth. New York: Harper Collins, 2007.

 

 

 

A very challenging deconstruction of what we were taught in Sunday School about the birth of the Christ.

 

Borg, Marcus J. & John Dominic Crossan: The Last Week; What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem.  New York: Harper Collins, 2006.

 

 

 

This is one that our Lenten Book Group read and discussed in 2013.  A real eye and heart-opener.

 

 

Cahill, Thomas.  The Gifts of the Jews; How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels.  New York: Doubleday, 1998.

 

 

 

Part of a series; describes original thought brought to the world by each culture.

 

 

Campell, Antony F. & O'Brien, Mark.  Sources of the Pentateuch. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

 

 

 

So . . .  would you really like to know who wrote the five books of Moses?

 

Carter, Warren.  Pontius Pilate: Portraits of a Roman Governor.  Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2003.

 

A very different approach to figuring out what happened and some of the roots of anti-semitism as Pilate was rehabilitated in the early years.

 

Crossan, John Dominic.  God & Empire.  San Francisco, Harper Collins, 2007. Now, do you want to think, really think about what the Bible means?  Some real challenges to traditional thought.

 

Countryman, William.  Living on the Border of the Holy; Renewing the Priesthood of All.  Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1999. 

 

Makes you do some real thinking about what God expects of you, and how we may all serve.

 

 

Davis, Kenneth C.  Don't Know Much About The Bible.  New York: HarperCollins, 2004.

 

A good first read; much more fun than scholarly.  

 

 

Dunn, Greig & Ambidge, Chris (Eds.)  Living Together In The Church Including Our Differences.  Toronto: ABC Publishing, 2004.

 

Explains the case being made for same-sex blessings.

 

 

Gomes, Peter J.  Strength for the Journey  San Francisco, Harper, 2003 A collection of delightful and thoughtful sermons by a truly great thinker.

 

Harpur, Tom.  The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light.  Toronto: Thomas Allen, 2004

 

Popular, some fascinating ideas, but don't get too upset by it.  Harpur is a former Anglican priest who has gone on to very different thinking.

 

Kerr, Hugh T. (ed.) Readings in Christian Thought (2nd Ed'n).  Nashville: Abington Press, 1966.

 

 

 

Needs updating, but contains wonderful essays by significant Christian thinkers.

 

Kushner, Rabbi Harold S.  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  Toronto: Random House, 2004 (Original Ed'n 1981) A wonderful theological explanation of one of the toughest questions people ask about God.

 

 

Lacey, Rob.  The Word On The Street.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2004.

 

The Bible summarized and paraphrased in street language.  Not for the timid, but teens love it  So do a lot of grandparents!

 

Martin, James S.J. Jesus: A Pilgrimage.  New York: Harper Collins, 2014.

 

 

Fr. Martin took a pilgrimage to the holy land, and at each site explains Jesus' actions there, the consequent theology, and describes how the surroundings fit into the understandings we have.  Excellent!

 

Mays, James L. (ed.) Harper's Bible Commentary.  Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1988.

 

Ever wonder why it says it that way, or what it means?  Everyone needs a commentary!  Great and inexpensive for the serious Bible reader but not overly academic either.

 

Nicolson, Adam.  God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible.  New York: Harper Perennial, 2005.

 

A fabulous look at not only the history of the English language's most famous translation, but also some of the early roots of Anglicanism.

 

Spong, John Shelby.  Eternal Life: A New Vision" New York: Harper Collins, 2009.

 

It will likely shock a lot of folks; maybe thas's a good thing!  
Taylor, Barbara Brown.  The Preaching Life Cambridge Massachusetts, Cowley Publications, 1993.

 

 

 

Another collection of sermons by a well-loved and respected preacher.

 

Wouk, Herman.  This Is My God.  Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959.

 

An important primer on Judaism by an acclaimed playwrite.
  
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