Streams of Contentment: Lessons I Learned on My Uncle's Farm
By Robert J. Wicks
Review: The word contentment in the title may not be strong enough to shoulder all of the wise and helpful insights that Robert Wicks has stuffed into this small book. “Life is simpler than we make it,” he says at the outset. Then in 15 brief chapters and a month of five-minutes-a-day reflections, he demonstrates, through stories and self-deprecating humor, how to focus on what’s really important.
The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life
By Joan Chittister
Review: In her new book, The Monastery of the Heart, Erie Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister not only adapts the almost 1,500-year-old Rule of St. Benedict and the lessons she herself has learned in her own monastery to life in the 21st century, along with her community she is attempting to launch a whole new monastically inspired movement for today’s seekers.
By Thomas H. Groome (HarperOne, 2011)
Toward the end of his public ministry, Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Religious educator Thomas H. Groome hopes to ensure that Christian faith will endure for future generations.
Where the Hell is God?
By Richard Leonard, S.J.
Foreword by James Martin, S.J.
Review: An earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Japan, a child stricken with leukemia: What kind of God would allow such things? Jesuit priest Richard Leonard's own experience of family tragedy forced him to ask that question. He never discovered the "right" answer, but he knows a bad one when he sees it, and he explores seven of them.
Divine Rebels: American Christian Activists for Social Justice
By Deena Guzder (Lawrence Hill Books, 2011)
In her collection of profiles, Divine Rebels, Deena Guzder seeks to dispel the assumption that religion causes nothing but problems in modern society.
The Spirit of Vatican II: A History of Catholic Reform in America
By Colleen McDannell (Basic Books, 2011)
For many Catholics, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) represents a Spirit-led initiative now being dismantled. For others it was a well-meant experiment gone awry. In The Spirit of Vatican II, Colleen McDannell explores those two extremes through the eyes of her parents, Margaret and Ken, whose lives span the pre-, mid-, and post-Vatican II church.
Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
By Karen Armstrong (Knopf, 2010)
I read Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life shortly before Osama bin Laden was assassinated. In her last step, “Love your enemies,” Armstrong leads the reader through a meditation: “Bring to mind an ‘Enemy’ with a capital E.” I thought of bin Laden.
Storks in a Blue Sky
by Carol Anne Dobson (Appledrane Books, 2008)
Storks in a Blue Sky is a historical romance set in England and France in 1763. It won the David St. John Thomas fiction award in England.
Why Stay Catholic?
By Michael Leach (Loyola Press, 2011)
A few years ago a Catholic publisher asked Michael Leach to write a book on “101 reasons to be Catholic.” He declined, saying he could only think of three.
Leach may have been only half-joking, but I know how he feels. It would sometimes be easier to think of 101 reasons not to be Catholic: sex abuse and coverup scandals, crackdowns on theologians and women religious, unwelcoming parishes, bland homilies, etc.
The Sexual Believer: Uncommon Reflections On Sexual Morality For Catholics in the Third Millennium
By Noel Cooper (CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company, 2011)
The current scandals within the church in North America and in Europe have given cause for many to question the role of religion in defining and determining the sexual mores and practices of believers. Noel Cooper, religious and family life educator and author, suggests that today many adults are coming to the conclusion that they must choose between being religious and being sexual. Cooper believes we can be both.