Alva Noe, a neurologist, in his book Out of Our Heads, takes us into new territory in the discussion of where consciousness resides. He challenges the concept that it is in the brain. The subtitle: “Why you are not your brain and other lessons from the biology of consciousness” pretty much explains his thesis.
I wonder when Rabbi Bryon L. Sherwin wrote his book Golems Among Us in 2004, if he even suspected the radical events that would unfold in our economy since then? His examination of the Jewish concept of the golem, (a human creation) one that could serve humanity or wreak havoc is relevant to many of the issues that beset us today. He looks at biotechnology, corporations and more, in his broad ranging reflection that mines the riches of his Jewish traditions. This is a book to ponder.
Walter Thirring in Cosmic Impressions explores the traces of God in the laws of nature. This book assumes a lot of scientific, mathematical literacy of which I have a small amount. But like all books whose authors are respected authorities in their domains, it gives glimpses of the ongoing search for truth from the scientific perspective.
I have ongoing effort to understand the dialogue between religion and science. Paul Carr in Beauty in Science and Spirit goes deeply into the age old insight that revelation and science have their roots in the human quest and attraction to and for beauty. This is a challenging read, but worth the effort.
If you want to get another perspective on the situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban you need to read Three Cups of Tea by Gret Mortenson. He is trying to promote peace one school at a time. The book written in 2006 still promotes much soul searching. Would that our leaders have consulted with him so many years ago before setting out on the course they did.
Inside the School of Charity by Trisha Day, is about her three months living within the Trappistine cloister with the sisters of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey near Dubuque, IA. Trisha, a member of the Associates of Iowa Cistercians, reflects on the ways her experience with the sisters helps to inform her everyday life outside the cloister. Many feel that this is a nigh impossible task, but she does this very well. The values and practices of the Cistercian order are transferable and valuable for any person wanting to live a meaningful life, either on the “inside” or the “outside”. I have known Trisha and share in the membership of the AIC for many years, and promise you a fruitful read in this book.
Another work that examines the issue of nonviolence in a gospel is Fr. Beck’s Nonviolent Story: Narrative Conflict Resolution in the Gospel of Mark. Fr. Beck builds upon the important contributions of Walter Wink and Gil Bailie by examining more closely how narratives legitimate and perpetuate myths of redemptive violence.
If you want to explore Judaism, a good place to start would be Judaism by Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg. The subtitle is: The Classic Introduction to One of the Great Religions of the Modern World. This is the product of a lifetime of study and reflection by one of the most distinguished authorities on Judaism.
A friend of Fr. Nouwen, Jurjen Beumer, in his: Henri Nouwen: A Restless Seeking for God, explors the life and growth of this restless seeker of God whose many books have drawn countless people with him in their own searches. I remember a conference I attended where Henri introduced all of us to Adam, and witnessed his devotion to this beloved handicapped person he lovingly cared for.
In 1976 I took a course on Teilhard de Chardin taught by Fr. Don Goergen, O.P. at Aquinas Institute of Theology. This began a quest that has evolved into what many of you now know as my encounter with the Sneaky Spirit. In Fr. Goergen’s latest book, Fire of Love we plunge into this mysterious reality in earnest. I wonder if today’s world will someday be seen as the age of the Spirit by those who ponder the many changes we are wrestling with assist guided by this same Spirit?
Our gifted artist, musician and scripture scholar Fr. Robert Beck, has just published a new work on the Gospel of Matthew titled Banished Messiah: Violence and Nonviolence in Matthew’s Story of Jesus. You will find references to this fine work in the years coming study guides beginning in Advent. His work plumbs the depths of nonviolence in this gospel.