Gold in Your Memories

 Gold in your Memories by Macrina Wiederkehr, Ave Maria Press in Notre Dame, IN. 1998, will be a deep mine for those who want to dig for the gold in their own memories. Macrina is someone who can put you in touch with the spiritual energy that resides within you to empower you to make new memories every day you live. She shares my belief that we are all a work in process and our lives are a tapestry of memories. I invite you to taste one of her haiku poems: “A tiny gold leaf / offers a silent sermon / from a barren branch.”

Kitchen Table Wisdom

 Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. Riverhead Books, Berkeley Pub. Co. NY. 1996.
Dr. Remen shares the fruit of her reflection on a life spent in helping people find meaning in their struggles to be whole. This is a book to keep handy for those times when you want to slow down and spend some time pondering deep truths. The stories told are usually two to three pages long, but you will find yourself leaning back after each one, needing to go within yourself to dialogue with the insights they evoke. This will also be a good book to have extra copies at hand, because you will find yourself saying: “I need to give? a copy of this book.

Cosmology and Creation

Cosmology and Creation by Paul Brockelman Many have said we need a new story to bring together the scientific and spiritual understandings of life so that our young may live whole lives again. This book is one of the many that attempts to lay out the chapters of such a story. This new story needs to help us rediscover the spiritual insights and practices lying at the core of  all the world’s religious traditions. It will help us connect our spiritual and scientific experiences in a way that opens the wonder of awe once again. This new story is not an enemy of the human spirit, but an expression of it.

Callings

Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life by Gregg Michael Levoy could easily win my “book of the year” nomination. Every life consists of a series of “calls”, urging us to keep on keeping on in our growth in faith and love. This is an easy to read book, full of examples of others who were negotiating the tight passages to authenticity. You will find some of your own struggles in their stories, as well as suggestions of where to identify the Spirit’s activity in your life. Jean Huston says: “It’s like the remembrance of everything you knew but then forgot.” So true!

Born With a Bang

It is often said that we need a new approach to the creation story: one that brings together what we are learning about God’s creative process. These three books are full of delight. Delight enough to share with our children and grandchildren.  Jennifer Morgan and Dana Lynne Andersen give us this process in Born With a Bang, From Lava to Life, and Mammals Who Morph. Like many children’s sermons that speak powerfully to adults because of their creativity and simplicity, these books intend to retell the creation story using the most recent scientific discoveries.

Radical Hospitality

Radical Hospitality by Daniel Homan, OSB and Lonni Collins Pratt is a powerful book. It opens up the understanding of monastic hospitality to everyone who is willing and able to open their heart to listening. On the last page we find: “It is a courageous thing to keep getting up every day, and it is a much more courageous thing to rouse your heart and incline it to love. To care for each other, to open the door to the stranger, to open your heart to the stranger, lifts you up into the great dance of life.” Savoring this book gives you insights on how to do this marvelous dance.

The Black Swan

If you want to explore the impact of those events that are highly improbable but have tremendous effects on our lives and culture I recommend Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan. The author only mentions one passage in Matthew’s gospel, but anyone studying scripture can identify many examples of a black swan event that forever changed history. The book left me with a stronger affinity for what I have been calling Sneaky Spirit events for many years.

The Shack

William P. Young has written a best selling book that invites you to open your mind and heart to a totally innovative way of relating to God and the Trinity in The Shack. A father, whose image of God was distorted by an abusive father, comes to a revelation by way of a tragedy. The miracle of transformation is brought about by his suffering and being brought to freedom through forgiveness. Be prepared to come away from this book with new and exciting questions.

Consumed

A book that is a timely read by  Benjamin  Barber, Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. NY. W. W. Norton & Co. 2007, could point to what “change” might be all about: changes that creates services and things that we really need, not just a different/newer/bigger version of what we already have. Barber highlights how we have become confused by the marketing media to believing more is better when what we really need is quality.