Gimme More! Resources

Want more?  Sometimes sinking into a book can answer in more depth than any website.  Below are a few books which may help you in your quest for a religious path, whether your quest leads you to question your current path or deepen it.

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10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You; But Can’t Because He Needs the Job.  Thomas, Rev. Oliver ‘Buzz.’   It’s short. He’s a Baptist minister and a lawyer, so he should know what he’s talking about. It’s not preachy. Ten basic chapters, with titles such as ‘Why Are We Here?’ ‘What About Women?’ and ‘How Will It End?’

Almost Christian; What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. Dean, Kenda Creasy.  Oxford University Press. 2010.  Survey (National Survey on Youth and Religion) says youth are positive about Christianity, much less positive about organized religion.  Creasy offers suggestions for churches to change this.

Alternative American Religions. Stein, Stephen J. (Religion in American Life series) Oxford University Press, Inc.  New York:2000.
Sometimes, the easiest way to an understandable explanation is to find one written for someone younger.  This covers religions you may never have heard of, but they’re real and home-grown here in the USA.

The Compact Guide to World Religions. O’Callaghan, Sean. Lion Book 2010.  Explains origins, beliefs, practices of major religions, including details of twelve religions, Christianity and its branches as merely one.51+5PEsltQL._AA160_

*Dug Down Deep; Understanding What I Believe and Why It Matters. Harris, Joshua. Multnomah  Books. 2010.  Written by a practicing minister who wrote his first book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye at 21.  Evangelical Christian, believes in study of theology to truly understand, rather than rotely practicing Christianity.

The Faith Instinct; How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures. Wade, Nicholas.  Penguin Press. NY:2009.  For the more advanced reader, more of a book on the history of religion than a guide to choosing religion – but if you want to know why we have religion, what function it serves, you might want to check him out.

How Do You Spell God? Answers to the Big Questions from around the World. Gellerman, Marc and Hartman, Thomas.  1995.  Written by a Rabbi and a 21KpYZkp9zL._AA160_Monsignor, this is an authoritative book, though the language is directed at someone very young.  They answer a lot of good questions from their specific points of view.  They are from dominant, Western, Old Testament based religions, but are relatively open-minded.  They do throw in pieces about non-western religions and state that they mean to be open-minded.  It is very readable, informative without coming across like a sermon or religious text book.

*I’m Fine with God … It’s Christians I Can’t Stand; Getting Past the Religious Garbage in the Search for Spiritual Truth. Bickel, Bruce and Jantz, Steve.  Humorously written by an attorney and a marketing consultant in a Joan Rivers style (…but I can’t stand begins each chapter title)  They are part of a blogging, podcasting, writing team on Conversantlife.com.

My Friends Beliefs, Ward, Hiley H. An excellent book, which provides information to youth without talking down to them; aimed at younger teens.  Chapters on major religions with photo of a young participant in the religion and how they are active in their religion.  Also includes ‘Things to Know’ and terms for each section.  Pre-internet, so no links to webpages, but an appendix with addresses of groups could be used to search  religions websites.215l9v-rJUL._AA160_

Religious Literacy; What Every American Needs to Know  – And Doesn’t.  Prothero, Stephen.  HarperSanFrancisco.  2007. Prothero is the Head of the Religion Department and a religion professor at Boston University.  He’s noticed that his students (and probably a number of the rest of us) don’t really know all that much about the basics of religion; Christian, Jewish or any other.  I passed his quiz – by the skin of my teeth, and yes, I am embarrassed.

Soul Pancake; Chew on Life’s Big Questions. Wilson, Rainn.  (Yes, That Rainn Wilson)              From the back cover: CAUTION: To all the world’s thinkers, artists, poets, and misfits: SoulPancake is a movement to chew on Life’s Big Questions. Side effects may include change in the way you think about what it means to be human. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.  Also http://soulpancake.com/

*That Which You Are Seeking Is Causing You To Seek; Includes ‘One Less Act of Violence’ Hube315C67FbYsL._AA160_r, Cheri.  A book on Zen.  Line drawings, and the text looks like a person just wrote it, like a private letter to you.  “Stay flexible.  Everything changes all the time.” p.48

*Unchristian; What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity … and Why it Matters.  Kinnaman, David and Lyons, Gabe.  Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 2007. From the Barna Group.  Christianity isn’t appealing to youth because they perceive it as being hypocritical, among other negatives.  Kinnaman and Lyons suggest ways to change negative perceptions of Christianity.

*What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew About Judaism. Schoen, Robert. From the Synagogue to Kosher hot dogs to Shakespeare’s moneylender, Robert lets outsiders know what Judaism is like – and how it is similar in many ways to other religions. He allows the you to disagree with him in the Preface; it is Jewish tradition to disagree.514FA6vBi2L._AA160_

*When “Spiritual But Not Religious” is Not Enough; Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church. Daniel, Lilith.  Jericho Books, 2010.  Daniel makes her point with non-traditional stories, showing a flawed, but valuable church.

*Books published by religious presses.

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