Category: Books

Books highlighted in these articles deal with religion from a variety of perspectives.

See also Religion News Blog’s bookstore

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just

A noted new book: Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just, by Timothy Keller The pastor of New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church offers a persuasive plea for evangelicals to embrace social justice efforts. Keller (The Reason for God), whose evangelical credentials are well respected, is among a new breed of conservative Christians eager to break out of the straitjacket that frowns on justice work as doctrinally unsound or the work of overzealous liberals. – Publishers Weekly Author of the New York Times bestseller The Reason for God and nationally renowned pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Timothy Keller with his most provocative and illuminating message yet. It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn’t it full of regressive views? Didn’t it condone slavery? Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society? But Timothy Keller sees it another way. In Generous Justice, Keller explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. Here is a book for believers who find the Bible a trustworthy guide as well as those who suspect that Christianity is a regressive influence in the world. Keller’s church, founded in the eighties with fewer than one hundred congregants, is now exponentially larger. More than five thousand people regularly attend Sunday services, and another twenty-five thousand download Keller’s sermons each week. A recent profile in New York magazine described his typical sermon as “a mix of biblical scholarship, pop culture, and whatever might have caught his eye in The New York Review of Books or on Salon.com that week.” In short, Timothy Keller speaks a language that many thousands of people yearn to comprehend. In Generous Justice, he offers them a new understanding of modern justice and human rights.

Counterfeit Dreams

“This was not an easy book to write. For three years following my departure from the Church of Scientology, I was not able to write anything sensible about my experience. Then gradually, the onion layers of indoctrination started to peel off, one by one, and I began to get some distance and perspective.”

“I knew that I could never tell part of the story; it had to be the whole story or nothing. When I would try to tell people about the abuses I experienced within the Church of Scientology, they would ask me one thing: why had I stayed so long? And understanding that meant telling the whole thing.”

“Once my blog account was completed, my readers and friends encouraged me to expand Counterfeit Dreams to book-length and publish it.” Jefferson Hawkins

How a Scottish author scammed the email spammers to write a bestselling book

Spam emails supposedly from Nigerian princes with fortunes in Swiss bank accounts, or beautiful Russian brides desperate to meet us are nothing unusual.

Most of us delete them without reading them – but Scottish author Neil Forsyth had a different idea.

Curious to find out just how desperate the spammers were for cash, he struck up email conversations with the senders.

After creating his own character called Bob Servant, he was soon dealing with unsuspecting con artists around the globe. He led them on with bizarre requests and surreal stories.

The resulting book – Delete This at Your Peril – won fans ranging from rock band Snow Patrol to writer Irvine Welsh.

Now a follow-up has been released and Hollwood star Brian Cox is playing the comic creation on the radio.

Priest takes Philip Pullman to task over his misrepresentation of Christianity

A Jesuit priest and bible scholar has written a fierce response to Philip Pullman’s retelling of the life of Jesus, claiming that the author distorted history to reinforce his own unfavourable views about institutional Christianity.

Father Gerald O’Collins, author of over 50 books and professor of theology at the Gregorian University in Rome for over 30 years, will publish a book later this month taking on Pullman’s assertion, in his novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, that “this is a story”.

In his book, Philip Pullman’s Jesus, the priest asks if the author used “or rather misuse the story of Jesus to wage war on Christianity”.

“His distaste for institutional religion is well documented in His Dark Materials,” he writes. “What better way to demolish Christianity than by suggesting that it was founded on deliberate fraud: not on a true resurrection of Jesus, but on the theft of his body, and encounters with his twin masquerading as Jesus risen from the dead?”

Publisher delays Palin biography for tweens

Christian book publisher Zondervan is delaying publication of a Sarah Palin biography for young readers.

Cheryl Lundberg, Zondervan’s director of customer service, said in an e-mail that after “careful review and discussion,” it was deemed that October was not an “optimal time” to publish the book.

We wonder: Is there ever a right time to push Sarah Palin’s brand of Christianity?

Palin for tweens: Christian publisher releasing biography of Sarah Palin as part of series

Early warning: A biography of former Alaska governor and self-described “mama grizzly” Sarah Palin is set for release in September by Christian book publisher Zondervan.

Speaking Up: The Sarah Palin Story,” is one in a series of biographies aimed at 9- to 12-year-old readers.

Mercifully (given our opinion of the Sarah-Palin brand of ‘Christianity’) others feature 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and U2 frontman Bono.

The Soul of Spiderman: Unexpected Spiritual Insights from the Legendary Superhero

What does one of the most famous comic book heroes in history have in common with the average Christian? You might be surprised! From his transformation into a new creation to his struggles with forgiving those who have hurt him, Spider-Man’s story offers a startling parallel to the miraculous and everyday experiences of those who follow Jesus.

At least, that’s what Jeff Dunn and Adam Palmer claim in their book The Soul of Spiderman: Unexpected Spiritual Insights from the Legendary Superhero

And if Spiderman is not your thing? No problem. Simply read the Gospel according to Disney, Dr. Seuss, Peanuts, Harry Potter, The Simpsons or the Hobbit-inhabited world of JRR Tolkien.

For the Love of My Children: The True Story of One Woman’s Struggle to Escape a Brutal British Cult

For the Love of My Children: The True Story of One Woman’s Struggle to Escape a Brutal British Cult: Starting from her beginnings in an isolated church school run by Peniel Pentecostal Church, described here as an oppressive Christian cult, this narrative recounts how Caroline Green remained imprisoned by them for sixteen years as they continually attempted to brainwash her.

The author’s determination is brought to light as she refused to be controlled, consistently receiving punishment for her disobedience until her spirit was gradually crushed.

Her marriage to the son of one of the cult’s founders is related as well as the poor treatment her three subsequent children began to receive. Illustrating how Caroline was torn between her fear of what God would do to her family if they left and her desperate attempts to protect her children, this autobiography depicts how her outrage reached its peak when her son was brutally beaten following a schoolboy prank.

Professor looks at how cults respond to science

Benjamin Zeller Benjamin Zeller, a religious studies professor, often shared routine small talk with members of three well-known American cults during the five years he spent researching and writing his recently published book, “Prophets and Protons.” “It amazes me when I study these groups, how human we all are,” Zeller says. “So much of their lives are normal stuff. They struggle with questions we all struggle with.”