(Page 2 of 4)
6. CARE OF THE SOUL, by Thomas Moore, HarperPerennial, $12Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Thomas Moore is a psychotherapist with a background in musicology and philosophy who lived as a Roman Catholic monk for 12 years. This background provides insight when reading his unusual hybrid of Jungian theory, classical mythology, and Catholicism. The result is a book on religion where any notion of God is reduced to a footnote. A soul is "not a thing, but a quality or dimension of experiencing life and ourselves," he writes. Moore embraces the idea of predestination; believes in acknowledging the power of violence and evil; and espouses the notion of "polytheistic morality" - a nonjudgmental way of looking at things, where nothing is good or bad. By Yvonne Zipp.
7. MEETING JESUS AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME, by M. Borg, Harper $11
Borg fearlessly questions doctrinal concepts about Jesus that have been entrenched within the Christian churches for centuries. He stresses that Jesus' mission was to teach how to have a right relationship with a parental God and gain freedom from the captivity of human limitation. Although his premise is not totally new, his search leads the reader to a contemporary, approachable Jesus. The author chooses not to focus on Jesus' place in prophecy but rather attempts to make Jesus a more earthly prophet or "spiritual man," possibly a follower of John the Baptist. By Guinevere Harwood-Shaw.
8. WHY DO CATHOLICS DO THAT? by Kevin Johnson, Ballantine, $12
Easy to follow apologetics, or "defense of the faith," by an art scholar, historian, religious columnist, and layman Roman Catholic. Using examples of art as affirmations of the tradition of the early Christian church, Johnson presents a framework of apostolic tradition for Roman Catholicism as the interpreter of the four gospels through the centuries and a belief in the living presence of the Holy Spirit. He posits that Christianity is not solely a "religion of the book." He constantly reestablishes his touchstone that it is also tradition, with the Catholic Church the moral teacher for all ages. Not meant to be a catechism, he offers explanations of Catholic tenets. By Jim Bencivenga.
9. HISTORY OF GOD, by Karen Armstrong, Ballantine, $14
While stretches of this book may seem to depict the intertwined histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, "A History of God" isn't really about religion, but about the progress of the idea of monotheism. The concept of God, who He is and what He does, has taken dramatic twists and turns from Abraham to Auschwitz. "A History of God" carries its scholarly mantle lightly - it's readable even for those who may not agree with all the author's observations about man and his God. The clear and thorough discussions of Islamic thought are particularly welcome. However, the author sometimes presents opinion as fact. By Judy Huenneke.
10. MERE CHRISTIANITY, by C. S. Lewis, Macmillan, $3.95
Originally "informal" radio broadcasts during WWII, "Mere Christianity," is a classic of Christian apolgetics by one of this century's most renowned Anglo-Catholic writers. While bearing no denominational weight, it is widely recognized for its eloquent, analytic, utterly sincere, yet lyrical defense of the evangelizing force of Christianity in individual lives. Lewis convinces that the "still small voice" of God comes as a Christian presence and that no matter how subjective one may think his or her individual consciousness or experience is, at the center of each individual's being is an all-loving divine other. A book to be read throughout a lifetime. By Jim Bencivenga.