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The Monitor's Guide to Religion Bestsellers

By STAFF / December 28, 2000

The Monitor's quarterly review of bestselling religion books offers a one-stop opportunity to survey the resurgent interest in religion and spirituality.

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1. THE MARK, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House, $22.99

Another in the long line of the Apocalypse series by LaHaye and Jenkins. This time believers and unbelievers in Christ are made to choose "the mark" so they can continue to trade goods in the New World economy. Our friends from the underground rebellion, Tribulation Force, lose members but gain others. One of whom is a computer wizard who can continue to be their mole in enemy headquarters. This book like previous ones, continues to interpret biblical prophecy for a modern era and pitches the acceptance of Jesus as Saviour at every chance. (400 pp.) By Jan Moller

2. HE CHOSE THE NAILS, by Max Lucado, Word, $21.99

Lucado portrays the Crucifixion as an invitation to enter a personal relationship with Christ. He says the "coolest" thing about Jesus' sacrifice is that "He did it for you." Lucado personalizes the Crucifixion through simple stories drawn mostly from his own experiences. Each story opens into questions in the text and a study-guide postscript. Chapters are organized along familiar but little-noticed details of the Crucifixion story like the wine-soaked sponge, the temple curtain, and Jesus' burial clothing. Each chapter explains their significance in nontheological terms. (240 pp.) By Ben Arnoldy

3. THE ART OF HAPPINESS, by The Dalai Lama, Riverhead, $23.95

The purpose of life, says the Dalai Lama, is to seek happiness. This seemingly elementary statement requires strict adherence and mental discipline toward a benevolent, rather than self-centered, happiness. There is great value in reading the basic spiritual values of this unique world figure and Tibetan spiritual leader: human qualities of goodness, compassion, and caring. This book is based on a series of conversations with Howard Cutler, a Phoenix-based psychiatrist. (315 pp.)

By Leigh Montgomery

4. THE INDWELLING, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House, $22.99

With the 7th installment of their apocalyptic "Left Behind" series, LaHaye and Jenkins ascended into the "Harry Potter" realm: pre-sales of 1.3 million. In "The Indwelling," Antichrist ruler Nicolae Carpathia is dead, but a new world-wide religion looms, and Global Community police are determined to track down the killer. Members of the Tribulation Force (the good guys) are scattered around the world, hiding and waiting for further prophesy fulfillment. The book is full of melodramatic choices and white-knuckle excitement. Five more installments to go. (389 pp.)

5. THE INVITATION, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, HarperSanFrancisco, $18

Dreamer, a leader of meditation workshops and retreats, extends an invitation to all individuals in search of spiritual meaning. Although presenting itself as a beginner's guide to meditation, "The Invitation" is more for those who have already investigated meditation to some degree. Sections of soul-filled writing cut off by recipelike instructions make for a choppy read. Rather than adding something new to the many books out on meditation today, it offers more of the same. (136 pp.)