Top 10 Books of 2016

There are so many good books published every year.  The best of the best among those I read this year follow in my seventh annual listing of my top ten books of the year. Top 10 Books of 2016 Author Title Lillian Daniel Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To Robert P. Jones The End of White Christian America Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Brian McLaren The Great Spiritual Read More …

May 2015 Book Recommendations

This month my reading list included many volumes that challenged my thinking and expanded my knowledge. Shown below are my ratings for the new volumes (those published in 2015): (5+) Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert Putnam (Simon & Schuster) (5) How to Read the Bible by Harvey Cox (HarperOne) (4.5) The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade by Philip Jenkins (HarperOne) (4.5) Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church  by Read More …

April 2015 Book Recommendations

Over the last few weeks several pastors have told me that they have a growing list of things they plan to do after Easter, including catching up on their reading.  Whether or not you have slowed your reading pace during Lent, I encourage you to consider reading one or more of the following books.  As has been my custom for around a year, my ratings are given on a scale of 1 to 5. (5) One Nation Under Gods: A New American History by Peter Manseau (Little, Brown, and Company, Read More …

Sermon: Faith in Naples

A few Sundays ago I had the privilege of preaching a sermon on faith at Naples United Church of Christ.  My text was Hebrews 11:1-3 and 8-16. Scripture The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living (Hebrews 8:1, The Message). Sermon Text I have a confession to make: I am a neat freak.  In my world, everything has a place, and everything lives in the place I have assigned to it.  While I Read More …

Religion is Morally Neutral

An account of a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu includes Tutu's words below, which explain how he understands religion as morally neutral: And you have to remember that religion is of itself neither good nor bad . . . Religion is a morally neutral thing. It is what you do with it. It is like a knife, a knife is good when you use it for cutting up bread for sandwiches. A knife is bad when you stick it in somebody’s gut. Religion is good when it produces a Dalai Read More …

Review of God Is Not a Christian

Meet the Author and Editor The Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu was the first black person to serve as General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches and the first to serve as Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa.  Tutu is best known for his tireless and effective work to end apartheid.  He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Tutu Read More …

Review of Spiritual Envy

Michael Krasny.  Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest.  New World Library, 2010.  ISBN: 9781577319122. Meet the Author Michael Krasny is a professor of English at San Francisco State University, where he has taught since 1970.  He is a widely published scholar and literary critic as well as a fiction writer.  Krasny is  the co-author of Sound Ideas (2009) and author of Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life (2007) and Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest (2010) .  He is the host Read More …