Allow me a couple of minutes to share with you some of the best religion books of 2013 that I have encountered.
I recently purchased the book Kind Little Rivka after a quick review of the book's title and description. It seemed harmless. It turns out this book was glorifying an underage marriage -- and I was shocked by its content and images.
Documenting two years of following Phish and the Insane Clown Posse to the farthest reaches of his sanity and soul, Rabin's new book is a chronicle of repentance from the sin of the Golden Cliche.
Almost any poll of regular church goers will reveal that their favorite book in the New Testament is the Gospel of John. Yet, I suspect that if these devotees of John's Gospel were introduced to the world of Johannine scholarship, they would be both shocked and angered by contemporary insights into this treasured book.
Pub Theology sessions create a space for people of faith or no faith to gather and learn from each other, while enjoying a good, (preferably local) craft brew. And as we sit down from someone of a different perspective or religious tradition what we often discover is that many of our stereotypes simply aren't true.
A boy who changes into a giant insect. Talking jaguars who debate the philosophical implications of hunting -- and then go hunting anyway. A girl who runs away and becomes the leader of a group of monsters. That's the Kafka my kids discovered and made me realize the scariness, and the beauty, that had been there all along.
I charge anyone who is challenged by this to think a little deeper, to broaden their experience working with and knowing the non-religious, to try to understand that the religious and the non-religious have a lot to learn from each other.
In so many ways, I wish I would have spoken sooner. If I have any guilt at all, it is because I've waited this long to speak up. And so I now speak the truth that God has given me to speak -- the truth about love, acceptance and what it means to be a gay Catholic priest.
True friendship requires a lot of hard work, not to mention trust and respect. Sometimes it's just easier to fall back on easy-to-spout doctrinal judgments rather than to invest in learning and understanding others.
A thriller incorporating the work of the 14th century poet Dante Alighieri, 18th century philosopher Thomas Malthus and 21st century gene manipulation, the novel puts into perspective differences between Catholic and Jewish visions of hell, and the way our respective histories have shaped our contemporary circumstances.
At the heart of every authentic call to ministry is the desire to live a life of integrity. It was my desire to live a life of integrity that led me to the priesthood and it is that same desire that has led me to where I am today.
In coming to a greater understanding of Christian masculinity, I am calling us to introspect and to adopt more fitting approach -- one that bears the fruit of Scripture's high calling, "reconciling the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers."
A first book is not always notable, but in this case it is. "Cut Dead" isn't a book that came out to meet a tenure requirement. It is a call to action and a blueprint for a response.
More than 75 otherwise unknown documents from the early Christ movements of the first and second centuries have been discovered in the past 150 years. As they have been translated and studied, it's become clear that many of them belong to the very heart of Christian beginnings.
I was working beneath the composting toilets, churning shit with a shovel, trying to turn it into food for the earth, when a voice rose up from the depths: I just have to tell people about this.
A remarkable book about Russian monks, published last year, reads like something from the middle of the 19th century. You feel transported back in time to the era of Russian faith that gave birth to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Yet, the non-fiction tales collected in "Everyday Saints" are entirely contemporary.