God seeks the salvation of all

{mosimage}Biblical Human Failures by Walter Vogels (Novalis, 176 pages, softcover, $19.95).

In Biblical Human Failures, Walter Vogels takes readers on a tour of scriptural stories and characters familiar because of their compelling, visual imagery. Vogels is a wonderful guide, making sense of the labyrinth of the Old Testament and exposing depth of meaning between the lines of the sketchy details in the Gospels. His knowledge of the texts combined with his skill as a story teller makes what can be a tedious and confusing journey continually interesting and provocative. But this tour is not for the faint of heart.

Mother Teresa and the media storm

{mosimage}Perhaps what the headlines should have really said was “Stop the presses: Mother Teresa was human after all!” At least then they would have been truer to the underlying message in pretty much all the coverage of the new book of letters, Come be My Light, by Mother Teresa just published.

We fear poverty made visible

{mosimage}The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics by Kelly S. Johnson (William B. Eerdmans,  236 pages, softcover, $24.99.)

Yes, it’s judgmental, but I’ve always been flabbergasted when Christians vote Conservative. The hard, cold policies of Margaret Thatcher and, closer to home, Mike Harris, literally put vulnerable people on the hard, cold streets. One reason for such voting patterns is the fact Christianity, including Catholicism, so often fails to make the crucial links between theology and economics, between finances and ethics. Kelly S. Johnson, professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, Ohio, ably attempts to fill the gap in her striking new book, The Fear of Beggars.

Beware of Coehlo’s ‘feminine face’ of God

{mosimage}The Witch of Portobello by Paolo Coelho, translated by Margaret Jull Costa. (HarperCollins, softcover, $29.95 list).

The blurb on the Advance Reader’s Edition of The Witch of Portobello invited me to “discover why Paolo Coelho ranks with J.K. Rowling and John Grisham as one of the world’s most successful writers.” I thought that was a good clue to what was between the covers: magic and suspense, soon to be sold in an airport near you. The kind of work that, when Graham Greene wrote it, he dismissed as “an entertainment.” Meanwhile, Greene’s “entertainments” are studied in English literature classes, and John Grisham’s are not and probably never will be.

Digging into a cutter’s mind

{mosimage}Inside A Cutter’s Mind: Understanding And Help Those Who Self Injure by Jerusha Clark and Dr. Earl Henslin (NavPress, paperback, 233 pages, $12.05).

Inside a Cutter’s Mind is a book for those who either injure themselves or know others who harm themselves and want to help them.

More answers from the Bible Geek

{mosimage}Ask the Bible Geek 2: More Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens, by Mark Hart (Servant Books, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2007, $12.99 U.S.).

Did you ever wonder why at Christmas time we sing all that music even though we call it a silent night? Mark Hart answers this question and dozens more in Ask the Bible Geek 2.

Benedict’s personal search for the face of Christ

{mosimage}Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Pope Benedict XVI, translated from German by Adrian J. Walker (Random House, hardcover, 400 pages, $32).

Jesus of Nazareth is an erudite, profound, personal and sometimes poetic discussion of the person of Jesus. Always with a thoughtful reflective tone, Pope Benedict explores in detail the sources of Gospel imagery in the Hebrew Scriptures, often in dialogue with Church Fathers and great European and Jewish scholars of the past century.

A generational look at God

{mosimage}Conversations with Poppi about God by Robert W. Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold (Brazos Press, 160 pages).

American theologian Robert W. Jenson and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Solveig Lucia Gold, exchange questions about the Christian faith in their book Conversations with Poppi about God.

Unmasking Amnesty’s hope-filled realist

{mosimage}Dispatches From the Global Village by Derek Evans (CopperHouse, softcover, 192 pages, $23.95).

If you asked me today to name a sole companion on a desert island, my first choice — after my husband, of course — would be Derek Evans, former deputy secretary general of Amnesty International. Until now, he was only a name on mailings I would receive in return for my annual donation. But after reading Dispatches From the Global Village — a collection of 38 monthly columns he’s written for his village paper near Penticton, B.C. — I realized here truly was a man described in the foreword by a friend as a “gentle soul with a will of iron… an artist and a scientist” and one who, “in the midst of this global terror, introduces us to a diplomacy of light.”

Adapting the Eucharist has met world’s changing needs and context

{mosimage}A Short History of the Mass, by Alfred McBride, O.Praem (St. Anthony Messenger Press, softcover, 120 pages, $14.70).

Anyone looking for a clear, concise history of the Mass from the upper room to the present need look no further than Alfred McBride’s A Short History of the Mass.

Not another John Paul II book

{mosimage}John Paul II: Man of History, by Edward Stourton (Hodder and Stoughton, 344 pages, hardcover, $42.99).

A recent search of chapters.ca uncovered 81 titles listed as biographies of Pope John Paul II. It makes you wonder what a new book would have to say to merit its price. After reading Edward Stourton’s John Paul II: Man of History, you would still be wondering.