Jesus charmed men and women alike

jesus_womenJesus: A Meditation on His Stories and His Relationships with Women, by Andrew M. Greeley (Forge Books, 176 pages, $21.95, hardcover).

Many know Andrew Greeley primarily as as the writer of a long-running series of crime novels featuring Irish-American sleuths such as Fr. Blackie Ryan. Others know him as a sociologist of religion, a frequent political and spiritual pundit on network TV. But what is often forgotten is that, first and foremost, Andrew Greeley is a diocesan priest — Fr. Andrew Greeley — with more than 40 years experience as a pastor and homilist.

‘The Gospels still work’

secularityThe title of this book may be surprising. When the terms “secularity” and “Gospel” are included in the same sentence, they are usually contrasted. We naturally look  for the word  “versus”  between them. 

Hollywood misses Jesus' humanity, divinity

jesushollywoodWATERLOO, Ont. - Hollywood has portrayed Jesus in various ways over the years in film but none has managed to adequately illustrate both His humanity and His divinity.

BOOK REVIEW: All we are saying is give faith a chance

God at WorkGod at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement by David W. Miller (Oxford University Press, 222 pages, hardcover, $38.95).

In God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement, David W. Miller commits "to recognize the faith at work movement as a movement; to understand its roots and historical trajectory leading to its current form and substance; to offer a framework and language to analyse it, challenge it and assist it to realize its significant social possibilities; and to raise questions for further research." This is a tall order. 

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.