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Commonality, differences with Protestants

{mosimage}Hope in Troubled Times: A New Vision for Confronting World Crises by Bob Goudzwaard, Mark Vander Vennen and Van Heemst David (Baker Book House, softcover, 256 pages, $24.99).

Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor
by Robert D. Lupton, (Gospel Light and Regal Books, softcover, 139 pages, $12.50).

Theology for Non-Theologians: An Engaging
, Accessible and Relevant Guide, by James Cantelon (Wiley, softcover, 336 pages, $26.99).

As Roman Catholics we are aware of the unity and, at the same time, the separation that exists among Christians. We all follow Jesus, the one Lord, yet the different Christian communities have different outlooks and interpretations about how to go about this. It is interesting, therefore, to have a look every once in a while at what authors from other Christian denominations are writing about.

Tolle's 'New 'Earth' pains the body

{mosimage}A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle (Plume, 315 pages, $15.50).

A New Earth has attracted notoriety thanks to the patronage of TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey. It is a profoundly non-Christian book that exploits the Holy Name of Jesus to bamboozle Oprah’s mostly Christian audience.

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You must read 'I Don't Believe in Atheists'

{mosimage}I Don’t Believe in Atheists, by Chris Hedges (Anansi, 224 pages, $24.95 hardcover).

It’s the emphasis on sin and the direct link with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens that makes you sit up with a start while reading Chris Hedges' new book, I Don’t Believe in Atheists. The honest and exquisitely argued linkage creates that magical compulsion to seek out others so you can read them an excerpt. It is a pleasure too seldom found in a book, let alone one that wants to argue that scientists can be more fundamentalist than arch creationists.

Great minds don't always get it right

{mosimage}The Lost Massey Lectures: Recovered Classics from Five Great Thinkers, introduction by Bernie Lucht (Anansi, 399 pages, $24.95 softcover).

In 1965 a single computer filled the space of a commodious living room. In 1966 we had not yet landed on the moon, let alone invented the Internet. In 1967 rock icons Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison were still alive, though not for much longer. In 1979 reality TV was the evening news. In 1983 there was such a thing as a Cold War and we were still fighting it.

Christ has implications in today's politics

{mosimage}Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (Zondervan, 355 pages, softcover, $19.99).

If Christianity isn’t radical, isn’t subversive, isn’t dangerous and can’t get you into trouble it isn’t really following Christ. The established powers of Roman-occupied Palestine tortured and killed Jesus for a reason. It wasn’t because he was a safe, earnest, harmless reformer.

The progression of Orthodoxy

{mosimage}Encountering the Mystery: Perennial Values of the Orthodox Church by Patriarch Bartholomew I  (Doubleday, 254 pages, hardcover, $25).

Before reading Encountering the Mystery, I could not have told you the name of the patriarch of Constantinople, but still considered myself adequately informed about the history and practices of Orthodox Christianity. I understood the Orthodox Church to be truly ancient in both the commendable and the less welcome senses of the term — faithfully continuing the apostolic tradition in a way that has avoided innovation for many centuries.

Finding grace in the meal

Paula ButturiniTORONTO - For Paula Butturini, 15 years of continuous tragedies were countered by moments of unexpected grace and solace found in the rituals of preparing and sharing food around the dinner table.

In her book Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food and Healing in Italy, published this year by Riverhead Books, Butturini bounces the reader between a series of brutal, gut-wrenching events and peaceful, heartwarming stories that centre around food and fellowship — a gripping story of perseverance and hope.

A new look at international development

{mosimage}Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail by Paul Polak (BK Currents, hardcover, 232 pages, $32).

Paul Polak is convinced he has found the solution to help some 800 million dollar-a-day farmers climb out of poverty. So, he wrote a book about it for all to learn: Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail.

Clear answers in the moral chaos

{mosimage}Bioethics Matters: A Guide for Concerned Catholics, by Moira McQueen, (Novalis, 105 pages, softcover, $9.95).

Pope John Paul II accomplished many things as pontiff, but one of the most important for the long term is clarity — something Benedict XVI has also worked at to good effect.

New volume explores church's shameful past

{mosimage}Catholics and Slavery: A Compromising History by John Perry (Novalis, soft cover, 204 pages, $24.95).

We live in a world in which the human rights of a large majority are trampled daily. This world did not emerge from nothing, and Christians are part of this history.

Through much of its history the Catholic Church condoned, promoted, supported and engaged in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Jesuit John Perry’s account of this in Catholics and Slavery is comprehensive and unflinching. He believes the church was part of the problem in its complicity in slavery, but has remade itself as part of the solution.

Into the future, darkly

{mosimage}Emerging from the Dark Age Ahead: The Future of the North American Church, by Charles Fensham (Novalis, softcover, 226 pages, $24.94 list).

If Donald Rumsfeld was good for anything, it was savage mockery of pessimistic liberals. “Henny Penny the sky is falling,” he once jeered to their flagellations. “Sometimes even liberals themselves tire of liberal negativity.”