Women overcoming boundaries within faith

{mosimage}Making Sense of God by Elizabeth Dreyer, Grieving with Grace by Dolores R. Leckey, Living a Spirituality of Action by Joan Mueller (St. Anthony’s Messenger Press, soft cover, $11.95 each).

“Shall we accept merely what is good from God and not accept also what is bad?” (Job 2:10).

Since he first courageously formulated it, Job’s question has been asked again and again by human beings finding it difficult to embrace pain and suffering. Catholics have found inspiration in Job’s unwavering loyalty and love for God and have tried to imitate his lack of hatred and anger.

Book on Taizé life explains it all

{mosimage}A Community Called Taizé by Jason Brian Santos (InterVarsity Press, 203 pages, softcover, $16.99).

A Community Called Taizé teaches the reader the history of Taizé, an ecumenical community in the Burgundy region of France.

This well-written history, by Jason Brian Santos, begins by explaining the author’s arrival in Taizé in 2005 and how he adapts to the unfamiliar community. Taizé is a community of prayer, worship and reconciliation where Christians from all over the world are welcome to visit. Taizé prayers consist of music and worship sung in various languages, with lyrics inspired by the simple phrases from psalms and other Scripture.

Tempting morsels can't convince this skeptic

{mosimage}Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food  by Raoul W. Adamchak and Pamela C. Ronald (Oxford University Press, hardcover, 208 pages, $31.95).

Is your future food going to be organic, genetically engineered or both?

Organic farming and genetic engineering are ultimately a conflict of two world views. Organic agriculture uses the cycles of nature to its advantage and avoids problems by using farm practices such as a more complex rotation system of crops and a low number of animals in a confined space. Biotechnology is locked in the old paradigm of “controlling nature” and is designed to fix problems which often occur because of industrial farming practices. Organic farming is based on biodiversity. Biotechnology, by its very nature, reduces the number of varieties of crops grown and threatens genetic diversity. 

Forgiveness in genocide's aftermath

{mosimage}Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda by Emmanuel Katongole with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Harper Collins/Zondervan, softcover, 176 pages, $16.99).

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson (Harper Collins/Zondervan, softcover, 284 pages, $16.99).

The slaughter lasted for 100 days in the spring of 1994. Some 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered — neighbours, friends, classmates.

Lay Germans often said they did not know what took place in the Nazi death camps. Certainly, though, all Rwandans knew about the genocide occurring in front of them. As a nation, they either swung machetes — one by one, face to face, slashing and severing — or they were victims.

New understanding of the Old Testament

{mosimage}The Acceptable Year of the Lord: Preaching the Old Testament with Faith, Finesse and Fervour by Karen Hamilton (Novalis, softcover, 475 pages, $35).

I am comfortable speaking to the teaching and miracles of Jesus and I am pretty confident in recounting the stories of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s journeys. Like many other Roman Catholic preachers, I would rather be afflicted by one of the plagues that visited Pharaoh than attempt to demonstrate competency in speaking about the people, places and things of the Old Testament. 

Further to this, I find making connections between God’s chosen nomadic people and the families with whom I worship difficult.

Children's book tells Craig Kielburger story

{mosimage}TORONTO - Young children’s experiences can have a lasting influence on their lives. For Craig Kielburger, his first trip to help children in South Asia at the age of 12 was such an experience, and he has chronicled it in a children’s book called It Takes A Child.

Kielburger is the founder and chair of Free the Children, a Toronto-based organization that aims to eliminate poverty and exploitation of children around the world through education and social programs, such as Adopt A Village. This program allows families that are confronted with poverty a chance to break out and live successfully, building schools and establishing health clinics among other things.

Quest hero meets the supernatural

{mosimage}Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword: Book One, The Annals of Aeliana by Eric Reinhold (Creation House, 227 pages, hardcover $17.99).

There is no shortage of quest-oriented books on the market today, each with its own unlikely heroes struggling against all odds to reach their final goal. With Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword, author Eric Reinhold has also entered into this popular realm of adventure and suspense, but with a supernatural twist. 

Benyamin Cohen connected to his Judaism through Christianity

{mosimage}Why is an Orthodox Jewish man, son of a rabbi, going to church every Sunday?
In My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith, Benyamin Cohen chronicles adventures and lessons learned while attending church services for a year. He talks of how his faith in Judaism was renewed from his Christian experiences. The story was made all the more fascinating as his wife, the daughter of a Baptist minister, had just finished converting to Judaism when he embarked on his year-long journey to explore what churches of various denominations offered.

Richard Neuhaus faces Babylon

American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile, by Richard John Neuhaus (Basic Books, hardcover, 288 pages, $31).

You won’t enjoy American Babylon if (a) you’re not loyal American, (b) you didn’t support the Bush administration agenda, or (c) you can get through your day without a pressing need to disparage the philosophy of Richard Rorty and other “liberal ironists.”

The book’s title is provocative in itself — as was its author, the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. The historic Babylon is located just outside Baghdad, where there is nothing more than a series of mounds and ruins, the place having been destroyed by the armies of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. Babylon is mentioned many times and in several symbolic ways in the Bible. About 600 years before Christ, the Babylonian dynasty attacked the kingdom of Judah, captured Jerusalem and exiled the Israelites.

Doing it right for a world gone wrong

{mosimage}Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy by Peter G. Brown and Geoffrey Garver (Berrett-Koehler, softcover, 216 pages, $21.95).

Reading Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy in Kenya is a powerful experience. Right and wrong relationship live side-by-side here — in technicolour. Wrong relationship is vividly illustrated by slums with no electricity or running water bumping up against the gates of the manicured lawns of this country’s elite.

Right relationship, as defined by the authors, “tends to preserve the integrity, resilience and beauty of the commonwealth of life.” The term’s early Quaker usage is expanded to incorporate scientific and economic concepts that more clearly illustrate what “integrity, resilience and beauty” look like — or how they are violated — in today’s world.

Unity begins with prayer

{mosimage}A Century of Prayer for Christian Unity , Catherine E. Clifford ed. (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., softcover, 143 pages, $26).

There is a difference between hope and wishful thinking. When the ecumenical movement was in full swing, particularly immediately after Vatican II when the Catholic Church joined in, the hope was palpable. Many expected long-standing divisions would soon be overcome and Catholics, Orthodox, Anglican and mainline Protestants would soon be joining in a common celebration of the Eucharist.