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Meanings, Virtues, and Practices in a Post-Religious Age
In The Ecology of Spirituality, Lucy Bregman surveys the many and varied religious, psychological, and sociological definitions of spirituality on offer. Spirituality has been made and remade many times over in the hope of fitting it to some new cultural need. Bregman argues that a better understanding of spirituality is instead rooted in specific professions and practices, and she demonstrates that it is not an irrevocably ambiguous pop cultural phenomenon, but is embodied in historic virtues and practices of a craft.
Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming
Our ecological dilemmas provoke powerful emotions and deeply contested views. How should we think about them? And how can we live together, or even talk together, when we cannot listen to people who think differently?
In a lively and at times very funny book, Roger S. Gottlieb (A Greener Faith, This Sacred Earth, A Spirituality of Resistance) explores these questions in a collection of distinct but related philosophical short stories. Fictional characters with personalities, individual histories, and strong opinions wrestle with the meaning of life, the value of nature, animal rights, the roles of science and religion in environmentalism, and political choices facing environmental activists—as well as their own anger, fear, despair, and close-mindedness. Encountering forcefully articulated positions and engaging characters, readers will be moved to reconsider their own beliefs—and to examine personal barriers to truly listening to those “on the other side."
Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming received the Silver Nautilus Book Award for Fiction in 2013.
How Western Culture Uses, Confuses, (and Sometimes Abuses) Adam and Eve
Sex, seduction, and the perfect marriage. Though it may not have been the intent of Genesis 1-3, the biblical first couple has been used for generations to sell consumable goods and strange ideologies—both salacious and holy—to willing western masses. And, Linda Schearing and Valarie Ziegler argue, Adam and Eve have become archetypal figures for secular and religious society alike as they are transplanted from their ancient garden to a more modern Eden, often with eyebrow-raising consequences. Finding common ground between both religious and secular recastings of Adam and Eve, Schearing and Ziegler offer page-turning evidence of just how ubiquitous the first couple has become. From online dating services and promises of God-ordained romance to the advertising and selling of games, bathroom fixtures, and even risqué bloomers, Adam and Eve are a hot commodity in modern culture. These strange, confusing, often humorous, and sometimes shocking accounts testify to the myriad of ways in which Genesis 1-3 has been recycled and recreated in the popular imagination, and moreover, in promotion of the Western worldview.
Truth, Individualism, and the Limits of Belief
Questions of belief, and agency over personal belief, abound as individuals claim to have the right to believe whatever they so choose. In a carefully constructed argument, Bruce Reichenbach contends that while individuals have direct control over belief, they are obligated to believe—and purposely seek—the truth. Though the nature of truth and belief is an oft-debated topic, Reichenbach moves beyond surface-level persuasions to address the very core of what constitutes a human right. These epistemic obligations are critical, as the influence of belief is evident throughout society, from law and education to religion and daily decision-making. Grounding his argument in practical case studies, Reichenbach deftly demonstrates the necessity of moral accountability and belief.
Cultural Pessimism and Its Religious Dimension in Contemporary American Popular Culture
Escape into the Future analyzes the power of pessimism, showing links between present-day religious pessimism and the nihilism of popular culture. Stroup and Shuck rummage through an interesting and eclectic body of pop culture, from Fight Club to X-Files to the Left Behind series, pointing out the presence of pessimistic themes throughout. This volume identifies and illuminates the religious language used in these works to articulate America's need to escape from its present cultural path and, ultimately, provide hope that it might do so.
The Challenges of Global Governance
Managing the challenges of governance is more than merely managing people and resources; it is about managing the values that intersecting cultures attach to people and resources. The Ethics of Public Administration: The Challenges of Global Governance provides an exploratory introduction to the history and trends of major ethical cultures around the globe. Featuring chapters that explore national and ideological forms of ethics—including those of India, Russia, and Africa as well as Marxism, Leninism, Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—The Ethics of Public Administration is an indispensable guide for all those working in international affairs and government.
Resistance and Resilience
In this sweeping history, Tibebe Eshete presents a new view of Ethiopian Christianity. Synthesizing existing scholarship with original interviews and archival research, he demonstrates that the vernacular nature of the Ethiopian church played a critical role in the development of a state church. He also traces the effects of the political on the religious: the growth of other “counter-cultural” movements in 1960s Ethiopia, such as renewal movements, youth discontentment, and the Marxist regime (under which the church still flourished). This strikingly authentic work refutes the thesis that evangelicalism was imported. Instead, Eshete shows, it was a genuine indigenous response to cultural pressures.
Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe
The popular Poe—The Raven, Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat—has inspired a generation of readers long disenchanted with the normative tradition of American literature. But is the popular Poe—incessantly drinking, drug-addicted, and entranced by the terror of death—the real Poe? Harry Lee Poe contends that, for more than two centuries, the great myth of Edgar Allan Poe has damaged both the popular reader's understanding of Poe's corpus and the historian's depiction of Poe's life. Through reviewing his poems and short stories, literary criticism and science fiction, Evermore reveals a Poe who is deeply confounded by the existence of evil, the truth of justice, and even the problems of love, beauty, and God. Here Poe aficionados and casual appreciators of literature alike are invited into a greater understanding of Poe’s most persistent questions and offered a novel approach to reading the American literary icon.
Millennialism in Social and Historical Context
Jesus' promise that the end draws near has spawned an expectation of that grand event across various religious groups. This volume examines the abiding social issues that surround the continued presence of apocalyptic anticipation by setting them in historical, present-day, and future manifestations. Approaching this fervent expectation from a broad perspective, Gribben and Newport explore the contemporary movements with insightful analysis that provokes discussion and even self-reflection.
Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and Their Readers
In this study of Madame Guyon and, her defender, Francois de Fénelon, the Archbishop of Cambray, Patricia Ward demonstrates how the ideas of these seventeenth-century Catholics were transmitted into an ongoing tradition of Protestant devotional literature—one that continues to influence American evangelicals and charismatic Christians today. Down a winding (and fascinating) historical path, Ward traces how the lives and writings of these two somewhat obscure Catholic believers in Quietism came to such prominence in American spirituality—offering, in part, a fascinating glance at the role of women in the history of devotional writing.