Recommended Books For Progressive Christians and Others
God's Troublemakers: How Progressive Women of Faith Are Changing the World
A remarkable new book documents how 11 amazing women are changing the world. This is a book about progressive women who are innovative leaders in the public arena. Christian, Jewish and Muslim, they are spiritual entrepreneurs, who have invented organizations or movements to repair the world. This book claims space for progressive forms of religion in an era dominated by the Religious Right. Their compelling stories make this a page-turner. But more important, you will want to share their hope of transformation and the lessons in leadership they offer for all of us.
The Battle For God Karen
Armstrong's discussion of fundamentalist movements within Christianity, Judaism
and Islam pre-dates the Sept 11 terrorist attacks. But those who seek an understanding
of the causes of that tragedy will find much in this book to commend it. One of
Armstrong's most telling points is that Christian fundamentalists have much in
common with extremists within both Islam and Judaism.
The Human Being: Jesus and
the Enigma of the Son of Man Walter Wink's ground breaking book on
Jesus will punch some large holes in preconceptions held by Christians and non-Christians
alike. As Wink points out, Jesus avoided referring to himself as Messiah or Son
of God, preferring "the Son of Man," or "the truly human one." This book is highly
recommended for those interested in a view of Jesus very different from the one
codified in centuries of church dogma.
Terror in the Mind of God:
The Global Rise of Religious Violence Mark Juergensmeyer explores the
fascinating question: "Why is religion so often associated with violence?"
He looks at specific examples, taking the reader very close to the hearts and
minds of those religious activists, who have recently resorted to violence as
a means of advancing their cause. As this book makes abundantly clear, Osama bin
Laden is only one small part of the problem.
A New Christianity for a New World : Why Traditional
Faith Is Dying & What Should Take Its Place John Shelby Spong, retired
Episcopal Bishop, is in no way retiring. In fact, he has probably sparked more
controversy than any other church official within a mainline denomination. Spong's
views on the Bible, human sexuality, and basic Christian beliefs may shock conservative
readers. Here he takes on some of the most basic Christian doctrines, and finds
them in need of radical revision.
The Executed God Mark
Lewis Taylor teaches at Princeton Theological Seminary, perhaps an unlikely place
to launch as strong an attack upon the capital punishment system as this. Taylor
argues that it is both ironic and hypocritical for Christians to support the very
system of punishment that resulted in the death of the Savior. Further, at a time
when this nation is waging a war against terrorism, the death penalty may, itself
be, one of the most egregious examples of state sponsored terrorism in the western
God's Politics: Why the Right
Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It While the religious has hijacked
the language of faith to prop up its political agenda, the left hasn't done much
better, largely ignoring faith and continually separating moral discourse and
personal ethics from public policy. While the right argues that God's way is their
way, the left pursues an unrealistic separation of religious values from morally
grounded political leadership. Jim Wallis is the founder of Sojourners, a nationwide
network of progressive Christians working for justice and peace.
Beyond Belief: The Secret
Gospel of Thomas Shortly after Elaine Pagels two-and-half-year-old
son was diagnosed with a rare lung disease, the Princeton religion professor found
herself drawn to the church again for the first time in many years. In Beyond
Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas Pagels wrestles with her own faith as
she struggles to understand when--and why--Christianity became associated almost
exclusively with the Trinitarian doctrine of the fourth-century Nicene Creed.
In her exploration, she uncovers the richness and diversity of early Christianity.
At the center of her book is an early Christian document, The Gospel of Thomas
(rediscovered in Egypt in 1945); it reflects the view that Jesus is not God but,
rather, a teacher who seeks to uncover the divine light in all human beings. But
its "secret teachings" were driven underground by early church fathers,
emerging once again in the work of Pagels and other contemporary scholars. As
Pagels argues, the rediscovery of documents like the Gospel of Thomas may
transform our understanding not only of early Christianity, but of the Christian
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.