February 04, 2006

Faith: Stories

This book is a collection of short stories on the varieties and vagaries of faith, some being the old classics like Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne and others very contemporary stories, all dealing in some way with the mystery of faith. Obviously some, in my opinion were much better than others but that of course depends on where you're coming from, what you can relate to.

God's Goodness by Majorie Kemper was probably my favorite; a story that stirs an emotional reaction no matter how many times I read or think about it. And it addresses probably more than any of the others the realities of life and how there are no simple answers.

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Posted by Priscilla at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

Zen and the Birds of Appetite - Thomas Merton

Extremely interesting and thought provoking this book it a collection of essays that address Zen from the perspective of a Western Christian. Merton was not typical but a Christian who had a great appreciation and understanding of Zen and believed that the study of Zen only brings the Christian to a deeper level of spiritual experience.
As usual, Merton provides a wealth of knowledge on a difficult subject, very honestly bringin out the similarities between Zen and Christianity.

Posted by Priscilla at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

Keeping Faith - Fenton Johnson

One mans journey in search for what it means to have and keep faith. Invited to cover an international convocation of Buddhist and Christian monks at Gethsemani, he found his anger at his childhood religion made him unable to make the sign of the cross. He also found that anger was a recurring word among the participants of the Gethsemani Encounter. So he set out to determine the source of this common anger through research into both Christianity and Buddhism.

Posted by Priscilla at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2005

Mystics and Zen Masters - Thomas Merton

Another very intelligent and well-written book by my favorite spiritual author. Here Merton discusses various religions and theologies, bringing out the similarities between Eastern and Western spirituality.
He begins by illuminating as best as can be expressed in words what Zen is, which is difficult since the essence of Zen is that which is is inexpressible. He does a magnificent job of making a difficult and wildly misunderstood subject understandable. We can then appreciate the depth of this practive and it's similarities to Christianity.
Merton introduces us to classic chinese thought such as in the Tao Te Ching. I found myself drawn to the simplicity and depth of Zen and Confuscian thought which seems to cut straight through to the heart of the matter of what is most important in life. Man's inherent goodness and will of God imprinted on his soul, constantly seeking to express itself in right action. The importance of "personal response" to life.

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Posted by Priscilla at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

Arise My Love - William Johnston

Written by a Christian monk living in Japan it is a wise and open-minded look at the influence Asian theology has had on Christianity and more importantly the influence it will have in the next century.
Also very revealing are the guidelines that came out of the Second Vatican Council in relation to Christianity, other religions and science.
The latter part of the 20th century was a time of great spiritual hunger and disatisfaction with the dogma and doctrines of established religion. What has become evident to many involved in Catholic church is the fact that the message of theology cannot be rigid and objective but subjective, taking into consideration the culture and personal situation of the person. The danger of ojective theology presented in a "one way for all" is fundamentalism.

Posted by Priscilla at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

A History of God - Karen Armstrong

A very good, thorough study of God in three main religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. What struck me about it was how man-made religion is and how in all the traditions what was originally intended for all (men and women) has been distorted to this patriachal view. It's surprising how confused mankind has always been about the meaning of life and the origin of man and God. Also, just the fact that the image we have of God is so far from what God really is. We have tried to make God in our image rather than reach out to Ultimate Being.

Posted by Priscilla at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2004

The Spiral Staircase - Karen Armstrong

Interesting and well written this book chronicles the period of time after denouncing her vows with numerous flashbacks/glimpses of experiences as a nun.

I felt connected to her in her rejection of "religion". I was curiosity elated by it and could identify with feelings of disgust at any traditional ceremony. Yet she was still drawn to the investigation of "God". It's interesting that she suffered from epilepsy with a very different outcome than Sister John in Lying Awake.

The surprising thing I learned in reading this book were the similarities between all three of the main world religions. They all have the same core beliefs and all have the same figures as their source (i.e. Moses, Abraham). Islam got it's start from communication between Mohammed and the Angel Gabriel.

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Posted by Priscilla at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2004

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

The story of the women of the Bible as told by Leah's daughter Dinah. It describes in detail the day-to-day existence of the Rachel, Leah, and the other wives of Isaac.
Dinah's life was extremely sad after her brothers murdered her husband-to-be who she loved tremendously. This is a powerful story which shows the men of the Bible in an unfavorable light. It is interesting to contemplate events/stories from a woman's point of view.

Posted by Priscilla at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)