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Spiritual Biographies

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A life observed : a spiritual biography of C.S. Lewis
by Devin Brown Details
C. S. Lewis is one of the most influential Christian writers of our time. The Chronicles of Narnia has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and all Lewis's works are estimated to sell 6 million copies annually. At the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Lewis expert Devin Brown brings the beloved author's story to life in a fresh, accessible, and moving biography through focusing on Lewis's spiritual journey.
Acedia & me : a marriage, monks, and a writer's life
by Kathleen Norris Details
Kathleen Norris had written several much loved books, yet she couldn't drag herself out of bed in the morning, couldn't summon the energy for her daily tasks. Even as she struggled, Norris recognized her familiar battle with acedia, a word she had discovered in early Church text years earlier. Fascinated by this "noonday demon", so familiar to those in the early and medieval Church, Norris knew she must restore this forgotten but important concept to the modern world's vernacular. An examination of acedia in the light of psychology, spirituality, the healing powers of religious practice, and Norris's own experience, Acedia & Me is both intimate and historically sweeping, brimming with exasperation and reverence, sometimes funny, often provocative, and always insightful.
American saint : the life of Elizabeth Seton
by Joan Barthel Details
In this riveting biography of Elizabeth Seton Joan Barthel tells the mesmerizing story of a woman whose life featured wealth and poverty, passion and sorrow, love and loss. Elizabeth was born into a prominent New York City family in 1774. Her father was the chief health officer for the Port of New York and she lived down the block from Alexander Hamilton. She danced at George Washington's sixty-fifth Birthday Ball wearing cream slippers, monogrammed. Catholicism was illegal in New York when she was born; Catholic priests seen in the city were arrested, sometimes hung. When Elizabeth and her wealthy husband Will sailed to Italy in a doomed attempt to cure his tuberculosis, she and her family were quarantined in a damp dungeon. And when Elizabeth later became a Catholic, she was so scorned that people talked of burning down her house. American Saint is the inspiring story of a brave woman who forged the way for the other women who followed and who made a name for herself in a world entirely ruled by men. Elizabeth resisted male clerical control of her religious order, as nuns are doing today, and the publication of her story could not be more timely.
Bonhoeffer : pastor, martyr, prophet, spy : a righteous gentile vs. the Third Reich
by Eric Metaxas Details
A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double-agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Fuhrer, and was hanged in Flossenberg concentration camp at age 39. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the 20th century. This book presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.
Candidate without a prayer : an autobiography of a Jewish atheist in the Bible Belt
by Herb Silverman Details
In this deeply revealing and engaging autobiography, Herb Silverman tells his iconoclastic life story. He takes the reader from his childhood as an Orthodox Jew in Philadelphia, where he stopped fasting on Yom Kippur to test God's existence, to his adult life in the heart of the Bible Belt, where he became a legendary figure within America's secular activist community and remains one of its most beloved leaders.
Crooked cucumber : the life and Zen teaching of Shunryu Suzuki
by David Chadwick Details
Since the publication of the landmark Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind 25 years ago, the influence of Shunryu Suzuki has grown extensively. His followers have long hungered for a full portrait of the man whose wisdom touched so many, but until now no book has been published by or about this extraordinary individual. Chadwick, who studied with Suzuki at the San Francisco Zen Center from 1966 until Suzuki's death in 1971, has interviewed his mentor's family, friends, and disciples and was granted full access to Japanese and American archives. Crooked Cucumber begins with Suzuki's earliest days in Japan, where his teacher nicknamed him "Crooked Cucumber," claiming Suzuki was too absent-minded and dim-witted to ever become a successful priest. Chadwick follows Suzuki through his new life in San Francisco amid the cultural upheaval of the '60s, creating a context for his refreshing and profound teaching. Brief, illuminating chapters, with previously unpublished lecture quotes, convey the down-to-earth message of a man who continues to transform countless lives.
Darling : a spiritual autobiography
by Richard Rodriguez Details
Hailed in 'The Washington Post' as 'one of the most eloquent and probing public intellectuals in America,' Richard Rodriguez now considers religious violence worldwide, growing public atheism in the West, and his own mortality. Rodriguez's stylish new memoir-the first book in a decade from the Pulitzer Prize finalist-moves from Jerusalem to Silicon Valley, from Moses to Liberace, from Lance Armstrong to Mother Teresa. Rodriguez is a homosexual who writes with love of the religions of the desert that exclude him. He is a passionate, unorthodox Christian who is always mindful of his relationship to Judaism and Islam because of a shared belief in the God who revealed himself within an ecology of emptiness. And at the center of this book is a consideration of women-their importance to Rodriguez's spiritual formation and their centrality to the future of the desert religions. Only a mind as elastic and refined as Rodriguez's could bind these threads together into this wonderfully complex tapestry.
Dreaming me : Black, Baptist, and Buddhist: one woman's spiritual journey
by Jan Willis Details
Jan Willis is not Baptist or Buddhist. She is simply both. Dreaming Me is the story of her life, as a child growing up in the Jim Crow South, dealing with racism in an Ivy League college, and becoming involved with the Black Panther Party. But it wasn't until meeting Lama Yeshe, a Tibetan Buddhist monk living in the mountains of Nepal, that she realized who the real Jan Willis was, and how to make the most of the life she was living.
Gandhi : his life and message for the world
by Louis Fischer Details
This is the extraordinary story of how one man's indomitable spirit inspired a nation to triumph over tyranny. This is the story of Mahatma Gandhi, a man who owned nothing-and gained everything.
Series -
Signet classics
Grace (eventually) : thoughts on faith
by Anne Lamott Details
Life can be full of challenges and pitfalls. In 'Grace (Eventually),' Anne Lamott examines the ways we are caught in life's most daunting predicaments: love, mothering, work, politics, and maybe, toughest of all, evolving from who we are to who we were meant to be. She goes deep within her own life and feelings to describe her intimate, bumpy and unconventional journey to grace and faith.
Hope endures : leaving Mother Teresa, losing faith, and searching for meaning
by Colette Livermore Details
The searing memoir of an extraordinary woman who served as a nun for eleven years in Mother Teresa's order, Hope Endures is a compelling chronicle of idealistic determination, rigid discipline, and shattering disillusionment. In her life's journey from certainty to doubt, Colette Livermore enters the Missionaries of Charity order in 1973 with unwavering faith and total surrender of her will and intellect. Only eighteen at the time, Livermore has been studying to enter medical school -- a lifelong goal -- but virtually overnight severs her many ties with family, friends, and the life she's known in order to train as a sister to aid the poor. In the process, she also gives herself over to the order's unexpectedly severe, ascetic regime, which demands blind obedience and submission. Over time she also begins to notice that the order's rigid insistence on unquestioning obedience harms the young sisters mentally, emotionally, and spiritually -- and she experiences a terrible inner struggle to find the right path for herself. As she tries to respond to the suffering around her, she often falls into an incomprehensible conflict between her vow to obey and her vow to serve, between religious strictures and the practice of compassion, between authority and personal conscience. Pressured to stay with the order by Mother Teresa, Livermore nonetheless decides to leave at age thirty and attain her medical degree, continuing to take health care and relief to impoverished people in remote areas -- the isolated aboriginal communities of the Outback and war-torn East Timor. Even as she serves others as a medical doctor, she continues in a crisis of faith that eventually leads her to become an agnostic. For true hope to endure, Dr. Livermore demonstrates, we must always strive to question, to face the hard truths, and to discover the courage to follow our convictions.
Kisses from Katie : a story of relentless love and redemption
by Katie Davis Details
Katie Davis traveled to Uganda for a short mission trip over the Christmas break of her senior year in high school. She found herself so moved by the Ugandan people and their needs that she knew it was her calling to return to care for them. She is now in the process of adopting thirteen children there, and has established the ministry, Amazima, that cares for hundreds more. Here, she shares her story.
My bright abyss : meditation of a modern believer
by Christian Wiman Details
Seven years ago, Christian Wiman, a well-known poet and the editor of Poetry magazine, wrote a now-famous essay about having faith in the face of death. My Bright Abyss, composed in the difficult years since and completed in the wake of a bone marrow transplant, is a moving meditation on what a viable contemporary faith--responsive not only to modern thought and science but also to religious tradition--might look like. Joyful, sorrowful, and beautifully written, My Bright Abyss is destined to become a spiritual classic, useful not only to believers but to anyone whose experience of life and art seems at times to overbrim its boundaries. How do we answer this "burn of being"? Wiman asks. What might it mean for our lives--and for our deaths--if we acknowledge the "insistent, persistent ghost" that some of us call God?
My country 'tis of thee : my faith, my family, our future
by Keith Ellison Details
As a Black, Latino, and former Catholic who converted to Islam, Keith Ellison, is the first Muslim elected to Congress-from a district with fewer than 1 percent Muslims and 11 percent Blacks. With his unique perspective on uniting a disparate community and speaking to a common goal, Ellison takes a provocative look at America and what needs to change to accommodate different races and beliefs.
My Jesus year : a rabbi's son wanders the Bible Belt in search of his own faith
by Benyamin Cohen Details
Part memoir, part spiritual quest, part anthropologist's mission, Benyamin Cohen's My Jesus Year is a humorous, personal, ultimately inspirational exploration of Evangelical Christianity by the son of an Orthodox Rabbi on his journey through America's Bible belt. Winner of the Georgia Writer Association's Georgia Author of the Year Award, selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of the Year and by USA Today as one of the Top Eight Books to Help Rekindle the Hanukkah Spirit, My Jesus Year is an unorthodox and unforgettable search for universal answers and common truths.
Tales of wonder : adventures chasing the divine : an autobiography
by Huston Smith Details
World religion scholar Huston Smith has encountered many of the people who shaped the 20th century, including Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Aldous Huxley, and others. He was also present at many extraordinary moments in history. This is the story of his amazing life, which also serves as a travelogue and a history of change.
The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad
by Lesley Hazleton Details
Muhammad's was a life of almost unparalleled historical importance; yet for all the iconic power of his name, the intensely dramatic story of the prophet of Islam is not well known. In 'The First Muslim,' Lesley Hazleton brings him vibrantly to life. Drawing on early eyewitness sources and on history, politics, religion, and psychology, she renders him as a man in full, in all his complexity and vitality.
To heaven and back : the true story of a doctor's extraordinary walk with God
by Mary C Neal Details
Is there life after death? Is God real? Is there sufficient reason to live by faith? Dr. Mary Neal's walk with God has been both ordinary and extraordinary, brimming with the gift and privilege of being touched by God in visible and very tangible ways. She is a practicing orthopaedic surgeon, a wife, and a mother who has experienced joy as well as great sorrow and death. She experienced life after death and, despite her scientific training, she believes the answer to each one of these questions is a definitive yes. She drowned on a South American river and went to Heaven. She conversed with angels. She returned to Earth, in part, to tell her story to others and help them find their way back to God. In this book , Dr. Neal shares the captivating details of her life in which she has experienced not just one miracle, but many. Her story is both compelling and thought provoking. Her experiences provide confirmation that miracles still occur, shows how God keeps His promises and why there is sufficient reason to live by faith. Dr. Neal's message is fundamentally one of hope.
Zealot : the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth
by Reza Aslan Details
Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry-a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews.
Updated 04/15/2014
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