The author has compelling arguments regarding what the gospels tell us about Jesus the Son of God and about the man who was Jesus of Nazareth. I had tThe author has compelling arguments regarding what the gospels tell us about Jesus the Son of God and about the man who was Jesus of Nazareth. I had the great juxtaposition of reading this book while traveling through what Christians know as the Holy Land. Is the author correct in viewing Jesus as a member of a zealot political group? Or are church teachings of 2000 years correct in seeing Jesus as the divine son of God? Very big questions. I am secure enough in my faith at this stage to know that I can question the historical details while still praying to understand the full meaning of the spiritual teachings. Isn't that what it is all about?...more
Another wonderful book about the power of the laity. The author is a professor of theology at seminary, yet encourages all to be empowered. On a faithAnother wonderful book about the power of the laity. The author is a professor of theology at seminary, yet encourages all to be empowered. On a faith journey we can often make the church and its rituals our God. She reminds us that God is God and the church a way to be closer to God.
"The Outline of the Faith reminds us that “ministry” (whether ordained or lay) is not our primary identity as people of God; Christianity is."
"When the gifts of any group in the Body of Christ are not esteemed, when we act as if a seminary education is required for learning about the Bible (as though it represented some static body of theory open only to scholars), when laity are reduced to spectators in worship with only token appearances, when rules and other assumptions keep people from the Bible, I wonder who we are trying to protect. Surely not the Bible."
"A contemporary Episcopal Church poster depicting the head of Jesus bears the legend, 'This man died to take away our sins, not our minds.'"...more
Ellen Hart is the author of the Jane Lawless mysteries. The PI is a lesbian and the backdrop is always the Twin Cities. There certainly are charming aEllen Hart is the author of the Jane Lawless mysteries. The PI is a lesbian and the backdrop is always the Twin Cities. There certainly are charming aspects and good characters here. But this is one of the early books in the series, and I think Ellen Hart hadn't really become fully comfortable with her writing style. The later books are better....more
I graduated high school in 1976, but it might as well be 1776 for all I remember about high school angst. I do remember something very clearly — thereI graduated high school in 1976, but it might as well be 1776 for all I remember about high school angst. I do remember something very clearly — there was never mention of the word gay. If — and this is a big if — there was talk of sex it was all about straight sex. How wonderful that we live in a world where there can be gay-straight alliances and anti-bullying policies in high school. Of course things can still be miserable, but LGBT students don't have quite as hard a burden to bare. The Geography Club is a young adult fiction book with genuine gay and bisexual characters. It covers all the realities of being yourself instead of hiding or trying to fit in. There is also romance, and first kisses, and support from people you least expect to understand. There should be more young adult books like this....more
When my book club pondered what do read, I remembered something about an annual Holocaust Awareness. I now know there is an annual Holocaust and GenocWhen my book club pondered what do read, I remembered something about an annual Holocaust Awareness. I now know there is an annual Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week, and this year it falls in early May. Another member had read part of The Complete Maus and recommended it. I am very grateful he did. This is the story of a Polish Jew and his family told in graphic novel format. The Jews are mice, the Germans are cats, the Polish are pigs, the french are frogs, and the Americans are dogs. You might wonder how a comic book can movingly tell the story of a couple falling in love, having a family, being sent to the camps, losing almost everyone but themselves surviving, and eventually coming to America. It works brilliantly. Art Spiegelman, comic author and illustrator, won a special Pulitzer Prize for this work. ...more
I loved, loved, loved this book. My book club read it for Women's History Month. Gloria Steinem is now 80-plus and her work is still as relevant todayI loved, loved, loved this book. My book club read it for Women's History Month. Gloria Steinem is now 80-plus and her work is still as relevant today as it was in 1977. Perhaps even more so, given our political climate. When I was in college I did not fully appreciate her courage, her poise, and her wit. When I landed my first professional magazine job, I promptly subscribed to Ms., because I knew I had to start educating myself about gender politics.
The education is life-long and the lessons never end.
Gloria Steinem was famous for saying many things. My favorite quote: "We are the women our parents warned us against, and we are proud."...more
I met the author at a book signing in White Plains last year. I was impressed with his candor and sense of humor. Both are evident in his novel. At thI met the author at a book signing in White Plains last year. I was impressed with his candor and sense of humor. Both are evident in his novel. At the beginning of each chapter the narrator provides a list of items — either concerns, observations, or gratitudes. It acts as a foreshadowing in the story.
This novel takes us through the AIDS crisis and the Gay Rights Movement. I came out the year before Stonewall 25, and some parts of this story are set during that time. My own nostalgia kept me moving through the story. Some passages are wonderful:
"We would not be washed away...In those days after each Gay Pride Parade, we would stand taller. We would be nicer to each other. We would demand more from those who tried oppress us, not just for ourselves but for all of those who were different. For all those who had not yet found a voice."
In the end, though, I just thought the story took on way too much. We have a dying family member, a lover who has died of AIDS — but who returns as a ghost — while we also have childhood sexual abuse and AIDS activism. It is like Terms of Endearment, meets Ghost and Longtime Companion.
I read this book at the urging of my spiritual director, an Episcopal priest who usually ends each session by handing me a bag or a pile of books. I eI read this book at the urging of my spiritual director, an Episcopal priest who usually ends each session by handing me a bag or a pile of books. I especially gleaned much from Nora Gallagher. Like me, she had been a journalist. I toiled away for several business to business magazines and websites, and sometimes for small, local newspapers. She wrote for Time and other national magazines. Nora is obviously in another league. Still, I could relate to her all consuming writing career that never provided any "real money." She writes about being a young woman who drank too much and dated all the wrong people. One morning she was snorting a drug to give her a lift for the day and caught her image in the mirror. She did not like what she saw and decided to visit a church after years of being away. One visit eventually led to worship, and service, and being a lay leader. This book is about her discernment to possibly become a priest. Anyone who knows the Episcopal Church knows there are many years and many layers to the discernment process. As I possibly consider my next move toward discernment to be a deacon, it was important for me to read about her three-year odyssey of discernment. In the end, Gallagher finds that her ministry is the "word," basically her writing. She embraces lay leadership and underscores that each member of the laity is a minister, each with unique gifts. I came away with utmost respect for those who eventually become ordained, and for those who realize that their lay ministries are just as vital.
Here are a few passages that stood out for me: A vocation. From the Latin vocare, to call. This call or whatever it was had disruppted my marriage, confused my friends, and forced to the surface most of my hidden neuroses.
Sometimes a marriage has to die, or the unconscious agreements in that marriage have to die, for another marriage, with the same partners, to come into being.
In its first two hundred years of live, Christianity was practiced in house churches. Because women often administered households (including overseeing large stars of servants and slaves), they became leaders in those churches....more
The Gardner Heist is an intriguing story. In 1990, two thieves, dressed as Boston cops, convince a security guard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner MuseThe Gardner Heist is an intriguing story. In 1990, two thieves, dressed as Boston cops, convince a security guard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to let them in late one night. They claim they are answering a call about a disturbance. Then they tie up the guard and his co-worker, case the galleries, and steal an estimated $500 million worth of art. The author notes that this theft was orchestrated by professional thieves who were ignorant about art. They left very valuable pieces behind. In other instances, they cut works by Rembrandt and Vermeer out of their frames, likely damaging the canvases. To date, the artworks have never been found. The author clearly outlines his theory about who did it — and why. But we will never really know. Stolen art works usually surface at some point — even if they are used as leverage to solve other crimes or traffic on the black market. The author has some very good detail about the underworld, global art market. The narrative becomes muddled, though. I really wanted to enjoy this more....more