In Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gives a fresh reading of the lives of the desert fathers and mothers, Christian contemplatives who lived in fourth-century Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. Their lives, of course, carried the fundamental challenges of our own—how to live in community? How to seek God? This wise and gentle treasure includes an appendix of sayings. New Seeds Books.
Prayer Is a Place: America’s Religious Landscape Observed, by Phyllis Tickle. America’s chronicler of religious publishing records not only observations of the industry’s changes over the last decade, but also parts of her own religious journey in her characteristically warm and clear voice. Doubleday.
A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews. The teenage narrator of this novel, Nomi Nickel, is stuck in a small, conservative Mennonite town in Manitoba as her family slowly disintegrates. Nomi’s wry and raw observations pull one in and don’t let go, as she tries to make sense of love and abandonment, sin and hypocrisy, and beautiful lies that sometimes save us. Counterpoint.
The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea, by David Dark. With a palpable love for God and country—but only in that order—this analysis of our peculiar, polarized times sorts through the tangle of sacred and profane in American culture (including politics, film, music, literature, and media) with both affection and searing insight. Westminster John Knox Press.