On My Bookshelf: The 10 Books I Always Reach For

1100722-duaneshankMy office has two overflowing bookshelves, with more books stacked on top and on the windowsill. But above my desk within easy reach is a small shelf. On it I keep those books I most regularly use in thinking and writing. Here are the top 10.

1. The Bible: What can I say about the foundational source of God's guidance in everything? I read or refer to it nearly every day. It was given to us "for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

2. The Book of Common Prayer: I am not Anglican/Episcopalian, but there is something in the formal prayers of the traditional liturgy that resonate with my soul. On those days I really don't feel like praying or can't find the words, it's comforting to have a place to turn for inspiration.

Shane Claiborne on Rupert Murdoch, Zondervan, and Empire

Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009photo © 2009 World Economic Forum | more info (via: Wylio)Most people know now that Rupert Murdoch presides over the News Corp media empire, and that he is fighting for his reputation after being forced to sink his scandal-laiden British newspaper News of the World, the most widely read English tabloid in the world. But few people know that Murdoch also owns Zondervan, the world's largest publisher of Bibles. For 23 years, the News Corp family has included the leading seller of the best-selling book in history.

Betty Ford and the Trials and Blessings of Life

Life is hard. It is full of pain, disappointments, and challenges of every kind. When hard times come our way, we often ask, Why me? And the answer comes: Why not you? We sometimes think that God has forsaken us, and sometimes God is silent. It is difficult to remember the Biblical wisdom that explains why believers, children of God, the beloved of God go through difficult times.

Disrupt and Rebuild

LATINO COMMUNITIES throughout the United States face several challenges, such as soaring unemployment rates, subpar health care and education, high poverty rates, unjust immigration laws, and lack of adequate housing. Faced with these seemingly insurmountable trials, what ethical paradigms can Latinos rely on to transform their reality? In Latina/o Social Ethics: Moving Beyond Eurocentric Moral Thinking, Christian ethicist and prolific author Miguel A. De La Torre argues that Latino communities can’t afford an abstract ethics (e.g., virtue ethics) during these difficult times. In fact, such an approach to ethics is harmful to marginalized communities.

In the book’s first part, De La Torre deconstructs the abstract Eurocentric ethical paradigms and methodologies prominent in our nation’s universities and government. Ethics in the ivory tower emphasizes abstraction over action, what one thinks over what one does. This abstract understanding of ethics is all too common among many academics, policymakers, politicians, and citizens from across the political spectrum, and can lead to hypocrisy. Thus, while the U.S. may be one of the “developed” world’s most religious nations, our actions and policies—excessive waste of resources and our broken immigration system that tears families apart—speak otherwise. We may think we’re moral and ethical by believing in a deity, but we’re behaving unethically as a nation when we blithely disregard the poor, hungry, and sick—who are disproportionately Latino and black.

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