Looking for a new religious title to read? Here are some books that hit the shelves at our Fairmount Branch in January, February, and March. If any of these titles interest you, you can use the links below to place a hold in our catalog, or you can always give us a call to put one on hold for you. The following descriptions were provided by the publisher.
The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief by Liz Tichenor
Called “such a sad, tough story, but finally so life-affirming, filled with spirit and love” by Anne Lamott, this is a raw and intensely affecting memoir by a young priest about loss of a child, its grief and its aftermath, and the hard-won joy that can follow.
Liz Tichenor has taken her newborn son, five weeks old, to the doctor, from a cabin on the shores of Lake Tahoe. She is sent home to her husband and two-year-old daughter with the baby, who is pronounced “fine” by an urgent care physician. Six hours later, the baby dies in their bed. Less than a year and a half before, Tichenor’s mother jumped from a building and killed herself after a long struggle with alcoholism. As a very young Episcopal priest, Tichenor has to “preach the Good News,” to find faith where there is no hope, but she realizes these terrible parts of her own life will join her in the pulpit.
The Night Lake is the story of finding a way forward through tragedies that seem like they might be beyond surviving and of learning to carve out space for the slow labor of learning to live again, in grief.
Walk in the shoes of the disciples, as New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin brings their stories to life with his storyteller’s perspective.
In the first century, believer didn’t just mean someone who heard and agreed with Jesus; it meant someone who acted on that belief. And when the outside world saw the faith of these new believers, they declared “they turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
That’s the kind of believer Charles Martin wants us to be. The kind who understands that the truth of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is so powerful, it reshaped history. The kind of believer who lives with that same world-changing faith today.
In his second non-fiction work, he uses his talents as a novelist to walk you through the lives of the disciples in the aftermath of the Resurrection and as they spread the message of the Gospel and “turn the world upside down”, leading up to Paul’s ministry in Thessonalica. In his beloved lyrical style, Martin illuminates key moments from Scripture and shares stories from his own life as a disciple.
With the same depth, sensitivity, and emotion that have made his novels beloved to millions, Martin will helps you engage with your faith in a new and inspiring way.
A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal by Sarah Bessey
For the weary, the angry, the anxious, and the hopeful, this collection of moving, tender prayers offers rest, joyful resistance, and a call to act, written by Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and other artists and thinkers, curated by the author Glennon Doyle calls “my favorite faith writer.”
It’s no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time—and that’s why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another. This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for all who feel the immense joys and challenges of the journey of faith, this collection of prayers says it all aloud, giving readers permission to recognize the weight of all they carry. These writings also offer a broadened imagination of hope—of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with new essays by Sarah Bessey throughout.
Encompassing the full breadth of the emotional landscape, these deeply tender yet subversive prayers give readers an intimate look at the diverse language and shapes of prayer.
Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone by James Martin
One of America’s most beloved spiritual leaders and the New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Jesus: A Pilgrimage teaches anyone to converse with God in this comprehensive guide to prayer.
In The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, Father James Martin included a chapter on communicating with God. Now, he expands those thoughts in this profound and practical handbook. Learning to Pray explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice in our lives.
A trusted guide walking beside us as we navigate our unique spiritual paths, Martin lays out the different styles and traditions of prayer throughout Christian history and invites us to experiment and discover which works best to feed our soul and build intimacy with our Creator. Father Martin makes clear there is not one secret formula for praying. But like any relationship, each person can discover the best style for building an intimate relationship with God, regardless of religion or denomination. Prayer, he teaches us, is open and accessible to anyone willing to open their heart.
The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Stony the Road and one of our most important voices on the African-American experience, a powerful new history of the Black church in America as the Black community’s abiding rock and its fortress.
For the young Henry Louis Gates, Jr., growing up in a small, segregated West Virginia town, the church was his family and his community’s true center of gravity. Within those walls, voices were lifted up in song to call forth the best in each other, and to comfort each other when times were at their worst. In this book, his tender and magisterial reckoning with the meaning of the Black church in American history, Gates takes us from his own experience onto a journey across more than four hundred years and spanning the entire country. At road’s end, we emerge with a new understanding of the centrality of the Black church to the American story–as a cultural and political force, as the center of resistance to slavery and white supremacy, as an unparalleled incubator of talent, and as a crucible for working through the community’s most important issues, down to today.
In a country that has historically afforded its citizens from the African diaspora tragically few safe spaces, the Black church has always been more than a sanctuary; it’s been a place to nourish the deepest human needs and dreams of the African-American community. This fact was never lost on white supremacists: from the earliest days of slavery, when enslaved people were allowed to worship at all, their meeting houses were subject to surveillance, and often destruction. So it continued, long after slavery’s formal eradication; church burnings and church bombings by the Ku Klux Klan and others have always been a hallmark of the violent effort to suppress the struggle for equality for the African-American community. The past often isn’t even past–Dylann Roof committed his slaughter in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church 193 years after the church was first burned down by whites following a thwarted slave rebellion.
But as Gates brilliantly shows, the Black church has never been only one thing. Its story lies at the vital center of the civil rights movement, and produced many of its leaders, from the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on, but at the same time there have always been churches and sects that eschewed a more activist stance, even eschewed worldly political engagement altogether. That tension can be felt all the way to the Black Lives Matter movement and the work of today. Still and all, as a source of strength and a force for change, the Black church is at the center of the action at every stage of the American story, as this enthralling history makes vividly clear.
Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter by Timothy Keller
The Resurrection accounts of Jesus in the Gospels are the most dramatic and impactful stories ever told. One similarity unites each testimony–that none of his most loyal and steadfast followers could “see” it was him, back from the dead. The reason for this is at the very foundation of the Christian faith.
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)
Hope in the Time of Fear is a book that unlocks the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection for readers. Easter is considered the most solemn and important holiday for Christians. It is a time of spiritual rebirth and a time of celebrating the physical rebirth of Jesus after three days in the tomb. For his devoted followers, nothing could prepare them for the moment they met the resurrected Jesus. Each failed to recognize him. All of them physically saw him and yet did not spiritually truly see him. It was only when Jesus reached out and invited them to see who he truly was that their eyes were open. Here the central message of the Christian faith is revealed in a way only Timothy Keller could do it–filled with unshakable belief, piercing insight, and a profound new way to look at a story you think you know. After reading this book, the true meaning of Easter will no longer be unseen.
Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living by Charles J. Chaput
With a balance of wisdom, candor, and scholarly rigor the beloved archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia takes on life’s central questions: why are we here, and how can we live and die meaningfully?
In Things Worth Dying For, Chaput delves richly into our yearning for God, love, honor, beauty, truth, and immortality. He reflects on our modern appetite for consumption and individualism and offers a penetrating analysis of how we got here, and how we can look to our roots and our faith to find purpose each day amid the noise of competing desires. Chaput examines the chronic questions of the human heart; the idols and false flags we create; and the nature of a life of authentic faith. He points to our longing to live and die with meaning as the key to our search for God, our loyalty to nation and kin, our conduct in war, and our service to others.
Ultimately, with compelling grace, he shows us that the things worth dying for reveal most powerfully the things worth living for.
You can find beauty in life, even when your world is painted in bleak shades of brown.
Let’s face it, no one wants to be depressed. So if we’re prone to this disquieting malady, we try to hide it, to fake the smile that isn’t really there—especially if we’re Christians. Author Paul Asay knows all about that. He knows the ins and outs of depression from personal experience, and he wants to help you work your way out.
But don’t worry, this isn’t some simplistic how-to book, promising rainbows and unicorns in three easy steps. Paul knows “fixing” depression isn’t that easy. He gets the complexity of the darkness—but he also knows you can’t stay there. And he can’t stay there, either. In Beauty in the Browns, he’ll share what he’s learned about how to live with hope, with Christ—and not let the darkness win.
This book will make you laugh (really!), and it will make you cry in that good way when something touches you deep inside. Most of all, it will give you the hope and the certainty that you can go on, you can find life again—with the Lord by your side.