Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor
Jana Riess (Paraclete)
Saints: they are so annoying. Reiss discovers this, and that God permits, and loves, goofups and shortcuts in her year of repeatedly failing at spiritual disciplines. As we said earlier: read and lighten up.
This attention-getter of a book ignited a heated popular conversation about whether God saves people like Gandhi or sends him and billions of other non-Christians to a fiery and painful place in the afterlife.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World
James Carroll (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Carroll brings his powers of observation, intellect, and passion to the city that epitomizes both faith and conflict, incisively raising, and answering, the question of sacred violence that haunts not only history but also contemporary life.
Conversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America
Craig Harline (Yale Univ.)
History as it should be written: with feet deep in research and a head for individual story. Harline finds parallels in lives lived centuries apart as he narrates historical particulars and differences.
Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life
James Martin (HarperOne)
If religion is both violent and without humor, there really is no hope. Blessedly, the occasional chaplain of The Colbert Report saves the Christian tradition from soul-stifling joylessness. Read and lighten up.