October Publication

The Prism Diet. The Hallelujah Diet. The Weigh Down Diet. These and other Christian diet strategies have been big news in recent years. But even if you despise the genre, don't dismiss Stephen Webb's Good Eating: The Bible, Diet, and the Proper Love of Animals before you've digested it fully. Webb makes cogent comments about American Christians' obsession with food (which he calls, quite rightly, an idol) and proposes a moderate diet of "Christian vegetarianism" to reflect the anticipated, perfect kingdom of God. Arguing that "the unexamined meal is not worth eating," Webb draws on the Bible, the early church fathers and modern theology to demonstrate that Christians should think carefully about the consumption of animal flesh. It is, in all, a superb and meaty argument. (Brazos, $21.99 paper 272p ISBN 1-58743-015-0)

September Publication

Hymns of Faith and Inspiration proved to be a great success for Ideals, so the inspirational publisher is following it up with Hymns of Praise, a coffee-table book that features the usual full-color photographs of natural scenes. Pamela Kennedy offers historical explanations of hymns such as "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus," "Jesus Loves Me" and "Shall We Gather at the River." The book is predictable, but if the formula works, why change it? Given the number of great hymns from which to choose, there may be many more installments. ($24.95 160p ISBN 0-8249-4126-8)

Death Never Comes for the Archbishop

Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been dead for more than two decades, but you'd never guess that from the number of his sermons and writings that are republished and anthologized every year. Into this mix, St. Andrew's Press offers something unique: a never-before-published book by Sheen. Your Life Is Worth Living: The Christian Philosophy of Life is based on a transcript of an audio narrative called "Life is Worth Living," which was also the title of Sheen's long-running inspirational television program. Here the archbishop investigates doctrinal issues (1965 was, importantly, the concluding year of the Second Vatican Council) and answers the questions of his many fans. The book, transcribed and edited by Jon Hallingstad, showcases Sheen's oratorical talents (amazingly, he recorded this using no notes at all) and demonstrates the homiletic depth that made him so popular. ($24.95 416p ISBN 0-9701456-8-3; Sept.)

Asian Christianity

Although Christianity has been present in Asia for two millennia, it is currently experiencing a period of lightning-quick growth. For the first time, a one-volume reference chronicles the history of Asian Christianity, profiles its major leaders and dissects its various movements and denominations. In A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, editor Scott Sunquist includes entries on political events (e.g., the Korean and Vietnam Wars) and also discusses how Christianity has existed side-by-side with indigenous Asian religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. The entries are marvelously thorough for a dictionary, and well-written. (Eerdmans, $75 1024p ISBN 0-8028-3776-X; June)

New Age Space, Christian Time

What do Glastonbury, England, and Sedona, Ariz., have in common? Both are centers of the New Age universe—meaning that both are considered "power places" where the spiritual energies of the earth are felt most strongly. In Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona, Adrian Ivakhiv explores these centers of New Age tourism, drawing connections between the two sites and placing them in the larger context of the New Age movement. Although the book is a bit overtheorized and jargon-laden ("metanarrative" and "heterotopia" crop up particularly often), Ivakhiv makes some memorable points, especially about the depoliticization and privatization of New Age ideas since the 1960s. (Univ. of Indiana, $49.95 384p ISBN 0-253-33899-9; July) Most Christians attend, at one time or another, rituals to "hatch, match and dispatch"—in other words, baptisms, weddings and funerals. But what should Christians do to celebrate all of the important moments in between? In Marking Time: Christian Rituals for All Our Days, Linda Witte Henke offers valuable suggestions for creating rituals to mark occasions such as pregnancy, adoption, moving into a new house or beginning the school year, as well as unhappy events such as divorce, miscarriage or illness. (Morehouse, $16.95 paper 192p ISBN 0-8192-1859-6; Aug.)