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The riveting memoir of Rikki Klieman--an enormously successful defence attorney and television personality--as she discovers the possibilities of love in middle age with Los Angeles' new police commissioner, Bill Bratton. Thirty-five-year-old Rikki was named one of America's top five female trial attorneys by Time magazine for her work in criminal defence, one of the toughest branches of law for a woman to enter. She defended clients ranging from accused drug smugglers to media moguls to well-meaning Christian Scientists Ginger and David Twitchell, whose beliefs were put on trial after the death of their child. She waged a war of nerves with Boston police and the FBI during negotiations for the return of fugitive sixties radical Katherine Ann Power. As Rikki moved from success to success, however, the frenetic lifestyle of a defence attorney began to damage her health and happiness. She suffered from exhaustion, chronic back pain, and two failed marriages, but considered these afflictions to be part of "the price of the prize." After several decades as a practicing attorney, she joined Court TV, where she gained national prominence covering the O.J. Simpson trial and she went on to host Court TV's daily show Both Sides. Now, at midlife, this warrior with a woman's heart has finally achieved, in her loving marriage to LAPD chief Bill Bratton, the balance many seek but few find. Her dramatic story proves that fairy tales can come true and that great love and great success can go hand in hand.
A beautiful, vibrant memoir about growing up motherless in 1970s and '80s San Francisco with an openly gay father. With a new foreword After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation--few of whom are raising a child. Steve throws himself into San Francisco's vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference. In Alysia's teens, Steve's friends--several of whom she has befriended--fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it's time to come home; he's sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create. Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father's journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father's legacy and a daughter's love.
After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation few of whom are raising a child. Steve throws himself into San Francisco s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference. In Alysia s teens, Steve s friends several of whom she has befriended fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it s time to come home; he s sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create. Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father s journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father s legacy and a daughter s love.
Born in 1883, King Faisal I of Iraq was a seminal figure not only in the founding of the state of Iraq but also in the making of the modern Middle East. In all the tumult leading to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of new Arab states, Faisal was a central player. His life traversed each of the important political, military, and intellectual developments of his times. This comprehensive biography is the first to provide a fully rounded picture of Faisal the man and Faisal the monarch. Ali A. Allawi recounts the dramatic events of his subject's life and provides a reassessment of his crucial role in developments in the pre- and post-World War I Middle East and of his lasting but underappreciated influence in the region even 80 years after his death. A battle-hardened military leader who, with the help of Lawrence of Arabia, organized the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire; a leading representative of the Arab cause, alongside Gertrude Bell, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919; a founding father and king of the first independent state of Syria; the first king of Iraq-in his many roles Faisal overcame innumerable crises and opposing currents while striving to build the structures of a modern state. This book is the first to afford his contributions to Middle East history the attention they deserve.
Delve into this thought-provoking collection of personal essays from award-winning and bestselling authors who explore the perennial question: What do I believe?Whether believer, skeptic, agnostic, atheist, or something other, these twenty-four authors share a fascinating, daring, and multifaceted perspective on what faith means (or doesn't mean). The collection of personal essays includes bestselling authors such as Anne Perry, who writes about a deeply spiritual faith that embraces and sustains her through every step of her life. Caroline Leavitt writes about tarot cards, mediums, and quantum physics to explain her concept of faith. Afghan-American author Tamim Ansary beautifully captures his childhood curiosity amidst his Islamic views. There is the irrepressible Malachy McCourt's anti-religion rant, and then Pam Houston's signature wit and sense of irony, which gives the question of faith a surprising twist. Honest, provocative, and candid, Faith begins a larger conversation and invites the question: What do you believe?
In the 1850s, Jean Rio, a deeply spiritual widow, was moved by the promises of Mormon missionaries and set out from England for Utah. Traveling across the Atlantic by steamer, up the Mississippi by riverboat, and westward by wagon, Rio kept a detailed diary of her extraordinary journey. In Faith and Betrayal, Sally Denton, an award-winning journalist and Rio's great-great-granddaughter, uses the long-lost diary to re-create Rio's experience. While she marvels at the great natural beauty of Utah, Rio's enthusiasm for her new life turns to disillusionment over Mormon polygamy and violence against nonbelievers, as well as the harshness of frontier life. She sets out for California, where she finds a new religion and the freedom she longed for. Unusually intimate and full of vivid detail, this is an absorbing story of a quintessential American pioneer.
"Welcome to the Faith Club. We're three mothers from three faiths -- Islam, Christianity, and Judaism -- who got together to write a picture book for our children that would highlight the connections between our religions. But no sooner had we started talking about our beliefs and how to explain them to our children than our differences led to misunderstandings. Our project nearly fell apart." After September 11th, Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, faced constant questions about Islam, God, and death from her children, the only Muslims in their classrooms. Inspired by a story about Muhammad, Ranya reached out to two other mothers -- a Christian and a Jew -- to try to understand and answer these questions for her children. After just a few meetings, however, it became clear that the women themselves needed an honest and open environment where they could admit -- and discuss -- their concerns, stereotypes, and misunderstandings about one another. After hours of soul-searching about the issues that divided them, Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla grew close enough to discover and explore what united them. The Faith Club is a memoir of spiritual reflections in three voices that will make readers feel as if they are eavesdropping on the authors' private conversations, provocative discussions, and often controversial opinions and conclusions. The authors wrestle with the issues of anti-Semitism, prejudice against Muslims, and preconceptions of Christians at a time when fundamentalists dominate the public face of Christianity. They write beautifully and affectingly of their families, their losses and grief, their fears and hopes for themselves and their loved ones. And as the authors reveal their deepest beliefs, readers watch the blossoming of a profound interfaith friendship and the birth of a new way of relating to others. In a final chapter, they provide detailed advice on how to start a faith club: the questions to ask, the books to read, and most important, the open-minded attitude to maintain in order to come through the experience with an enriched personal faith and understanding of others. Pioneering, timely, and deeply thoughtful, The Faith Club's caring message will resonate with people of all faiths. For more information or to start your own faith club visit www.thefaithclub.com
This book chronicles the spiritual journeys of three women as they engage in an interfaith dialogue stemming from the events of September 11th
Innovative pastor Jay Bakker thought he knew God: the God who rigorously patrolled every aspect of his life, the God who chose sides, the God who was always disappointed in him. But through the transformative power of grace, he discovered the God who loved and accepted unconditionally, freeing him to ask the hard questions and delve into one of Christianity's greatest taboos: doubt. In FAITH, DOUBT, AND OTHER LINES I'VE CROSSED, Jay voices the questions that Christians are thinking but won't ask as he chronicles his doubt about God, the Bible, heaven and hell, church, society, relationships, grace, and love. In the process he encourages all of us to welcome "the other", to read the Bible differently but better, to draw together in community, and to seek an unknown God of limitless grace. Brutally honest but full of grace, Jay invites everyone to cross the line, to dig deeper, and to discover a faith that is beyond belief.
War-Worn Faith You want the flare of your faith to burn as intensely as a fire on the battlefield. That means digging into God's truth regardless of the chaos raging around you. These devotions are written by a man who had considered war something that someone else always did, and was then himself deployed to Iraq as a company commander. From the frontlines of the blackest days and in the face of inexplicable suffering, you'll discover the heart of the question, "Why, God?" and its often unsettling answer. Because in war, as in contemporary America , reality involves struggle, trial, and triumph. Let God meet you in the midst of life's nonsense to find the peace that is a crucial part of His impeccable plan. Why, God? War screams the same questions whispered in everyday life. The battlefield explodes with the same tenacity of emotions that wretch our souls. Smoke fills the air just as doubt clouds our minds. Are you on the frontlines of war overseas? Or perhaps your battle is personal, deep within. These devotions, penned by Captain Chris Plekenpol while on the battlefield in Iraq, expose the depths of inexplicable suffering as well as the heights of incredible victory in God. Through every adversity and in any circumstance, you will find a still voice reminding you of God's sovereignty...in war and peace. "Faith forged in the crucible of combat! Chris Plekenpol is a warrior and he has compiled a great guide for victory in the battles we all face." Oliver L. North Host of "War Stories" on Fox News and author of The Assassins "There is no theory here. Just the battle-tested insights of a soldier who has learned to trust his heavenly Father in the valley of the shadow of death. You are going to love this book." Andy Stanley Pastor, North Point Community Church "Amazing encouragement from the heart of the battle!" Louie Giglio Passion Conferences Story Behind the Book"I began writing devotionals as both a preparation for seminary and as a ministry tool during my service in Korea . At first, I sent them only to a few people. Then, as I wrote more frequently, I received e-mails requesting my devotions. I continued writing during my deployment to Iraq , tackling such issues as life in combat as well as the triumph of God in the battle. My purpose in writing this book is to further God's work in my life by ministering to others through my experience in the heart of the battle." --Chris PlekenpolFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
As head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers for twenty-five years, Tom Osborne had one of the most impressive records in college football. Before retiring in 1997, he took his team to a bowl game every year, won three national championships in the last four years he coached, and ended his career boasting an almost unheard of 84 percent winning record. But while these numbers testify to an undeniable accomplishment, it has been another, more powerful force that has shaped Tom's life: his faith. In Faith in the Game, this legendary coach shares the philosophy he used to create not only a champion football team but also a meaningful life. Both a memoir of Osborne's career with the Cornhuskers and an inspirational guide to making the most out of life by cultivating core values like honesty, courage, and loyalty, Faith in the Game presents the traits Osborne helped to instill in his team--traits that helped the Cornhuskers achieve their spectacular level of success. Osborne focuses on the aspects of character that he has emphasized in his work on and off the field, illustrated with compelling behind-the-scenes stories of the Nebraska football team. Conveyed with his own captivating integrity, Osborne's message reveals the value of hard work, the importance of finding a balance between our professional and personal obligations, and, above all, the importance of bringing faith into our lives to help us through times of crisis.Tom Osborne is beloved not only for his outstanding record but also for the commitment and dedication he has always shown to his players and coaching staff as a mentor, coach, and friend. His ability to motivate a team has come not with last-minute pep talks but through a focus on consistency and strength of character. "Winning," as he writes in Faith in the Game, "is a by-product of sound preparation." For those seeking a spiritually centered approach to living and working, this candid account of Tom Osborne's faith and strength is a warm and authentic book from which all of us can learn.
Born in Cleveland in 1925, "Little" Jimmy Scott lost his mother at age thirteen, the same year he was diagnosed with Kallman's syndrome. The disease stunted his growth and earned him his nickname, but it also left him with a haunting voice, a mesmerizing voice. He soon built a following as a singer touring with Lionel Hampton's great orchestra in the '40s, then performed with many of the stars of the '50s, from Lester Young to Charlie Parker to Dinah Washington, and was signed by Savoy Records. He thought he had his big break when, in 1962, Ray Charles produced what was by all accounts Jimmy's best work, Falling in Love Is Wonderful. But when it was forced off the shelves by contract disputes, Scott worked as an orderly and clerk in Cleveland for almost two decades. Fans thought he was dead-until songwriter Doc Pomus's funeral in March of 1991.<P><P> As Pomus had instructed in his will, Jimmy sang over his friend's coffin. High-pitched and androgynous, his voice seemed to come out of thin air, transcending gender and age, evoking pure heartbreak. No one knew who he was-heads turned, celebrities conferred, record executives were reduced to tears-until finally Lou Reed turned around and whispered, "He's Jimmy Scott, the greatest jazz singer in the world." And so he was. By the next morning, he had a record deal with Sire that relaunched his career with the masterpiece All the Way, and he has been performing to packed clubs ever since. With full cooperation from Jimmy, his siblings, spouses, and colleagues from Ray Charles to Ruth Brown, Faith in Time is at once an intimate biography, an invaluable history of a life that spanned big band to bebop to pop, and the poignant story of a man whose voice will live forever.
A son, a father, and a close friend engage in illuminating dialogues--full of wisdom and insight, probing all the avenues and aspects of religious conviction--that reveal much about three men who approach God, duty, and war in vastly different ways.
Faith Is a Verb: On the Home Front with Habitat for Humanity and the Campaign to Rebuild America (and the World)by Chris Goodrich
Faith is a Verb is both an account of the author's five years volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and a history of the organization, which Goodrich sees as a model institution founded on grassroots, Jeffersonian principles. The reader looks over his shoulder as Goodrich helps restore a burned-out drug den to its Victorian glory in Bridgeport, Connecticut; understands the yawning gap between the rich and poor as he straightens nails with an impoverished teenager in the Dominican Republic; senses the importance of volunteer work as he watches, while laying a stone foundation in Paraguay, the Twin Towers fall on 9/11.Goodrich traces Habitat's history back to an unsung American hero, Clarence Jordan, who in the 1940's founded a Christian community in Georgia, Koinonia Farm, dedicated to social and economic justice. Millard Fuller, a millionaire businessman, visited at Koinonia in the early 1970's, and under Jordan's guidance realized he was a "money-holic," gave away his fortune, and in 1976 founded Habitat for Humanity. Goodrich shows how Fuller's Southern Baptist, Friday-night-revival personality helped turn Habitat into the world's largest non-governmental home-builder, his inspirational leadership greatly abetted by the support of former president Jimmy Carter. In a postscript the author describes the crisis Habitat faced when Fuller was forced out following allegations of sexual harassment in 2005. This edition updates the story to 2013, when the organization had "helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses" world-wide.What readers have said about Faith is a Verb:"A great record of how [Habitat for Humanity] got underway and became so significant." -- Tony Campolo, PhD., author of Pray Give Go Do"[S]pirited and intimate....Anyone interested in learning about or volunteering for the organization will find his account richly detailed." -- David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World
Get inside the mind and soul of Barack ObamaIn The Faith of Barack Obama, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield takes readers inside the mind, heart, and soul of presidential hopeful Barack Obama--as a person of faith, as a man, as an American, and possibly as our future commander in chief.America faces looming inflation, climate change, a national credit crisis, war in the Middle East, threats to security and liberty at home, and skyrocketing oil and gas prices. With all of these threats to our security, prosperity and freedom on the horizon, it has never been more important to choose the right leader for America."If a man's faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life," writes Mansfield. In The Faith of Barack Obama, Mansfield holds back nothing to share that vision and explain its roots, including: Obama's upbringing in a non-Christian homethe influence on his life from his agnostic mother and Muslim fatherhis remarkable turn to Christianity after working in the inner cities of Chicagohis years at the controversial Trinity United Church of Christhis association to the radical teachings of Rev. Jeremiah Wrightthe source of Obama's relentless optimism and hope for AmericaEvery American voter concerned to know more about Obama's beliefs, both religious and political, and how the two intertwine should read this book, as should every thinking person who continues to shape and evolve his or her religious beliefs.Barack Obama, according to Mansfield, is "raising the banner of what he hopes will be the faith-based politics of a new generation . . . and he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow." "You must read this perceptive and well written book. Then you will know why Barack Obama has such a passion for justice and equity, such a gift for filling people of different generations with a newfound hope that things can and will change for the better." -- ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
Barack Obama. The speculation about his religious life abounds. Is he a closet Muslim? Is he really a Christian? Does his faith have anything to do with his governing? As the picture of President Obama's faith has emerged over recent years, questions about the foundation of his beliefs continue to ignite debate. In this updated edition of his international bestseller The Faith of Barack Obama, Stephen Mansfield explores the claims of Obama's detractors and supporters alike, while examining how the challenges of the presidency have shaped Obama's religious beliefs. This evenhanded account of the president's spiritual life provides a closer look at the people and events that have influenced his belief system. Mansfield analyzes Obama's friendship with the controversial Jeremiah Wright and also profiles the Christian leaders who have offered guidance and support during the president's challenging term.Mansfield takes you inside the religious life of Barack Obama, introducing you to the type of preaching the president hears at Camp David and even revealing details such as the content of the daily devotional readings the president receives on his cell phone. This fascinating study explains the faith elements within Obama's politics, while acknowledging the questions about his beliefs that remain unanswered. "You must read this perceptive and well written book. Then you will know why Barack Obama has such a passion for justice and equity, such a gift for filling people of different generations with a newfound hope that things can and will change for the better." ?ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
At the time of his death, Christopher Hitchens was the most notorious atheist in the world. And yet, all was not as it seemed. "Nobody is not a divided self, of course," he once told an interviewer, "but I think it's rather strong in my case." Hitchens was a man of many contradictions: a Marxist in youth who longed for acceptance among the social elites; a peacenik who revered the military; a champion of the Left who was nonetheless pro-life, pro-war-on-terror, and after 9/11 something of a neocon; and while he railed against God on stage, he maintained meaningful--though largely hidden from public view--friendships with evangelical Christians like Francis Collins, Douglas Wilson, and the author Larry Alex Taunton. In The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, Taunton offers a very personal perspective of one of our most interesting and most misunderstood public figures. Writing with genuine compassion and without compromise, Taunton traces Hitchens's spiritual and intellectual development from his decision as a teenager to reject belief in God to his rise to prominence as one of the so-called "Four Horsemen" of the New Atheism. While Hitchens was, in the minds of many Christians, Public Enemy Number One, away from the lights and the cameras a warm friendship flourished between Hitchens and the author; a friendship that culminated in not one, but two lengthy road trips where, after Hitchens's diagnosis of esophageal cancer, they studied the Bible together. The Faith of Christopher Hitchens gives us a candid glimpse into the inner life of this intriguing, sometimes maddening, and unexpectedly vulnerable man. "If everyone in the United States had the same qualities of loyalty and care and concern for others that Larry Taunton had, we'd be living in a much better society than we do." ~ Christopher Hitchens
Explores the religious ideals that drive the policies and politics of George . Bush as president and that privately shape him as a man.
John McCain is one of the most admired leaders in the United States government, but his deeply felt memoir of family and war is not a political one and ends before his election to Congress. With candor and ennobling power, McCain tells a story that, in the words of Newsweek, "makes the other presidential candidates look like pygmies." John McCain learned about life and honor from his grandfather and father, both four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy. This is a memoir about their lives, their heroism, and the ways that sons are shaped and enriched by their fathers. John McCain's grandfather was a gaunt, hawk-faced man known as Slew by his fellow officers and, affectionately, as Popeye by the sailors who served under him. McCain Sr. played the horses, drank bourbon and water, and rolled his own cigarettes with one hand. More significant, he was one of the navy's greatest commanders, and led the strongest aircraft carrier force of the Third Fleet in key battles during World War II. John McCain's father followed a similar path, equally distinguished by heroic service in the navy, as a submarine commander during World War II. McCain Jr. was a slightly built man, but like his father, he earned the respect and affection of his men. He, too, rose to the rank of four-star admiral, making the McCains the first family in American history to achieve that distinction. McCain Jr.'s final assignment was as commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. It was in the Vietnam War that John McCain III faced the most difficult challenge of his life. A naval aviator, he was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and seriously injured. When Vietnamese military officers realized he was the son of a top commander, they offered McCain early release in an effort to embarrass the United States. Acting from a sense of honor taught him by his father and the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain refused the offer. He was tortured, held in solitary confinement, and imprisoned for five and a half years. Faith of My Fathers is about what McCain learned from his grandfather and father, and how their example enabled him to survive those hard years. It is a story of three imperfect men who faced adversity and emerged with their honor intact. Ultimately, Faith of My Fathers shows us, with great feeling and appreciation, what fathers give to their sons, and what endures.From the Hardcover edition.
Reagan's greatest virtue wasn't allegiance to country, butallegiance to God. With warmth and insight, this best-selling book by Mary BethBrown delves into the spiritual journey of America's 40th president and offers profoundstories of the provisions God made in Ronald Reagan's life- from first makingit as an actor to winning the presidency, from surviving an assassinationattempt to eventually changing the face of politics and the world.Supported by Ronald Reagan's own words and writings plus firsthandinterviews with his family, friends, and co-workers, Brown weaves a magnificentstory that inspires as it informs. Reagan's strong devotion to God willencourage believers to enter public service, allowing their faith to motivatetheir actions, and will draw focus to Christ's matchless sacrifice-forever nearand dear to President Reagan's heart.
Kierkegaard said that faith without doubt is simply credulity, the will to believe too readily, especially without adequate evidence, and that "in Doubt can Faith begin." All people involved in spiritual practice, of whatever persuasion, must confront doubt at one time or another, and find a way beyond it to belief, however temporary. But "faith is not equivalent to mere belief. Faith is the condition of ultimate confidence that we have the capacity to follow the path of doubt to its end. And courage."In this engaging spiritual memoir, Stephen Batchelor describes his own training, first as a Tibetan Buddhist and then as a Zen practitioner, and his own direct struggles along his path. "It is most uncanny that we are able to ask questions, for to question means to acknowledge that we do not know something. But it is more than an acknowledgement: it includes a yearning to confront an unknown and illuminate it through understanding. Questioning is a quest."Batchelor is a contemporary Buddhist teacher and writer, best known for his secular or agnostic approach to Buddhism. He considers Buddhism to be a constantly evolving culture of awakening rather than a religious system based on immutable dogmas and beliefs. Buddhism has survived for the past 2,500 years because of its capacity to reinvent itself in accord with the needs of the different Asian societies with which it has creatively interacted throughout its history. As Buddhism encounters modernity, it enters a vital new phase of its development. Through his writings, translations and teaching, Stephen engages in a critical exploration of Buddhism's role in the modern world, which has earned him both condemnation as a heretic and praise as a reformer.
The Second World War generation met many challenges, and turned to their faith to sustain them through overwhelming odds. Here are stories of faith told by the people who lived them. this compelling collection not only honors the lives of these people of faith, but inspires readers to seek God in their own lives. Steve Rabey has spent time with the brave men and women who lived through WWII. He offers us touching glimpses into the souls of these who faces unbelievable adversity and emerged with a deep-rooted faith in God. This compelling narrative recounts the experiences of ordinary people with extraordinary faith and courage. Their profound stories will encourage and inspire you.
When he left for his second tour of duty as an Army chaplain in Iraq, Roger Benimoff noted in his journal: I am excited and I am scared. I am on fire for God. He is my hope, strength, and focus. But not long after arriving in Iraq, the burdens of his job began to overwhelm him. Benimoff felt the pillar of strength he'd always relied on to hold him up--his faith in God--begin to crumble.
The story of a former Evangelical Christian turned openly gay atheist who now works to bridge the divide between atheists and the religiousThe stunning popularity of the "New Atheist" movement--whose most famous spokesmen include Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens--speaks to both the growing ranks of atheists and the widespread, vehement disdain for religion among many of them. In Faitheist, Chris Stedman tells his own story to challenge the orthodoxies of this movement and make a passionate argument that atheists should engage religious diversity respectfully. Becoming aware of injustice, and craving community, Stedman became a "born-again" Christian in late childhood. The idea of a community bound by God's love--a love that was undeserved, unending, and guaranteed--captivated him. It was, he writes, a place to belong and a framework for making sense of suffering. But Stedman's religious community did not embody this idea of God's love: they were staunchly homophobic at a time when he was slowly coming to realize that he was gay. The great suffering this caused him might have turned Stedman into a life-long New Atheist. But over time he came to know more open-minded Christians, and his interest in service work brought him into contact with people from a wide variety of religious backgrounds. His own religious beliefs might have fallen away, but his desire to change the world for the better remained. Disdain and hostility toward religion was holding him back from engaging in meaningful work with people of faith. And it was keeping him from full relationships with them--the kinds of relationships that break down intolerance and improve the world. In Faitheist, Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of bridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious. As someone who has stood on both sides of the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious to find common ground and work together to make this world--the one world we can all agree on--a better place. From the Hardcover edition.
It is not uncommon to hear Christians argue that America was founded as a Christian nation. But how true is this claim? In this compact book, David L. Holmes offers a clear, concise and illuminating look at the spiritual beliefs of our founding fathers. He begins with an informative account of the religious culture of the late colonial era, surveying the religious groups in each colony. In particular, he sheds light on the various forms of Deism that flourished in America, highlighting the profound influence this intellectual movement had on the founding generation. Holmes then examines the individual beliefs of a variety of men and women who loom large in our national history. He finds that some, like Martha Washington, Samuel Adams, John Jay, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson's daughters, held orthodox Christian views. But many of the most influential figures, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Jefferson, James and Dolley Madison, and James Monroe, were believers of a different stripe. Respectful of Christianity, they admired the ethics of Jesus, and believed that religion could play a beneficial role in society. But they tended to deny the divinity of Christ, and a few seem to have been agnostic about the very existence of God. Although the founding fathers were religious men, Holmes shows that it was a faith quite unlike the Christianity of today's evangelicals. Holmes concludes by examining the role of religion in the lives of the presidents since World War II and by reflecting on the evangelical resurgence that helped fuel there election of George W. Bush. An intriguing look at a neglected aspect of our history, the book will appeal to American history buffs as well as to anyone concerned about the role of religion in American culture.
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