Wednesday, September 15, 2010

30 Days of Blogging - Day 14 - A Non-Fiction Book

I've been on a real kick of religious/Christian non-fiction, so I'm going to throw a few books out there that I've really enjoyed along my journey this past year or two.

  1. David Plotz's 'Good Book' - basically a transcript of his year-long 'Blogging the Bible' project on This is probably the first non-fiction religious book (besides, well, you know ...) that I'd read in awhile and while it's nothing on sitting down with the book itself, it's an incredibly good crash course and an excellent resource if you are unsure of a passage or how to interpret it. My only complaint is he sticks with the Old Testament - claiming that, being Jewish, he doesn't feel qualified to pick apart the New Testament. I hope he changes his mind soon, since frankly, I'd love to read the sequel. :)
  2. A.J. Jacob's 'The Year of Living Biblically' - a look at how silly biblical literalists are; for those who think the Bible is the unerring, must-be-followed-word-for-word, not even once edited by human hands Word of God, this is an excellent book examining how even literalists cherry pick the parts of the Bible they want to follow. It's not quite as good as Good Book, and A.J. can be a bit heavy-handed and pompous at times, but it's refreshing that he acknowledges his shortcomings and still writes an interesting and important book.
  3. Ralph Milton's "This United Church of Ours" - A really easy-to-read, straightforward introduction to the United Church of Canada, the denomination I have attended since my youth. There's a lot about the UCC in here that I knew, some I didn't even as a lifelong member, and it's just a great way to sort of get back in touch with religion as a pragmatic, real-world thing. It deals with issues facing church and parishioners today in a very realistic way that I can appreciate. My only recommendation is be sure and get the most current edition (3rd I think) as it is the most up to date; a lot has changed in the UCC since 1993, when the 2nd edition was written.
  4. Marcus Borg et al's "The Emerging Christian Way" - see my blog post of the same title for a description.
I also recommend Karen Armstrong and Bart D. Ehrman - excellent writers with a more academic/scholarly approach (footnotes beware!). Lots of great material for those wanting to really sink their teeth into faith, and develop an understanding of just what it is they worship, how and why. Not one of these books will answer that question for you - but they will help you develop an understanding of those answers yourself.

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