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by Philip Yancey
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 February, 2002)
list price: $14.99 -- our price: $10.19
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Editorial Review

Mention the word "grace" and what immediately comes to mind for most of us is a bagpipe wailing the solemn notes of "Amazing Grace."

The grace of which Philip Yancey writes is the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God. This grace seems a remote, almost sentimental concept, without a place in our lives or our society. It is a vague, slippery thing to us, probably because we seem to experience grace so rarely and have managed to leech the word of meaning. But Philip Yancey has set about to rescue grace in his book What's So Amazing About Grace?

This grace is the true message of Jesus. All faiths have virtues and creeds and justice and truth, but Jesus speaks merely of receiving the love that God has for us. Accepting it, not earning it or making ourselves worthy of it. And frankly, accepting something we have not earned or are not worthy of is not an easy thing for most of us.

In truth, grace is both utterly simple and utterly confounding. Little by little, Yancey guides us into a clearer understanding of grace by using stories, in much the same way Jesus did. We read stories of both grace and ungrace at work in people's lives. Sadly, it is stories of ungrace that are more prevalent today, the current culture wars painful acknowledgments of ungrace in our lives as Christians in this country. Yancey helps us understand that ungrace is that state of being in which self-righteousness and pride are a result of thinking that we have somehow earned God's approval and may now stand in judgment in his behalf.

Philip Yancey was awarded the Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year award for this book in 1998 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Readers concurred with this decision, making this book an immediate bestseller. Believers and nonbelievers alike should accept Yancey's challenge to become agents of grace rather than agents of vengeance or judgment or anger. In truth, we are each starving for grace, ready to grasp it tightly. And it is through grace that all other hungers--for justice, for righteousness, for love--are satisfied. Yancey opens his book by telling us that "grace" is the last best word, and in What's So Amazing About Grace?, he proves that he's right. --Patricia Klein ... Read more

Reviews (146)

5-0 out of 5 stars A gifted word master
Pick up any of the Yancey books and you will be drawn into his genuineness, personal vulnerability, and facility with words.In this book, Yancey takes the sometimes ethereal concept of divine Grace, and puts a human face on it, in fact many human faces.He makes it easy to imagine that I can access this grace, partake of it, and even become a conduit for it.Even if you do not agree with all of Yancey's theology, you will find yourself strangely drawn to his writings.He is the quitessential human being in a quest for God.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
This was the second Philip Yancey book that I read (after The Jesus I Never Knew), and it is, by far, his greatest work. I have read this book almost a dozen times. The book explores the subject of grace in an example-driven, practical way that only Philip Yancey could write sucessfully. In response to criticism because of its controversy, I only have to say that the Bible is a very controversial book as well.

This is truly one of the greatest books I have ever read. I highly recommend this book for everyone who wants to learn more about God's amazing grace.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read in years?
For some unknown reason, I resisted Yancey's work for years.I'd see it on the shelf and go blechh!!!, having never read a word he wrote.Finally in desperation for something to read, I picked this up.

Later that night after a reading binge, I put the book down, finshed in one sitting. Ever since I've been haunted by one sentance. "There's nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there's nothing we can do to make God love us less.In that one sentence, Yancey hits the paradox of grace.

As people of faith we are caught between the demands of law and the gift of grace.As one reads scripture, it almost seems as if the biblical writers still had not resolved the balance for themselves.Yancey tries to negotiate the balance between the Jesus who offers himself in unconditional relationship with us and the same Jesus who says I didn't come to eliminate one line of the law. Yancey does this largely through stories that make grace seem really accessible and really costly.

If you were to buy one book for someone who wanted to know what it meant to be a Christian in the 21st century, grab this one and give it to them.I've already gone through 5 copies. ... Read more

Isbn: 0310245656
Subjects:  1. Christianity - Christian Life - General    2. Christianity - Theology - Soteriology    3. Religion    4. Religion - Christian Living    5. CHRISTIAN LIVING SPIRITUAL GROWTH SPIRITUAL FORMATION    6. Religion / Christian Life   


Soul Survivor : How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (21 October, 2003)
list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
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Editorial Review

Like many Christians, Philip Yancey has often felt kicked around, abused, anddamaged by the institutional church. And like many Christians, he has found solace inreading about and getting to know some extraordinary individual believers. He profiles13 of those believers in Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church. "Ibecame a writer, I now believe, to sort out words used and misused by the church of myyouth," Yancey writes in the book's first chapter. The church of his youth, which describeditself as "New Testament, Blood-bought, Born-again, Premillennial, Dispensational,fundamental," Yancey now describes as a frightening place where racism and bigotry wereregularly preached from the pulpit. After graduating from Bible college, Yancey became awriter and chose to direct his attention to "people I could learn from, people I might want toemulate," such as C. Everett Koop and Robert Coles. He also read widely andpassionately--Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., G.K. Chesterton, and Annie Dillard, toname a few. Soul Survivor offers probing, honest profiles of 13 individualswho have "helped restore to me the mislaid treasures of God." For most readers, theseprofiles will serve as starting points to explore the lives and minds of the individuals whohave inspired Yancey. --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (54)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sharing his struggles with generosity and honesty
In Soul Survivor, Philip Yancey shines a light on the darkness in his spiritual past, the rigid and sometimes hateful atmosphere of his ultra-fundamentalist upbringing. He frames his journey in a unique and compelling way: through the lives and writings of a baker's dozen of the people who have been important guides in his adult Christian journey. Some of them (Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky) he knows only through their writing and public lives. Others (Dr. Paul Brand, Frederick Buechner, Annie Dillard) played a personal role in his life.

Yancey's reflections about the latter group make a stronger impact, but all of the portraits are worth reading. He doesn't just write about his subjects; he shares his own struggles with great generosity and honesty. Just as Yancey's guides illuminated and clarified his journey, he does the same thing for us. Reading about Yancey's struggles, I was challenged and encouraged in my own path.

As a bonus, Yancey recommends his favorite works by or about each of his guides. It's almost like getting a personal introduction. Thank you, Mr. Yancey.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crisis of Faith
This is an outstanding book written from a liberal Christian worldview.I didn't think I shared that worldview until recently.This book was instrumental in knocking off the shackles of cold-hearted fundamentalism.That's not an indictment of fundamentals, in general, only of one who had taken it to an unhealthy extreme.

This book, sharing the influence of many great individuals on its author, shook me to my core.On three seperate occasions, I had a crisis of faith.I wondered if Philip Yancey was really a Christian, or better yet, was I?

The chapters on Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi and Henri Nouwen affected me most deeply.I was forced to deal with the Sermon on the Mount and how my own Christianity hardly measured up, even in light of men, like Ghandi, who didn't espouse Christianity.

Yancey analyzes his upbringing and shares insight into how he rediscovered God in some "unorthodox" ways.This is a very compelling book, and one you must read if you find yourself discontent with organized religion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Constellation
Philip Yancey's Soul Survivor is a great read because it focuses upon the author only in the first chapter. The rest of the book speaks about others who influenced the author in his Christian walk. Each chapter is a mini biography of sorts and provides a unique perspective on the life of the person. Martin Luther King Jr., G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Paul Brand, Robert Coles, Leo Tolstoy, Feodor Dostoevsky, Gandhi, Dr. C. Everett Koop, John Donne, Annie Dillard, Frederick Buechner, Skusaku Endo, and Henri Nouwen are each featured in a well written chapter.

The book is crisp and informative, as well as inspiring. This is a great book for those who have always felt an outsider or uncomfortable within the Church. Yet in highlighting these personalities, the Church is not denigrated. Soul Survivor demostrates the efficacy of the Church through Christ. The chapter on Gandhi was very well done in that the good and bad of Christianity influenced this man in doing what he, a Hindu, did for India and his later influnece upon the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. (I have a better appreciation and understanding of Gandhi then I did before reading this book.)

The strength of this work is that each person is quoted directly and seems to speak for themselves. Yancey's narrative compliments and directs the flow of the book but does not overwhelm each subject with opinion and commentary. I was allowed to become more intimate with each individual and felt like I could get into the skin of the person highlighted and walk in their shoes for a time. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
... Read more

Isbn: 0385502753
Subjects:  1. Biography / Autobiography    2. Christianity - Christian Life - General    3. Practical Theology    4. Religion    5. Religious    6. Religion / Christian Life   


Disappointment with God
by Philip Yancey
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Mass Market Paperback (28 February, 1997)
list price: $5.99 -- our price: $5.99
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Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear answers for when the Honeymoon ends
I gave my life to Christ in January (4 months ago) and until reading this book, I believed that even having these questions was sinful - mostly because other Christians would tell me not to feel this way or to keep such thoughts in check. But Philip Yancey not only brings these questions to the table but shows me that I'm okay for asking them and any others that come into my head - that the kind of God we serve wants more than anything to be engaged in honesty and yes, sometimes even disappointment, doubt, anger, and hurt. This book taught me so much more than the answer to three questions. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever felt that there should be more to this 'relationship' with God than what they feel, cause there is, and the more people who read it, the less people there will be to tell new Christians like me that I'm wrong for asking those things to the Father.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Insightful Book
I purchased this book for 2 reasons - I read Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace?" and was really changed by it, and because of the title.I was going through a time when that's exactly what I felt: disappointment with God.This book was very helpful in understanding why I was feeling what I was feeling.Where was my disillusionment coming from?Was it because I had unrealistic expectations of the Christian life?

I gave this book 4 stars because I don't completely agree with all of Yancey's conclusions.I also wish there was more practical advice on how to move through this disappointment.But overall, it's a very good book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing For Me
I read a lot books, but there have only been a few that I believe God made sure got into my hands so He could speak to me through them. This book is one of the few.

Philip Yancy repeats many times in this book that he does NOT know and understand it all. But his intention is to help some things make at least a little more sense. When I read this book, I was full of anger and bitterness toward God, although I had been a Christian since my teenage years. My problem was that my mind's understanding of God and the things that my belief and faith were rooted in were things that I had heard preached and taught over years about God, but were really not accurate in terms of who God really is, what He is like and how He operates. Therefore, I had unrealistic expectations about Him and that caused me to be "disappointed" with Him over and over again.

This book is not perfect, but I believe that after reading it, my understanding of who God is and how He goes about things is, at the very least, quite a bit more accurate. When you have been taught to believe that God is basically a "sugar daddy" who will give you anything you want and do for you anything you want done... it leads to hurt and disappointment because God will not pretend to be something that He is not just because you were taught that He was. This book helped me to love God just the way He is... and not according to the "genie in a bottle" perception that I had of Him.

I read this book about 4 years ago and I have NOT felt angry, bitter or dissappointed in Him since. It really helped me to love Him for who He is and not because of all the amazing things He can do for me.

(I don't believe it's a coincidence that when I learned to put far greater emphasis on Him and far less emphasis what I wanted Him to do FOR ME... He has done far more me. Including the physical restoration of my hearing, in spite nerve deafness and allowing my wife and I, who had been barren for the first 9 years of our marriage, to have 3 beautiful children since I read this book 4 years ago.)

Not all books speak to all people though. God may not choose to speak to you though this book, the way He chose to use it to speak to me. I gave my brother a copy of this book and it didn't do anything for him. God uses what He wants. But, I do suggest that you read and see if God does speak to you through it. ... Read more

Isbn: 031021436X
Sales Rank: 7620
Subjects:  1. Christianity - Christian Life - General    2. Faith    3. Religion    4. Religion - Christian Living    5. Religion / Christian Life   


Reaching for the Invisible God
by Philip Yancey
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 February, 2002)
list price: $14.99 -- our price: $10.19
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Editorial Review

In a sea of books that promise certainty, award-winning author PhilipYancey (What's So Amazing AboutGrace, The Jesus I NeverKnew) is not afraid to write about the mystery of belief, about lettingrisk and faith go hand in hand. Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can WeExpect to Find? is Yancey at his best--wrestling with difficult questionsand refusing to give pat answers. In our quest to know God, he offers thiscaveat: "The more personal conception of God we have, the more unnerving arethe questions about him."

Yancey quotes extensively from classic writers and sketches scenes of doubtingbiblical figures as he grapples with making sense of a God who is personal, yetsometimes so elusive. Six different aspects of the Christian life are explored:our longing for God, who God is, the Holy Spirit, our faith, growth, andspiritual transformation. In his explorations, he reassembles the difficult andperplexing events of life around an ability to trust in a loving God. Trust ispivotal. Admitting that God's style "often baffles me," Yancey leaves no doubtthat his framework of faith is still in place, that he sees "evidence of (God's)long-suffering, mercy, and desire to woo rather than compel--I have learned totrust God."

Here is the clear, concise writing mixed with deeply personal and authenticinsights that won Yancey nine Gold Medallion Awards for previous books. Expect a10th. --Cindy Crosby ... Read more

Reviews (42)

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy This Book
I hate when non-Christians attack Christian books and claim to have read them.This isn't one of those cases.I am a sincere Christian who loves half of what Yancey writes and finds the other half to be somewhat forced.I bought this book with lots of anticipation.I loved the title and was eager to explore its contents.After several weeks, I was only able to make it halfway through the book.Boredom stopped me in my tracks. Not one of Yancey's best efforts.I'm not trying to be mean, rather, just want to give the purchaser a true observation.Don't get me wrong, two of Yancey's books are SPECTACULAR.Those would be "The Jesus I Never Knew" (Which I consider to be the best book ever written) and "Disappointment with God" (Which also was spectacular).If you want a good book, read one of these two works of Yancey's.As for "Reaching the Invisible God," I wouldn't buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Experience
Never have I read a book that came closer to capturing my entire life as a Christian than that of Philip Yancey's Reaching for the Invisible God. Two verses continue to describe my halting journey of faith: Mark 9:24 and John 6:68 (I believe, help my unbelief, and who else offers anything better).I was stunned to read what Yancey had to say about these two, they so coincide with my own experience.It seems that daily experiences can often overwhelm my focus on Christ by bringing up all the same questions that persist - pain, suffering, why evil in a world created by a good God, why random badness like earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, why random sickness, birth defects, whatever.I mean, this could go on and on, as it often has in my own life to the detriment of any spiritual advance.Only by focusing on a God personified in Jesus and displayed through the Spirit in humans can any progress be made. I actually met Yancey years back when I did some book reviews for Campus Life.All I could see then was an Art Garfunkel look-alike.It's taken me decades to see what an outrageously gifted writer and Christian he has become and probably was then.This book did for me more than any of his other outstanding books did, such as Disappointment with God, Where is God when it Hurts, The Jesus I Never Knew, and What's So Amazing About Grace.But that's just me.If I should ever talk to Yancey again, I fear I wouldn't know what to say.He took the words out of my mouth in writing a book that hit the nail on the head like no other.

5-0 out of 5 stars What this book will do for you....(and what it won't)
It will not give you pat, "Christianized" answers...
It will not solve your problems...
It will not be like other inspiritaional Christian books that give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

Instead, this book WILL...
sharpen your heart and soul in deeper ways of thinking about and processing this invisible God, give your doubts to your faith a reason to exist (if they haven't already had one), help you realize that honest, soul-searching doubt is as essential to faith as anything else and help you on this daily journey to the heart of this God who we think is out there but don't always know for sure.

There were days when I didn't want to read this book because it felt like a burden in the sense that I was being faced with honest realizations about my faith that perhaps I didn't want to face.There were times when I would wrestle with what the balance of believing in God and following Him is and also days where I thought hard about there being no God at all.All in all, this book forced me to challenge myself, which is why I think it proved to be such a wonderful book.

"Reaching for the Invisible God" is better than "What's So Amazing About Grace?" in my opinion because here, Yancey is stripped, vulnerable and completely honest.There were many times in "Grace" where I sensed Yancey holding back, in fear of what some Christians may say about him or in fear of how Christians would lash out against his words.(What a sad, sad, sad world this is when disciples of Jesus are lashing out against each other when we tend to have different opinions or viewpoints on "issues" in the Christian circle!)

Thank God, in this book, Yancey seems to come alive and what is shown is not always pretty, but thankfully, it is more real and honest to what the Christian life looks like.Thanks Mr. Yancey for helping this college guy out. ... Read more

Isbn: 0310247306
Subjects:  1. Christianity - Christian Life - General    2. Religion    3. Religion - Christian Living    4. Spirituality - General    5. CHRISTIAN LIVING PRACTICAL LIFE PERSONAL GROWTH    6. Religion / Christian Life   


The Case for Christ:A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
by Lee Strobel
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 1998)
list price: $13.99 -- our price: $11.19
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Editorial Review

The Case for Christ records Lee Strobel's attempt to "determine if there's credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God." The book consists primarily of interviews between Strobel (a former legal editor at the Chicago Tribune) and biblical scholars such as Bruce Metzger. Each interview is based on a simple question, concerning historical evidence (for example, "Can the Biographies of Jesus Be Trusted?"), scientific evidence, ("Does Archaeology Confirm or Contradict Jesus' Biographies?"), and "psychiatric evidence" ("Was Jesus Crazy When He Claimed to Be the Son of God?"). Together, these interviews compose a case brief defending Jesus' divinity, and urging readers to reach a verdict of their own. ... Read more

Reviews (445)

4-0 out of 5 stars a newbie-friendly apologetic
"The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel is a great book for anyone who is interested in why Christians think they have proof that their bible is true. Lee acts as a skeptic asking the most incredibly skeptical questions that he sounds ridiculous (at least to me) much of the time. He does this to make sure that he asks the toughest, most pointed questions to the expert that he is interviewing to make sure that they are using solid reasoning for their answers. He interviews a number of experts (in their own various fields) about the reasons they are Christian. He goes over as much evidence from their field against Christianity as the space in the book permits. The experts he interviewed were all very clear in their reasoning and make very strong arguments for their beliefs. I definatelty recommend this and the other "The Case for..." books by Lee Strobel (The case for Faith, Easter, etc).

One thing I see other people having a problem with here is the fact that Lee Strobel only interviews Christians in the book (by the way, he does in The Case for Faith). Well, we need to think about this. He is trying to give the most prominent Christian scholars tough questions that will force them to defend their beliefs with details. He comes at them with tough arguments about contradictions in the bible and things of that sort and he pushes them hard. He isn't trying to find out why skeptics don't believe the bible is true, he is trying to find out why christians believe it is and he is trying to stump the smartest ones! He is acting as a skeptic (he used to be one) and asks them about the arguments that used to keep him in his athiesm and even does a ton of research on critics of Christianity (such as Michael Martin) and throws quotes from them at these experts. Honestly, when I read this book the first time (a while ago. I've read it a few times now) I would see him ask a question or make a claim that sounded really bad for Christianity (or take use a quote from a skeptical scholar) and I thought the experts would just cringe and hide under the desk. I found that the experts did their best to explain their point of view and they disposed of some very tough arguments against them. The point of this book wasn't to interview Christian scholars and skeptic scholars to get their points of view. The point was to push the christians scholars to force them to give solid reasoning for their positions. I don't think all of their arguments are 100% solid but I think that the majority of the evidence points to the Christian point of view and these guys show why. I've seen skeptical reviewers say things like "don't believe what they say", or "nothing of what they say has anything to do with fact", but that is a desperate attempt to try to make everyone else as closed-minded and bias as them. Read this book. It's a good one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic witnessing material
This is - bar none - my favorite witnessing tool to give out. Why? Because it not only appeals to unbelievers but believers as well! I have been a conservative witnessing Christian for over 20 years and this book taught ME a few things! If you are looking for an easy to read and understand book to give to anyone who has either major questions about Christianity OR if you know someone who is struggling with their faith and you want to help them 'take it to the next level'. THIS is the book you MUST get!

What I do is regularly buy a 'six pack' of them and keep them in my car. Then, when anybody shows an interest in Christianity or is a believer that can't defend or doesn't understand the basics of the faith I give them this book FREE of charge. It's cheap enough to do that. It can be a very rewarding ministry for you as you 'cast your bread upon the waters'.

Read it for yourself and you will see that all the basic articles of Christianity are covered and there is even a chapter in there for our Jewish friends. It's deep enough to get a layman soaking wet and if they want to do more exploring of this fascinating subject the book is filled with a great reference guide of books that will take them deeper in all the topics

This truly is a must read for anybody that is serious about evangelizing and encouraging their circle of influence be they Christian or non-Christian alike.

Peace to you in Him

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Your Father's Apologetic's Manual
For two decades, Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" and "More Evidence That Demands a Verdict" (creative sequel title!) were the classic Christian apologetic (defending the faith) books, especially for the "college set." Though excellent works, they are "deep," analytical, and not all too exciting.

With Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" (and "The Case for Faith") a new generation of Christians has a whole new apologetics text. One might say, "This is not your father's apologetic's book!" For a generation known for its love for story/narrative, Strobel is the ideal writer with the ideal style.

Using his dual background as a trained legal thinker and an award-winning investigative reporter, coupled with his personal journey from skeptic to believer, Strobel interviews fourteen experts who read like a who's who of current-day evangelicalism. In a compelling narrative style, Strobel probes fourteen questions asked for the past 2000 years.

Yes, the deck is stacked--he does not interview fourteen skeptics. They've written their own books, and I've yet to see them interview fourteen credible Christians. There is a difference between a stacked deck and a crooked deck. Strobel asks hard, honest questions and provides clear, credible answers. No, the answers won't convince everyone, but they should cause every open-minded person to realize that Christianity is not only personally satisfying, but also intellectually trustworthy.

Reviewer: Dr. Robert W. Kellemen is the author of "Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," "Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," and the forthcoming "Sacred Companions: A History of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
... Read more

Isbn: 0310209307
Subjects:  1. Apologetics    2. Bible - Biography - New Testament    3. Christianity - Theology - Apologetics    4. Christianity - Theology - Christology    5. Christianity - Theology - General    6. Jesus Christ    7. Person and offices    8. Religion    9. Theology - Christology    10. CHRISTIAN LIVING PRACTICAL LIFE PERSONAL GROWTH    11. Religion / Christian Life   


Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers In Exile
by John Shelby Spong
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 May, 1999)
list price: $14.95 -- our price: $10.17
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Editorial Review

John Shelby Spong is the Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, and has enjoyed a career filled with controversy, much of it thanks to his many bestselling books, such as Born of a Woman, Living in Sin?, and Liberating the Gospels. He has tapped into an audience of people who are at once spiritually starved and curious, yet unwilling or unable to embrace Christianity.

Spong refers to himself as a believer in exile. He believes the world into which Christianity was born was limited and provincial, particularly when viewed from the perspective of the progress in knowledge and technology made over the past two millennia. This makes any ideas or beliefs formulated in 1st-century Judea totally inadequate to our progressive minds and lives today. So Spong is in exile until Christianity is re-formed to discard all of the outdated and, according to Spong, false tenets of Christianity.

He begins his book by exposing the Apostles Creed line by line, then methodically moves on through the heart of Christian belief, carefully exploring each aspect, demonstrating in each case the inadequacies of Christianity as detailed in the Bible and in the traditions of the Church. The epilogue includes Spong's own creed, recast to reflect the beliefs he considers relevant to Christianity at the end of the 20th century.

Oddly enough, Spong's views do not seem particularly new. In fact, his views seem very much in keeping with the religious humanist variety of Unitarianism. What is remarkable is not the beliefs themselves, but that an Episcopal bishop would be the one to embrace and espouse them. Spong has become a trumpeter in the battle of beliefs, not just in the Episcopal communion, but in the realm of Christian faith in general in this country. His books are bestsellers and are in turn, presumably, read by those who, whether they agree or disagree, all acknowledge that in some way, Spong is involved in setting the agenda. This book, as the admitted "summation of his life's work" tells every reader what the complete agenda will be, for the next few years at least. --Patricia Klein ... Read more

Reviews (245)

5-0 out of 5 stars Something every human being should read.
Whether you agree with Spong or hatefully discount his words, this book has extreme merit. If only to challenge the mind to open itself. I've read through many reviews on Amazon and they are as polarized as our nations people are today. One even called Jesus a Republican, which clearly indicates this reviewer is severely out of touch with the Bible's teachings.

The nay-sayers to Spong's work merely suffer from fear of a deeper truth, which is, none of us knows for certain what the truth is. No matter what you believe, it is all based on faith, not fact. And no matter how strongly you believe in your position, it is unlikely you will sway the other side. So why bother? You are responsable for your own soul, not mine.

This book challenges the reader to look beyond the conditioning of traditional views. Some will grow from it, others will detest it. If only because they cannot tolerate the question this book forces them to ask...."who am I without these old beliefs?"

1-0 out of 5 stars Spong must change or die
I do agree that Christianity does need to change, it does not emphasize love and we either get a Republican Jesus or we get a Jesus who is mostly myth, has no power, doesn't save sins, is dead, and is pretty much worthless.How the latter Jesus is helpful to anyone is beyond me.The funny thing is the problem isn't Christianity isn't Jesus or orthodoxy, it is the practice.All this is going to do is make people stand firmer in their positions.Both extreme liberals and conservatives throw God out and instead of blaming the faith, they need to change themselves.This book is only helpful to people who are modernist, it really doesn't help liberal Christians or help people outside of the faith.The scholarship is poor and the arguements are weak.If you want a different and more helpful perspective read N.T. Wright.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spong dares to reveal the reality of Christianity
While certainly no person monopolizes the truth on or about religion, Spong backs up his opinions with historical fact (which is not what the Bible what ever meant to be taken as), and chronicles the stories of the Gospel - pointing out, simply, that the first storyteller didn't have a chance. Each subsequent author built on stories that had been passed around hundreds of years, and by the time the last Gospel was written, many "facts" had been added to or changed in such a way that the meaning of the earliest versions had been lost or transformed so completely that the beauty of simplicity is gone, and replaced by a set of doctrines that had almost nothing to do with the timeless truths that Christ tried to teach us about God.
Today, in the modern church, as a result, man-made creeds and doctrines (patchworked from various parts of the Bible in both testaments) have replaced the true meanings of Jesus, thereby maintaining the grip the modern church proclaims to have to the road to divinity. Spong is both thoughtful and insightful as he pries open the meanings of the contemperary Bible as we know it today and reveals the wonderful poetry of the text that was the intent of the orginal authors. In my humble opinion, this book is a must read for anyone who searches for the truth that the modern church has strayed so far away from.

howlinwolf@cox.net ... Read more

Isbn: 0060675365
Subjects:  1. Christianity    2. Christianity - Christian Life - Social Issues    3. Christianity - Episcopalianism    4. Christianity - General    5. Christianity - History - General    6. Religion    7. Religion - Contemporary Issues    8. Spong, John Shelby    9. Religion / Christianity   


A New Christianity for a New World : Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How a New Faith is Being Born
by John Shelby Spong
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (17 September, 2002)
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Editorial Review

Christianity will not be a viable belief system for honest people in the contemporary world, writes John Shelby Spong, until itdrops a few outmoded ideas--for instance, belief in a supernatural God who reveals Himself from outside creation. A New Christianity for a New World continues the work begun in Spong's bestselling Why Christianity Must Change or Die, in which the former Episcopalian bishop diagnosed Christianity's major problems. Here, he offers a vision of what authentic Christian belief might look like today, stripped of theism and all its corollaries (doctrines such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Atonement). Christians may come to believe that "God is beyond Jesus, but Jesus participated in the Being of God and Jesus is my way into God." Readers inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer's tantalizing writings on "religionless Christianity" in Letters and Papers from Prison and by John A.T. Robinson's Honest to God will find much challenge and comfort in Spong's New Christianity, his most mature and most radical book. --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (90)

4-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a New Hobby?
Bishop Spong doesn't believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God.He doesn't believe Jesus was born of a virgin, that he died in atonement for sin, or that he was physically resurrected from the dead.He doesn't believe in salvation,the second coming, or Hell, and is fuzzy about an afterlife.He doesn't like church rituals, liturgy, the lyrics in church music...he doesn't even believe in God as a supernatural entity, and sees prayer as mere meditation.So far I'm with him 100%.I just want to know how he is going to make a religion out of this.

Like Bishop Spong, a lot of us are turned off by the dogma and ritual of traditional Christianity, but not everybody.I do not predict the huge decline in traditional Christianity that he predicts, although I might welcome it.Studies in anthropology and religion suggest that people are drawn toward religion in order to help them deal with things that are difficult to handle, such as personal disaster, death, and merely day to day living.Science offers no help in these existential dilemmas.The explosion of knowledge in science replaces the mystery of the unknown which helped create the gods.For some, scientific knowledge at least partially negates the need for supernatural reassurance, but not for the majority.To illustrate this point, might I refer to the popular beliefs in astrology and other forms of pseudoscience that pervade our culture.No wonder there's still a church on every corner.

Even many, many scientists, no matter how reductionist their logical brains want to be, still go far out of their way to leave room for "sky hooks," a term I think I stole from "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" - Daniel Dennett - meaning difficulty in giving up completely the idea of God.Spong, it seems to me, fits into this category.In his explanations as to why he is still a Christian and always will be, he seems to edge toward a "Gaia," or maybe a Unitarian philosophy.

By the way, an absolutely outstanding contribution to this book is the sermon on Church Creeds by Katie Ford leading off Chapter 14.One more aside, I'll bet the Good Bishop has enjoyed Jefferson's Bible.Thomas took a pair of scissors to the gospels and removed all the parts he didn't like - healings, Hell, etc., and included only selected words of or about Jesus.

In any event, I enjoyed his book.He writes in quite a conversational style and brings up valid points.I particularly agree with him about fundamentalism.If one goes down the block, across the nation, or around the world to each church, synagogue, mosque, or holy place, some fundamentalists of each theology may be found.These sub-groups all have the annoying trait of claiming that their group alone, once and for all, has solved the great riddles of life.It seems to me, amongst all that varied dogma, that there is only one way that any one of them or all of them can be right; that being the extent to which a group teaches a theology of tolerance and love.

Back to Bishop Spong's dilemma, however, I wonder why he doesn't just take up golf or watercoloring instead of going to church.

5-0 out of 5 stars Courageous Thesis
Spong writes in the context of reality.Given what we know and do not know regarding our universe and our natural history, how are we to know God and respond when encountering a truer understanding of God?Spong also asks,and answers, the question, "Can Jesus help us to know the nature of the actual Creator?"

Spong's response is to work at knowing God on His terms, not filtered through oft-times inaccurate dogma from 2000 years ago.Spong suggests we study the words of Jesus that were common to other wise men thatare consistent with a God capable of creating such a wonderful, but unyielding world.To know God isn't to merely shuffle the routine of reading bible verses, God is everywhere and inspires us from all different perspectives, including much of what Jesus said.

His chapter on knowing Christ as a way to better know God correlate with Jesus' statements regarding our place in theKingdom of God in the here and now.This perspective provides a much different perspective on how to act now, rather than how to act for a Kingdom yet to come.In the context of a Kingdom here and now, the words of Jesus shine through while some canonical writings defining a God of wrath and jealousy dwindle to nothing.Universal grace and love attain primary focus, and intolerance and bigotry are exposed to the light of day in all their ugliness.

Spong uses higher criticism to shed light on a God that tells us to honor the least among us, to turn the other cheek, to care for our widows and children - a God of amazing grace, who recommends we too live grace-filled lives; not a God used by evil-doers like Joshua to justify mass murder against the "other".

Spong's description of God demands a response from us filled with grace and love, and thus a rejection of the religious right proseltyzing for political power to perpetuate hatred and bigotry towards today's versions of the "other".

Spong's book is courageous because by portraying a God of universal grace and love, and not a humanistic God often portrayed by some authors in the Bible, Spong rejects literal interpretive, "pick and choose" theoglogy built to perpetuate political power and subservience to authoritarian institutions like the church.Spong instead recommends a truly personal relationship with the true nature of God, using the teachings of Jesus to guide us to the Creator.I'm not surprised by the number of death threats Bishop Spong gets, prophets continue to be misunderstood by the masses looking for re-affirmation of belief rather than the more the difficult journey towards a better understanding of reality.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Words on Fundamentalism and Poor Words on Theism
This book, which describes new ways to function as a Christian, should be read by all mature Christian because Christianity is definitely reforming.This reformation seems to have three causes -- (1) the undesirable division of Christianity into new and different churches, (2) the empowerment of diverse cultures in modern nations,and (3) new findings in modern science and mathematics.As a Christian and a scientist, my comment on this book considers new findings in modern science and mathematics.

The author's challenge of Christian fundamentalism is appropriate for many reasons.Most importantly, the author is correct to say that God does not dictate scriptures by inspiring scriptural writings through the Holy Spirit, as Christianity teaches.I agree that this teaching is false because the Holy Spirit is not to be found in us.Instead, the Holy Ghost, which is not the Holy Spirit, can be found in us.The Holy Spirit is in the Christian Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).The Trinity was formed in the 4th century by Christian minds.It is based on the saying of Jesus -- I and the Father are one (John 10:30).If one accepts the Trinity, people can use any national language to develop knowledge of the creation and increase their understanding of God.The 1920 discovery of symbolic languages supports our agreement on this false teaching.

But, I disagree with the author that theism is dying.His major evidence is social and psychological problems experienced byhumans.However, the 19th century finding of Georg Cantor of two infinities (actual and possible) proves that theism is true.God must thus appear in His creation as the Son (or Christ).These appearances are eternal because God must help us transform His infinite Wisdom into the finite knowledge we must build.

Currently, I am writing a book that explains the above agreement and disagreement in detail. ... Read more

Isbn: 0060670630
Subjects:  1. Christianity    2. Christianity - Christian Life - General    3. Christianity - General    4. Religion    5. Religion - Christian Living    6. Spong, John Shelby    7. Religion / Christianity   


Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism : A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture
by John Shelby Spong
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (10 April, 1992)
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Reviews (128)

2-0 out of 5 stars What's the point of this book?
If-as the author asserts-the Bible is not to be taken literally (that is: the existence of God; the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the reality of hell and the devil), what is the point of being a Christian?

Or, why bother reading the Bible?

3-0 out of 5 stars Over-reacting to Fundamentalists
The author may be reacting against the extreme of fundamentalism, but he has gone so far in the other direction that it is shocking (which is exactly why he is able to sell so many books).

However, many might be surprised to find that Spong's theology is not really all that new but is really the product of 19th century modernism.Ironically, fundamentalism and dispensationalism were invented around the same time.These two ideological extemes have been pushing against one another for over 100 years, and in the process have done great damange to the Church.

Yet Spong seems to have such good motives.He wants to help people.He wants to change the Church so that minority groups do not get discriminated against.I believe he really is trying to do what he feels is right.

However, the way he has gone about trying to achieve these goals has created great division, and I have my doubts as to whether his brand of Christianity can ever be more than a small minority.Most people will never be able to understand it.It is much more complex than the simple version of Christianity which believes the Bible without having to read all kinds of symbolism into it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Skocking & Powerful Challenge to Orthodox Thought
Make no mistake about it, Bishop Spong is viewed as a radical by many in the Christian community and rightly so. In this book, he begins with the Old Testament's Book of Genesis and carries further into the New Testament, applying an acid test of criticism to all of the prevailing notions fundamentalist Christianity has managed to work into the fabric of mainstream theology. He examines sexual ethics, the role of women, and racism and makes a compelling case that if Christianity is to be "saved" it must deliver itself from the realm of thought that once kept in in the Dark Ages.

This book will pose as a threat to conservative evagelical types, as it strikes to the very core of what they believe. It provides an excellent perspective on what liberal Christian hermenetics is like in the context of debate.

You may disagree with Spong's views and assertions, but you will be forced to examine just why you disagree and provide a reasonable justification if you are ever to consider yourself intellectually honest. ... Read more

Isbn: 0060675187
Sales Rank: 988
Subjects:  1. Bible    2. Bible - CriticismInterpretation - General    3. Bible - Hermeneutics    4. Christianity - Christian Life - General    5. Criticism, interpretation, etc    6. Fundamentalism    7. Liberalism (Religion)    8. Protestant churches    9. Religion    10. Religion - Contemporary Issues    11. Religion / General   


Anglican Theological Review
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars A good journal
I have been a reader of the Anglican Theological Review for nearly ten years.Published four times a year, it includes articles of theological, historical, liturgical and spiritual interest to Anglicans (in America, the Episcopal church is the official branch of the Anglican communion, though there are other Anglicans not of that fold).Their primary offices are in the Chicago area, the location of Seabury-Western seminary, one of their principle partners, although this journal is not specifically the seminary journal for S-W.

Articles are written by scholars of note in their fields, often Anglican or Episcopalian, but often outside scholars and others writers are featured, too.Many of the authors are ministers and administrators within church institutions instead of or in addition to being academics, which gives a different tone.Last year, the range of articles stretched from a discussion of Hellenism in John (David Reed, Fall 2003/Vol. 85, No. 4) and issues concerning the traditional views of Hell (Wilko van Holton, Summer 2003/Vol. 85, No. 3) to examination of T.S. Eliot's poetry (Patrick Terrell Gray, Spring 2003/Vol. 85, No. 2) and revelation present in rhetoric and drama (David Cunningham, same ed.).

In addition to articles such as those listed above, each issue includes a brief offering of poetry (usually with a biblical or religious theme, though not always), review articles (which lump together books on a similar theme or topic, or discuss in broader terms a concept, event, etc.), and basic book reviews.Book reviews look at essential and new Anglican titles, but also books outside this category that may be of interest -- for example, `Preaching is Believing', by my professor Ron Allen, a member of the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ, is highlighted in one edition as being of value for those who want a more sound way of incorporating theology into their sermons; interesting that that same edition of the ATR included a major article on `The Poverty of Preaching in the Episcopal Church', by Owen Thomas.

I look forward to each issue, and recommend it for Anglicans and non-Anglicans interested in developments and intellectual trends in the church.
... Read more

Asin: B00006K3MJ
Sales Rank: 3395
Subjects:  1. Lifestyle Culture & Religion    2. General    3. Christianity   


Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars A great alternative to other publications
It is indeed a day of excitement and anticipation when the postal carrier drops off a copy of Tricycle magazine. Not only is it filled with interesting, insightful and lively articles, it is one of the highest quality publications in terms of color, photography, art, typography currently in print.

A major tenent of buddhist teachings is to recognize and control cravings, yearning and desires, so I won't tell you that I wish they would publish this magazine monthly or even bi-monthly. But maybe its frequency is one of the reasons it is so richly filled with great content.

Tricycle is a great compliment to theShambhala Sun, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book quality magazine
Are you a Buddhist, enjoy meditation, or are you interested in learning more about Buddhism?Then this may be the magazine for you.

Tricycle is well written, has great photos, and is a very nice looking magazine.(The quality of the paper, heavy with a glossy coating, gives the magazine a 'coffee table book' feel.)

What I liked most about my subscription to Tricycle was that as a Buddhist in America I felt more of a connection to others who share the same interest.I also enjoyed reading articles on the different schools of Buddhism.Even the advertisements were helpful in learning more about cushions, retreat centers and more.

Of all the Buddhist magazines now entering the market this one seems, to me, to be the best of the group.Enjoy your subscription!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Motivating and Informative
This magazine helps you understand Buddhism a little bit at a time. It, however enormously motivates you to meditate. Especially in the western culture, where materialism is so rampant, there is little to motivate you to sit still and spend time with yourself. This magazine makes me want to meditate, learn more and find answers to some of the difficult question sthat arise. It also helps me select the right books to deepen my practice. There is roughly equal representation of Tibbatan Buddhism, Zen and the Vipassana traditions, and quite often, much to my joy, there is such an amalgamation of these three main divisions. What ever lineage you may belong to, or want to pursue, you would still like the basic oneness of the Buddha's teaching.
Those interested in Buddhism should also look into "The Shambhala Sun" magazine, which comes every 2 months and which, though leans more towards Tibbatan Buddhism, does carry superb articles, book reviews and practical instructions. I think it is every bit as useful as Tricylcle.
Lastly those more inclined towards Zen Buddhism would like "The Mountain record", a quarterly magazine. It seems too abstract to me though, although I appreciate some of the articles and practically all the superb photographs it has in black and white. ... Read more

Asin: B00006L06M
Sales Rank: 831
Subjects:  1. Lifestyle Culture & Religion    2. General    3. Buddhism (Buddhist)    4. Religion & Spirituality   


Zen Notes
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Asin: B00006L2XF
Sales Rank: 3363
Subjects:  1. Buddhism   


Living Buddhism
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Asin: B00007KPU8
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Journal Of The Order Of Buddhist Contemplatives
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Asin: B00006KKKW
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Mountain Record
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Asin: B00006KOMQ
Sales Rank: 5428
Subjects:  1. Buddhism   


Peace Is Every Step : The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 March, 1992)
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Editorial Review

Thich Nhat Hanh's writing is deceptive in its subtlety. He'll go on and on with stories about tree-hugging or metaphors involving raw potatoes; he'll tell you how to eat mindfully, even how to breathe and walk; he'll suggest looking closely at a flower and to see the sun as your heart.As the Zen teacher Richard Baker commented, however, Nhat Hanh is "a cross between a cloud, a snail, and piece of heavy machinery." Sooner or later, it begins to sink in that Nhat Hanh is conveying a depth of psychology and a world outlook that require nothing less than a complete paradigm shift. Through his cute stories and compassionate admonitions, he gradually builds up to his philosophy of interbeing, the notion that none of us is separately, but rather that we inter-are. The ramifications are explosive. How can we mindlessly and selfishly pursue our individual ends, when we are inextricably bound up with everyone and everything else? We see an enemy not as focus of anger but as a human with a complex history, who could be us if we had the same history. Suffice it to say, that after reading Peace Is Every Step, you'll never look at a plastic bag the same way again, and you may even develop a penchant for hugging trees.--Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing Book
I have read this book like 5 times and everytime I read it I learn something new. This book has changed my life and the way that I treat others. I would recomend this book to anyone who is looking for themselves or something bigger than themselves, for anyone who is looking for answers this book has them. I have bought copies for my friends and have loaned my own out and everyone I have given it too has said the same thing that they couldn't put it down and that it was just what they were looking for. Read this book and open your mind and heart up to it and it will change you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Helpful in so many little ways
I had never read any book before on this topic, and chose this one because it seemed to be so easy to read and understand.I dare say this book changed my life.I came to it while in recovery for an eating disorder (which stems from a lack of coping skills), and this book helped me find peace; it showed me how to transform uneasy feelings; it showed me how to forgive; it showed me how to enjoy the present moment.

I was so moved by these writings.As I mentioned, I enjoy my life more.I enjoy my children more.My marriage has improved.I have improved.

I had never experienced the concepts of "inter-are" and how things don't have to be either right or wrong... things can just "be".I can just be.

I keep this book by my side because although it is a short book, it is so deeply profound that it might take me years to grasp everything in it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Practice This Book's Contents
Following Nhat Hanh's book "Being Peace", this is my next favorite by this articulate Zen master. Within you will find commentaries and meditations straight from the heart of Thay, as well as stories of his life as an activist for peace. It is so very applicable to our daily lives. Lately it's become all too clear that this world needs a healthy serving of peace. Our spiritual mouths are so hungry for this. The meditations Thich Nhat Hanh has been celebrated worldwide for are captured within this deceptively slim book. For those of you who have come to know Thay through his wide body of books, you know how well he communicates points to all of us; always with a soothing ease and simplicity. That style is more than ever evident in this text. This work is a remarkable starting point for someone interested in looking into Buddhism, searching for balance in their lives; it's for non Buddhists who are simply looking for a way to bridge the gap of divisiveness.Thich Nhat Hanh is such a good friend to us all, and buying this magnificent book can help all of us become better friends to the world at large. Enjoy it. ... Read more

Isbn: 0553351397
Subjects:  1. Buddhism    2. Buddhism - Zen    3. General    4. Religion - World Religions    5. Religious life    6. Body, Mind & Spirit / New Age   


The Miracle of Mindfulness
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 May, 1999)
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Editorial Review

Miracle of Mindfulness is a sly commentary on the Anapanasati Sutra, the Sutra on Breath to Maintain Mindfulness. "Sly" because it doesn't read like a dry commentary at all. One of Thich Nhat Hanh's most popular books, Miracle of Mindfulness is about how to take hold of your consciousness and keep it alive to the present reality, whether eating a tangerine, playing with your children, or washing the dishes. A world-renowned Zen master, Nhat Hanh weaves practical instruction with anecdotes and other stories to show how the meditative mind can be achieved at all times and how it can help us all "reveal and heal."Nhat Hanh is a master at helping us find a calm refuge within ourselves and teaching us how to reach out from there to the rest of the world. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mindfulness for Everyday
Thich Nhat Hanh has a great way of mixing teaching with story. He does so in all the books of his I have read. I think this book is particularly useful for those who are interested in mindfulness but not so interested in Buddhism. Certainly the concept of providing the focus and concentration you get from meditation within all areas of your life is very attractive and he provides practical tips on how to do this as a layperson.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essense of Meditation Explained Here
I am still working on doing what is written in this book. Though all the concepts explained are simple, I find it hard to practice. Only repetitive and persistent effort within our lives can bring us true benefit of meditation. All the book is saying is to focus on our breath. I am still working on returning to the basic - a simple breath. It is so easy to get preoccupied with normal busy thoughts, forgetting the basic of the basic - breathing.

This book is something I need to read and re-read once in a while to get myself back to the basic. Now I realize that if I cannot live a basic life I cannot truly live a life. It took a while for me to know that this book is telling me something fundamental to all humans.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Miracle of Mindfulness
From this book I learned how to be present with everyday events, such as washing the dishes-feeling the water, the weight of the cup, etc. and about when I walk to feel the wind, the movement of my body, my feet touching the ground. From there I practiced being aware of all my actions and thoughts and viewed them as meditation, basically I learned to pay attention to what I am doing, when I am doing it. ... Read more

Isbn: 0807012394
Subjects:  1. Buddhism - General    2. Buddhist meditations    3. General    4. Meditation    5. Meditation (Buddhism)    6. Mind & Body    7. Philosophy    8. Religion - World Religions    9. Self-Help / General   


Living Buddha, Living Christ
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (01 September, 1997)
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Editorial Review

If you have always assumed that Christianity and Buddhism are as far apart philosophically as their respective founders were geographically, you may be in for a bit of a surprise. In this national bestseller, Zen monk and social activist Thich Nhat Hanh draws parallels between these two traditions that have them walking, hand in hand, down the same path to salvation. In Christianity, he finds mindfulness in the Holy Spirit as an agent of healing. In Buddhism, he finds unqualified love in the form of compassion for all living things. And in both he finds an emphasis on living practice and community spirit.

The thread that binds the book is the same theme that draws many Christians toward Buddhism: mindfulness. Through anecdotes, scripture references, and teachings from both traditions, Nhat Hanh points out that mindfulness is an integral part of all religious practice and teaches us how to cultivate it in our own lives. Nhat Hanh has no desire to downplay the venerable theological and ritual teachings that distinguish Buddhism and Christianity, but he does cause one to consider that beyond the letter of doctrine lies a unity of truth. ... Read more

Reviews (58)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very close and similar, but definitely different
As a Chinese Christian in Hong Kong who knows Christianity and Buddhism quite well (better the former than the latter, just opposite to the author), I am obliged to voice out my opinion despite my genuine appreciation of the author's effort to reconcile the differences or even conflicts between the two religions which the author deliberately named them as "traditions" instead.

Certainly, there are many similarities in elements like love, compassion, kindness, mindfulness, simplistic lifestyle and so on. However, the fundamental differences are insurmountable. Christians pray to Jesus and God for deliverance. Buddhists meditate to get solutions from within. Christians refer to the Bible for ultimate direction. Buddhists are not encouraged to stick to any "book" at all. Christians dont believe in reincarnation. Buddhists do. Jesus and the Holy Spirit "is" the one and only Creator. Buddhism talks vaguely little about the origin of life. In fact, what disturbed me most is the author's equating Buddha to Jesus and Mindfulness to the Holy Spirit.

I am not advocating intolerance nor rivalry against Buddhists nor Buddhism. My wife is a quasi Buddhist (a lot of Hong Kong people regards themselves to be) and our marriage is quite against the teaching in the New Testament. In my opinion, Buddhism, in particular the Zen tradition, is a great lifestyle or philosophy to be seriously studied and followed, but not a religion of (before) life and death (after). Buddhists can be just the same lovely and lovable as any christian, and we shouldnt label or judge anyone by what one believes. Actions always talk louder than empty words.

Anyway, this is a good book for thought, though I think it might be more suitable for Christians who have a solid understanding of their own religion, say, through study of the whole Bible several times. For interested christians who want to look into this area about living with both Christianity and Buddhism, I would strongly recommend the book "The Silence of Unknowing: The key to the Spiritual Life" by Terence Grant.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME READ!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Thich speaks as someone who's suffered immeasurably. But his suffering, transformed, had enabled him tremendous insight.

Thich is able to understand the dynamics that underpin two great traditions. He is able to step outside of time and tradition on speak on truth.

He is not a "philosopher" or "lawyer" who plays with language to "prove" how these religions are one. Rather he speaks from his own experience to express his feelings regarding Jesus and Buddha.

Highly recommended to all Christians looking to deepen theirunderstanding of the holy spirit and to open their hearts to the living Christ. ... Read more

Isbn: 1573225681
Subjects:  1. Buddhism    2. Buddhism - General    3. Christianity and other religions    4. Religion    5. Religion - World Religions    6. Spirituality - General    7. Religion / General   


No Death, No Fear
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Paperback (05 August, 2003)
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Editorial Review

Thich Nhat Hanh always invites us to look deeply, and he does so once again in No Death, No Fear. Recognizing interconnections, Nhat Hanh brings us to beginnings, how they depend on endings, and how they are but temporary manifestations. Everything endures, he says, but in different forms. And this isn't just a palliative to make us feel better for a while--Nhat Hanh's philosophy of Interbeing takes the long view, challenging us to open our eyes to subtle transformations. He shows how extraordinary things happen when we are fully present with others and at peace with ourselves, both of which require openness and deep looking. In his bestselling style of easy prose, compelling anecdotes, and pragmatic advice, Nhat Hanh gradually drains the force out of grief and fear, transforming them into happiness and insightful living. Death doesn't have to be a roadblock, and in No Death, No Fear Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the way around. --Brian Bruya ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cut Through Fear
For those of you who purchase this book with the bonus CD included along with the package, you are in luck. Thich Nhat Hanh takes us through meditation practice with the help of Sounds True, the Buddhist recording company. This CD is great to listen to when you want to set aside time for reflection, or just as a gentle reminder of the wonderful world we live in articulated through the voice of Thay. In this book Thich Nhat Hanh takes us all on the journey of discovery. We are provided with insightful commentary on this difficult subject of death from this much-loved Buddhist master; all in a language and format we can all connect ourselves to. What is to fear in death? We might become fearful that we will become "nothing." Whatever our deductions of what death is are, these are merely concepts. We fear the unknown perhaps. But the unknown is in every single moment, so breaking free from our misconceptions of death means stepping into fearlessness of life. Every moment is unknown. Death is unknown. Zero degrees is three hundred and sixty degrees. No beginning, no end. Only help all beings, it's the Great Bodhisattva Vow. Then there is no life or death, instead, only the Great Vow. Buy this book if you are troubled by death and life, it can calm the human heart. Letting you know all is well. Though everything may seem crazy and chaotic, all is well. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars waves are water
Why are we afraid? At last I have found a book that gives me a good reason not to be afraid. Thich Nhat Hahn is a very great writer, along with many other talents. He creates stories that children can enjoy but give great insight into our lives and the meaning of them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book from the Zen teacher
People have a hard time understanding why I love and respect a monk so much. But his writings are so clear, so pure and simple, uncluttered, that they make sense just to pick up and read like a regular book. The only difference between his books and a good story_book is that his books are about your Life and they require Practice. All of which requires joy too!

This wonderful teacher talks to us in this book about emptiness, a wonderful concept we are all learning in our own time. In it, he clearly states examples of emptiness or impermanence in ways that are directly the result of his own experience and observation. One gets the sense that he has shown us some truth about death and life, and how they interlink and come together in a ballet of pictures and words. He writes with true wisdom, and the only result is, indeed, comfort.

The spiritual life requires discipline. It requires a sense of purpose, and perhaps, motivation. But one thing I know is that it is not unbearable and uncomfortable as many would have you believe. Through his unique teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh shows us that there is no end and no beginning to things. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, this book is as good as counseling. ... Read more

Isbn: 1573223336
Subjects:  1. Asian And Oriental Religions    2. Buddhism    3. Buddhism - General    4. Death, Grief, Bereavement    5. Doctrines    6. Religion    7. Religion - World Religions    8. Spiritual life    9. Spirituality - General    10. Body, Mind & Spirit / General   


Creating True Peace : Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World
by Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Hardcover (06 August, 2003)
list price: $23.00 -- our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
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Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars We Need Peace & Understanding.
Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.He guides the reader of this new book how to go about getting rid of the violence he holds inside.As in his book, ANGER, he tells how anger and unhappiness can consume you.Violence is an outmoded response we can no longer afford politically and in daily life with family and friends (we usually tend to lash out and hurt the people we love the most).

Walking can calm our feelings and help us recover out peace.Walk to release your anger and pain.It calms negative feelings, helps you to get in touch with positive elements within and around you.Walking outdoors increases our happiness, peace, and harmony.

He tells us that we can each make a difference by being compassionate and not overbearing toward others; we are not helpless by any means.In our community, where the bigwigs hold sway and money is everything, we need to seek peace but not accept repression.Each individual is precious in God's grace -- I hope Tristan had a peaceful transition.He was a good-looking young man.

We can all work on inner change in personal lives, but global changes are in the hands of politicians, the leaders.So many are inexperienced and unsuited to lead anybody; others are corrupt.As in the movie, 'Kingdom of Heaven,' we will have to hope that God is on our side.

3-0 out of 5 stars Creating True Peace
The best feature of this book is the emphasis it makes on being present and mindful in a relationship, especially relationships with loved ones. It is true that authentic peace begins with the individual, and can only be present when the "ego," the "me" in all of its separatist activities is absent. I think it was misleading to suggest that both ego and peace can coexist, since the very nature of the undeveloped self is to behave in divisive fashion. Thich Nhat Hanh speaks from the Buddhist tradition, and like all spiritual traditions, it can only take one so far. A great teacher once said that an ounce of falsehood can spoil a thousand pounds of truth, and although this book is well-intentioned, I believe it is of limited value. If you have a family, then by all means, read it, but for consistent truth, I suggest reading Eckhart Tolle's, Power of Now, and/or exploring the many great works of Guy Finley and J. Krishnamurti. Once the ego has been transcended, there is no longer a need to "cultivate" anything because true peace will emanate naturally from being.

2-0 out of 5 stars Overstates his case IMHO
I began working on the poison of anger and obtained books & a video to help, including this book, "Working with Anger" by Thubten Chodron, & the video "Good Medicine" by Pema Chodron (about Tonglen & Atisha's Lojong Slogans).I had read 1 Thich Nhat Hanh (& heard a public speech), no Thubten Chodron, but several Pema Chodron works before this.I found both Chodron's works quite helpful, but not "Creating True Peace."Later, I read TNH's book on "Anger" which seems a bit better--I must have a very different Myers-Briggs than TNH.He seems much more Feeling-oriented than I.While only a Buddha knows what people need, I think honest trying counts--putting Bodhichitta into practice (e.g. Tonglen)--learn by doing and dissolve the barrier between subject & object.So, I disagree with TNH saying:p. 25: "If you do not know how to handle the anger and violence in yourself, it is impossible to help someone else."
p. 59: "We should not try to help others in an effort to escape our own sorrow, despair or inner conflict.If you are not peaceful and solid enough inside yourself, your contributions will not be useful."I believe taking the focus off your own problems and looking at other people's problems helps both of you.Certainly, one can work on oneself as well as help others.

He seems to speak from a very SE Asian perspective--not readily transplantable to the West.Indeed, this book is chock full of complaints, judgments, & criticisms of the West including devaluing science & Western progress.I think the internet, TV, etc. are mixed blessings--tools to use or misuse.As a Jungian, I agree that Peace is achieved through the transformation of individuals: the 100th Monkey Principle says that when a critical mass of beings embrace something, it spreads rapidly through the whole as does Malcolm Gladwell's "Tipping Point."TNH says on p. 16: "When we hold back our feelings and ignore our pain, we are committing violence against ourselves...do not make war on our feelings or reject them, but just recognize, embrace, and transform them.When anger or fear is present in us, we bring awareness to it.We smile to it and call it by its true name."Yes, but this is difficult to do in real time and it isn't always wise to express how we feel at every point in time.Also, Olympic hopefuls swim against the current to build up strength & resistance.Robert Moore's Warrior archetype includes purposeful pain & suffering--such as Tenzin Palmo's experiences in retreat (see "Cave in the Snow" & "Reflections on a Mountain Lake").I think TNH makes good points but goes too far.I have problems with this book, its implication that Mindfulness Breathing will solve all your problems, & displays an extremely left wing orientation. I prefer Tonglen & the nuns Chodron.Different strokes for different folks. ... Read more

Isbn: 0743245199
Sales Rank: 195345
Subjects:  1. Asian And Oriental Religions    2. Buddhism    3. Buddhism - Rituals & Practice    4. Eastern - General    5. Inspiration & Personal Growth    6. Oriental Philosophy    7. Peace    8. Philosophy    9. Religion - World Religions    10. Religious aspects    11. Social aspects    12. Philosophy / Eastern   


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