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Reviews

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Have We Given Up on “Happily Ever After”?

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First, an admission: I have a guilty pleasure in costume dramas, especially the kind that show up on PBS. From Downton Abbey to Lark Rise to Candleford to Victoria to the endless adaptations of Jane Austen novels, I love to let my feminine side come out to play whenever a show set in the past comes along. Like many PBS fans, I’ve enjoyed the recent series Sanditon, based on an unfinished...

Why I Still Recommend Verbum Software for Catholics… and for all Contemplatives

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Two years ago this week, I wrote a glowing review of a Bible Software program called Verbum. Click here to read that review. Among other things, I said… I use Verbum every day. I repeat: every day. It’s not perfect, but it’s far and away the best Bible software I’ve ever come across. Twenty-four months later, and I’m still using this software every day. Not only do I consider Verbum...

Do Contemplatives Need Bible Software?

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Is the Bible a textbook, or a legal code, or a love letter? I suppose one could argue that it is all three. But it seems that, for much of Christian history, our theologians have tended to lock themselves away in an ivory tower, reading the Bible like a textbook, while church authorities (and their secular counterparts) have too often seen the book as merely a juridical text, meant to enforce...

Three Wonderful Books for Exploring Julian of Norwich

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I’m not sure why the fall of 2013 belongs to Julian of Norwich (except to the extent that any time is a good time for reading and reflecting on Julian’s wisdom). What I do know is that three wonderful books about Julian have been, or soon will be, published this season. If you’re already a Julian nut (yes, that’s a pun) like me, rejoice, for these are all worthy books to...

Praying with St. John of the Cross

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A friend of mine suggested I read Wayne Simsic’s Seeking the Beloved: A Prayer Journey with St. John of the Cross, offering the book pretty high praise: “I never ‘got’ John of the Cross until I read this book,” she said. That alone made me think it was worth checking out. And I would agree that this is an excellent primer to the great mystical theologian, deftly and...

Journey to the Heart: Christian Contemplation Through the Centuries

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This beautifully illustrated and informative title from Orbis Books in the USA (Canterbury Press in the UK) provides a very nice overview of the history of contemplative spirituality within Christianity. Journey to the Heart: Christian Contemplation Through the Centuries, edited by Kim Nataraja, features an anthology of writings by some of the most respected writers on Christian spirituality...

Some Things Last (Benjamin Button, Contemplation, and Impermanence)

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Fran and I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Everyone is comparing it to Forrest Gump, but I think it’s more like what would happen if you put Big Fish and Into Great Silence into an Osterizer. Benjamin Button, wrinkles and all, would pop out once the blending was done. I commented on my Facebook status last night that I thought Benjamin Button was the finest contemplative...

The Book of My Life

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The Book of My Life By Teresa of Àvila Translated by Mirabai Starr Boston: New Seeds, 2007 One of the challenges of being a reviewer is learning the discipline of maintaining an open mind. When reading a book with the intention of writing about it, I cannot help but forming opinions as the reading experience progresses. But just as one cannot judge a book by its proverbial cover, so it is also...

Box of Fairies

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The softly romantic cover illustration of Gwen Knighton’s Box of Fairies, replete with a half-dozen or so cute diminutive naked fairies frolicking about Gwen Knighton and her harp in a bucolic setting, might lead the listener to expect a disc full of saccharine new age melodies with insufferable affirmations strung together as lyrics. Not! The irony of the cover design is but the first...

"The More We Are Protected, The More We’re Trapped Within"

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Last night I saw Peter Gabriel and Sevara Nezarkhan at Chastain Park Amphitheatre here in Atlanta. The set list: Red Rain More Than This Secret World Games Without Frontiers Mercy Street Darkness Digging In The Dirt Don’t Give Up (duet with his daughter, Melanie Gabriel) The Tower That Ate People Growing Up Animal Nation Solsbury Hill Sledgehammer Signal To Noise In Your Eyes Biko It was a...

David and the Phoenix: A Gentle Masterpiece of the Mythic Imagination

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David and the Phoenix, gentle masterpiece of children’s literature first appeared in the late 1950s, bringing a dimension of magic and wonder to young baby boomers growing up in a society dizzy with consumerism, the space race, and post-WWII arrogance. Recently reprinted in both hardback and paperback editions, and available on the Kindle and Nook, this book is now available for an entire...

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