Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world's fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of "volunteer ministers" offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals.
"My cup of tea."
The Dalai Lama will tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is toward happiness." How to get there has always been the question. With the help of a psychiatrist, he now gets the message across in a context we can easily understand.
"very good listen"
The men of the 77th Infantry Division couldn't fathom why Private Desmond T. Doss would venture into the horrors of World War II without a single weapon to defend himself. "You're nothing but a coward!" they said. But the soft-spoken medic insisted that his mission was to heal, not kill. When Desmond knelt by his bunk to pray, his fellow soldiers hurled boots and insults at him. Even his commander wanted to throw him out of the army. But when his unit arrived on the battlefield, the intrepid medic quickly proved he was no coward.
From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.
"Palastinian Politics 4 B.C.E. - 70 C.E."
A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.
In his eagerly anticipated follow-up to the enormously successful Seven Men, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas gives us seven captivating portraits of some of history's greatest women, all of whom changed the course of history by following God's call upon their lives - as women.
"A Different Kind of Inspiring"
Texas businessman Mike Fechner had it all. Money. Investments. Prestige. Until he did the unthinkable. He sold his company and poured his life's earnings into a ministry for the poor. With a strong faith in God at his core, this millionaire turned missionary envisioned a long future serving the urban Dallas poor and the people of poverty-stricken Africa.
If you think ghosts are only responsible for hauntings, think again. The Demonologist reveals the grave religious process behind supernatural events and how it can happen to you. Used as a text in seminaries and classrooms, this is one book you can't put down. For over five decades, Ed and Loraine Warren have been considered America's foremost experts on demonology and exorcism. With over 3,000 investigations to their credit, they reveal what actually breaks the peace in haunted houses. Don't miss the Warrens in the new blockbuster movie The Conjuring.
A holy man to Hindus, a hero to Muslims, and a criminal to the British, Mohandas K. Gandhi was an inspiring figure of the 20th century, a man whose quest to live in accord with God’s highest truth led him to initiate massive campaigns against racism, violence, and colonialism.
"Great book, Good enough narration."
The acclaimed biography of the early church's greatest evangelist, the Apostle Paul. Master storyteller John Pollock makes Paul and his amazing story freshly alive, so that you can know the greatest apostle much as Luke and Timothy did as they traveled with him. As you listen, you'll sense Paul's motives, his aims and priorities; what mattered to him; and what he was willing to die for.
"The Story of Paul the Apostle"
In this recorded account of near-death experiences, we learn about the miracles of the millennium, the return of the Ten Tribes, the building of the New Jerusalem and temple, and many other astonishing events long prophesied in scripture but never before described in such vivid detail. Visions of Glory is a mesmerizing and fascinating read that you will not be able to put down.
"Amazing and Life Changing"
What makes a great man great? Seven Men offers answers in the captivating stories of some of the greatest men who have ever lived. In this gallery of greatness, seven historical figures come to life as real people who experienced struggles and challenges that probably would have destroyed the resolve of most other men. What was their secret?
"Good or Great?"
We all possess one common desire: the need for happiness and a meaningful life. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the ability to find true fulfillment lies within each of us. Now, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, Nobel Prize winner, and best selling author helps you begin the path to enlightenment in this easy-access reference for daily practice.
"What a Blessing!"
On October 31, 1517, an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to a church door in a small university town and set in motion a process that helped usher in the modern world. Within a few years, Luther's ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe, and polarized people's beliefs.
Martin Luther entered a monastery as a youth and as a man shattered the structure of the medieval church, speaking out against the corrupt religious practices of the time. His demand that the authority for doctrine and practice be scriptures, rather than popes or councils, echoed around the world and ignited the great Reformation. Accused of heresy and threatened with excommunication and death, Luther maintained his bold stand and refused to recant. In his crusade to eliminate religious abuses, he did more than any other man to establish the Protestant faith.
"An Excellent Book and Biography!!!"
Saint Augustine's contributions to Christian theology are second to no other post-apostolic author in the whole sweep of church history. Yet along side his doctrinal treatises, Augustine tells a story of his life devoted to Christ as his only satisfaction. The Confessions is at once the autobiographical account of Augustine's life of Christian faith and at the same time a compelling theology of Christian spirituality for everyone.
"Impressions on first listening to the book."
Sharing memories from early childhood through her life as a Carmelite nun, Therese opens her heart to us. This bride of Christ reveals her passion and longing for union with God. Her simplicity is charming and we begin to believe that we can travel the path to salvation that she points out to us.
The dramatic autobiography of one of China's dedicated, courageous, and intensely persecuted house church leaders. This is the gripping story of how God took a young, half-starved boy from a poor village in Henan province and placed him on the front line for Jesus, in the face of impossible odds. Instead of focusing on the many miracles or experiences of suffering, however, Yun prefers to focus on the character and beauty of Jesus.
"Great book, one of my old time favorites."
Widely hailed as a spiritual classic, this inspirational and unfailingly powerful story reveals the life and visions of the Lakota healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863–1950) and the tragic history of his Sioux people during the epic closing decades of the Old West. In 1930, the aging Black Elk met a kindred spirit, the famed poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt (1881–1973) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
"Tale of tears"
Fierce Convictions weaves together world and personal history into a stirring story of life that intersected with Wesley and Whitefield's Great Awakening, the rise and influence of Evangelicalism, and convulsive effects of the French Revolution. A woman of exceptional intellectual gifts and literary talent, Hannah More was above all a person whose faith compelled her both to engage her culture and to transform it.
A story of spiritual awakening, St. Augustine's Confessions is a fascinating look at the life of an eminent Christian thinker. Widely seen as one of the first Western autobiographies ever written, it chronicles the life and religious struggles of Augustine of Hippo, from his days as a self-confessed sinner to his acceptance of Christianity as an older adult.
Muhammad's was a life of almost unparalleled historical importance, yet for all the iconic power of his name, the intensely dramatic story of the prophet of Islam is not well known. In The First Muslim, Lesley Hazleton brings him vibrantly to life. Drawing on early eyewitness sources and on history, politics, religion, and psychology, she renders him as a man in full, in all his complexity and vitality. Hazleton's account follows the arc of Muhammad's rise from powerlessness to power, from anonymity to renown.
"Another Fantastic Hazelton Book!"
Discover the lives of the men that forever changed the course of history! This book contains the fundamental history, early influences, life-changing events, and lasting impact of historical figures such as Moses, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Gandhi, and many others! For each of these great men, you will learn who they were, where they came from, who influenced them, the fundamental turning points in their lives, and their lasting contributions to the world.
While the 20th century was often a time of turbulence, selfishness, godlessness, and violence, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a witness to love. She was a clear reminder of the goodness within human nature and the beauty of being truly open to God. "Mother" was her religious title, but as she ascended to the world stage, it became her role for the world - to be like a mother to all, no matter their origins. She was accepting and welcoming towards all people, not only towards the good or the like-minded. She continues to serve as an inspiration to people of all walks of life.
The Middle Ages in Europe were some of the most precarious centuries in recorded history, bristling with war, excitement, and chaos. The Western Roman Empire had crumbled, territories were rapidly expanding, and heavy ploughs, hourglasses, spectacles, tidal mills, and more pioneering inventions were popping up across the continent. It was also a time of extreme prejudice, when women were treated as second-class citizens. Their only purpose in life was to procreate by the dozen.
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was a prominent Catholic, writer, social activist, and cofounder of a movement dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor. Her life has been revealed through her own writings as well as the work of historians, theologians, and academics. What has been missing until now is a more personal account from the point of view of someone who knew her well.
Martin Luther was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money, proposing an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his 95 Theses of 1517.
During the German occupation of Rome from 1942-1944, Irishman Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty ran an escape organization for Allied POWs and civilians, including Jews. Safe within the Vatican state, he regularly ventured out in disguise to continue his mission, which earned him the nickname 'The Pimpernel of the Vatican'. When the Allies entered Rome, he and his collaborators - priests, nuns, and laypeople of numerous nationalities and religious beliefs - had saved the lives of over 6,500 people.
"What a character"
On a hot and dusty December day in 1980, the bodies of four American women - three of them Catholic nuns - were pulled from a hastily dug grave in a field outside San Salvador. They had been murdered two nights before by the US-trained El Salvadoran military. News of the killing shocked the American public and set off a decade of debate over Cold War policy in Latin America. The women themselves became symbols and martyrs, shorn of context and background.
In his 95 years, Norman Vincent Peale made a profound difference. The son of a minister in Lynchburg, Ohio, he went on to preach the Lord's word at Manhattan's now-famous Marble Collegiate Church, where he served as pastor for 52 years and oversaw the church's growth from 600 members to more than 5,000. He had a popular radio program for more than half a century and appeared regularly on television.
Al-Hasan al-Wazzan - born in Granada to a Muslim family that in 1492 went to Morocco - became famous as the great Renaissance writer Leo Africanus, author of the first geography of Africa to be published in Europe (in 1550). He had been captured by Christian pirates in the Mediterranean and imprisoned by the Pope; when he was released and baptized, he lived a European life of scholarship as the Christian writer Giovanni Leone....
"Perhaps this was a biography?"
Bishop Juan Gerardi, Guatemala's leading human rights activist, was bludgeoned to death in his garage on a Sunday night in 1998, two days after the presentation of a groundbreaking church-sponsored report implicating the military in the murders and disappearances of some 200,000 civilians.
Missionary, theologian, and religious genius, Paul is one of the most powerful human personalities in the history of the Church. E.P. Sanders, an influential Pauline scholar, analyzes the fundamental beliefs and vigorous contradictions in Paul's thought, discovering a philosophy that is less of a monolithic system than the apostle's convictions would seem to suggest. This volume offers an incisive summation of Paul's career, as well as his role in the development of early Christianity.
Palden Gyatso was born in a Tibetan village in 1933 and became an ordained Buddhist monk at 18 just as Tibet was in the midst of political upheaval. When Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950, it embarked on a program of "reform" that would eventually affect all of Tibet's citizens and nearly decimate its ancient culture. In 1967, the Chinese destroyed monasteries across Tibet and forced thousands of monks into labor camps and prisons.
"eye opening account of the state of Tibet"
"Lebanon" Levi Stoltzfus, star of the hit Discovery Channel reality show Amish Mafia, delivers a sizzling tell-all about Amish life today. From the forbidden joyrides to the senseless shunnings to the colorful family feuds, he shares his frank insider's view of this fascinating and secretive society.
"Not that impressed"
A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet - then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India. A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve herself to death. Nine people, nine lives; each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story. William Dalrymple delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.
"Interesting stories, distracting naration"
The medieval Catholic Church, widely considered a source of intolerance and inquisitorial fervor, was not anti-science during the Dark Ages - in fact, the pope in the year 1000 was the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day. Called The Scientist Pope, Gerbert of Aurillac rose from peasant beginnings to lead the church. By turns a teacher, traitor, kingmaker, and visionary, Gerbert is the first Christian known to teach math using the nine Arabic numerals and zero.
"I liked the second half better than the first"
Monologist Mike Daisey presents a dazzling new work: four "bio-logues" about megalomania and desire constructed from the interleaved life stories of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and L. Ron Hubbard. Over four nights Daisey explores the nature of genius and wrestles with the pride, insanity, and chauvinism that bind these men together, and reveals how the heights and depths of their gifts have much to teach us about ourselves.
Monologist Mike Daisey presents a dazzling new work: four "bio-logues" about megalomania and desire constructed from the interleaved life stories of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and L. Ron Hubbard. L. Ron Hubbard was a bigamist, occultist, and charismatic science-fiction author-turned-guru who took 1950s popular psychiatry by storm and went on to create the Church of Scientology: the most celebrity-driven and litigious organization on Earth.
In this compelling portrait of Paul the man, his message, and his world, Robin Griffith-Jones reveals the apostle as a brilliantly entrepreneurial witness to the transforming presence of Jesus himself. This groundbreaking book unlocks Paul′s letters, revealing their purpose and power as never before.
Francis of Assisi is Catholicism's most popular saint. Tens of millions of spiritual seekers summon his name and example. But the real Francis - both his complicated personality and his complex theology - have been misunderstood for centuries. In 1228, Pope Gregory IX rushed to canonize St. Francis only two years after his death. Soon thereafter, the Church eliminated significant aspects of his biography from the public record.
"Ho-hum, didn't grab me."
When most people think of Mother Teresa, they think of a saint - a spiritual hero of extraordinary humanitarian accomplishments, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. But Mother Teresa was also the leader of one of the world's largest and most successful organizations: the Missionaries of Charity.
Miriam Therese Winter, an award-winning musician and four-time Catholic Book Award-winner, shares her experiences of becoming a Sister, working with starving children in Ethiopia and with refugees in Cambodia, of exploring the mysteries of India and the wonders of God in her own backyard, of having breast cancer and having hope. She also illumines new aspects of community, Eucharist, the word and spirit, water and the stars, spiritual blessedness, and much more.
From the 1950s until his death in 1994, Menachem Mendel Schneerson - revered by his followers worldwide simply as the Rebbe - built the Lubavitcher movement from a relatively small sect within Hasidic Judaism into the powerful force in Jewish life that it is today. Swept away by his expectation that the Messiah was coming, he came to believe that he could deny death and change history. Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman paint an unforgettable portrait of Schneerson.
In My Struggle with Faith, Girzone recounts the long, complicated, and often painful process he went through as he sought to find peace with his beliefs. He writes about hard decisions that set him on unexpected paths and about the immense feelings of loneliness he experienced in making those choices. In thoughtful and thought-provoking reflections he brings to life the years of searching and the deep, critical thinking that gave him the courage to embrace his beliefs, opening a world of excitement and adventure for him.
"Good message/ questionable narration"
The world's three largest faiths all find a common root in one man: Abraham. Breaking new ground, David Rosenberg portrays Abraham as a man whose whole life, and therefore his legacy, is informed by the Sumerian culture that produced him. Abraham is a brilliant literary excavation of the ancient cultures from which our modern world has grown.
"One of the best books I have experienced"
The fascinating story of a man whose exploration in spiritual existence has not been limited to his life as a rabbi, this autobiography shares Jerry Steinberg’s experience down a path less traveled. Revealing an understanding of God that goes beyond the conventional, the memoir contributes to a different perception of the world today - an open-eyed and open-minded view that will resonate with readers of any religious or spiritual background.
"Unique Story and Perspective"