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RECOMMENDED RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL BOOKS

2004-July to December

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Sponsored link.


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The current month's recommendation is located elsewhere.

The following two books take totally opposing viewpoints on same-sex marriage.

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"Marriage under fire" is by James Dobson, founder and head of the conservative Christian group: Focus on the Family. He discusses the "homosexual activist movement" who have "a master plan to utterly destroy the family." You can buy it used for $2.00 plus postage. It only received a three star rating (out of five) by Amazon reviewers. However, it does accurately reflect the conservative Christian message.

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"Why marriage matters: America, equality and gay people's right to marry" is by Eval Wolfson, the Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, a non-profit dedicated to making marriage available to all committed couples. He discusses marriage equity, and likens the battle over same-sex marriage to past conflicts over civil rights. It received a 4.5 star rating.

We recommend that visitors to this site read both books. That way, they can gain an understanding of the main conflicting viewpoints over same-sex marriage. If you can only afford one book, we recommend that you purchase the book that is opposite to your current beliefs. You may learn a lot.

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The first book opposes same-sex marriage:

"Marriage Under Fire: Why we must win this battle"

by Dr. James Dobson

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The book is neatly summarized in an editorial review posted on the Amazon.com web site, apparently written by the author, Dr. James Dobson:

"For the past forty years, the homosexual activist movement has sought to implement a master plan to utterly destroy the family. Unelectable and unaccountable rogue judges have made a habit of inventing rights that not only don't exist in the Constitution, but also contradict both the will of the people and the actions of the legislative branch. Christians around the world have scrambled, wondering how to respond. How do we discuss this intelligently? What can we do to make our voices heard? In his newest release, Marriage Under Fire, Dr. Dobson addresses the dire ramifications of judicial activism and presents compelling arguments against the legalization of homosexual unions - mobilizing the Christian community to respond to a call to action. 'I understand both the busy-ness of daily life and the intimidation that the average man or woman feels in the face of this overwhelming cultural challenge. But we need to work together. Maybe you want to make a difference but you simply don't know what to do. May this book encourage you for the battle ahead, as we fight to save the institution of the family'."

Amazon.com reviewers cited the following quotes from the book:

bullet"Like Adolf Hitler, who overran his European neighbors, those who favor homosexual marriage are determined to make it legal, regardless of the democratic processes that stand in the way." (Page 41).
bullet"The history of the gay and lesbian movement has been that its adherents quickly move the goal line as soon as the previous one has been breached, revealing even more shocking and outrageous objectives." (Page 50)
bullet"With the legalization of homosexual marriage, every public school in the nation will be required to teach this perversion as the moral equivalent of traditional marriage between a man and a woman... it is already happening in the state of California." (Page 56)
bullet"Marriage is a sacrament designed by God that serves as a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and His church. Tampering with His plan for the family is immoral and wrong." (Page 63).
 
Author: Dr. James Dobson
Title: "Marriage Under Fire: Why we must win this battle"
Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: Multnomah
ISBN: 1590524314
Release date: 2004-JUN
Pages: 128
Cost: List: U.S. $10.99 plus shipping. Amazon.com sells it for $8.79 plus shipping. Amazon Marketplace has a number of vendors that occasionally sell surplus new and used copies at much lower prices, on the order of $2.00 plus shipping.

As of 2004-AUG, Amazon offers free shipping for orders to U.S. addresses in excess of $25.00. You simply select "Super Saver Shipping" when you go to the Amazon checkout.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

This review continues below.

Sponsored link:

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The second book promotes same-sex marriage:

Why marriage matters: America, equality and gay people's right to marry

by Eval Wolfson

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From an Amazon.com review:

"Why Marriage Matters offers a compelling and clear discussion of a question at the forefront of our national consciousness. It is the work of a brilliant civil rights litigator who has dedicated his life to the protection of individuals' rights and our Constitution's commitment to equal justice under the law. Above all, it is a thoughtful, straightforward book that brings into sharp focus the human significance of the right to marry in America -- not just for some couples, but for all."

"Whatever your personal beliefs, we all can agree that marriage equality provokes both passion and tension, and looms large in our nation's politics. Marriage means many things to many people -- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually -- but in these pages, Evan Wolfson demonstrates a truth that is undeniable: Marriage is the legal gateway to a vast array of tangible and intangible protections, responsibilities, and benefits, most of which cannot be replicated in any other way."

"Wolfson is a formidable legal thinker who has participated in landmark cases to end race discrimination in jury trials, to secure the rights of battered married women, and to challenge the abuse of power at the highest level in government. Now, with extraordinary clarity, fascinating stories, and legal and historical examples, he addresses the questions we as Americans are asking ourselves as we consider how marriage equality will affect our lives. Why is the word marriage so important? What are the stakes for America in this civil rights movement? How can people of different faiths reconcile their beliefs with the idea of marriage for same-sex couples? How will allowing gay couples to marry affect children? Here you will find thorough, honest answers -- some that may surprise you, some that will persuade you, many that will move you. Wolfson recalls the history of past battles over marriage and movements for equality, and articulates the everyday acts of discrimination that frame this current movement -- acts of discrimination that, if faced by non-gay Americans, would provoke a resounding cry of injustice."

"Marriage matters because it is a foundation upon which most Americans build dreams. It is the cornerstone of commitment one individual makes to another -- a commitment we are taught is the highest expression of love, dedication, and responsibility. In this, the most powerful, authoritative, and fairly articulated book on the subject, Wolfson demonstrates why the right to marry is important -- indeed necessary -- for all couples and for America's promise of equality."

Author: Evan Wolfson
Title: "Why marriage matters: America, equality and gay people's right to marry"
Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 1590524314
Release date: 2004-AUG
Pages: 256
Cost: List: U.S. $22.00 plus shipping. Amazon.com sells it for $14.96 plus shipping. Amazon Marketplace has a number of vendors that occasionally sell surplus new and used copies at a slightly lower price, on the order of $11.00 plus shipping.

As of 2004-NOV, Amazon offers free shipping for orders to U.S. addresses in excess of $25.00. You simply select "Super Saver Shipping" when you go to the Amazon checkout.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

"What Do You Believe?
A documentary about American teens, spirituality and freedom of religion.

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Sarah Feinbloom's documentary "What Do You Believe?" is based on 200 interviews with 15 and 16-year-olders. 1 It focuses on the stories of six teens who are dedicated to their chosen religion: Carina Vinh Lieu, a Buddhist; Mazouza Assaf, a Muslim; David Present Thomas, a Jew, Julius Not Afraid, a follower of Native American Spirituality, Morgan Green, a Neo-Pagan; and Anthony Valdez. a Roman Catholic. Seon Hye Moon writes in her movie review for WireTap: "Feinbloom says that teens' openness and curiosity, as well as their concern for the world around them make them prime subjects for a film that she hopes will promote tolerance in a world where religious differences cause bloodshed....Teens are often the subject of stories about alcohol and drugs, crime reports, and educational statistics" says Feinbloom, 'but rarely are they asked for their intellect and perspective.' Feinbloom's film is an important effort in the movement to give young people a voice about their own experiences. Because as Mazouza [the Muslim teen in the film] believes, 'young people will listen to young people'." 2

Their web site has an amazing discussion/study guide at: http://www.whatdoyoubelieve.org/ They also have an impressive parents' guide at http://www.whatdoyoubelieve.org/ You may need software to read these files. It can be obtained free from:

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The movie was:

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Broadcast multiple times at WGBH-TV (PBS) in Boston MA.

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Broadcast at KCET (PBS) in Los Angeles, CA

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Awarded one of ten best videos for young people in 2003 by the America Library Association.

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Named one of "The Ten Best Videos of 2003 for Young Adults" by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

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Shown at the Provincetown Film Festival and Mill Valley Film Festival during 2002.

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Shown at the Toronto International Children's Film Festival, Calgary International Film Festival, Religion Today Film Festival, National Association of Multicultural Educators Conference, and the Cinemagic Film Festival (Belfast) during 2003.

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Shown at the Artivist Film Festival and North American Interfaith Network Film Festival in 2004. It will be seen at the American Academy of Religion meeting later in 2004.

Some reviews:

bullet"An outstanding documentary...A magnificent undertaking...the dialogue is from the heart." School Library Journal
bullet"Evocative…one of the Bay Area's Best." San Francisco Chronicle
bullet"This richly textured documentary is an excellent teaching tool at the high school and college levels." Donald E Miller, Executive Director of the Center For Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California.
bullet"A sensitively filmed and artfully edited discussion-provoker; it opens lots of doors but pushes no particular agenda." David Streight, Director, Religious Studies in Secondary School.
bullet"Superb for teaching about multiculturalism and comparative religion." Greg Turpin, History Teacher, Boston Latin School
bullet"Does a great job of introducing viewers to the complexities of teenage faith and highlighting religious journeys that are off-the-beaten-path." Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
bullet"...This insightful documentary is highly recommended." Video Librarian.
bullet"A compelling educational, peacemaking film without being didactic, sectarian, or doctrinaire. Every public school, congregation and youth program in the country should have a copy of it." Rev. Paul Chaffee, Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio, San Francisco, CA.

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Information about the film:

bulletProducer/Director: Sarah Feinbloom
bulletExecutive Producer: Lenny Lieberman
bulletRunning time: 49 minutes
bulletAvailable in VHS and DVD formats. The DVD disk also includes an interview with the director lasting ten minutes, an epilog, and a 28-page guide.
bulletCost is $29.95 in U.S. funds for home use; $99 for non-profit and high school use; $199 for institutional use.
bulletIt can be ordered at: : http://www.whatdoyoubelieve.org/

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References used:

  1. "What Do You Believe" has an official web site at: http://www.whatdoyoubelieve.org
  2. Seon Hye Moon, "What Do You Believe?," WireTap movie review, 2002-JUN-11, at: http://www.alternet.org/

"Speaking my mind:
The radical Evangelical prophet tackles the tough issues Christians are afraid to face
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Amazon.com describes this book: "Fifteen years ago, Tony Campolo’s '20 Hot Potatoes That Christians Are Afraid to Touch' pushed, pulled, and prodded Christians into serious consideration of controversial but critical issues related to the Christian life. Campolo challenged his more than 150,000 readers to re-think their convictions (and prejudices) and to do something about them!

Dubbed by Christianity Today as “the positive prophet” and “a ferocious critic of Christians left and right,” Campolo lives up to his reputation in this latest book examining some of today’s toughest questions and issues:

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Is evangelical Christianity anti-feminist?

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Is our affluent lifestyle at odds with our faith?

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Is America really in moral decline?

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Is capitalism a God-ordained system?

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Is Islam really an evil religion?

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Should Christian parents pull their kids out of public schools?

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Was the war with Iraq a 'just' war?

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These questions, and more!

Speaking My Mind…Tony Campolo at his best."

Rating: The book received 3 stars out of a maximum of 5 stars based on a single review. It is somewhat controversial among religious conservatives.

Our comments: Tony Campolo is a bit of a maverick: an Evangelical Christian with conservative theological beliefs, who is also a social progressive. He disproves the commonly held belief that, as he writes:"...evangelicals are clones." He notes that non-Evangelicals often "see us as people who have a single way of thinking and talking. Recently, I heard someone refer to evangelicals as 'cookie-cutter Christians.' To be credible, we must demonstrate that we are a body of individuals, each of whom can think for herself or himself. I have made an attempt in this book to do that."

Author: Tony Campolo
Title: "Speaking my mind: The radical Evangelical prophet tackles the tough issues Christians are afraid to see"
Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: W Publishing Group
ISBN: 0849918170
Release date: 2004-JUL
Pages: 240
Cost: List: U.S. $19.99. Amazon.com sells it for $13.99. Amazon Marketplace has a number of vendors that occasionally sell surplus new and used copies at much lower prices.

As of 2004-AUG, Amazon offers free shipping for orders to U.S. addresses in excess of $25.00. You simply select "Super Saver Shipping" when you go to the Amazon checkout.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

"We're Still Family: What grown children have to say about their parents' divorce"

Amazon.com describes this book: "What is the real legacy of divorce? Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., author of the highly praised THE GOOD DIVORCE, decided to find out by expanding her landmark study to include in-depth interviews with 173 grown children whose divorcing parents she interviewed twenty years earlier. What she has learned is both heartening and significant.

In WE'RE STILL FAMILY, Ahrons challenges the myth that children of divorce are troubled, drug abusing, academically challenged, and unable to form adult relationships. Instead she provides new evidence that the legacy of divorce is not as devastating as some researchers have suggested. Major findings show that:

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Most of these young adults emerged stronger and wiser in spite of -- or perhaps because of -- their parents' divorces and remarriages.

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The majority were very clear that their parents' divorce had positive outcomes, not only for their parents but for themselves as well.

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More than half felt that their relationships with their fathers actually improved after the divorce. While their new families of stepparents and half-siblings may look different from other families, the majority of these young adults feel connected to the family members who make up their world.

Divorce is never easy for any family, but it does not have to destroy children's lives or lead to family breakdown. By listening to the voices of these grown children, divorcing parents will learn what they can do to maintain family bonds. They will find helpful road maps identifying both the benefits and the harms to children post-divorce. Parents need to be comforted by the truth about divorce and not threatened by alarming misinformation and overblown worst-case scenarios. And they need to believe that after all is said and done, their children will look at their post divorce families and say with conviction, 'We're still family'."  

Rating: The book received 4.5 stars out of a maximum of 5 stars -- an excellent rating.

Our comments: Sociologists are far from reaching a consensus on the the long-term effects of divorce on children. Two very active researchers in this field are:

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Judith Wallerstein, who argues that divorce causes extremely serious and long-term damage to children in the divorcing family, and that these problems may not materialize for a decade or more.

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Constant Ahrons, who argues that children are resilient and that damage to children in is generally short term.

Some twenty-five years ago, sociologist Constance Ahrons selected 98 divorced parents in Wisconsin for a long-term study. She published a book "The Good Divorce" in 1994 in which she asserted that "divorce doesn't destroy families." Rather, it produces new family structures which include children who may be strengthened by the process. Dr. Ahrons revisited the original group of parents and was able to interview almost all of their grown children. Her extended study confirms her original conclusions.

The final chapter of the book is titled "Advise From The Front Lines." It offers suggestions from children of divorce -- now adults -- on how to minimize harm to the children while divorcing. 

Excerpts from reviewers' comments:

bulletWarren Farrell, Ph.D., author of Father and Child Reunion and Why Men Are the Way They Are: 
bullet"Insightful, wise and honest, this longitudinal study is an important addition to our understanding the family after divorce."
bulletVicki Lansky, author of Divorce Book for Parents and It's Not Your Fault, Koko Bear:
bullet"Solid research by this qualified professional will help put to bed the conclusion that divorce is the demise of family."
bulletLois Braverman, President, American Family Therapy Academy and author of Women, Feminism, and Family Therapy: 
bullet"With clarity and compassion, Dr. Ahrons presents solid research that gives us answers to the questions plaguing families and clinicians!"
bulletRichard A. Warshak, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and author of Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond From a Vindictive Ex: 
bullet"An astounding accomplishment! Filled with insights and advice....If you want the best for your children, read this book."
bulletMary Catherine Bateson, author of Full Circles, Overlapping Lives: 
bullet"With her long-term unbiased research, Ahrons shows that children can grow up secure and loved by both parents."
bulletHarriet Lerner, author of Fear and Other Uninvited Guests:  
bullet"The voices of grown children are compelling! Filled with practical advice for helping two household families tap into unanticipated strengths."
bulletEvan Imber-Black, Ph.D. , Editor, Family Process and Director of the Center for Families and Health, Ackerman Institute for the Family: 
bullet"Required reading for those contemplating or recently or long-divorced; adult children; clergy, mental health practitioners, teachers and policy-makers."
 
Author: Constance Ahrons
Title: "We're still family: What grown children have to say about their parent's divorce."
Edition: Hardcover
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0060193050
Release date: 20040-JUN
Pages: 304
Cost: List: U.S. $24.95. Amazon Marketplace has a number of vendors that occasionally sell surplus new and used copies at much lower prices.

As of 2004-AUG, Amazon offers free shipping for orders to U.S. addresses in excess of $25.00. You simply select "Super Saver Shipping" when you go to the Amazon checkout.

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

This graphic lists the most popular religious & spiritual books currently being sold by Amazon.com:

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Copyright © 2004 & 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUL
Latest update: 2005-JAN-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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