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A Bibliography of Recommended Readings
Here is a brief bibliography of books that support the core mission of Realistic Living.
Basic Books in Classic Post-Kierkegaardian Theology
Søren Kierkegaard -- The Sickness Unto Death H. Richard
Niebuhr -- Radical Monotheism and Western Culture Paul Tillich
-- The Shaking of the Foundations Dietrich Bonhoeffer -- Life
Together Rudolf Bultmann -- Primitive Christianity in its
Contemporary Setting Simone Weil -- Waiting for God Joseph
Mathews -- Bending History: Talks of Joseph Wesley Mathews
Key Symposium-Inspired Works in Theology and Mission
The Road from Empire to Eco-Democracy by Gene Marshall, Ben
Ball, Marsha Buck, Ken Kreutziger, and Alan Richard
Key Methods Resources
Brian Stanfield -- The Art of Focused Conversation: 100
Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace
Readings in Christianity and Ecology
Thomas Berry -- The Dream of the Earth
Readings in Liberation Theology and Feminism
Mary Daly -- Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s
Further Witnesses in the Wake of the Joe Mathews Inspiration
John Baggett -- Seeing Through the Eyes of Jesus: His
Revolutionary View of Reality & . . . Significance for Faith John
Cock -- The Transparent Event: Post-Modern Christ Images
Key Books on Recovering a Picture of the Historical Jesus
Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus and the Word (1958: Charles Scribner’s Sons). This book is still the classic on this subject. Much of its wisdom has never been improved upon.
Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity (1970: Orbis books). This book uses well the historical situation to give Jesus a fully revolutionary character.
John Dominic Crossan, Jesus, A Revolutionary Biography (1995: HarperSanFranciso). This recent book by a bold Roman Catholic scholar is a powerful updating of our historical picture of Jesus. It is hard-headed and socially challenging as well as a colorful and personal portrait.
Marcus J. Borg, Jesus, a New Vision (1987: HarperSanFranciso). This book contains well-stated insights not found elsewhere. It is also a challenging and colorful portrait. It is easily read and should not be omitted from a short list on this subject. Borg further illuminates his perspective in a second book entitled Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (1995: HarperSanFranciso)
Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and The Jesus Seminar; The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (1993: Macmillan Publishing Company). This volume is a fresh translation of the New Testament, a translation of the Gospel of Thomas, an introduction to the historical/critical study of these documents, and a line by line estimation of what words attributed to Jesus were most probably and least probably said by the historical Jesus.
On New Testament Theology
Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (1951 & 1955: Charles Scribner’s Sons). For precise and illuminating exegesis of all layers of the New Testament development, this book is still, in my view, without equal.
Walter Wink, Naming the Powers, Unmasking the Powers, and Engaging the Powers (1980s: Fortress Press). This three-volume work provides some unique insights into the New Testament breakthrough and its abiding relevance. Wink focuses on translating into contemporary language the New Testament metaphors of "evil spirits" and "angels."
Key Books on an Introduction to the Old Testament
Bernhard Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament (1957: Prentice-Hall, Inc.) I have never found a finer book for making the complex history and messages of the Old Testament accessible to the general reader.
Martin Buber, The Prophetic Faith (1949: Macmillan Company). Joining together in one read the Spirit power of the prophets and of the Jewish scholar and luminary, Martin Buber, is an experience worth having.
Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (1978: Fortress Press). This short book is easily read and inspires a deep appreciation for the prophets and of their relationships with both Moses and Jesus. Brueggemann expands this picture of prophetic relevance in another short book, Hopeful Imagination: Prophetic Voices in Exile.
More classic books on the Twentieth Century Theological Recovery
H. Richard Niebuhr, The Responsible Self: An Essay in Christian Moral Philosophy (1963: Harper and Row). This book fills out our vision of Niebuhr’s mature thinking and introduces us to the Holy Spirit as freedom operating in various ethical formats: right and wrong, good and evil, and (most recently) responsible and irresponsible.
Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith (1957: Harper and Row). This brief volume provides Tillich’s pristine thinking on the meaning of "faith" as a profound commitment that must be distinguished from rational beliefs and from the symbols with which faith is expressed.
Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology (1958: Charles Scribner’s Sons). No list of readable contemporary Christian classics would be complete without this provocative volume. I have already mentioned Bultmann’s more scholarly works under New Testament Theology, but if you are going to read only one of Bultmann’s books, perhaps this should be the one..
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (1949: The Macmillan Company). Though not an easy read, this book reveals Bonhoeffer doing the mature ethical thinking that made him what he was as a courageous critic and martyr within fascist Germany.
Søren Kierkegaard, Training in Christianity provides
Kierkegaard’s approach to Jesus as a revelatory encounter with
the Eternal. Our education on this subject is incomplete without these
Books on Social Transformation
If you are going to read just one book to understand the modern economic crisis, I recommend David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World (1995: Berrett-Koehler Publishers & Kumarian Press).
For a detailed and encouraging vision of the next economy and how we might get there, I recommend David Korten’s sequel, The Post-Corporate World (1999: Berrett-Koehler Publishers & Kumarian Press).
Along the same lines is this brief volume of colorful essays edited by Kevin Danaher, Corporations are Gonna Get Your Mama: Globalization and the Downsizing of the American Dream (1996: Common Courage Press)
Rolf Østerberg, a successful business man himself, has written a brief, readable and awakening volume called Corporate Renaissance. (1993: Natarah Publishing, P.O. Box 2627 Mill Valley, CA 94942).
On the complex issues of an alternative money system, I have found this brief book very helpful: Margrit Kennedy, Interest and Inflation Free Money (1995: New Society Publishers).
For inspiration and detailed information on the crucial shift from corporations to cooperatives I recommend We Build the Road as we Travel by Roy Morrison (1991: New Society Publishers).
On the complexities of world trade and many other matters I found very informative this book by Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb Jr. For the Common Good (1989: Beacon Press).
The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken (1993: Harper Business) is another passionate and informative volume, especially on taxation concerns.
Natural Capitalism: creating the next industrial revolution, by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins (1999: Little, Brown and Company) is a fine resource for illustrations on inventing viable social forms for the future.
Georgian Economics and the single tax on land (or on the natural commons) has been a meaningful piece of my economic education. Materials on this perspective can be received from the Henry George School of Social Sciences 417 South Dearborn St. #510 Chicago, IL 60605. For more thoroughness, read Henry George’s classic book, Progress and Poverty.
On Political Transformation
If you need a book on mapping your geographical place in an ecological fashion, the most adequate volume on this subject is: Boundaries of Home, edited by Doug Aberly (1993: New Society Publishers).
The following brief book goes to the heart of the matter of localizing political power: Putting Power in its Place edited by Judith Plant and Christopher Plant. (1992: New Society Publishers).
For a thoroughly convincing argument for the need for decentralization, I recommend Kirkpatrick Sale’s classic volume, Human Scale (1980: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan).
If you need some history of the environmental movement on the American continent, Kirkpatrick Sale’s brief book, The Green Revolution, can brings you up to speed (1993: Hill and Wang).
For a European approach to ecological politics, I recommend Rudolf Bahro, Building the Green Movement (1989: New Society Publishers).
Murry Bookchin is very provocative on the subjects of freedom, hierarchy, and ecology. I recommend his brief book, Remaking Society (1990 South End Press Boston MA).
On Cultural Transformation
The Great Work: our way into the future by Thomas Berry (1999: Bell Tower) is worth reading carefully and many times. Berry provides a clear picture of our overall ecological crisis as well as its economic, politlcal, and cultural components. Berry pushes all these topics to a depth level, and he provides a competent history of how we got into the mess wer are in.
The Universe Story, by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, is a must read for developing our overall story of human history within the context of natural history (1992: HarperSanFrancisco).
Thomas Berry’s book of essays, The Dream of the Earth, is also first rate for establishing within our scientific culture an interior ethical foundation rooted in the natural world (1988: Sierra Club Books).
For the long historical view on male-female balance, this remains a colorful and helpful book: The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler (1988: Harper and Row).
For grasping the close relationship between feminism and ecology, I recommend this book of essays: Healing the Wounds edited by Judith Plant (1989: New Society Publishers).
For the transformation required of men moving into a gender-balanced emerging culture, I recommend Fire in the Belly by Sam Keen (1991: Bantam Books).
Truth of Dare: econounter with power, authority and mystery, by Starhawk (1987: Harper and Row) is an enduring classic on overcoming our patriarchal conditioning
The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abrams probes deeply into our over-rational culture. I highly recommend this book for its helpful union of philosophy, ethics and ecology (1996: Pantheon Books).
I am putting In the Absence of the Sacred, by Jerry Mander, in the cultural list even though this book could be in the economic and political sections as well. Mander’s juxtaposition of Native American culture with modern industrial culture is a shockingly deep probe into the soul of this continent (1991: Sierra Club Books).
The writings of deep ecology profoundly link the ecological crisis with the depths of personal existence. I recommend Deep Ecology for the 21st Century edited by George Sessions (1995 Shambhala).
For linking our psychological healing with our relationship with the
Earth, I recommend The Voice of the Earth by Theodore Roszak (1992:
Simon and Schuster).
These are some of the books that have formed my perspective on the
religions of the world and their importance for our overall human destiny.
I have uses two criteria in selecting these books from the hundreds
of good books with which I am familiar: (1) accessibility to the reader
and (2) worth the effort in term of profound and competent insight.
Huston Smith’s colorful overview is an excellent place to begin: The illustrated World Religions: A guide to our Wisdom Traditions (1991: HarperSanFrancisco).
Charlene Spretnak States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age (1991: HarperSanFrancisco). This book dramatizes how four basic heritages of our vast diversity of religious inheritance give us groundings we badly need for our personal, ethical, and ecological sanity.
Myth and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization (1946: Harper Torchbooks) by Heinrich Zimmer and edited by Joseph Campbell. For a quick and artful introduction to the religions of India I know of no book better than this one.
Thomas Merton, The Way of Chang Tzu (1946: New Directions). This book of poems opened my being to wisdom traditions of China.
Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (1950: Oxford University Press). This book is the classic on defining religious experience in both its dreadful and fascinating components as our more-than-rational encounters with the "wholly other."
On the North American Appropriation of Buddhism
I believe that the following books on Buddhism and many others like them are important contributions to the entire religious life of North America.
Vererable Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English (1941: Wisdom Publications). This is my favorite introduction to insight meditation practice.
Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, The Path of Insight Meditation (1995: Shambhala). This is a brief and excellent introduction to insight meditation practice.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are (1994: Hyperion). This is an extremely colorful, accessible, and inspiring collection of compactly written teachings.
Sylvia Boorstein, Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There (1996: HarperSanFranciso). This is a simple manual for doing your own meditation retreat.
Thich Nhat Hahn, The Miracle of Mindfulness (1975: Beacon Press). This book is a good introduction to the wisdom of this popular Vietnamese Zen master.
Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (1970: Weatherhill), This classic book has inspired many.
David, Chadwick, Crooked Cucumber (1999: Broadway Books). This is an informative and inspiring story of the life and Zen Teachings of Shunryu Suzuki.
Chogyam Trungpa, The Path is the Goal (1995: Shambhala) Turngpa is the Buddhist master that has most won my heart. This Tibetan luminary is a worthy member of anyone’s inner council of teachers. This book is a simple introduction to the fundamental teachings of this unusual person.
Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior and Great Easter Sun, The Wisdom of Shambhala, (1988 and 1999: Shambhala). These two book contain some of the most mature and profound teachings of this surprisingly insightful and challenging man.
Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are, A Guide to Compassionate Living (1994: Shambhala). This woman, a student of Trungpa, is a worthy student of her renowned teacher, a breath of fresh air to both women and men on the theme of living beyond all moralisms and in profound compassion for others.
Lenore Freidman and Susan Moon--editors, Being Bodies, Buddhist Women on the Paradox of Embodiment (1997: Shambhala). This book is refreshingly clarifying on the topic of relating our Spirit aliveness to being a body.
Lama Surya Das, Awakening the Buddha Within (1997: Broadway Books). This western man’s story of exploring Tibetan Buddhism is again and again a pleasant surprise of unique insight and challenge.
Rita M. Gross, Soaring and Settling (1998: Continuum). For relating
Buddhist Spirit perspectives to contemporary social and religious issues,
this book is wonderful.