“SPIRIT is the courage and determination that helps people to survive in difficult times and to keep their way of life and their beliefs.” That’s a dictionary definition of the term—and is just what most of us need as we approach the year-end holidays this year.
Remember: Hanukkah begins on December 22, Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on December 26, then some people even give New Year’s gifts. Books are a great choice for the New Year, because studies show that January is becoming a very popular month for starting new books!
What better gift to give someone this holiday season, than the gift of SPIRIT. All of these books promote peace by helping to bridge the gaps that separate Americans these days. Here are some suggestions from some of our favorite authors.
NOTE: With this article, we are providing the Amazon links because that’s the first choice for most customers, these days. However, all of our books are also available through Barnes & Noble, which is handy if you are part of the BN discount program—as well as many other online bookstores, including our own Front Edge store. We encourage you to order via whatever online retailer you prefer.
30 Days with Abraham Lincoln
At a time when Americans are more divided than ever, Abraham Lincoln still calls us back together. That’s why Lincoln remains the soul of America, appealing to everyone from the staunchest conservative Republican to progressive Democrats. That’s how a radio station in Maine built a loyal audience for a short weekly feature by Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer called Quiet Fire.
Now, you can join in this call to spiritually reunite our nation by becoming part of the first wave of readers of: 30 Days With Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire. This inspirational book collects 30 of Newcomer’s best radio stories in recent years along with links to listen to the original broadcasts.
Care to learn more? We also have launched a new resource page, packed with:
- Free media you can download to spread the word, including a press release and a one-page flyer suitable to hang on a wall to encourage small-group discussion. There’s even a 1-minute YouTube video you can share.
- Praise for this new book from men and women nationwide.
Finding God in Unexpected Places: Wisdom for Everyone from the Jewish Tradition
WARNING! The stories in this book might change your life. Responses we’ve heard nationwide include surprise, good cheer, occasional laughter and lots of reflections about the many ways God calls us to be compassionate people. How’s that for a gift with impact?
Author, Rabbi Jack Riemer is a master storyteller and teacher—one of the most frequently quoted rabbis in the U.S. That’s because of the fascinating ways he brings the relevance of timeless Jewish wisdom in our modern world.
What do a professional baseball player, Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry box, a hurricane, a garbage dump and a blue blazer hanging in your closet have to do with each other? They’re all turning points in Riemer’s stories in Finding God in Unexpected Places that lead us toward universal questions we all confront at some point in life.
Reflecting on Riemer’s wisdom about life, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor writes that the rabbi “is obviously a person with much understanding of the human situation.”
The late Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said, “Jack Riemer’s words are songs of hope and faith. Listen to them, as I do.”
Short Stuff From A Tall Guy
Do you have someone on your gift list who needs a boost of spirit for the new year? This book is the perfect gift.
Popular author and counselor Benjamin Pratt helps men and women rediscover hope and purpose in their lives through his writing, teaching and public appearances.
Short Stuff From A Tall Guy is a collection of dozens of columns that readers keep talking about as he travels and meets with groups of men and women. Pratt guides readers to fresh insights through compassion, humor, and honesty about the dilemmas, doubts and challenges that we all face every day.
All of his short, true-life stories lead readers toward the promise of home and renewed energy for trying to make the world a better place. He encourages readers to develop an empathetic heart.
And a special note: A number of the best stories in this book take readers through the seasons of the year—so you could order this book as a gift and specially highlight a story in the book for the season at hand.
In the Foreword to this book, Buddhist teacher Geri Larkin writes that she loves the book because it is “filled with compassion, service and respect for everyone. At a time when crime stories are the highest-ranked television shows and topping best-seller lists, here is a book that offers an entirely different experience.”
Can You Just Get Them Through Until Christmas?
The book’s subtitle hints at the inspiration you’ll find in these pages: The Turnaround Story of One Lay Minister and Two Small, Rural Churches.
When author Margie Briggs was asked to provide pastoral leadership for two tiny rural congregations, the men and women who continued to love those churches had hit rock bottom. Tragedy and controversy had claimed two previous pastors. Regional church leaders were so desperate that they begged Margie, a lay person, to work with the broken-hearted people in order to get them through the holidays. They asked her: Can You Just Get Them Through until Christmas?
Instead, Margie’s creativity and compassion inspired these men and women to reach out in new ways and sustainably grow their two churches into vibrant communities.
More than half of the churches in America are small with attendance of less than 100. In fact, the median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship on Sunday mornings, according to the National Congregations Study. Many other books, today, describe ministries at vast megachurches. This is a book for the vast majority of Americans who say they care about their far smaller congregations and pray, every week, that they might be able to grow. Margie and her parishioners did just that. Their story will make you laugh; a few of these honest scenes may make you cry; but, ultimately, you’ll be inspired by what is possible when men and women work together.
Friendship & Faith: Second Edition—The Wisdom of Women Creating Alliances for Peace
How about giving someone—or even yourself—the gift of friendship?
This book by the women of WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) serves up dozens of true stories about making friends, which may be the most important thing you can do to make the world a better place, and transform your own life in the process.
Making a new friend often is tricky, as you’ll discover in these dozens of real-life stories by women from a wide variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds. But, crossing lines of religion, race and culture is worth the effort, often forming some of life’s deepest friendships, these women have found.
In Friendship and Faith, you’ll discover how we really can change the world one friend at a time. So purchase a copy, give it to a women who you think could be a great friend, but maybe it’s not obvious to you both. She’ll get the hint.
Quaker singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer writes, “We are pressed daily by messages of fear, conflict and the idea that we are hopelessly divided by our differences. The stories contained in Friendship and Faith remind us of the richness and beauty contained in our diverse spiritual traditions, while affirming our shared human condition.”
Light Shines In the Darkness: My Healing Journey Through Sexual Abuse and Depression
Sadly, every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted—which makes Lucille F. Sider’s book, Light Shines in the Darkness, a poignant gift for many men and women who share this heartbreaking experience.
Clinical psychologist and clergywoman Lucille F. Sider added her voice to the chorus of women in the #WhyIDidntReport and #MeToo movements by authoring this inspiring and helpful memoir. This is Lucille’s story of resilience and hope as a survivor of sexual abuse. She explains the challenges of finding her way out of a fear-based spirituality into one that is full of grace, hope and forgiveness.
The unique richness of her book is that she wrote it to spark healing discussions. As she describes her experiences in these pages, she also steps back and offers helpful analysis as both a psychologist and a clergywoman.
At the end of the book, she includes a complete study guide with questions for reflection for individuals, small groups and classes. Light Shines in the Darkness is a gift for the survivor or small group leader on your holiday gift list.
Bullying Is No Laughing Matter—an anthology of famous comics
Millions of Americans follow the adventures of Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Luann, Dick Tracy, Gil Thorp and other top comic strip characters. We love to laugh at their adventures—and their misadventures. But, as the title of this powerful comic anthology declares: Bullying Is No Laughing Matter.
This full-color paperback represents a historic “team up” of America’s cartoon favorites. They’re united in encouraging kids to support each other when someone begins picking on them. National research shows that new forms of bullying follow kids wherever they go—inescapably plaguing them through social media on computers and smartphones.
Some of the comic artists contributing to this book have even added personal notes sharing their own experiences with bullies-or offering brief words of encouragement to kids. This book is a unique resource encouraging kids to build supportive relationships by starting with familiar characters they may have grown up with or will enjoy meeting in these pages.
Bullying Is No Laughing Matter unites 36 nationally distributed comic strips, many of them specifically addressing the issue of bullying for the first time in this publication. Readers will enjoy colorful visits from such regulars on the funny pages as Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Dennis the Menace, Dick Tracy, Funky Winkerbean, Gil Thorp, Luann, Stone Soup, Mary Worth, and many more.
Every Living Thing
The book’s subtitle explains why this is such a perfect gift for the animal lovers on your shopping list: How Pope Francis, Evangelicals and Other Christian Leaders Are Inspiring All of Us to Care for Animals.
That loved one on your gift-giving list who lives with a furry friend will thank you—no matter what religious tradition that person finds most inspiring. And, of course, the book extends beyond our beloved dogs and cats to encourage concern for Every Living Thing.
The world’s 2 billion Christians are hearing loud and clear teachings about animals these days. Pope Francis’s encyclical on creation care is joined by a chorus of American evangelical leaders writing about care for animals. The Humane Society of the United States has collected the latest teachings from Christian leaders to inspire individuals and spark fresh discussion in congregations. This book includes the new “Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals” and teachings from a dozen denominations.
Why should we turn to religious leaders for compassionate advice about the animals we love? Because the origins of the animal-care movement came from our religious traditions, writes best-selling historian Eric Metaxas. “The roots of animal activism come from people of faith—there are biblical reasons for this.”
Finally, if daily headlines about angry political and cultural disputes are distressing you and your loved ones—here’s some amazing good news.
It’s in the subtitle to United America: The surprising truth about American values, American identity and the 10 beliefs that a large majority of Americans hold dear.
University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker is reporting a surprising truth about Americans: We are united by 10 Core Values. This truth is empowering because it enables us to rise above and see beyond political polarization, Washington gridlock, the imagery of Red/Blue states, and the rhetoric of culture wars and class warfare.
In these pages, Dr. Baker shows how Americans agree on a surprising number of principles, based on years of nonpartisan, scientifically balanced polling and research.
Second, this book is exceptional in its format, designed for individual reading and flexible use in classes, small groups and other settings where men and women enjoy civil discussion about the urgent issues of our day. Educators and business leaders will find this book very useful, partly because it is so easy to adapt for your setting.
The idea that we share certain basic values is valuable and empowering-it’s an insight that can bridge political chasms rather than deepen them.
There is so much more great reading …
Our staff and friends urge you to check out our entire bookstore.