The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What books are our members reading? Post updates freely! {g}

I haven’t found the book that @Bob_Wilson recommended yet - at a used price - but for the nonce, I wonder if those, like Bob, who have put a lot of thought into this matter, think that the following trend and world-view is correct, going way too far, or not going far enough?
From RandyKOZ’s BBC :wink:

It seemed perfectly clear that the tweet intended to make parents more open to the possibility that their little bundles of joy may not turn out to be the boy or girl they thought they were raising. In fact, it strongly suggests that being too forceful in teaching such once-elementary realities as “boys have penises, girls have vaginas” is dangerous and antiquated.

The article:

"Most of the time our worry comes from a desire to be in control. It’s actually a form of idolatry because it’s making something else out to be bigger than God. We put Him back in His proper place in our minds when we say, “You’re a good Father. I’m going to trust You. I refuse to worry about these things and choose to cast them on You. I have faith that You are a good Daddy” (p.99).

I have started ‘The Rational Optimist’ and will tell my feelings when done, it is by Matt Ridley and talks about how human evolution is moving forward. So far great book and more so a great idea.

Currently reading The Evangelical Universalist. I’ve got to say, it’s much different than I thought it would be. From the sermons and youtube videos I’ve watched of Robin Parry, I’ve always found him to be highly academic, but his book is much easier to follow. Enjoying it so far, and I plan to post a review once I finish it.

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The Imitation of Christ - a Kempis
Paul and the Faithfulness of God - NT Wright
God and the Philosophers - ed. Thomas V. Morris
The Soul of Rumi - Coleman Barks

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I’m reading three books concurrently - well, not strictly concurrently, i.e. at the same time. They are the type of books one can read a bit, put down and carry on with others.

Specifically, Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life, Jordan Sarfati’s Refuting Compromise, and Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth. All very worth reading.

Sarfati’s book is a refutation of Hugh Ross’s attempts to fit creationism into the current position of non-creation scientists (the large majority) who attempt to explain you, me, all life and things from a purely naturalistic system of belief.

Pearcey provides an amazingly erudite case for a Christian worldview. She also sides with Sarfati in repudiating modern fallacies about the origins of this universe, this planet and all life herein. She exposes Darwinism for the nonsense it is.

Good reads, especially for the many of you on this Forum who appear to have adopted unproven, in fact unprovable, theories.

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This review has moved me to order Amery’s essay. The link to this most excellent blog is at the bottom.
Review from
A Commonplace Blog - RSS by
(D. G. Myers)

My [first post for the Image Journal ’s Good Letters blog, which I have joined as a regular contributor, is up this morning. It is an attack on the vulgar understanding of religion as the experience of transcendence. I prefer what William James dismisses as religion’s “dull habit.”

The occasion of my Good Letters post was a review by Alan Lightman, the novelist who doubles as a physicist, in which he advances transcendence as the religious emotion. Transcendence is religion’s “high,” but like a drug-induced ecstasy, it grows blunt and less keen over time. Larger and more frequent doses of the original stimulus are necessary to revive the experience, which will never be as good as the first time. Or, to say the same thing in a different metaphor, the “acute fever” of religion, which James defends against its dull habit, is a condition in which no one can live for very long without suffering hallucinations.

There is a more adequate account of transcendence. The source is Jean Améry, the great Holocaust essayist. (He also wrote unforgettably about aging and suicide.) Transcendence, he wrote in At the Mind’s Limits , first published in 1976, is the “basic quality” of the human mind. Améry means something quite ordinary by this: the mind reveals itself in transcending the brute and unpleasant facts of physical reality. “The mind is its own place,” as Milton’s Satan famously says, “and in it self Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.” Terminal illness can become the enjoyment of the small pleasures that give life its subtle tam ; performing the remunerative but difficult work upon which others depend can become the source of bitterness and complaint.

In the death camps, the German Nazis perfected a system for destroying the mind’s basic quality of transcendence. Améry recalled a winter’s night upon which the prisoners were being marched back from the I. G. Farben factory. The waving of a flag in front of a high-finished building caught his attention, and immediately it reminded him of a favorite poem by Friedrich Hölderlin. He quoted it aloud; nothing happened; he quoted it again, louder:The poem no longer transcended reality. There it was and all that remained was objective statement: such and such, and the Kapo roars “left,” and the soup was watery, and the flags are clanking in the wind.The reality of the camp subsumed the poem-fed mind. But the outcome was not inevitable. Prisoners who were committed to a reality beyond the camp—“militant Marxists, sectarian Jehovah’s Witnesses, practicing Catholics,” and of course Orthodox Jews—were more likely to survive or at least “died with more dignity than their irreligious and unpolitical intellectual comrades, who often were infinitely better educated and more practiced in exact thinking.” Believing in another reality (God’s love, the brit olam with the Jewish people, the final victory of Communism) they were able to detach themselves from conditions in Auschwitz that defy the imagination. “The grip of the horror reality,” Améry concludes, “was weaker where from the start reality had been placed in the framework of an unalterable idea.”
The function of transcendence in the religious life is to lay the foundation of an unalterable idea. The framework, though—the daily commitment to the idea—becomes what Lightman calls the “most persuasive evidence of God.” Transcendence is a glimpse of the reality created and sustained by dull habit.
No one in the literary culture understands this better than Christopher Beha. Without giving too much away—I plan to review it at length elsewhere— Arts and Entertainments , Beha’s second novel, turns on an experience of transcendence, just like What Happened to Sophie Wilder , his brilliant first novel. For Sophie, however, the experience of transcendence mandated a reorganization of life. Eddie Hartley, the hero of Beha’s followup novel, goes through something similar:As a ten-year-old altar boy at his family’s parish in Queens, Eddie had experienced a single unforgettable moment of what adults might call transcendence, when his whole body buzzed with the presence of something other than himself, a moment he had never talked about to anyone and didn’t like to think about now, because it still seemed unmistakably real to Eddie and didn’t make any sense to him.Instead, Eddie tries to find substitutes for the experience in acting (“Something like that feeling had sometimes visited him while he was onstage”), and it remains without religious significance for him: “If asked, he would have said he was Catholic, just as he would have said he was Irish—it was a matter of birth, not of action or belief.”

Everything that happens to Eddie in the sequel is a consequence of his failure to make “that feeling” the basis of action or belief. Like so many of his contemporaries, he prefers the fever to the habit.

Dr. Sleep by Stephen King, sequel to The Shining.

Is Dr. Sleep any good? King has gotten kind of hit-or-miss, but the Shining is a classic.

I haven’t bought this book yet but I like what I’ve already read on the Amazon preview facility:

A Larger Hope?, Volume 2: Universal Salvation from the Reformation to the Nineteenth Century

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Looks like a very good read! That’s the time period I am most interested in.

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Reading ‘The United States of Toyota’

By Peter M De Lorenzo.

His blog about cars and Detroit is classic. Must read for any CAR GUYS!

So far it’s really good.

The title reminds me, of an old Johnny Cash song!

I may just give it a try.

I am reading “Inspired” by Rachel Held Evans. I am finding it surreal to have started reading the book when Evans was alive and to have not finished it before she very tragically passed away.

It is an excellent book and I hope she will be remembered for it and her other work.


I found a great price on this new, unabridged 1-volume complete works of W.E. Channing, in a large paperback. The only downside is, the print is a bit small; but it is clear and easy to read.

I’ve posted the first chapter - “The Perfect Life” -incredible, get it whenever you feel like a good read. Channing has a way of bringing out what we all have in common in our religious striving, and he points a way to a growing likeness go and relationship with God.

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I’m currently reading “Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution,” Andre Trocme’s classic study of Jesus and the Gospel’s approach to non-violence. It will be the central text for my class on peacemaking with professor Jonathan Wilson at Vancouver’s Regent College next week.

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I’m currently reading this. It got great overall ratings (and reviews) on Amazon. It’s much better than what it sounds like.