By WILLIAM C. GRAHAM
All You Need is Love . . . and 99 Other Life Lessons from Classic Rock Songs, by Pete Fornatale and Bill Ayres (A Fireside Book, Simon & Schuster, 221 pages, $11 paperback), is an intriguing book. Background information about and wisdom culled from 100 well-remembered rock songs might be just the ticket both for aging baby-boomers and members of Generation X. I sent my copy off to a young friend to tuck in his backpack as he kayaks off the coast of Washington state before making his way through Europe. I hope itll keep him singing, praying and meditating as he moves.
Another volume for the musically inclined to consider is The Music of Angels: A Listeners Guide to Sacred Music from Chant to Christian Rock, by Patrick Kavanaugh, with a foreword by Dave Brubeck (Chicago: Loyola Press, 312 pages, paperback). The author shows the connections between one age and another and the relationships between one genre and another for musicians and music lovers. Those who wish to appreciate more fully the breadth of Christian music while bringing people together in a spirit of Christian harmony will be well served here.
Popular Catholicism in a World Church: Seven Case Studies in Inculturation, edited by Thomas Bamat and Jean-Paul West (Orbis, 315 pages, $24 paperback), looks to Chile, Peru, the West Indies, Ghana, Tanzania, Southern India and Hong Kong. Precious Blood Fr. Robert J. Schreiter notes in his foreword that popular religion is how acting and believing happen among ordinary people whose practices were earlier seen as deviations from the official norm. He suggests that popular religion no longer need be dismissed as the result of improper evangelization, and a closer look at popular forms of Christianity teaches much about what conversion means.
In The Social Meanings of Money and Property: In Search of a Talisman (SAGE Publications [2455 Teller Rd., Thousand Oaks, Calif. 91320], 289 pages, $29.95 paperback, $65 hardbound), author Kenneth O. Doyle expresses a need to cut through some of the murkiness of real life, sacrifice some of the subtlety, as he considers the psychology of money, and the complexity, earthly realism and potential rewards of the financial world. Those who ask, as does Doyle, What is the value to society in the examination of the social meanings of money and property? may find this study interesting.
How intriguing is this title: Electromagnetism and the Sacred: At the Frontier of Spirit and Matter, by Lawrence W. Fagg (Continuum, 144 pages, $24.95 hardbound). Fagg is a retired research professor in nuclear physics at Catholic University. He sees the electromagnetic interaction as a meaningful physical analogue of Gods indwelling and as a significant unifying and relating influence in the ongoing dialogue between science and religion. Well, as a colleague of mine is fond of saying, I never thought of that! Faggs intriguing proposal is intended as a stimulus to further study and discussion. And all of Teilhards progeny will be glad for this gift.
Liturgy and Hermeneutics, by Precious Blood Sr. Joyce Ann Zimmerman (American Essays in Liturgy, Liturgical Press, 109 pages, $9.95 paperback), is about the art of interpretation and introduces the reader to a complex body of literature in such a way as to help one to feel literate in a technical field without the need to master everything.
Readers may want to move next to Bearing Fruit in Due Season: Feminist Hermeneutics and the Bible in Worship, by Elizabeth J. Smith (Liturgical Press, 248 pages, $29.95 paperback). Smith is an Anglican priest working in a suburban Melbourne, Australia, parish. Her work calls biblical scholars to pay attention to what happens when academic biblical studies meet the worshiping church. She is helpful in considering feminist resources.
Whispers of Liberation: Feminist Perspectives on the New Testament, by Jesuit Fr. Nicholas King (Paulist, 189 pages, $15.95 paperback), targets both those who are interested or alarmed by the topic. A good introduction for either group.
Knowing Her Place: Gender and the Gospels, by Anne Thurston (Paulist, 127 pages, $12.95 paperback), is another helpful resource for those who want to be led by a Christian feminist beyond traditional interpretations to discover what biblical texts may be saying today.
Things New and Old: Essays on the Theology of Elizabeth A. Johnson, edited by Phyllis Zagano and Terrence W. Tilley (Crossroad, 144 pages, $14.95 paperback), is an examination of the central themes in Johnsons work: feminist perspectives, theology of God, Christology, pneumatology and the communion of saints. The essayists gave their papers at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Religion. They include Margaret Farley and Jesuit Frs. Joseph Bracken and Roger Haight. Also included is Johnsons response as well as a bibliography of her writings and treatments of her work by other scholars. One of her former doctoral students told me the book is a great survey of Johnsons thought.
Grief Quest: Men Coping with Loss, by Fr. Robert J. Miller of the Chicago archdiocese with Stephen J. Hrycyniak (St. Marys Press, 165 pages, $9.95 paperback), describes how men grieve and why they cannot grieve. The authors want their text to be down-to-earth and basic, replete with examples and stories of men who faced loss and survived. This book may be just the ticket for those targeted by the title.
Finding the Mystic Within You (Institute of Carmelite Studies, 188 pages, $9.95 paperback) is by Peggy Wilkinson, a wife and mother of eight who is a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. Her book is for busy and active people, those without time or inclination for intensive spiritual reading and study. It distills the wisdom of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross to help in understanding the stages and experiences of the inner journey. A thoroughly practical little volume.
The Normal Alcoholic, by William F. Kraft (Alba House, 149 pages, $9.95 paperback), is about those who function relatively well in life without manifesting blatant symptoms of alcoholism. The author asks: What is alcoholism? What is normal alcoholism? Can it lead to more debilitating forms? What are the consequences of denial and avoidance? Here is help and self-help for those in need.
A Book of Condolences: Classic Letters of Bereavement, edited by Rachel Harding and Mary Dyson, with a foreword by Madeleine LEngle (Continuum, 186 pages, $16.95 paperback), is oddly interesting. Letter writers from 45 B.C. to the present share their experiences of love and compassion as they face anothers sorrow. A fine gift for those who grieve.
The Peace to the City campaign was launched by the World Council of Churches Program to Overcome Violence to draw attention to creative and inspiring ways in which churches and other groups throughout the world are becoming involved in joint efforts for peace. Peace in Troubled Cities: Creative Models of Building Community Amidst Violence, by Dafne Plou (Risk Book Series, World Council of Churches, 133 pages, $9.95 paperback), focuses on efforts in seven cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Belfast, Ireland; Boston; and Durban, South Africa.
Stephen Maret teaches psychology and pastoral ministry at Caldwell College where he is a remarkably popular and insightful professor. I asked him to take a look at The Logic of the Spirit: Human Development in Theological Perspective by James E. Loder (Jossey-Bass, 362 pages, $29.95 paperback) and invited his response.
According to Maret, Loders is an excellent book in which he utilizes the paradigmatic structures of Kierkegaards stages (Aesthetic, Ethical, Religiousness A and Religiousness B) as a means for interpreting and understanding human developmental psychology. Loders work, Maret concludes, is valuable and thought provoking and would be of interest to anyone intrigued by the confluence of theology and developmental psychology.
Fr. William C. Grahams newest book, Sacred Adventure: Beginning Theological Study. has been published by University Press of America. He receives e-mail at NCRBkshelf@aol.com
National Catholic Reporter, September 24, 1999