Each person approaches the Mystery in a different way, with different motivations, at different times of life. Some have been hurt by their previous encounters with organized religion. Some have had no experience of organized religion at all.
But organized religion and spirituality are not necessarily the same thing, of course. Whether you found your way to a house of faith (in any religion), or not, know that there is a God who loves you and is reaching out to you in a multitude of ways.
For me, I’m a big reader, and that’s one of the ways the Divine has found me through the years and finds me still. What follows are some the books closest to my heart. And I’ve tossed in some websites and podcasts and movies as well, just for the whole, you know, multi-media thing. I’m told (repeatedly, ha) that webpages should be short, so I’ve put them in categories with links to pages.
St. Mary’s is a place to come be with other imperfect people, listen to an imperfect preacher, sing with other amateur singers, worship with people more interested in authenticity than perfection. We’re just people, standing in a 2,000 year old tradition of Christianity of imperfect people. Coming together. Because there is this Mystery we call God, who is calling us all to a deeper love. And sometimes God uses authors and poets and filmmakers to call us to that love.
In any case, here’s some books –
This wild woman carved for herself a deep prayer life that she called a “well deep within her”, that sustained her during the Nazi occupation. Damn I love this woman. I randomly (God?) pulled a tired paperback off the shelf and my life was changed.
Pastrix Heavily tattooed and loud-mouthed, Nadia, a former stand-up comic, sure as hell didn’t consider herself to be religous leader material-until the day she ended up leading a friend’s funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club. Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized: These were her people. Maybe she was meant to be their pastor. (amazon)
Sacred Journey, Now and Then. Telling Secrets – by Frederick Buechner
Hard to overstate how important this man’s voice was in my early days of faith. I even wrote him a letter to thank him, you know, a geeky fan letter, and he actually wrote me back.
Anne Lamott’s books on faith are in memoir style. Operating Instructions, Traveling Mercies, Plan B, Grace Eventually – all good. Plus she wrote Bird by Bird, which isn’t a memoir but still, really good.
Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis is a good read, especially for those coming from an evangelical tradition.
Debbie Blue – Sensual Orthodoxy, and Stone to Living Word are excellent sermon collections. Rev. Blue is one of my top 3 favorite preachers of all times, and you can hear her sermon podcasts here.
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde – Mariann has only one book, Gathering Up the Fragments. Part is a guide book for preachers, and part is a collection of sermons. She remains an incredible preacher, you can listen for yourself, or read her blog and sermons, here.
Barbara Brown Taylor’s sermons are very good. Seeds of Heaven, Gospel Medicine, When God is Silent (technically a lecture series), Bread of Angels, Mixed Blessing . . .all worth reading.
Oh so many! This is getting long! Click on the links below for pages on more specific topics.
(-written by LeeAnne)
Podcasts of sermons
Just Good Books on Spirituality
For the History/Church/Geeky Person