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“The Power of Compassion and Peacemaking in Response to the 9/11 Attacks”

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GCC Books

The Gospel According to "Peanuts"
By: Robert L. Short

In 1965, a 28 year-old pastor named Robert Short turned a popular slide show he'd been presenting while working his way through seminary into a book called "The Gospel According to Peanuts," using Schulz's characters to explain the Christian faith. He explained that Lucy, in her headstrong impulsiveness, often represents original sin. In the "Hound of Heaven" chapter, Short shows how Schulz used Snoopy to stand for Christ or ideal Christians. A small Presbyterian publishing house (John Knox) published it in hopes of inspiring some Sunday-school teachers to think outside the box, and, behold, their wish was fulfilled. Over 10 million copies were sold. Thirty-five years later the publisher has issued an anniversary edition....Short demonstrates a broad and deep grasp of Scripture, theology, and popular culture, all without any of the personal narrative that dominate today's religious bestsellers. After reading Short's Gospel, I know less about him than I do about my insurance agent. His only narrative is the gospel: original sin, the wages of sin are death, sin makes us aware of our need for redemption, salvation is entirely a work of grace motivated by divine love.

The Gospel According To America: A Meditation On A God-Blessed, Christ-Haunted Idea
By: David Dark

Using icons from music, literature, film, and politics, David Dark hope to provide fodder for lively conversation about what it means to be Christian and American in this "weird moment" in which we live. The end result of this conversation, Dark hopes, will be a better understanding that "there is a reality more important, more lasting, and more infinite than the cultures to which we belong," the reality of the kingdom of God.

The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust
By: Mark I. Pinsky

Pinsky, Orlando journalist and author of The Gospel According to the Simpsons, sets his sights on a larger, yet more elusive target: the Magic Kingdom. As Pinsky argues, Disney's cultural influence is enormous: "millions of children around the world know much of what they do about the practical application of right and wrong from Disney." The "Disney gospel" is simple enough in outline: believe in yourself, never give up, good will be rewarded and evil punished. Unfortunately, the book bogs down amidst the massive Disney canon; and organizing it in "episode guide" format, rather than thematically, does not help. There are sparkles of marvelous, irreverent wit: "Tinker Bell, it is immediately apparent, has undergone some alterations over the decades, including breast reduction surgery and liposuction on her derriere." But for long stretches, the critical tone turns sober, even snarky, as Pinsky picks off obvious targets such as Snow White's passivity or Mowgli's haircut rather than surfacing the hidden spiritual gems he found so often in The Simpsons. Even considering the variety of Disney creations, he seems torn between admiring "Walt's dream, to communicate lessons to children across cultures," and debunking its "uplifting, family-friendly fare" as "a sentimental notion—naïve at best and disingenuous at worst." Still, readers will be struck by Pinsky's cogent observations about Disney classics.

The Gospel According to Harry Potter: Spirituality in the Stories of the World's Most Famous Seeker
By: Connie Neal

The author of more than 30 books, Neal (What's a Christian To Do with Harry Potter) makes another entry in the field of explication of Harry Potter according to Gospel standards. While such an effort may seem ill-conceived to the casual observer, Neal's attempt is far from the first of its kind (think of The Gospel According to Peanuts) and not alone in the current book market (think of The Gospel According to the Simpsons, by which the author admits she was inspired). Neal's approach is not surprising, drawing moral lessons from Rowling's explicitly moral books, adding her own Scriptural parallels but her defense of the books should be a welcome ally for many librarians and readers who have seen the Potter series assailed for its depiction of magic. For most collections.

The Gospel According To Oprah
By: Marcia Z. Nelson

Unlike some other "gospel according to" books on pop-cultural figures, this one doesn't much relate its subject to Jesus Christ. Although she has strong roots in the Baptist church of her childhood, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson says, steers clear of formal religious language on her long-running TV show and her Web site and in the magazine O. Yet like a good pastor, she tells stories and does deeds that encourage good actions by others. Drawing on the Web site and magazine as well as the show, Nelson expands on 10 reasons for Oprah's pastoral effectiveness. Oprah "is very human"; acknowledges and tries to relieve suffering; provides a community for her audience; encourages self-scrutiny; teaches gratitude; communicates simply; listens well; teaches generosity; fosters forgiveness; and reminds viewers of the good they can do. Nelson must be one of the most sympathetic, least defensive apologists Oprah has ever had, one who gently suggests that Oprah's harshest critics are more ignorant of her work and temperamentally resistant to her manner than they are substantive or merely cynical.

The Gospel According to the Beatles
By: Steve Turner

John Lennon famously proclaimed the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Music journalist Turner says they were a kind of religion in themselves, and in this entertaining look at their religious and spiritual influences and ideas, he examines each of the Beatles' attitudes toward religion. Lennon, who sang in his local church choir while growing up in Liverpool, was fascinated by the life of the historical Jesus. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr didn't have particularly strong religious feelings. George Harrison increasingly leaned toward Eastern religion. They had in common skepticism toward orthodox religion. Turner follows the arc of the Beatles' remarkable career and also examines their individual lives. While much of the information and anecdotes Turner relays is familiar to Beatles fans, his spiritual perspective refreshens it all. A longtime Beatles admirer, Turner clearly loves the band and the music they created. Fellow fans are sure to appreciate the personal engagement that he brings to the material.

The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth
By: Ralph Wood

Like a perfectly popped kernel of corn, this production reveals the interior of what may be a dense text to some. Illuminating the hidden depths of the entire Tolkien universe, Wood has done both the reader of Tolkien's books and the curious a service, flawed only by a narrator who does not seem to have grasped the nuances of that universe. Nadia May gives incorrect pronunciations for Tolkien's fine-tuned languages, which rankles the listener and shows a lack of detail on the part of the director. But her voice carries the tone of the text effortlessly, and true fans should be forgiving when given such a rich indulgence

The Parables of Peanuts
By: Robert L. Short

Maybe you thought Snoopy was a beagle. Turns out he's actually a Christ symbol, according to Robert L. Short's ingenious book, Parables of Peanuts. Cartoonist Charles Schulz, a devout Christian, once asked, "If we are all members of the priesthood, why cannot a cartoonist preach in the same manner as a minister, or anyone else?" This book explains that many of Schulz's cartoon strips, like Jesus' parables, combine "the proclamation of God's love for the world, and [depiction of] the world as it really is." Parables reproduces many classic Peanuts strips, including some rare early Red Baron strips. The illustrations are accompanied by some fairly heavy interpretations, laying out the basics of a conservative Reformed Protestant view of the gospel, with extensive references to theologians such as Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Soren Kierkegaard.

The Peanuts' Guide To Life
By: Charles M. Schulz

Essentially, this is the best of the best 50 years of Peanuts, the comic strip by the late Charles Schulz featuring Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and the rest of the beguiling little gang. Peanuts debuted in 1950 and became a global phenomenon, with book collections selling more than 300 million copies in 26 languages and television specials rerun year after year. To create this all-new Peanuts Guide to Life we've combed through decades of comic strips to find those single panels which contain such pithy observations as "Babysitters are like used cars. You never know what you're going to get," and bits of wisdom like "Never lick ice cream off a hot sidewalk." Each droll, stand-alone "speech bubble" or punchline appears with cartoon art. The panels are organized into short chapters, such as "Love" and "Life's Little Quirks." For the millions of faithful Peanuts fans, this is a collection of "greatest hits" to cherish and enjoy again and again.

Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, Revised Edition
By: Michael Scheuer

Here "a senior U.S. civil servant with two decades of experience in the U.S. intelligence community's work on Afghanistan and South Asia" argues that the U.S. was unprepared for September 11 because "our own naivet‚ and insularity led us to underestimate the complexity and determination of our adversaries." Examining bin Laden's words and his leadership qualities, the author says that Al Qaeda remains largely intact and that its next attack will be more lethal than September 11.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen in THE WASHINGTON POST
"[Scheuer]'s examination of al Qaeda is a bracing corrective to much that has passed as analysis about the group."

Waking up Just in Time: A Therapist Shows How to use the Twelve Steps Approach to Life's Ups and Downs
By: Abraham J. Twerski

Waking up Just in TimeA gentle and practical guide to the Twelve Steps way of life.Learn to:Set Priorities and Manage StressRepace rationalization with honestyOvercome obsession and triumph over failureExplore the personal nature of spiritualityAlcoholics Anonymous has made famous its twelve steps to sobriety.In Waking Up Just in Time, Dr. Abraham J. Twerski shows how you can use the twelve steps to cope with any of life's difficulties, from dishonesty and intolerance of others to substance abuse.Dr. Twerski leads the way through AA's twelve steps toward a happier, more fulfilling life.A few years ago, Dr. Twerski found that the Peanuts comics of Charles M. Shulz were helpful in his work with psychiatric patients.The humorous words and pictures in Peanuts gave patient and doctor a common ground for talking.Now Dr. Twerski again calls on Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and friends to help illustrate his points in their own inimitable way.

When Do The Good Things Start?
By: Abraham J. Twerski

A therapist looks at life's ups and downs (with a bit of help from Charlie Brown and his friends).From the author of Waking Up Just In Time and Life's Too Short.A down-to-earth and inspirational guide that will help you* Overcome low self-esteem* Build confidence* Put guilt in its place* Dispel lonelinessEverybody reads the comics. A chuckle, and then on to the serious stuff. One cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz, has for years done more than just make us laugh. He has offered a treasury of thought, philosophy and psychology.Dr. Abraham Twerski, during his career as a clinical psychiatrist, has turned his patients toward Peanuts comic strips. Time after time he has found that the wit and wisdom in Schulz's strips is just what his patients needed to see themselves in a new light. It is a unique and effective jumping-off point for the practical, down-to-earth counseling that Dr. Twerski provides.Let Dr. Twerski help supply the answers to a better life for you, and if you get a few laughs along the way, so much the better.

The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation
By: Stephen Flynn

Homeland Security expert Flynn examines the vulnerability of the U.S. to disaster--natural and man-made--and what the nation must do to fortify its security. By exploring several well-documented and frightening scenarios, Flynn exposes our weaknesses and the consequences of our failure to adequately plan for disaster. Among the scenarios he explores: an avian flu outbreak in New York; destruction of a chemical plant in New Jersey; a San Francisco earthquake that compromises levees and leads to massive flooding. Flynn points to threats from our blithe disregard for the dangers all around us, including chemical plants and oil refineries operating in close proximity to crowded communities. We can't plan for every disaster, but the nation can be better prepared, Flynn maintains, and he offers advice on how corporations and the government can reduce the risk of disaster. Among his suggestions: making sure energy management and public-health systems have enough resources and building more power-transmission lines to keep lights on when temperatures rise. Flynn's book reads like a thriller but has the added punch of reality. Vanessa Bush

Group Crisis Support; Why it works, When & How to provide it
By: Jeffrey T. Mitchell

Group Crisis Support is a straightforward, practical guidebook for anyone providing either crucial information or crisis support services to distressed groups. More than 100 years of sound crisis intervention theory and positive-outcome research back up the guidelines in the book. It provides valuable information for those recently trained as well as the more experienced peer support personnel and crisis intervention professionals. It contains thoughtful crisis management strategies and well-referenced crisis intervention procedures for both large and small groups that will undoubtedly enhance the group management skills of trained crisis support personnel. Group Crisis Support is an invaluable tool for crisis support teams in schools, businesses, church groups, emergency medical services, fire services, law enforcement organizations, and the military.

About the Author
Jeffrey T. Mitchell, PhD, is a clinical professor of Emergency Health Services at the the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, and President Emeritus of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. After serving as a firefighter/paramedic, Dr. Mitchell developed a comprehensive, integrated, systematic, multi-component crisis intervention program, "Critical Incident Stress Management." The United Nations has appointed him as an expert consultant to the United Nations Dept. of Safety and Security Working Group on Stress. He has authored 10 books and more than 250 articles on the subjects of crisis intervention and stress.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Victim's Guide to Healing & Recovery
By: Raymond B. Jr. Flannery

A basic introduction to PTSD. Written for victims, it is a helpful source for understanding the responses a psychologically healthy person is likely to undergo after experiencing an acute tramatic episode. --Journal of Tramatic Stress

America the Vulnerable: How Our Government Is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism
By: Stephen Flynn

Arguing for the primary role of homeland security, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Flynn describes a nation living on borrowed time. He presents a hypothetical scenario of a devastating "next attack" and stresses the difficulty officials have in learning new tricks and politicians have in paying for them. Flynn stresses as well the susceptibility of the food supply to sabotage and the lack of oversight in a vulnerable chemical industry, emphasizing in particular the continuing failure to establish systematic inspection of cargo containers. He is most convincing in arguing the risks of a "silver bullet approach," the assumption that a single innovation will solve a particular security problem. Instead, Flynn proposes a Federal Homeland Security System integrating private and public expertise, funded by levying fees on such activities as the movement of containers and by requiring owners and operators of critical infrastructure to carry antiterrorist insurance. The details of Flynn's proposals are significant in representing a genuinely long-term response to a threat he is convinced will remain serious for an indefinite longterm. Any risks they might pose to civil liberties, he argues, are marginal compared with the likely domestic consequences of being caught unprepared a second time—or a third.

Islam: Past, Present and Future
By: Hans Kung

Prominent Christian theologian Küng completes his trilogy on the world's three monotheistic faiths with this lengthy analysis of Islam's 1,400-year history. As in his previous volumes, he speaks against the clash of civilizations and for peace through inter-religious dialogue. He sees each faith as having had major paradigm shifts that have moved it forward, and, in fact, praises Islam for advancing the Arab people quite rapidly, in some cases much faster than similar periods for Christianity. Nevertheless, he claims the Muslim world has neglected to move to its next paradigm due to various failures: arrogant ulama (religious scholars), greed among the wealthy, and the lack of health care and education. Equally critical of Christianity and Judaism, Küng is a lone, profound voice searching for greater understanding through asking difficult questions. He is intuitively confident that Muslims are ready to revitalize their religion, hungry for such rethinking through new Qur'anic interpretations that are already underway. Although the thousand-page book is overblown and could use some stringent editing, it contains insightful ideas and worthwhile commentary. Those intimidated by the lengthy volume may prefer to peruse the fascinating maps and tables throughout, which neatly and graphically summarize the book's major points. (May)

The Catholic Church: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)
By: Hans Kung

The latest volume in the Modern Library Chronicles series looks at the history of the world's largest Christian body through the eyes of a theologian whom most Catholics regard as either a beloved reformer or an annoying dissident. King, a Swiss priest, was disciplined by the church in 1979 and prohibited from teaching as a Catholic theologian. Through a 1980 agreement with the Vatican, he is now permitted to teach, but only under secular auspices. In his compressed history of the church that traces its roots to Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter, King continues to ply his trade in controversy. Woven through his mostly readable account is a consistent call for the abolition of the doctrine of papal infallibility, one of the stances that got him into trouble with church authorities two decades ago. King also uses his book to criticize the church's present efforts to safeguard its teachings through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His 1979 censure, he says, was a "personal experience of the Inquisition," yet he claims to remain faithful to the church in what he calls "critical loyalty." In concluding statements about the future, K�ng says the church must open all ministries to women (although the current pope has quashed discussion of women's ordination) and be more open ecumenically. Church progressives will warmly embrace King's version of Catholic history, which is sure to be dismissed by loyalists.

Christianity: Essence, History, and Future
By: Hans Kung

Swiss-German theologian Kung planned this massive synthesis of Christian history and systematic theology as a sequel to his On Being Christian (1976) and as a companion to Judaism (Crossroad, 1992). Ever the Catholic Church's "faithful critic," Kung displays a dazzling breadth of scholarship. Professor of ecumenical theology at the University of Tubingen, he bases his approach on five historical paradigm shifts: Jewish apocalyptic Christianity, early church ecumenism, the Roman system in the medieval papal church, the Reformation, and modern democracy. He notes dominant influences in each, presenting his convictions on the essence of Christianity and moving toward a polycentrism where Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical traditions are not mutually exclusive. Over 30 diagrams and many stimulating "questions for the future" sidebars are included. Not all readers will accept the views of this Vatican II peritus (nor did the Vatican in 1973). But the work is a remarkable achievement for a church always in need of reform and reformers. Recommended for all theology collections.?Anna Donnelly, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, N.Y.

Judaism: Between Yesterday and Tomorrow
By: Hans Kung

The second volume in the Religious Situation of Our Time series initiated with Ku{}ng's Judaism (1991) constitutes this massive "paradigm analysis" of Christianity. It is tempting to refer to both the volume and the series as "magisterial," though Ku{}ng's rocky relationship with the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church gives that adjective a decidedly ironic twist. The book is further evidence of Ku{}ng's already well established place in a tradition of German systematizers whose systems, though driven by laudably global motivations, have had ambiguous global consequences. This book continues Ku{}ng's application of Thomas Kuhn's paradigm analysis--developed as a way to think about the structure of scientific revolutions--to religion. It is not so much a "history" as an examination of five "constellations" of Christianity (the Jewish Christian apocalyptic, Hellenistic Byzantine, Roman Catholic, Reformation Protestant, and Enlightenment modern paradigms) that constitute a still-present past of Christianity. This is an important contribution to the understanding of Christianity's present fragmentation and also to ecumenical conversation to the extent that it resists the temptation to think of later paradigms as rendering earlier paradigms obsolete; that all five paradigms coexist in Ku{}ng's analysis is a reminder that ecumenical conversation has to reckon with translation and (sometimes) untranslatability.

The Sabbath
By: Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Clearly Heschel's most beloved book, The Sabbath is much more than a book about the Sabbath. It is, rather, our century's most illuminating study of the dynamics of Jewish ritual living." --Dr. Neil Gillman, author of Sacred Fragments

"Timeless. Read it, and be ready to be changed."--The Reverend Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief of First Things

"Heschel's The Sabbath is easily the primary text for all subsequent American Jewish spirituality."--Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of God Was in This Place

Secrets of Daniel: Wisdom and Dreams of a Jewish Prince in Exile
By: Jacques B. Doukhan

Written by a Christian scholar of Jewish heritage, this commentary solves several longstanding problems and sheds new light on many aspects of the cryptic prophecies of Daniel. Fresh insight is provided regarding such questions as: Whatever happened to Daniel's tomb? Is Michael "one of the chief princes" or is he "the first of the chief princes"? Why did King Nebuchadnezzar forget his dream? Why did Daniel undertake his three-week fast during Passover?Jacques Doukhan re-creates the world of Babylon, explains obscure allusions, and finds hidden patterns within the prophesies that help to clarify their meaning. His research in ancient Jewish sources and knowledge of the original languages makes this book a worthy contribution to the literature.

Jacques B. Doukhan was born in Algeria and educated in France, where he completed his doctorate in Hebrew language and literature at the University of Strasbourg. He was then the recipient of a post doctorate research scholarship from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Doukhan also holds a doctorate in Old Testament exegesis from Andrews University, where he is now professor of Hebrew, Old Testament exegesis, and Jewish Studies. He also is editor of L’Oliver and Shabbat Shalom and director of the Institute of Jewish-Christian Studies. His books include Drinking at the Sources; The Genesis Creation Story: Its Literary Structure; Hebrew for Theologians; Secrets of Daniel, and Secrets of Revelation. He is the editor of two journals, Shabbat Shalom and L'Olivier.

Secrets of Revelation: The Apocalypse Through Hebrew Eyes
By: Jacques B. Doukhan

Ethereal worship, scary beasts, ominous trumpets, terrible plagues, and ultimate paradise. The book of Revelation is a powerful tapestry woven from Old Testament imagery, such as the plagues of Egypt and the confrontation on Mount Carmel. Thus the Old Testament provides the key to unlock the code of Revelation.

Jacques B. Doukhan, a Christian scholar of Jewish heritage, mines the Old Testament to uncover new meaning in the battle of Armageddon and the millennium. He ties the symbolism of the book to the sanctuary service of ancient Israel, showing how the seven sections of the book correspond to the seven feasts of Judaism. He argues that the prophecies of Revelation foretell the eventual discrediting of secularism (Egypt), the resurgence of conservative religion (Babylon), and a final coalition of the two movements in the climactic events before the second coming of Christ to defeat sin and save His people.

Thinking the Shadow of Hell: The Impact of the Holocaust on Theology and Jewish-Christian-Relations
By: Jacques B. Doukhan

Tempting Faith: An Inside Story Of Political Seduction
By: David Kuo

David Kuo came to Washington wanting to use his Christian faith to end abortion, strengthen marriage, and help the poor. He reached the heights of political power, ultimately serving in the White House under George W. Bush. It was a dream come true: the chance to fuse his politics and his faith, and an opportunity for Christians not just to gain a seat at the proverbial table but also to plan the entire meal.

Yet his experience was deeply troubling. He had been seduced, just as so many evangelical conservatives had been seduced by politics. Tempting Faith is a wrenching personal journey and a heartfelt plea for a Christian reexamination of political and spiritual priorities.

Short Meditations on the Bible and Peanuts
By: Robert L. Short

Using dialog by familiar cartoon characters and commentary, Short leads the reader to reflect on everyday life and Christian faith in contemporary culture. Colloquial style, humor, and wide sympathies suit the book to its intended general audience and remind the reader that these 20 brief meditations are Short's own: the reader is encouraged to reflect on biblical story and teaching in a fresh and creative way. Recommended for public libraries.

The Gospel according to The Simpsons
By: Pinsky

A companion to the best-selling The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World’s Most Animated Family, this 10-session study, for youth and adults, embarks on an exploration of the religious themes prevalent in the popular animated comedy series. Each session correlates to a chapter in the book and suggests an episode for viewing prior to the discussion. Topics include prayer, morality, God, pluralism, the institutional church, hell and the devil, and the Bible.