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Library


Welcome to the SSUC Library page. Please visit the library in the main floor lounge of our building, browse the shelves, grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a read, or borrow a book and bring it back when you’re done. Would you like to browse the catalogue from home? See the Title catalogue here; the Author catalogue here; and the Reference books catalogue here. In the meantime, get introduced to a new book: read a preview of a featured book every two weeks, written by our librarians. Enjoy.

 

Books want to be read
 
Take the time, make the time, for SSUC’s Library 
 

         PEARLS BEFORE SWINE (C) 2019. Stephen Pastis. Reprinted by persmission of ANDREW MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.

 

Look at Rat being blockish, as usual: he’s turning a blind eye and a deaf ear and a cold, cold heart to a book that wants so to be read.
 
Almost always bumptious and presumptuous, he’s California cartoonist Stephen Pastis’ rascally, rowdy rodent in the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine”; this particular bon mot appeared in the August 10th Edmonton Journal. It’s funny, yes, but it tells a truth—Pastis’ comic strips often do: Rat is the first character he created, and the one through whom, he allows, “I could really say what’s on my mind. When I put it on paper, it’s my voice.” 
 
“So,” Elizabeth Renter writes about the act of reading, this in Natural Society back in 2013, “many people don’t appreciate it.” She tells of “a HuffPost poll showing last year that of 1,000 participants, 28%…hadn’t read a book in over a year.” A shame, that: reading, she adds, “is something that not enough people take the time to do….” Just like Rat.
 
So it is that we invite you, we urge you, to take the time…make the time…to read a book, and more, that you’ll find in your own church’s Library. There are now 560 of them, all of which, to a greater or lesser degree, concern ideas and subject matter of consequence, certainly to seekers: religion, church, spirituality, theology, Jesus, faith, doubt, values, belief, God and gods, and all such things. These are writings to be pored over and pondered, weighed and wondered about, and, likely enough, valued.
 
The classics are present and accounted for, everything from The Confessions of St. Augustine to Martin Buber’s I and Thou. There are works written by such luminaries as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Northrop Frye, Abraham Heschel, Albert Schweitzer, Paul Tillich, and Simone Weil. Others will acquaint you with such great church figures as John Wesley and Hildegard of Bingen. There are plays—The Trial of God by Elie Wiesel, and Lucas Hnath’s The Christians. Progressive Christianity pioneers like Jack Spong and Lloyd Geering penned still other of the volumes. Consider Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God, but also Richard Dawkins’ refutation in The God Delusion
 
You’ll come upon the Iona Abbey Worship Book, Bible atlases, an eco-foods guide, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, self-help books, including a lot on loss and grieving (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross authored five of them), even Nancy Steeves’ doctoral thesis. There’s even fiction: challenge yourself, and read Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial The Last Temptation of Christ, or Putting Away Childish Things, the novel that, as one reviewer put it, “flows out of Marcus Borg’s life.” There are books in the collection about the Earth Charter, LGBTQ concerns, the Dead Sea Scrolls, fundamentalism, myths and mythology, bullying, preaching, sexism, the labyrinth, mid-life crises, evolution, Christmas, human rights and humanism, feminist theology, Buddha, Islam, justice, the parables, prayer, Christian ethics, Celtic wisdom, parenting, sin, eternal life, shamanism. Whoa, catch your breath. 
 
Discover The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot; read how Jesus became Christian, and also God; see why No Man is an Island; explore The World of Anne Frank; join in The Battle for God, or play Hide and Seek with God, or witness SSUC’s Clair Woodbury Looking for God; go In Search of Paul; learn how to love nature; spend The Last Week with Jesus; get acquainted with the Middle East; ask, Can We Trust the New Testament?; ask as well The Great Questions of Life; meet The Pagan Christ; find faith, peace, the right words, your way home, and your religion. Why, You Can Teach Yourself Philosophy of Religion. And this litany of titles and topics only scratches the surface!
 
Along with hands-full of DVDs and videos, all this is waiting to be browsed and borrowed; what’s not to be circulated are the slim number of reference works. The collection is housed in bookcases in SSUC’s Library & Lounge—it’s the inviting room off the foyer, on the right as you enter the church. Everything has been ordered and shelved, arranged by author, from A (Abbott, Deborah) to Z (Zuckerman, Andrew). 
 
Book-borrowing has been made as easy as can be: you’ll find lists, both by author and title, in a binder atop the first of the bookcases; these…and quite a lot more…can be found, as well, on the Library’s webpage [ssucedmonton.com/library]. Simply sign out the book[s] you want using the in-and-out form—it’s in the same binder; later on, please note there the date you return the item[s] borrowed. It’s pretty well grab and go! So, please, get going!
 
Ellen & Ken Fredrick

 

 

Featured Book: Questions are the Answer: Nakedpastor & the Search for Understanding

Picture this: the pastor at his pulpit confesses to his parishioners, “I’m sorry people, but in my faith journey, I’m afraid I’m entering the ‘I just don’t know!’ stage.” They shout back, “Welcome!” It’s one of almost 100 of David Hayward’s Nakedpastor cartoons in this autobiographical book. Together with his text, they tell of his story into and out of

Featured Book: Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality

Upon his death, whenever that comes—John Shelby Spong, scathed by a stroke, is now 88—his publisher should engage a biographer to report the many goings-on in his life in the years since he wrote his autobiography, and bring up to date his theological thinking and conclusions. Even without what’d be a lengthy epilogue, Here I Stand makes an engrossing read: Publishers

Featured Book: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Tufts University philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett argues that “society must overcome its ‘spell’ against studying religion as a natural, evolutionary occurrence,” Kirkus Reviews says of this book. The atheist author, “seeks to expose religion to the systematic tools of modern science,” and “presents material from various researchers regarding how religion has evolved in human cultures.” Not surprisingly, Scientific

Featured Book: The Case for God

The Case for God—which Britain’s The Daily Telegraph called Karen Armstrong’s “best, most lucid book to date”—“wraps a rebuke to the more militant sort of atheism,” according to New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, “in an engaging survey of Western religious thought. …a former nun turned prolific popular historian, [she] wants to rescue the idea of God from its cultural despisers and its more literal-minded

Featured Book: The God Delusion

When Penguin issued the 10th anniversary edition of The God Delusion, the publishing house began its pitch by recalling how the book had “caused a sensation” when it was first released. In its critique, The Guardian, referencing its author, Richard Dawkins, reckoned that “believers in God are right to see him as their arch-enemy.” The Darwinian scientist and essayist on popular science, in “dissecting the

Featured Book: The Soul’s Religion: Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life

“…Today people all over the world are abandoning their religions in disgust and anger,” Thomas Moore reckons in this long-awaited companion volume to his 1992 bestseller, Care of the Soul. “Still, everyone has an instinct for the transcendence. People know intuitively that some kind of spiritual life is necessary, and so many are searching on their own….”  Once a monk

Library Learnings

A focus on Indigeneity:  We must move “past the past” “Ripped from the headlines,” the saying goes.  Perhaps that can be said for what’s now underway in “Library Learnings,” and what will continue right through year’s end: a series of seven interrelated essays about Indigeneity in Canada. After all, does a day go by in which the media don’t report on Indigenous peoples

Featured Book: Why Religion? A Personal Story

Elaine Pagels, who wrote the last of the SSUC Library’s Featured Books—her foundational work, The Gnostic Gospels— “is a hard person to describe in a word,” though the Washington Times reviewer of Why Religion? tried: scholar, author, historian, heretic. But Philip Kopper concludes, “‘hero’ fits best, namely an individual who faces ordeals of indescribable agony, and prevails….”   According to Publishers Weekly, Pagels,

Featured Book: The Gnostic Gospels

Elaine Pagels “sees in gnosticism a ‘powerful alternative to…orthodox Christian tradition,’ an alternative she clearly finds attractive,” a Kirkus Reviews’ critic writes about her book, The Gnostic Gospels. Trouble is, “gnostic tenets were repressed by mainstream Christianity because, Pagels claims, they constituted a political threat to the [church] hierarchy.” In The Guardian, the former archbishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway concurs: “…scholars like Pagels are beginning to regret

Featured Book: The Gifts of Imperfection

On a recent Sunday, Chris New, in his preaching, pointed up this book…as well he might. Publishers Weekly calls it “a guidebook for pilgrims on the journey to wholehearted living.” And Niklas Goeke, for the website fourminutebooks.com, where he insists that professor, researcher, and author Brene Brown “never fails to deliver,” calls this the book “that really put her on the map.”

 

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