Mother Susan's Book Recommendation: Rising Strong - by Brene Brown
If you are not familiar with Brene Brown - I recommend you google her and listen to her speak. Not only is she a notable sociologist, Writer and amazing story-teller, she is also one of the hottest commodity speakers for Episcopal Bishops to invite to their gatherings. She's an Episcopalian from Houston who offers real tools ... for living a brave life - especially when it's not easy. Inevitably, all of us are going to stumble and fall. It is the rise from falling that Brown , takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened to a range of people - from Fortune 500 leaders to the military; from artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents - who have shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up.
Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we're feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice which can truly heal and change our lives. This #1 New York Times Bestseller teaches us much about how we cultivate wholeheartedness.
Nick's Book Recommendation: What Shall We Say: Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith.
Published in 2011, Tom Long, the Bandy Professor of Preaching at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University reflects on the charged topic of “theodicy.” In this short volume Long's thesis centers on, "how believers can hold together important faith claims that seem, on the surface anyway, to be incompatible: that there is a God, that God is loving and just, that God is all powerful, and that there is undeserved suffering in the world." Many of you, no doubt, have read Rabbi Harold Kushner's book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Long's work addresses certain claims made by Kushner and I believe offers a relevant critique to be mindful of when discussing the problem of evil. For as Long states, "theodicy is not about coming up with excuses for God's behavior in a world of evil but about how faith in a loving God is plausible, given what we know and experience about suffering."