A Religion, A Culture, A Society

“Islam: A Religion, A Culture, A Society.” Bill Schwartz. Leicester, UK: Christians Aware, 2014. 133 pp.

“Islam: A Religion, A Culture, A Society.” Bill Schwartz. Leicester, UK: Christians Aware, 2014. 133 pp.

“Islam: A Religion, A Culture, A Society” (Christians Aware, 2014) by the Ven. Dr. Bill Schwartz, OBE, is intended to help Christians understand Islam on a personal level. Schwartz, who has lived among Muslims in the Middle East for more than 40 years, presents his perspective that studying Islam simply as a religion, or simply as a culture will result in a less-than-authentic understanding of Islam as Muslims themselves practice their faith. Unlike the way Western secular society segregates religion from other aspects of our culture, Islam, culture and society are all interrelated.

Schwartz writes about Muslims who are serious in their religious practice and who are greatly affected by religious trends in their midst. The text not only draws on sources of Christian scholars who have studied Islam, but heavily draws on Islamic sources beyond the Qur’an and Hadith to include books and journal publications by Muslims who themselves debate the true nature of Islam in modern society.

Christians, who too often know Islam only from tragic headlines and inappropriate stereotypes, are introduced to complex Islamic traditions through parallels and comparisons to Western culture. Subjects such as holy war, human rights and the nature of revelation are given clear and approachable explanations. This book provides much food for thought, and insight for those who hope to develop friendships or dialog with Muslims.

“Islam: A Religion, A Culture, A Society” can be ordered here.

“Written from his perspective as an American Christian of the Anglican tradition, [Schwartz] takes the reader beyond a discussion of the five spiritual foundations of Islam to grasp how Arab Muslims view their world, their religion and the influences of the secular world upon their approach to life. Through his conversational style, he helps the Christian reader to reflect upon the basic principles of our own thought and how that approach differs from how Arab Muslims see the world and one another. … Bill’s book is a welcome addition to helping to remove the very filters which cloud our vision.” — The Rev. Canon Robert D. Edmunds, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s Middle East Partnership Officer

‘Reclaiming Your Soul’

Wisdom from the Gospel of Luke

“Reclaiming Your Soul: Wisdom from the Gospel of Luke.” Daniel Schroeder. BeneVentura, 2015. 276 pp.

“Reclaiming Your Soul: Wisdom from the Gospel of Luke.” Daniel Schroeder. BeneVentura, 2015. 276 pp.

Daniel Schroeder’s “Reclaiming Your Soul: Wisdom from the Gospel of Luke” (BeneVentura, 2015) is a collection of reflections on the entire Gospel of St. Luke. It was initially written for monastics to enhance the Sunday gospel readings, but can be used by laypeople and clergy as well. As current guardian of a monastic Episcopal community, Schroeder works to build a formation journey based on the power of prayer, reflective study and personal service to others.

“Reclaiming Your Soul,” a resource for one’s spiritual journey, offers insights into discovering one’s true inner self, reclaiming what may have been lost or covered up by the demands of secular living. As we go through life we are shaped by many things that cause us to lose our way, our purpose and our happiness. The gospel wisdom found in St. Luke provides a foundation to begin the journey toward spiritual health and well-being. Readers will see how the teachings of Jesus apply to us even today.

Schroeder is the founder and current guardian of the Community of the Gospel, a Christian community officially recognized by the Episcopal Church. He holds a degree in Hebrew Studies from the University of Wisconsin, an M.B.A. in finance from Concordia University and a master’s degree in Adult Education Psychology from Northern Illinois University. His other book is “Reclaiming Eden: Taming the Serpent Ego” (Westview, 2009).

“Reclaiming Your Soul” can be ordered here.

‘A Place to Breathe’

Building the World That God Intended – And Still Does

“A Place to Breathe: Building the World That God Intended – and Still Does.” Lloyd Edwards. Createspace, 2014. 198 pp.

“A Place to Breathe: Building the World That God Intended – and Still Does.” Lloyd Edwards. CreateSpace, 2014.
198 pp.

Lloyd Edwards’ “A Place to Breathe: Building the World That God Intended – And Still Does” (CreateSpace, 2014) offers a “big picture” view of the church’s call to ministry, intended for laypeople, clergy and bishops seeking to renew themselves in their ministries.

Edwards, a retired Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, points out that the Kingdom or reign of God is the key to the church’s ministry, and too often churchgoers say “Blessed be [God’s] Kingdom,” without realizing that it is the members of the church who are called to make God’s Kingdom a reality in the world.

“A Place to Breathe” is structured as an extended reflection on three questions: What is God doing in the world? How can we best respond cooperatively with God’s initiative? And how does the creative purpose of suffering influence our response? The answers to these questions may lead to a surprising re-interpretation of the call to follow Christ, using the gifts God has given us. Or they may put words to what was already known or suspected.

Readers will gain an overview of the Christian faith and call that is biblical, reasonable and progressive. It is this faith and this call that always leads to a place to breathe.

Edwards, a Licensed Professional Counselor and spiritual director for many years, earned a Ph. D. in physics and taught and did research before attending seminary. His other books include  “Discerning Your Spiritual Gifts” (Cowley Publications, 1988) and “How We Belong, Fight, and Pray: The MBTI As a Key to Congregational Dynamics” (Alban Institute, 1993).

“A Place to Breathe” may be ordered here.