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Do I Stay Christian? A Guide for the Doubters, the Disappointed, and the Disillusioned

Brian D. McLaren (St. Martin’s Essentials)

This searching critique is as astute and clear-eyed an effort as one is likely to find on whether to stay in the Christian church. Former pastor McLaren’s willingness to take the faith to task for justifying colonialism competes with the author’s admiration for the “uniquely extraordinary” character of Jesus, resulting in an incisive volume that offers no easy answers.

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God: An Anatomy

Francesca Stavrakopoulou (Knopf)

Religion professor Stavrakopoulou delivers a deeply researched investigation into the corporeality of the Christian God, examining ancient Hebrew texts that discuss the implications of scriptural references to God’s limbs, organs, head, and genitals. The profound argument and vivid storytelling are not to be missed.

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A Hole in the World: Finding Hope in Rituals of Grief and Healing

Amanda Held Opelt (Worthy)

After Christian author Rachel Held Evans died in 2019, her sister, Opelt, set out to study bereavement customs across cultures and history. The result is a rending meditation on grief that surveys such rituals as covering up mirrors and “telling the bees” about an individual’s death. It’s at once a touching tribute, an insightful cultural analysis, and a poignant consideration of how acts for the dead serve the needs of the living.

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The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life

Simran Jeet Singh (Riverhead)

In this nimble debut, Singh, the executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Religion and Society Program, recounts how practicing Sikhism has impacted his life, from the prejudice he faced growing up in Texas after 9/11 to the life lessons he’s gleaned from the religion. Bolstered by rich dispatches on Sikh theology and history, this deeply personal account of faith moves and enlightens.

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Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle

Shannen Dee Williams (Duke Univ.)

The role of American Black Catholic nuns in the civil rights movement of the 1960s takes center stage in history professor Williams’s illuminating chronicle. Detailed accounts of how Black Catholic nuns pushed the church to embrace more egalitarian positions on race and demanded that Catholic universities desegregate offer a vital corrective to an overlooked segment of the movement.

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