Looking for the “perfect” holiday gift? The Adult Planning team suggests choosing one of the following books. If you are reading this digitally, you can click on the title to purchase from Amazon. Remember to go to smile.amazon.com to set the church as your charity, and from then on, every time you shop at smile.amazon.com the contribution will automatically happen! All of the blurbs under the book titles are from Amazon.com. The list is in alphabetical order by author.

Pastrix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Now a New York Times bestseller, Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term “pastrix”(pronounced “pas-triks,” a term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors) in her messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith.

Heavily tattooed and loud-mouthed, Nadia, a former stand-up comic, sure as hell didn’t consider herself to be religious leader material-until the day she ended up leading a friend’s funeral in a smoky downtown comedy club. Surrounded by fellow alcoholics, depressives, and cynics, she realized: These were her people. Maybe she was meant to be their pastor.

Waking Up White, by Debby Irving

For twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn’t understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one “aha!” moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us.

Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr

In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and to show them that those who have fallen, failed, or “gone down” are the only ones who understand “up.” Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness.

Aging as a Spiritual Practice, by Lewis Richmond

Everything changes. For Zen Buddhist priest and meditation teacher Lewis Richmond, this fundamental Buddhist tenet is the basis for a new inner road map that emerges in the later years, charting an understanding that can bring new possibilities and a wealth of appreciation and gratitude for the life journey itself.

Aging as a Spiritual Practice is a wise, compassionate book that guides readers through the four key stages of aging—such as “Lightning Strikes” (the moment we wake up to our aging)—as well as the processes of adapting to change, embracing who we are, and appreciating our unique life chapters. Unlike many philosophical works on aging this one incorporates illuminating facts from scientific researchers, doctors, and psychologists as well as contemplative practices and guided meditations. Breath by breath, moment by moment, Richmond’s teachings inspire limitless opportunities for a joy that transcends age.

Faithful Resistance, by Rick Ufford-Chase

“Is it possible for a church that has been at the heart of Empire for as long as we have to make a course correction and move intentionally from the center of Empire to the margins?” Rick Ufford-Chase has touched the deep longing that exists in so many of us who are Christian in the United States, and responded with ideas that offer a future we know God has in store for us but can’t seem to imagine is really possible. This is a book we should read and discuss with friends who share our longing and are ready to take a risk. If this book stays in our heads, it fails and we fail. If we use it as a springboard for daring, it is quite likely to change everything about being church in the heart of Empire. Fourteen contributing authors offer their own ideas for ways to move the Christian church to a place of faithfulness in the midst of the empire, and Rick adds his own observations about the compromised condition of our church institutions with concrete suggestions for bringing us home to the heart of the gospel. Contributors: Annanda Barclay, Michael Benefiel, Aric Clark, Linda Eastwood, Alison Harrington, Rabia Terri Harris, Jin S. Kim, Alex Patchin McNeill, Brian Merritt, Ched Myers, J. Herbert Nelson, II, John Nelson, Laura Newby, Germán Zárate. Foreword by Carol Howard Merritt.

Rick Ufford-Chase was our preacher on Peace and Justice Sunday. Interested in reading his book in community? Let Abby Cross or Connie Knapp know. We’ll be starting a book discussion group in January.

May you have stillness this Advent Season. May you know the joy of anticipation.

See you in class,

Connie Knapp, for the Adult Ed planning team