Two new books to give you something to think about while you’re enjoying the rest of the summer:

Writer and former missionary Scott Dannemiller has a true gift for storytelling. The Year without a Purchase; one Family’s Quest to Stop Shopping and Start Connecting (241 D) is a chronicle of his family’s year spent consuming less and connecting more. With a unique blend of humor, faith, and reflection, he helps the reader grasp the “why” behind our obsession with shopping and consuming things. This book will challenge you to think about your own life and the important concept of “want vs. need,” but it is done in a very down to earth style that will keep you laughing along the way.

In Defense of Civility; How Religion can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues that Divide Us (201 D), by James Calvin Davis, could not be more timely. Although he has no easy answers to his premise, he underscores not merely the legitimacy, but also the potential benefits of recognizing religious perspectives in the public sphere. After introducing contemporary debates over religion, he reviews its complicated historical relationship with the American moral tradition. “When we open wide the doors of public moral discourse,” he concludes, “when we extend civility and respect to all citizens and demand it from them as well, we lay the groundwork for an enriched public discourse that just might make some progress toward greater understanding on the issues that most divide us.”.

Carol Jensen, Church Librarian