God, Creation, and Climate Change

Theologians and ethicists reflect on the most serious crisis of our time.

The magnitude of the problem of environmental degradation and climate change requires a complete rethinking and reorienting of our way of being in the world. Responding to the environmental crisis requires not only a conversion of the will but even more fundamentally a transformation of the imagination that is, the capacity to think of other ways of being, thinking, and acting in the world. These essays, by a distinguished group of Catholic scholars, assess the gravity of the situation and offer resources from the biblical and theological traditions for the necessary mobilization of will and the conversion of our imaginations.

Ten Commandments for the Environment

Seasoned author and journalist Woodeene Koenig-Bricker skillfully weaves together Pope Benedict’s key statements on environmental justice into one volume. Additionally, she offers commentary that helps to unpack the Ten Commandments for the Environment, which were recently released by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Koenig-Bricker helps us understand an environmentally responsible lifestyle as a moral responsibility to protect the poor, who suffer most when climate change creates a shortage of resources. With practical, everyday ideas for reducing one’s ecological footprint, this book is a must-read for those seeking the inspiration that the Holy Father radiates to a new generation of Catholics.

Tokens of Trust

What does it mean to believe in God? Can God possibly be almighty in the midst of so much evil and disaster? How am I to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ’s ministry and resurrection? To what purpose is the church called? And what does it really mean to follow Christ in today’s broken world? Tying together the answers to all of these questions and addressing perplexities such as the possibility of miracles and how to read the Bible, Rowan Williams demonstrates that each of the basic tenets of Christian faith flows from one fundamental belief: that God is completely worthy of our trust. With vast knowledge of Christian history and theology and characteristically elegant prose, Rowan Williams is a superb and compassionate guide through the richness and depth of Christian faith.

Handing One Another Along

In this book on shaping a meaningful and ethical life, the renowned, Pulitzer Prize–winning author explores how character, courage, and human and moral understanding can be fostered by reflecting on the lives of others, through stories. Based on Robert Coles’ legendary course at Harvard, this provocative book addresses such questions as, “Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?” It calls on us to become stronger and more aware, by reflecting on ourselves and others with the help of great literature and art.

Dr. Coles shows how the work of writers, artists, and thinkers of the past two centuries can inspire our own reflections on the daily lives we lead. He offers a compelling call to venture outside of our own selves and lives and to listen, attentively and with growing humanity, to the way others get through life. Coles encourages us to examine our own character, kindness, and complexity by looking carefully at our perceptions of others, and by studying the wisdom of authors from Charles Dickens to Flannery O’Connor, from James Agee to George Orwell, and many others. In this influential conversation about empathy and engagement, Coles inspires us to seek out deeper meaning in our lives, and guides us toward achieving greater clarity, strength, and richness of understanding, amid the moral, psychological, and social complexities of the modern world.

Ballistics

A Billy Collins poem is instantly recognizable. “Using simple, understandable language,” notes USA Today, the two-term U.S. Poet Laureate “captures ordinary life–its pleasure, its discontents, its moments of sadness and of joy.” His everyman approach to writing resonates with readers everywhere and generates fans who would otherwise never give a poem a second glance.

Now, in this stunning new collection, Collins touches on a greater array of subjects–love, death, solitude, youth, and aging–delving deeper than ever before. Ballistics comes at the reader full force with moving and playful takes on life. Drawing inspiration from the world around him and from such poetic forebears as Robert Frost, Paul Valéry, and eleventh-century poet Liu Yung, Collins drolly captures the essence of an ordinary afternoon:

All I do these drawn-out days
is sit in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge
where there are no pheasants to be seen
and, last time I looked, no ridge.

Collins reflects on his solitude:

If I lived across the street from myself
and I was sitting in the dark
on the edge of the bed
at five o’clock in the morning,

I might be wondering what the light
was doing on in my study at this hour.

And he meditates on the effects of love:

It turns everything into a symbol
like a storm that breaks loose
in the final chapter of a long novel.

And it may add sparkle to a morning,
or deepen a night
when the bed is ringed with fire.

As Collins strives to find truth in the smallest detail, readers are given a fascinating, intimate glimpse into the heart and soul of a brilliantly thoughtful man and exemplary poet.

The Central Park Five

Sarah Burns

A riveting, in-depth account of one of New York City’s most notorious crimes.

On April 20, 1989, the body of a woman is discovered in Central Park, her skull so badly smashed that nearly 80 percent of her blood has spilled onto the ground. Within days, five black and Latino teenagers confess to her rape and beating. In a city where urban crime is at a high and violence is frequent, the ensuing media frenzy and hysterical public reaction is extraordinary. The young men are tried as adults and convicted of rape, despite the fact that the teens quickly recant their inconsistent and inaccurate confessions and that no DNA tests or eyewitness accounts tie any of them to the victim. They serve their complete sentences before another man, serial rapist Matias Reyes, confesses to the crime and is connected to it by DNA testing.

Intertwining the stories of these five young men, the police officers, the district attorneys, the victim, and Matias Reyes, Sarah Burns unravels the forces that made both the crime and its prosecution possible. Most dramatically, she gives us a portrait of a city already beset by violence and deepening rifts between races and classes, whose law enforcement, government, social institutions, and media were undermining the very rights of the individuals they were designed to safeguard and protect.

Landscapes of the Sacred

This substantially expanded edition of Belden C. Lane’s Landscapes of the Sacred includes a new introductory chapter that offers three new interpretive models for understanding American sacred space. Lane maintains his approach of interspersing shorter and more personal pieces among full-length essays that explore how Native American, early French and Spanish, Puritan New England, and Catholic Worker traditions has each expressed the connection between spirituality and place.A new section at the end of the book includes three chapters that address methodological issues in the study of spirituality, the symbol-making process of religious experience, and the tension between place and placelessness in Christian spirituality.

Edward R. Murrow’s This I Believe

An anthology of fifty essays featured in Edward R. Murrow’s 1950s This I Believe radio series. Includes such luminaries of the twentieth century as Pearl Buck, Norman Cousins, Margaret Mead, James Michener, Jackie Robinson, and Harry Truman. With an introduction by Edward R. Murrow and a foreword by Dan Gediman, executive producer of the contemporary This I Believe radio broadcasts, heard weekly on public radio.

The Other Wes Moore

Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.

“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”