The books below are new (or at least new to the Wiggin Library) and can be checked out by all library patrons. They are also on display and can be browsed in-person on the 6th floor at Meadville Lombard. For those interesting in getting a library account, go to Request an Account.
An incisive look at Hmong religion in the United States, where resettled refugees found creative ways to maintain their traditions, even as Christian organizations deputized by the government were granted an outsized influence on the refugees' new lives. Every year, members of the Hmong Christian Church of God in Minneapolis gather for a cherished Thanksgiving celebration. But this Thanksgiving takes place in the spring, in remembrance of the turbulent days in May 1975 when thousands of Laotians were evacuated for resettlement in the United States. For many Hmong, passage to America was also a spiritual crossing. As they found novel approaches to living, they also embraced Christianity--called kev cai tshiab, "the new way"--as a means of navigating their complex spiritual landscapes. Melissa May Borja explores how this religious change happened and what it has meant for Hmong culture. American resettlement policies unintentionally deprived Hmong of the resources necessary for their time-honored rituals, in part because these practices, blending animism, ancestor worship, and shamanism, challenged many Christian-centric definitions of religion. At the same time, because the government delegated much of the resettlement work to Christian organizations, refugees developed close and dependent relationships with Christian groups. Ultimately the Hmong embraced Christianity on their own terms, adjusting to American spiritual life while finding opportunities to preserve their customs. Follow the New Way illustrates America's wavering commitments to pluralism and secularism, offering a much-needed investigation into the public work done by religious institutions with the blessing of the state. But in the creation of a Christian-inflected Hmong American animism we see the resilience of tradition--how it deepens under transformative conditions.
"COVID-19 thrust chaplains-especially those in healthcare-into the national spotlight as they cared for patients, family members, and exhausted and traumatized medical staff fighting the pandemic in real time. That spotlight, like COVID-19, was new, but the work of chaplains was not. I step back from the spotlight in this book to ask who chaplains are, what they do across the United States, how that work is connected to the settings where they do it, and how they have responded to and helped to shape contemporary shifts in the American religious landscape. I focus on Boston as a case study to show how chaplains have been, and remain, an important part of institutional religious ecologies, both locally and nationally. I engage with scholarly literatures in sociology, religious studies, and organizational studies to contextualize these data. I encourage scholars, religious leaders, and educators to step back and look broadly enough that they can see chaplains and integrate their work into thinking about American religious life. Considering the work of chaplains and keeping it on the radar of scholars and religious leaders may be a source of continuing insights into the future of religious life in the United States"-- Provided by publisher.
"Female figures play pivotal roles in narratives of Islamic sacred history, and the Qur'an celebrates the aptitudes and competencies of many such figures in the realms of spirituality and piety, in political maneuvering, and in family relations. Some women figures use their agency in morally corrupt ways; however, the Qur'an presents many more examples of pious women, including those who birth, protect, guide, and inspire prophets. This book outlines how female figures-old, young, barren, fertile, chaste, profligate, saintly, and reproachable-enter Islamic sacred history and advance the Qur'an's overarching didactic aims. The analysis considers all the major and minor female figures referenced in the Qur'an, including those who appear in narratives of sacred history, in parables, in verses that allude to events contemporaneous with the Qur'an, and in descriptions of the eternal abode. Hundreds of Qur'anic verses pertain to women and girl figures. Female personalities appear in the Qur'anic accounts of human origins, in stories of the founding and destruction of nations, and in narratives of conquest, filial devotion, romantic attraction, and more. This work gives attention to these wide-ranging depictions and to themes related to sexual relations, kinship relations, divine-human relationships, female embodiment, and women's social roles. Analysis focuses on lexical features of the Qur'an, intra-textual resonances, and thematic juxtapositions. The book explores Qur'anic dictates involving gender relations and highlights female spiritual competencies"-- Provided by publisher.
Heartfelt personal accounts from transgender people fighting for the right to serve in the military "Prior to coming out as transgender I served the first several years of my career under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," hiding my sexual orientation out of the constant fear of expulsion. I then found myself in the same predicament as when I first joined, wanting nothing more than to serve my country and do my job, but at the cost of sacrificing a major part of who I am. . . . This time, however, I decided that I could no longer sacrifice my own well-being, my own authentic self."--Mak Vaden, Warrant Officer 1, U.S. Army National Guard, 2006-present "I have traveled around the world. . . . I have been on five cutters with eleven years of sea time and commanded the Coast Guard cutter Campbell. I have negotiated treaties and fostered international law enforcement cooperation. I have stopped drug smugglers and seized illegal fishing vessels on the high seas. And, I also have gender dysphoria and identify as a trans woman."--Allison Caputo, Captain, US Coast Guard, 1995-present On January 25, 2021, in one of his first acts as President, Joe Biden reversed the Trump Administration's widely condemned ban on transgender people in the military. In With Honor and Integrity, Máel Embser-Herbert and Bree Fram introduce us to the brave individuals who are on the front lines of this issue, assembling a powerful, accessible, and heartfelt collection of first-hand accounts from transgender military personnel in the United States. Featuring twenty-six essays from current service members or veterans, these eye-opening accounts show us what it is like to serve in the military as a transgender person. From a religious affairs specialist in the Army National Guard, to a petty officer first class in the Navy, to a veteran of the Marine Corps who became "the real me" at age forty-nine, these accounts are personal, engaging, and refreshingly honest. Contributors share their experiences from before and during President Trump's ban--what barriers they face at work, why they do or don't choose to serve openly, and how their colleagues have treated them. Fram, a lieutenant colonel who is serving openly as a transgender woman in the US Space Force, and has advocated for open service policies, shares her experience in the aftermath of Trump's announcement of the ban on Twitter. Ultimately, Embser-Herbert and Fram provide an inspiring look at the past, present, and future of transgender military service. At a time when LGBTQ rights are under siege, and the opportunity to serve continues to be challenged, With Honor and Integrity is a timely and necessary read.
Explores the influence of Kabbalah in shaping America's religious identity In 1688, a leading Quaker thinker and activist in what is now New Jersey penned a letter to one of his closest disciples concerning Kabbalah, or what he called the mystical theology of the Jews. Around that same time, one of the leading Puritan ministers developed a messianic theology based in part on the mystical conversion of the Jews. This led to the actual conversion of a Jew in Boston a few decades later, an event that directly produced the first kabbalistic book conceived of and published in America. That book was read by an eventual president of Yale College, who went on to engage in a deep study of Kabbalah that would prod him to involve the likes of Benjamin Franklin, and to give a public oration at Yale in 1781 calling for an infusion of Kabbalah and Jewish thought into the Protestant colleges of America. Kabbalah and the Founding of America traces the influence of Kabbalah on early Christian Americans. It offers a new picture of Jewish-Christian intellectual exchange in pre-Revolutionary America, and illuminates how Kabbalah helped to shape early American religious sensibilities. The volume demonstrates that key figures, including the well-known Puritan ministers Cotton Mather and Increase Mather and Yale University President Ezra Stiles, developed theological ideas that were deeply influenced by Kabbalah. Some of them set out to create a more universal Kabbalah, developing their ideas during a crucial time of national myth building, laying down precedents for developing notions of American exceptionalism. This book illustrates how, through fascinating and often surprising events, this unlikely inter-religious influence helped shape the United States and American identity.
A National Bestseller! "Read this book to connect with your highest self." --Susan Cain, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet and Quiet "We need more awe in our lives, and Dacher Keltner has written the definitive book on where to find it." --Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again "Awe is awesome in both senses: a superb analysis of an emotion that is strongly felt but poorly understood, with a showcase of examples that remind us of what is worthy of our awe." --Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and Rationality From a foremost expert on the science of emotions and consultant to Pixar's Inside Out, a groundbreaking and essential exploration into the history, science, and greater understanding of awe Awe is mysterious. How do we begin to quantify the goose bumps we feel when we see the Grand Canyon, or the utter amazement when we watch a child walk for the first time? How do you put into words the collective effervescence of standing in a crowd and singing in unison, or the wonder you feel while gazing at centuries-old works of art? Up until fifteen years ago, there was no science of awe, the feeling we experience when we encounter vast mysteries that transcend our understanding of the world. Scientists were studying emotions like fear and disgust, emotions that seemed essential to human survival. Revolutionary thinking, though, has brought into focus how, through the span of evolution, we've met our most basic needs socially. We've survived thanks to our capacities to cooperate, form communities, and create culture that strengthens our sense of shared identity--actions that are sparked and spurred by awe. In Awe, Dacher Keltner presents a radical investigation and deeply personal inquiry into this elusive emotion. Revealing new research into how awe transforms our brains and bodies, alongside an examination of awe across history, culture, and within his own life during a period of grief, Keltner shows us how cultivating awe in our everyday life leads us to appreciate what is most humane in our human nature. And during a moment in which our world feels more divided than ever before, and more imperiled by crises of different kinds, we are greatly in need of awe. If we open our minds, it is awe that sharpens our reasoning and orients us toward big ideas and new insights, that cools our immune system's inflammation response and strengthens our bodies. It is awe that activates our inclination to share and create strong networks, to take actions that are good for the natural and social world around us. It is awe that transforms who we are, that inspires the creation of art, music, and religion. At turns radical and profound, brimming with enlightening and practical insights, Awe is our field guide, from not only one of the leading voices on the subject but a fellow seeker of awe in his own right, for how to place awe as a vital force within our lives.
Corpse Carerelates the history of death care in the U.S. to craft robust, constructive, practical ethics for tending the dead. It specifically relates corpse care to economic, environmental, and pastoral concerns. Death and the treatment of the dead body loom large in our collective, cultural consciousness. The authors explore the materiality and meaning of the dead body and the living's relationship to it. All the biggest questions facing the planetary human community relate in one way or another to the corpse. Surprisingly, Christian communities are largely missing in the discussion of the dead, having abdicated the historic role in care for the dead to the funeral industry. Christianity has stopped its reflection about the body once that body no longer bears life. Corpse Carestakes a claim that the fact of embodiment, this incarnational truth, this process of our bodily becoming, is a practical, ethical, and theological necessity.
**FINALIST, 2022 PROSE Award in Theology & Religious Studies** An innovative exploration of religion's influence on communication networks When Samuel Morse sent the words "what hath God wrought" from the US Supreme Court to Baltimore in mere minutes, it was the first public demonstration of words travelling faster than human beings and farther than a line of sight in the US. This strange confluence of media, religion, technology, and US nationhood lies at the foundation of global networks. The advent of a telegraph cable crossing the Atlantic Ocean was viewed much the way the internet is today, to herald a coming world-wide unification. President Buchanan declared that the Atlantic Telegraph would be "an instrument destined by divine providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world" through which "the nations of Christendom [would] spontaneously unite." Evangelical Protestantism embraced the new technology as indicating God's support for their work to Christianize the globe. Public figures in the US imagined this new communication technology in primarily religious terms as offering the means to unite the world and inspire peaceful relations among nations. Religious utopianists saw the telegraph as the dawn of a perfect future. Religious framing thus dominated the interpretation of the technology's possibilities, forging an imaginary of networks as connective, so much so that connection is now fundamental to the idea of networks. In reality, however, networks are marked, at core, by disconnection. With lively historical sources and an accessible engagement with critical theory, When the Medium was the Mission tells the story of how connection was made into the fundamental promise of networks, illuminating the power of public Protestantism in the first network imaginaries, which continue to resonate today in false expectations of connection.
Explores how Black Buddhist Teachers and Practitioners interpret Western Buddhism in unique spiritual and communal ways In Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition, Rima Vesely-Flad examines the distinctive features of Black-identifying Buddhist practitioners, arguing that Black Buddhists interpret Buddhist teachings in ways that are congruent with Black radical thought. Indeed, the volume makes the case that given their experiences with racism--both in the larger society and also within largely white-oriented Buddhist organizations--Black cultural frameworks are necessary for illuminating the Buddha's wisdom. Drawing on interviews with forty Black Buddhist teachers and practitioners, Vesely-Flad argues that Buddhist teachings, through their focus on healing intergenerational trauma, provide a vitally important foundation for achieving Black liberation. She shows that Buddhist teachings as practiced by Black Americans emphasize different aspects of the religion than do those in white convert Buddhist communities, focusing more on devotional practices to ancestors and community uplift. The book includes discussions of the Black Power movement, the Black feminist movement, and the Black prophetic tradition. It also offers a nuanced discussion of how the Black body, which has historically been reviled, is claimed as a vehicle for liberation. In so doing, the book explores how the experiences of non-binary, gender non-conforming, and transgender practitioners of African descent are validated within the tradition. The book also uplifts the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer Black Buddhists. This unique volume shows the importance of Black Buddhist teachers' insights into Buddhist wisdom, and how they align Buddhism with Black radical teachings, helping to pull Buddhism away from dominant white cultural norms.