The keepers of Scientology have a reputation for mercilessly going after those who dare to criticize the church. So it’s not surprising that Lawrence Wright, while researching the religious movement, received threatening letters from its lawyers and some of its celebrity adherents. They had reason to be worried. The book that Wright produced, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, is a thorough and scathing examination of the organization founded by L. Ron Hubbard, who was a best-selling science fiction writer before he became the prophet of a new religion. Wright goes out of his way to be fair, which makes his book’s indictment even more compelling. For all of Scientology’s power and claims of benefits, the book, as a Wall Street Journal reviewer noted, shows the church to be “a charmless system of belief and a small-time organization made large through celebrity and money.”
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307745309
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - November 5th, 2013

 

The esteemed Oxford professor Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch follows his comprehensive Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years with a briefer but no less eloquent study of Silence: A Christian History (Viking, $27.95). When part of the devotional continuum taking a soul from active meditation (often aided by silent icons) to the purer state of contemplation, silence has been a virtue and a blessing. It’s also been a shield, used by 16th-century conversos who practiced Christianity but maintained an unspoken devotion to Judaism or Islam. But silence can hide what ought to be revealed, and in this it’s been a sin of both omission and commission, whether as the Catholic Index of banned books or the concealment of child abuse, or the wider Christian tacit approval of slavery, which isn’t explicitly condemned in the New Testament. And what about that term, New Testament, anyway? MacCulloch points out that it turned Hebrew scripture into “the Old Testament,” silencing its identity as the Tanakh and making it merely a prelude to the Christian gospels. Deeply researched, this book yields many such telling details; for instance, the silence most widely practiced now, the public moment in remembrance of the dead, started in 1912, after the Titanic disaster.

Silence: A Christian History Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143125815
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 26th, 2014

Good news! Brendan Powell Smith’s brilliant re-telling of the Bible is now available off-line, collected in a single, very handsome, box set. Composed of photographs of LEGO brick portrayals of Bible stories, The Brick Bible: The Complete Set is easily the year’s best visual representation of a holy book. Smith’s clever abbreviations make his work more than a one-joke novelty and his attention to detail encourages close, and multiple, readings. Perfect for anyone who loves LEGOs, dioramas, or God, this is one collection that’s equally great to give and receive.

The Brick Bible: The Complete Set (Brick Bible Presents) Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781626361775
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Skyhorse Publishing - October 1st, 2013

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