Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Chosen Faith, by John Buehrens & Forrest Church

I bought this book when, to my surprise, a local Unitarian Universalist minister couldn't (or chose not to) explain much about the "theology" of her church during a purported orientation session. But Buehrens & Church answered my questions.

The story of the king who asks his blind subjects to describe an elephant, nets it out. After hearing each person describe the elephant from their own experience of it (a basket, a pot, four pillars, etc.), the Buddha comments: "How can you be so sure of what you cannot see? We all are like unsighted people in this world. We cannot see God. Nor can we know what is going to happen after we die. Each one of you may be partly right in your answers. Yet none of you is fully right. Let us not quarrel over what we cannot be sure of." [p95-96]

I'd feel remiss if I didn't write down the "real" principles of Unitarian Universalism:
  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn

I came across this book circuitously: I was watching a set of videos from a health conference sponsored by Dr. John McDougall. One of the speakers was Jeff Novick, who was the source of Esselstyn's chapter 3 material on reading packaged food labels. Another speaker was John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, who described an ambitious and impressive program for the firm's employees, and mentioned partnering with Esselstyn for a line of foods. So... I figured I'd might as well see what this guy is about for myself.

Bottom line: amused that he uses the phrase "plant strong" to avoid the (presumably more frightening) term "vegan." But a great book, based on great science.

Oh, and a chapter on exercises, and a number of (what seem to be great; eager to try some) recipes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Farnam Method of Defensive Handgunning, by John Farnam

I was disappointed in this book; fewer than 10 pages were of real use to me, and those not until after 194 less interesting pages had passed.

The Complete Book of Wild Boar Hunting, by Todd Triplett

This is a pretty broad view of the topic, but it is mostly just surface deep.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Better Part of Darkness, by Kelly Gay

Time on airplanes leads me to unpredictable book choices. I'm not even sure how to categorize this one: paranormal'ish, fantasy, sci-fi; kind of aliens on Earth with a magical slant.

So I've set this up to explain away how I distracted myself during a flight with some crummy novel, right? But it wasn't! This was well written, interesting, suspenseful and a generally enjoyable read that even took two flights to complete (a big bang for the buck!). I do tend to enjoy books with a strong female hero (possibly due to years of having read "The Paper Bag Princess" to my kids), and that notion of female independence is strong in this novel.

I'm even planning to read the sequel. (Warning: there were a couple of moments that felt as though we were descending into romance literature; fortunately the author quickly raised the elevators and we returned to a safe altitude. Go figure.)