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21. A Sociology of Spirituality (Theology
22. Religion and the Sociology of
23. Do We Need Religion?: On the Experience
24. Gods in the Global Village: The
25. Bourdieu on Religion: Imposing
26. Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms
27. Religion and Cyberspace
28. Orisa Devotion as World Religion:
29. World Religions in Practice: A
30. Rave Culture and Religion (Routledge
31. America: Religions and Religion
32. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate
33. Religion and Belief (Skills-Based
34. The Encyclopedia of Religion and
35. Spirituality for Our Global Community:
36. Religion as Poetry
37. American Sociology: Worldly Rejections
38. Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion
39. The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism
40. Religion in the Contemporary World:

21. A Sociology of Spirituality (Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective Series in Association With the Bsa Sociology of Religion Study Group)
Hardcover: 269 Pages (2007-09-15)
list price: US$99.95 -- used & new: US$94.14
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Asin: 0754654583
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The emergence of spirituality in contemporary culture in holistic forms suggests that organised religions have failed. This thesis is explored and disputed in this book in ways that mark important critical divisions. This is the first collection of essays to assess the significance of spirituality in the sociology of religion. The authors explore the relationship of spirituality to the visual, individualism, gender, identity politics, education and cultural capital. The relationship between secularisation and spirituality is examined and consideration is given to the significance of Simmel in relation to a sociology of spirituality. Problems of defining spirituality debated, with considerations of its expression in the U.K., the U.S.A., France and Holland. This timely, original and well structured volume provides undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers with a scholarly appraisal of a phenomenon that can only increase in sociological significance. ... Read more

22. Religion and the Sociology of Knowledge: Modernization and Pluralism in Christian Thought and Structure (Studies in Religion and Society)
 Hardcover: 402 Pages (1984-06)
list price: US$129.95 -- used & new: US$129.47
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Asin: 0889468729
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This is a collection of 17 essays presented at a seminar on the sociology of knowledge and religion at Iliff School of Theology. The central theme of the volume is that one's particular place in society shapes the ways in which one thinks, learns, and responds to religion as to other factors in life. ... Read more

23. Do We Need Religion?: On the Experience of Self-Transcendence (Yale Cultural Sociology) (The Yale Cultural Sociology Series)
by Hans Joas
Hardcover: 176 Pages (2007-11-30)
list price: US$79.00 -- used & new: US$63.54
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Asin: 1594514380
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The old assumption that modernization leads to secularization is outdated. Yet the certainty that religion is an anthropological universal that can only be suppressed by governments is also dead. Thus it is now a favorable moment for a new perspective on religion. This book takes human experiences of self-transcendence as its point of departure. Religious faith is seen as an attempt to articulate and interpret such experiences. Faith then is neither useful nor a symptom of weakness or misery, but an opening up of ways of experience. This book develops this basic idea, contrasts it with the thinking of some leading religious thinkers of our time, and relates it to the current debates about human rights and universal human dignity. ... Read more

24. Gods in the Global Village: The World's Religions in Sociological Perspective (Sociology for a New Century Series)
by Lester R. Kurtz
Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-07-06)
list price: US$56.95 -- used & new: US$40.00
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Asin: 1412927153
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In an era plagued by religious conflict, the Second Edition of Gods in the Global Village directly responds to issues of social problems prevalent in the world today. Using an engaging, though-provoking style, author Lester R. Kurtz focuses on the relationship among the major faith traditions that inform the thinking and ethical standards of most people in the emerging global social order. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars as described
Book was as described.Bought for a Gen. Ed. class in college.Professor seems to to like the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Class Textbook
I am taking a Sociology class on religion and this book is easy to read.It gets the point across without going too in depth.Great for someone just being introduced to the many religions in the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent text on the sociology of religion
This is really more of a textbook on the sociology of religion than anything else.As such, it is not particularly conducive to summation (too many topics; too much information).

However, there are two things worth noting about the contents.First, the book goes to great lengths to look at religion from a global perspective, which I found to be invaluable and informative, especially considering how uncommon it is to do so.The second point is similar - the book doesn't focus on just Christianity or U.S. religion.The book compares, contrasts, and examines all of the major world religions- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.There isn't really more emphasis on one than another; they pretty much receive equal treatment, which is also unusual.

The fact that the book looks at all of the major world religions rather than focusing on just Christianity, which is early on outlined as the book's objective (a global perspective), is refreshing and likely very informative for students in the U.S. who typically are somewhat ignorant of life outside of their country.

It is also nice that the author, Lester Kurtz, reveals his personal religious biases to begin with.His wife and kids are Jewish, but as a family they predominantly worship at Quaker worship services.His interest in the Quaker religion is revealed, to a degree, by his treatment of Ghandi.Not only is the treatment quite extensive, but Ghandi is idolized for his peaceful tactics (not that I disagree with this approach, I just found it revealing of the author's biases).Also, the final chapter, though well-written and not particularly overt, is definitely Kurtz's attempt to spread a message of peace.He doesn't necessarily attack religions for their history of justifying violence, but he definitely hopes this history is nearing its end.

Despite being well-written and offering an informative global perspective, there are a couple of problems with the book.First, there is only minimal treatment of secularization.Lacking is a discussion of neo-secularization (Chaves 1994), though admittedly much of this was happening while Kurtz was writing the book.Also, though the debate continues, there is definitely much more evidence for the existence of secularization in the U.S. than is presented in the text.

The book also gives the impression that it isn't possible to have values/morals without religion.I'm guessing this isn't the intention of the author as he tends to be fairly objective, but it is implied in several locations.I also found the author's usage of scripture, the Bible in particular, disturbing.He goes in and out of using the Bible as historical and metaphorical and never specifically states which perspective he is employing at any given point.For instance, Kurtz uses the story of Moses coming to power as the leader of the Children of Israel to make a point about religions generally, but also seems to conclude that the story is historically accurate.Whether he really believes it is or not isn't clear.

Finally, the author has a tendency to drift off onto theoretical tangents that at times are more rambling than coherent.These occurrences are few and far between, but when they do happen you find yourself wondering how you arrived where you are.

Overall, I highly recommend this book as a text for a course on the sociology of religion.The book is for the most part accurate, well-written, and clear (I know he missed one point with Mormons, but I didn't find many other flaws).The book isn't without its problems, but they are truly minimal compared to the synthesis of a global perspective on religions he has produced in writing this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally! My kind of Sociology of Religion!
Exceptional.Unlike most Sociology of Religion texts, this one is not stuck in the mechanics and jargon of the author's pet method for analyzing, nor does it assault one with crude reductionisms.One learns a great deal about the various religions, whose major themes are compared utilizing ample sociological acumen. Thus the book is informative enough for the student of sociology and is readable enough for the non-sociologist. Kurtz discusses the challenges encountered by the world's religions and the responses they make to pluralism, modernism, and social conflict.I especially appreciated the discussion of religion's response to violence and the rise of feminism, both not inconsiderable issues in today's world, but seldom treated in previous texts. I would have liked to have seen something about Sikhism, the dissemination of Native American tradition, and more about newer religions.Any reader may have his or her own favorite.If all were included the book would be a library and probably not yet available.We can only hope for further work on religion from this author. Useful for the students of religion as well as of sociology and likely to provide fertile discussion.This is the kind of book I longed to read for years.This is a book I will assign. ... Read more

25. Bourdieu on Religion: Imposing Faith and Legitimacy (Key Thinkers in the Study of Religion)
by Terry Rey
Hardcover: 196 Pages (2007-11-14)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$60.96
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Asin: 1845532856
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One of the foremost intellectuals of our time, Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) has had a resounding impact on a wide range of scholarly disciplines, from linguistics, sociology, and education to art history, philosophy, and literary criticism. Scholars of religion, however, have been relatively slow to mine the theoretical riches that researchers in other fields have uncovered in Bourdieu's theory of practice, surely in part because Bourdieu actually wrote little about religion. Lately, though, Bourdieu is commanding respect in religious studies as a social theorist of the stature and relevance of Durkheim, Marx, and Weber, whose own writings on religion are those that Bourdieu most admired. Through careful analysis of Bourdieus social theory in general and his writings on religion in particular, along with a summary of some emerging uses of Bourdieu in religious studies, in Bourdieu on Religion: Imposing Faith and Legitimacy Terry Rey introduces Bourdieus theory of practice and demonstrates its range of utility to the study of religion. In light of Bourdieus overarching aim to expose the sources of social inequalities, his work is shown to be especially apt for studies on the relationship between religion, class, and social power; religion, race, and ethnicity; and religion and colonial conquest. ... Read more

26. Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World (The Fundamentalism Project)
by Gabriel A. Almond, R. Scott Appleby, Emmanuel Sivan
Paperback: 296 Pages (2003-01-15)
list price: US$21.00 -- used & new: US$14.97
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Asin: 0226014983
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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After the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, religious fundamentalism has dominated public debate as never before. Policymakers, educators, and the general public all want to know: Why do fundamentalist movements turn violent? Are fundamentalisms a global threat to human rights, security, and democratic forms of government? What is the future of fundamentalism?

To answer questions like these, Strong Religion draws on the results of the Fundamentalism Project, a decade-long interdisciplinary study of antimodernist, antisecular militant religious movements on five continents and within seven world religious traditions. The authors of this study analyze the various social structures, cultural contexts, and political environments in which fundamentalist movements have emerged around the world, from the Islamic Hamas and Hizbullah to the Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries of Northern Ireland, and from the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition of the United States to the Sikh radicals and Hindu nationalists of India. Offering a vividly detailed portrait of the cultures that nourish such movements, Strong Religion opens a much-needed window onto different modes of fundamentalism and identifies the kind of historical events that can trigger them.
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Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Informative But Extremely Dry Academic Work
Some highly respected scholars, like Karen Armstrong and Bernard Lewis, are able to write serious books that are also readable enough to attract a broad audience. But "Strong Religion" is unlikely to have much appeal outside of academic circles.

I'm an atheist with a strong interest in religious fundamentalism. So I had high expectations for this book. It does cover a wide cross section of fundamentalist sects, including not only Christian evangelicals, Islamic extremists and radical Jews but also Hindu nationalists, Sikh separatists and even militant Buddhists. I appreciated how this book demonstrated the underlying similarities between these fundamentalist groups and how they all represent a potential threat to modern, secular society as well as religious pluralism and tolerance.

But, unfortunately, the book is so full of academic jargon and repetitious examples that I found it a struggle to get through. I was expecting a serious and challenging read. But the consistently dull analysis of structure, organization and methodology caused a very compelling subject to become quite boring. This book accomplishes it's academic goals. But the dry writing style will turn off many readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-documented descriptions of fundamentalist movements
Frankly, I couldn't put the book down.Although it is somewhat academic in its organization and writing style, I found it totally engaging.The authors outline the incredible rise and spread of fundamentalism in the 20th century and the similarities and differences among the movement as it is found in the various religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and even Buddhism. Having encountered fundamentalism at different times in my own life, I could relate to the whys and hows of people being pulled into such a movement.The authors do not leave us without hope.By understanding how fundamentalism rises, what the leaders are like, and the stages of such a movement, there are ways that we can work with this to bring these people back into the mainstream.Not easy, but also not impossible.
Read more at http://www.gettingtomaybe.com. Essays on Tolerance, Compassion, Wisdom, and Courage.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifullywritten, thoughtful book
Well written and carefully researched book, timely thinking on the rise of global religious fundamentalism. I haven't finished it yet, but I'm finding it fascinating. I got it out of the library, now I'm here to buy it. ... Read more

27. Religion and Cyberspace
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-08-08)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$33.08
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Asin: 0415357632
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In the twenty-first century, religious life is increasingly moving from churches, mosques and temples onto the Internet. Today, anyone can go online and seek a new form of religious expression without ever encountering a physical place of worship, or an ordained teacher or priest. The digital age offers virtual worship, cyber-prayers and talk-boards for all of the major world faiths, as well as for pagan organisations and new religious movements. It also abounds with misinformation, religious bigotry and information terrorism. Scholars of religion need to understand the emerging forum that the web offers to religion, and the kinds of religious and social interaction that it enables.

Religion and Cyberspace explores how religious individuals and groups are responding to the opportunities and challenges that cyberspace brings. It asks how religious experience is generated and enacted online, and how faith is shaped by factors such as limitless choice, lack of religious authority, and the conflict between recognised and non-recognised forms of worship. Combining case studies with the latest theory, its twelve chapters examine topics including the history of online worship, virtuality versus reality in cyberspace, religious conflict in digital contexts, and the construction of religious identity online. Focusing on key themes in this groundbreaking area, it is an ideal introduction to the fascinating questions that religion on the Internet presents. ... Read more

28. Orisa Devotion as World Religion: The Globalization of Yoruba Religious Culture
Paperback: 592 Pages (2008-03-10)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$28.58
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Asin: 0299224643
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As the twenty-first century begins, tens of millions of people participate in devotions to the spirits called Òrìsà. This book explores the emergence of Òrìsà devotion as a world religion, one of the most remarkable and compelling developments in the history of the human religious quest. Originating among the Yorùbá people of West Africa, the varied traditions that comprise Òrìsà devotion are today found in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Australia.
    The African spirit proved remarkably resilient in the face of the transatlantic slave trade, inspiring the perseverance of African religion wherever its adherents settled in the New World. Among the most significant manifestations of this spirit, Yorùbá religious culture persisted, adapted, and even flourished in the Americas, especially in Brazil and Cuba, where it thrives as Candomblé and Lukumi/Santería, respectively. After the end of slavery in the Americas, the free migrations of Latin American and African practitioners has further spread the religion to places like New York City and Miami. Thousands of African Americans have turned to the religion of their ancestors, as have many other spiritual seekers who are not themselves of African descent. 
    Ifá divination in Nigeria, Candomblé funerary chants in Brazil, the role of music in Yorùbá revivalism in the United States, gender and representational authority in Yorùbá religious culture—these are among the many subjects discussed here by experts from around the world. Approaching Òrìsà devotion from diverse vantage points, their collective effort makes this one of the most authoritative texts on Yorùbá religion and a groundbreaking book that heralds this rich, complex, and variegated tradition as one of the world’s great religions.   
... Read more

29. World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction
by Paul Gwynne
Paperback: 448 Pages (2008-08-19)
list price: US$47.95 -- used & new: US$27.84
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Asin: 1405167033
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World Religions in Practice introduces five of the world’s great religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and explores how they are lived and expressed in custom, ritual, and symbol.

  • A major new textbook exploring the world’s great religions through their customs, rituals and everyday practices – by focusing on this ‘lived experience’ it goes beyond many traditional introductions to religious studies
  • Adopts a directly comparative approach to develop a greater understanding of the nature of religion
  • Each chapter engages with an individual theme, such as birth, death, food, pilgrimage and ethics, to illustrate how religious practices are expressed
  • Broadens students’ understanding by offering an impartial discussion of the similarities and differences between each religion
  • Includes chapter-by-chapter opening themes and summaries, and will be accompanied by a website at www.blackwellpublishing.com/gwynne featuring additional resources and study questions.
... Read more

30. Rave Culture and Religion (Routledge Advances in Sociology)
Paperback: 316 Pages (2009-05-26)
list price: US$34.00 -- used & new: US$30.48
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Asin: 0415552508
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The collection provides insights on developments in post-traditional religiosity (especially 'New Age' and 'Neo-Paganism') through studies of rave's Gnostic narratives of ascensionism and re-enchantment, explorations of the embodied spirituality and millennialist predispositions of dance culture, and investigations of transnational digital-art countercultures manifesting at geographic locations as diverse as Goa, India, and Nevada's Burning Man festival. Contributors examine raving as a new religious or revitalization movement; a powerful locus of sacrifice and transgression; a lived bodily experience; a practice comparable with world entheogenic rituals; and as evidencing a new Orientalism. Rave Culture and Religion will be essential reading for advanced students and academics in the fields of sociology, cultural studies and religious studies. ... Read more

31. America: Religions and Religion
by Catherine L. Albanese
Paperback: 336 Pages (2006-08-01)
list price: US$95.95 -- used & new: US$74.23
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Asin: 0534627390
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Since its first publication in 1981, AMERICA: RELIGIONS AND RELIGION has become the standard introduction to the study of American religious traditions. Written by one of the foremost scholars in the field of American religions, this textbook has introduced thousands of students to the rich religious diversity that has always been a hallmark of the American religious experience. Beginning with native American religious traditions and following the course of America's religious history up to the present day, this text gives students the benefit of the author's extensive, influential scholarship in a clear manner that has proven to be readily accessible for today's undergraduates. This long-awaited new edition explores a variety recent events and developments, including increasing religious pluralism, the growth of postpluralism and the culture of religious combinations, recent religious change among Native Americans, renewed interest in the Kabbalah among Jews and others, present-day concerns in Catholicism and among Protestants, the Christian Right, new spirituality, religion and sexuality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Utterly confusing and BORING
I've never read a book where I had to read a paragraph 5 times and still don't even know what the heck it's trying to say. Author needs to make it easier to read for those who have no religious background whatsoever at all, especially for those who have no interest in religion.

I'm only reading it b/c it's a req'd text for a class. The professor who teaches this class is also just as BORING! No wonder he chose this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Case study in the academic textbook racket
I imagine that if you're looking to buy this book it's because it's required for a course. It's a passable survey of religion in America. The course I bought it for was supplemented by a great deal of primary source material, which was much more helpful than this textbook. My biggest beef with the book was the price: it was nearly 80 dollars for a book that is incredibly slim on pages and very, very general. This to me highlights the problem in the textbook market: pricing is done by letting guinea pigs loose in a room with numbers on the floor. The number they poop on is the price assigned.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pompous Blather
I had to purchase this book for an American Religion Class.You can tell where the updated editions are written by the more-cogent writing.In general, the writting seems verbose and the author seems to be showcasing an extensive vocabulary rather than an exercise in transfering information. The information is disjointed; a difficult read.

This is NOT a book you will read for casual reading.I love to read, but this is a cure for insomnia.I went so far as to post that I knew what I'de be doing in the afterlife in the 7th ring of hell(Reading this book over and over again#.

If possible and time permits, take a different religion class if this is required reading #This is not sour grapes, I read the entire book and received an 'A' for the course).

4-0 out of 5 stars thumbs up
I used this book for an undergraduate course.The prose is easy to read.Sometimes sections seem disjointed,, but overall a good textbook.If you want to know how American religion came to be where it is today, this book will explain it all.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ugh
I had to read this for a class, and I found it atrocious.Everyone in my class seriously wanted to send a letter to Catherine Albanese to let her know how offensive and ridiculous this book was.I had to restrain myself.The information she gives is occasionally helpful, but usually skewed.She covers a vast array of topics without really doing a good job with any of them.I wish she had reorganized the book a lot and provided better information and less of her own opinions.This was a waste of my time and money, and as soon as I was done with it, I sold it online.I hope none of you bought it. ... Read more

32. A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America: A Hard Look at Spirituality, Religion, and Values in the Workplace (J-B Warren Bennis Series)
by Ian Mitroff, Elizabeth A. Denton
Hardcover: 259 Pages (1999-10-15)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$21.75
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Asin: 0787946664
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This first-ever survey of spiritual beliefs and practices among managers and executives finds that, while most people have strong spiritual beliefs, few feel that they can act on those beliefs at work. And yet, overall company performance is actually higher in companies where company values and spiritual values coalesce. Filling a gap in today's literature on spirituality and business, this book examines five proven models for introducing spirituality to the workplace and spells out the strengths and weaknesses of each model. More than a personal guide to spiritual well-being, it shows how you can harness the immense spiritual energy at everyone's core, and outlines solutions for bringing that energy into the organization.

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Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Foundation for All Works on Workplace Spirituality
"A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America" is a book that should be read by all members of the corporate world (not only in the US), who want to learn more about the various models in existence about workplace spirituality.

I have used this book as a foundation for my doctoral dissertation on workplace spirituality. "A Spiritual Audit" has also been an important foundation for the book that resulted from this dissertation process and the additional research I executed on the topic. The book I am referring to is titled, "Spirituality in the Workplace: What it is; Why it Matters; How to Make it Work for You" (co-authored with Dr. Satinder Dhiman and Dr. Richard King).

I can admit without reservation that Ian Mitroff's work has been very important in our perspectives toward workplace spirituality, and that it has served as an encouragement in the fact that spirituality and religion are two entirely different phenomena.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Solid Contribution to Spirituality Research
This book is the result of research conducted by the authors across various profit and non-profit organizations in the U.S. The book does contribute to the body of research considering spirituality in the workplace. The field is still young from an academic perspective and apparently hung-up on the operational definition of spirituality.

This research helps the prospective researcher narrow down the constructs of spirituality. It also demonstrates empirically that there is a difference between religion and spirituality and how well the two are received in the workplace. The authors also describe a range of organizations, in the form of models, that describe the various ways spirituality is indoctrinated into organizations, moving from one extreme to the other.

This book is also good for the layman in that it is not bogged down in academic wording.It also provides insights on how an organization can implement the idea of the "whole person" in the workplace.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Ian I. Mitroff and Elizabeth Denton proffer that many of the problems faced by business and society are the result of a spiritual impoverishment that they discovered in their research on organizations. The authors bring an authoritative, scholarly tone to their material, yet they write conversationally and make no effort to hide their opinions. While indicting corporate America for its neglect of the spiritual, Mitroff and Denton also cite examples of businesses with soul that encourage the expression of spirit. We [...] recommend this book to all readers interested in the creation of a more spiritually fulfilling workplace.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book substantially over-promises
This book over-promises based on its title.It offers three things:its company research is based on mailed-back questionnaires from 131 people from companies described only as coming from a "special database" and as being located on the east coast and the west coast; in addition, the authors conducted a number of interviews and "partial" interviews.Many of the "companies" are not-for-profits and consulting firms.The significant problem here is that this cannot be, in any realistic manner, considered to be an audit of corporate America.This is preliminary and exploratory work.There is some interesting writing on spirituality and the differences between spirituality and religion, although the writing suggests (to me) biases on the authors' part.In addition, the book describes companies and organizations that have been much written about elsewhere, such asAA, Tom's of Maine, Ben and Jerry's, the YMCA. The book can be stimulating of your thinking and offer some useful insights, and for that I appreciate it, but it is not a broad based, valid, objective study of spirituality in corporate America.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the first empirical study
I applaud Mitroff, the organizational models are right on the mark.Interested readers should also examine my research study entitled "Spiritual Well-Being of Workers: Exploring the Influences of Spirituality in Everyday Work Activities" completed in 1996 at theUniversity of Texas under Dr. Oscar Mink as well as Krista Kurth's doctoralresearch at George Washington University in 1994 entitled "AnExploration of the Expression and Perceived Impact of Selfless Service inFor-Profit Organizations" (I believe under Dr. Peter Vaill or Dr.Jerry Harvey).Krista and I predate Mitroff by a few years and markedgroundbreaking research trailheads for students around the country who arecontinuing to explore this neglected topic.It looks as though the faddishphase of this topical area is waning and serious academic scrutiny ismoving to the fore.Great! ... Read more

33. Religion and Belief (Skills-Based Sociology)
by Joan Garrod, Marsha Jones
Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-03-15)
list price: US$38.00 -- used & new: US$22.62
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Asin: 0333687639
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Religion and belief influence many areas of all our lives. Comprehensive and clear, this book gives a thoroughly up-to-date overview of religion in contemporary society. With great pedagogical features to encourage students' learning and engagement with the subject, this is a key text for students of the sociology of religion.
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34. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Two Volume Set)
Paperback: 1877 Pages (2008-08-10)
list price: US$195.00 -- used & new: US$138.56
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Asin: 1847062733
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is an essential and indispensable reference work, covering the fascinating relationship between religion and nature."The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature", originally published in 2005, is a landmark work in the burgeoning field of religion and nature. It covers a vast and interdisciplinary range of material, from thinkers to religious traditions and beyond, with clarity and style. Widely praised by reviewers and the recipient of two reference work awards since its publication, this new, more affordable version is a must-have book for anyone interested in the manifold and fascinating links between religion and nature, in all their many senses. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reading
This is not your standard "what does religion X think about the natural world and humans" kind of book. After the Introduction, the Reader's Guide suggests reading these five entries first: Environmental Ethics, Religious Studies and Environmental Concern, Ecology and Religion, Ecological Anthropology, and Social Science on Religion and Nature. I think that gives a good idea of the focus of the work. Individual entries run from Edward Abbey to Zulu War Rituals, with most including cross-references and additional reading lists.

Despite some reservations, I absolutely delight in reading these volumes and look forward to years of enjoyment from them and from other works they lead me to. I write this despite being an atheist, but one who believes that if anything could right our relationship with the world we live it, it would be a change in attitude not science or new technology.

My biggest problem is the physical size and weight of the two volumes. They'd be great on a library's reference shelf, but they're tough on the forearms in a chair or the chest when reading in bed, and aren't something you'd want to cart around to read on your commute. Every entry I've tried so far has been very readable, some even literary and poetic. As an individual, I wish this came in a more usable set of more volumes with fewer pages.

There are some topics which would seem very appropriate entry subjects which aren't covered such as biotechnology, cloning, and energy issues especially nuclear power. Perhaps they're mentioned in broader topics but they don't have their own entries.

The entries I've read on individuals are written by supporters. One doesn't get any sense of the controversies and range of opinion surrounding the ideas and works of Ed Abbey and Carol Adams, to take a couple early examples. I can see the value of such a positive approach as a first introduction to someone's work; just be aware you're not getting a complete evaluation or objective opinion in cases like these.

I happened to get these hardcovers at a great price, much less than the price of the coming paperback edition, but I'd consider these a bargain at full price.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Exploration
If you've ever wondered whether religion promotes or hinders environmental concern and action, or whether environments shape religion, or why in recent decades there has been such a fuss about such questions, you'll have difficulty putting down this remarkable encyclopedia.This work is global in scope, both geographically and chronologically, with 1000 entries, covering nearly every imaginable subject.It is a must-have resource for all College and University Libraries, and many environmental studies programs, and departments and scholars that attend to religion, culture, and the environment will want to have a copy of their own.But it written accessibly and would be a valuable resource for community and high school libraries, churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions, as well.But don't take my word for it.The introduction, sample entries, and entry and contributor lists, are provided at www.religionandnature.com, will make it easy to judge for yourself the value of this monumental work. ... Read more

35. Spirituality for Our Global Community: Beyond Traditional Religion to a World at Peace
by Daniel A. Helminiak
Paperback: 204 Pages (2008-02-08)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0742559181
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In this ground breaking book, Daniel Helminiak provides a crucial spiritual option for the many who feel the need to go beyond the secular materialism of modern society and the beliefs of traditional religious faith. Helminiak gives us a compelling vision of a global spirituality that downplays beliefs and emphasizes the essential spiritual dynamics of the common human quest for wholeness, goodness, freedom and community. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thinking beyond religion
This book is so important for the person who has moved beyond the dogma of the various religions but still is drawn to the spiritual life.Daniel Helminiak puts into words what many of us are experiencing these days as we see the violence resulting from religious clashes while we long for a way to celebrate and honor our common humanity. Helminiak provides a blueprint for a way to move beyond our differences but remain a spiritual people whether we are believers or non-believers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Path to More Sane World
In his usual well-researched and well-presented way, Daniel Helminiak has given us a more accessible elucidation of spirituality than his The Human Core of Spirituality.And further, he has pointed the way toward creating a more sane world by acknowledging and living out the spirituality common to all of us as human beings.I highly recommend reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spirituality for Our Global Community
I'd recommend this book especially to those who have read The God Delusion (or a similar "anti religious" book) and who are bent on rejecting anything religious or spiritual. Daniel Helminiak makes a strong case to take a more calibrated approach. Yes, we need to see through the religious delusions and doctrines. But we also ought to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water--the baby is our human spiritual capacity, and it is not the same thing as the bath water of religion and holy books. We are paying a huge price for our relentless materialistic pursuits in a secular society - our isolation and loneliness. I agree with Daniel that Pluralistic tolerance is a flimsy screen for protecting community.

Instilling a sense of community and providing personal guidance from cradle to grave used to be the traditional domain and strength of religions. Most of us who don't belong to church or temple no longer know or even remember what it is like to be part of a nurturing community firing on all cylinders. Being a part of a Virtual Internet community is not the same. We need physical closeness, touching, hugging, sharing ...

Daniel grew up in a Christian integrated community and remembers the security and sense of belonging. He invites readers to notice that we do have a spiritual core in our minds. It manifests as flashes of insight, intuition...the "inner voice." Our inner life is very real. Spirituality = personal growth. Why attribute something to other-worldly entities and powers when there is a simpler and better explanation? It is not the existence of super natural beings but the validity of our insights that matters. "Regardless of the truth or falsehood of metaphysical claims, we still have to live out our lives together here on planet Earth." This emphasis is the base for building our new global community.

The extraordinary part about this book is its simple, rational language. It works even for us jaded types.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spirituality for Our Global Community
This book is tremendously valuable.It is a powerful synthesis of many of the ideas Helminiak has shared before, but it goes well beyond the limits of the more focused work on theology, psychology and meditation that have been the subjects of his previous writings.The most important thing about this book is that it does indeed provide a reason to hope that if we can indeed begin to develop the built-in spiritual potential that comes with being human, we might indeed be able to go beyond the divisive and destructive effects of fanatical and fundamentalist religions that threaten our world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spirituality for Our Global Community
Review of Spirituality for a Global Community by Daniel Helminiak

Years ago, I abandoned the destructive criticism that I had learned in graduate school and began appraisal of any work by asking, what has the author turned me onto that I had previously not entertained.Helminiak has given me a new appreciation for the meaning of spirituality and its possible contribution to developing community and peace in our pluralistic world.That may seem quixotic to some readers.Helminiak is only like Don Quixote in that he longs for community as he had experienced it in the past.Instead of turning backward, as Quixote did, he finds direction in the contemporary interpretation of spirituality by Bernard Lonergan.That spirituality grows out of the ability of human beings to transcend themselves.By that, Helminiak and Lonergan mean that we become static by being controlled by biological make-up and restraints built into our psyche.While these factors are important for development, they are also limiting, and we become fully human by transcending them.
Helminiak contends that both traditional religious faith and secular materialistic ideology contribute to the lack of community and spiritual fulfillment in our pluralistic postmodern world.He contends that spirituality arises out of human being in the world.Since all humans share it, it can lay a foundation for community, unlike religions with their doctrinal and metaphysical differences or social systems that are directed toward conflicting ends. He confirms that his approach to spirituality is merely one approach and requests that he be given an open hearing. Those who accept his challenge will find themselves richly rewarded.
Before I read this book, I had read some of Helminiak's articles and was delighted to find someone working on the same issue I had been pursuing for years. Like him, I had been seeking a spirituality that speaks to life in the secular world where most of us live most of the time.Even though we share a common quest and similarities in the way we approach spirituality in the world, I found myself challenging some of his affirmations. For instance, his contention that Lonergan's four-part structure of the human spirit is adequate for all spirituality.However, when I became fully open to Helminiak's interpretation of spirituality, I found myself transcending my previous interpretation of spirituality and began to see promising new directions for understanding and pursing spirituality in the world.That's what I call a good read!

... Read more

36. Religion as Poetry
by Andrew Greeley
 Paperback: 281 Pages (1997-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$22.97
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Asin: 1560008997
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37. American Sociology: Worldly Rejections of Religion and Their Directions (Worldly Rejections of Religion & Their D Series)
by Stanford Lyman, Arthur J. Vidich
 Paperback: 380 Pages (1987-09-10)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$22.00
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Asin: 0300040415
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38. Down, Up, and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology (New Vectors in the Study of Religion and Theology)
by Dwight N. Hopkins
Paperback: 316 Pages (1999-12-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
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Asin: 0800627237
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Hopkins contends that the lives of enslaved African Americans were the foundational source of liberating faith and practice for African Americans today. Down, Up, and Over draws on their religious experience, and the example of their faith and witness, to develop a constructive theology of liberation.

African American belief structures and hope practices blossom from the black folk's religious encounters with God, Hopkins contends. The first half of his ambitious work reconstructs the cultural matrix of African American religion--a total way of life formed by Protestantism, American culture, and the institution of slavery (16191865)--in which racial identities developed. Whites from Europe and blacks from Africa arrived with specific, differing views of God, faith, practice, and humanity. Hopkins recreates their worldviews and how white theology sought to remake African Americans into naturally inferior beings divinely ordained into subservience. The counter voice of enslaved blacks begets the Spirit of Liberation.

Tracking that Spirit, Hopkins crafts an explicit black theology of the Spirit of Liberation for us (God, chapter 4), with us (Jesus, chapter 5), and in us (human purpose, chapter 6). Out of the crucible of slavery emerge the lineaments of a constructive religious vision: the constitution of a new self and a divinely purposed liberation toward full spiritual and material humanity.

Hopkins's sweeping vision, impressive scholarship, and astute social analysis make for a fascinating and important volume, one that can help all readers find meaning and purpose in the daunting 350-year pilgrimage of African Americans. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shoes That Fit Their Feet
"Down, Up, and Over" traces the complex relationship between White Protestantism, Black Slave Christianity, and post-modern Black Liberation Theology. Though Dwight Hopkins' political and theological stances may not always resonate with all readers, his historical culling of and comparison between Black and White American Christianity is fascinating. Regardless of one's political and/or theological positioning, it would be difficult to read this work without an increasing empathy for what Black Americans endured from their White Christian "brothers and sisters."

Hopkins' research into primary sources offers a detailed examination of what enslaved African Americans endured and believed. His passionate presentation transports readers into the very soul and shoes of their forefathers and mothers of the faith.

The overall message of the book can lead anyone with an open mind and sensitive heart to a greater understanding of the historic African American Christian experience and current African American Christian theology. The reader need not agree with all the political and theological conclusions in order to benefit from the contextual and cultural explanation of modern Black theology based upon past Black spirituality.

Reviewer: Robert W. Kellemen, Ph.D. is the author of "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," and "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."

2-0 out of 5 stars What a slog.
With respect to content, Down, Up and Over reads like rehashed pc rhetoric and received Marxist criticism. But my problem is with the execution of the book, which makes for a study of bad academic writing. To begin with, Hopkins is very repetitive. There seems to be a general arc of thematic development, but his thesis and supporting argument could be done in a third as many pages. The prose is often awkward and utterly lacking in economy, as if it were contrived to seem "intelligent" and say more than it really does. Two cases in point:

"And their bodies and minds are racked
internally by psychological demons created by larger macrostructures circumscribing attempts to live a daily micro-existence of full spiritual and material humanity."

"Inspiring words can be with the oppressed and work with them to reconfigure their inner and outer selves, whether this be an actual transformation of an external architecture of systemic oppression or an alteration of a stultifying internal edifice of psychological enslavement." (209)

A marginally better writer could say the same thing in 15 words or less, and with more precision. ... Read more

39. The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland
by Genevieve Zubrzycki
Paperback: 280 Pages (2006-09-15)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$26.16
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Asin: 0226993043
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the summer and fall of 1998, ultranationalist Polish Catholics erected hundreds of crosses outside Auschwitz, setting off a fierce debate that pitted Catholics and Jews against one another. While this controversy had ramifications that extended well beyond Poland’s borders, Geneviève Zubrzycki sees it as a particularly crucial moment in the development of post-Communist Poland’s statehood and its changing relationship to Catholicism.

In The Crosses of Auschwitz, Zubrzycki skillfully demonstrates how this episode crystallized latent social conflicts regarding the significance of Catholicism in defining “Polishness” and the role of anti-Semitism in the construction of a new Polish identity. Since the fall of Communism, the binding that has held Polish identity and Catholicism together has begun to erode, creating unease among ultranationalists. Within their construction of Polish identity also exists pride in the Polish people’s long history of suffering. For the ultranationalists, then, the crosses at Auschwitz were not only symbols of their ethno-Catholic vision, but also an attempt to lay claim to what they perceived was a Jewish monopoly over martyrdom.

This gripping account of the emotional and aesthetic aspects of the scene of the crosses at Auschwitz offers profound insights into what Polishness is today and what it may become.

(20060505) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read in 5 Years
The author presents a well-researched, highly nuanced "reading" of events surrounding the "war of the crosses" at Auschwitz. Dr. Piotr Sztompka, Poland's leading sociologist, gave it a rave review. Is the author biased? Read it and decide for yourself!

3-0 out of 5 stars Polish Self-Identity and the Auschwitz Cross Controversies
Zubrzycki's work is excellent in that it provides an in-depth summary of the situations and contentions relative to the Auschwitz Crosses, the mindsets of both Poles and Jews, and various useful historical information. One learns that the Polish nobility was one of the largest in Europe, comprising 10-13% of the total population. (p. 37). Every ninth adult Pole had someone in Auschwitz. (p. 136).

Unfortunately, Zubrzycki's statements often lack analytic depth, and exhibit a Judeocentric bias.She buys into the premise that the Jedwabne "revelation" has transformed Poles from victims to victimizers. (p. xiii). How is Jedwabne, etc. supposed to erase the fact of 2-3 million non-Jewish Poles, including half the intelligentsia, murdered by the Germans?She presents the arguments about the "de-Polonization" and "de-Judaization" of Auschwitz as symmetrical, when they are not--considering the vast volumes of Judeocentric educational and media materials worldwide which have all but buried the memory of the non-Jewish victims of the Nazis. She dwells on the fact that Poles saw Jews as "the Other" (p. 35), forgetting that Jews also considered themselves as "the Other" relative to Poles, and acted accordingly. She says that RADIO MARYJA "promotes a culture of fear and despair." (p. 167). As a long-time listener, I find this amusing.

Instead of just mentioning the fact that some Poles think of Jews as returning to Poland to exploit her, why not inform the reader that certain Jewish organizations are seeking massive tribute ("reparations") payments to the tune of many tens of billions of dollars? And, instead of dwelling on the fact that some Poles associate Jews with supranationalism, atheism, Communism, etc., Zubrzycki should be candid about the fact that Jews were and are in fact strongly overrepresented in these endeavors. As for the postwar Communist security forces (UB--Bezpieka), responsible for murdering tens of thousands of Poles, its leadership was about 35% Jewish, in a nation where Jews constituted less than 1% of the general population.

Zubrzycki uncritically mentions the argument that Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau cannot be separated, as proposed by the Polish compromise, because the entire area contains Jewish ashes. (p. 175). Considering the fact that the ashes from the Birkenau crematories were usually dumped in the Sola River, a tributary of the Vistula, and we cannot know how far downstream they went, should the entire Vistula Basin therefore be declared a Cross-free zone?

Some Jews have complained that they are not free to pray at Auschwitz because Christian symbols, to them, are idolatry. (p. 173). Considering the fact that we are supposed to be living in a pluralistic time in which all religions are welcome, how can such decidedly pre-ecumenical, in fact Old-Testament, thinking be condoned?Some Jews consider the Cross at Auschwitz objectionable because it reminds them of persecution. (p. 178). Considering the fact that just about every religion (including Judaism) has, at one time or other, persecuted other religions, isn't such reasoning a bit self-righteous?

Unfortunately, Zubrzycki repeats the false association of Fr. Kolbe and anti-Semitism (p. 58), and repeats the myth of the onetime Polish disregard of Auschwitz Jewish deaths (p. 108), and the myth of the 4-million victim toll as an invention designed to hide Jewish deaths. (p. 105). For the facts, see the Peczkis Listmania: Auschwitz (Oswiecim)...
... Read more

40. Religion in the Contemporary World: A Sociological Introduction
by Alan Aldridge
Hardcover: 232 Pages (2007-03-09)
list price: US$83.95
Isbn: 0745620825
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Alan Aldridge reviews the contribution sociologists have made to our understanding of the role of religion in society. ... Read more

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