Spirituality and Belief

Spring has always felt like the right time to renew one's connection to the divine and holy, whether that be via prayers to a deity, thoughtful contemplation, or a walk in the woods. Check out some of ICPL's newer books on the subject.

The path of aliveness : a contemporary Zen approach to awakening body and mind

Dillo, Christian, author.

294.3927 /Dillo

"The experiential practice of Zen Buddhism can be truly transformative at this very moment here and now. Zen Body, Zen Mind presents a Buddhist path requiring neither belief in something transcendent (the usual requirement of religion) nor postponement of transformation until one is a better person (the basic stance of psychotherapy). The book dives deeply into an exploration of the human body-mind based on traditional Buddhist teachings such as the Four Noble Truths, the Five Skandhas, the Eight Vijnanas, the Two Truths, the Five Dharmas, and the Bodhisattva Ideal and Bodhisattva Precepts. Zenki Dillo's transformative yet secular approach to Buddhism does not advocate for the abolishment of Zen rituals or forms of practice that have a religious appearance. To the contrary, he reconstructs rituals as forms of embodiment training that are essential for transformation. This contemporary reconstruction of the teachings is always in the service of helping the reader make experiential distinctions in their own body-mind. Based on these distinctions, Buddhist practices appear as intentional cultivations of the body-mind, moving us toward experiences of personal and transpersonal freedom, wisdom, and compassion"--

Why believe? : a reasoned approach to Christianity

Shenvi, Neil, 1979- author.

239 /Shenvi

"Why Believe? engages some of the best contemporary arguments against belief, presenting compelling evidence for the truth of Christianity and calling readers to entrust their lives to Christ"--

The good life method : reasoning through the big questions of happiness, faith, and meaning

Sullivan, Meghan, 1982- author.

170 /Sullivan

"Notre Dame Philosophy professors Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko have gone deep with that work in their wildly popular and influential undergraduate course GOD AND THE GOOD LIFE, in which they wrestle with the big questions about how to live and what makes life meaningful. Now they invite us into the classroom to tackle such issues as what justifies your beliefs, whether you should practice a religion, and what sacrifices you should make for others--as well as to investigate what Aristotle, Plato, Descartes, Kant, and Murdoch have to say about how to live well. Sullivan and Blaschko teach us how to reason through real-world case studies by doing the timeless work of philosophy like escaping our own caves, learning to doubt everything, asking strong questions, grasping our own purpose, and wrestling with the problem of evil and the existence of God. For at least the past 2500 years philosophers have taught that goal-seeking is an essential part of what it is to be human--and crucially that we could find our own good life by asking better questions. Their virtue ethics approach resonates profoundly in our own moment. Philosophers know that our "good life plan" is one that we as individuals need to be constantly and actively writing. In that work, we can achieve some meaningful control even if the world keeps throwing surprises our way. THE GOOD LIFE is a winning guide to tackling the big questions of being human with the wisdom of the ages"--

Buddhish : a guide to the 20 most important Buddhist ideas for the curious and skeptical

Salguero, C. Pierce, author.

294.3 Salguero

"Finally, a balanced and readable introduction to Buddhism for open minded readers who have no interest in professing faith in a new religion or adopting a new ideology"--

Orphaned believers : how a generation of Christian exiles can find the way home

Billups, Sara, 1978- author.

261 /Billups

"For a generation raised in the throes of the '80s and '90s evangelical culture wars, church was a battleground many left behind. With love and compassion, Sara Billups binds up the wounds of the broken and points them toward a new expression of faith that is motivated to make the world a better place"--

Dancing in the darkness : spiritual lessons for thriving in turbulent times

Moss, Otis, III, 1970- author.

248.4 /Moss

A guide to uplift our spirits as we work for justice in these politically turbulent times--from Reverend Otis Moss, III, Senior Pastor at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ and one of the country's most renowned and beloved spiritual and civil rights leaders. Once again, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first observed in the 1960s, it is midnight in America--a dark time of division and anxiety, with threats of violence looming in the shadows. In 2008, the Trinity United Church in Chicago received threats when one of its parishioners, Senator Barack Obama, ran for president. "We're going to kill you" rang in Reverend Otis Moss's ears when he suddenly heard a noise in the middle of the night. He grabbed a baseball bat to confront the intruder in his home. When he opened the door to his daughter's room, he found that the source of the noise was his own little girl, dancing. She was simply practicing for her ballet recital. In that moment, Pastor Moss saw that the real intruder was within him. Caught in a cycle of worry and anger, he had allowed the darkness inside. But seeing his daughter evoked Psalm 30: "You have turned my mourning into dancing." He set out to write the sermon that became this inspiring and transformative book. Dancing in the Darkness is a life-affirming guide to the practical, political, and spiritual challenges of our day. Drawing on the teachings of Dr. King, Howard Thurman, sacred scripture, southern wisdom, global spiritual traditions, Black culture, and his own personal experiences, Dr. Moss instructs you on how to practice spiritual resistance by combining justice and love. This collection helps us tap the spiritual reserves we all possess but too often overlook, so we can slay our personal demon, confront our civic challenges, and reach our highest goals.

Red lip theology : for church girls who've considered tithing to the beauty supply store when Sunday morning isn't enough

Benbow, Candice Marie, author.

277.3083 /Benbow

"A moving essay collection promoting freedom, self-love, and divine wholeness for Black women and opening new levels of understanding and ideological transformation for non-Black women and allies-from the "bona fide church girl" and educator who created the "Lemonade Syllabus." Blurring the boundaries of righteous and irreverent, Red Lip Theology invites us to discover freedom in a progressive Christian faith that incorporates activism, feminism, and radical authenticity. Essayist and theologian Candice Marie Benbow's essays explore universal themes like heartache, loss, forgiveness, and sexuality, and she unflinchingly empowers women who struggle with feeling loved and nurtured by church culture. Benbow writes powerfully about experiences at the heart of her Black womanhood. In honoring her single mother's love and triumphs-and mourning her unexpected passing-she finds herself forced to shed restrictions she'd been taught to place on her faith practice. And by embracing alternative spirituality and womanist theology, and confronting staid attitudes on body positivity and LGBTQ+ rights, Benbow challenges religious institutions, faith leaders, and communities to reimagine how faith can be a tool of liberation and transformation for women and girls"--

The half known life : in search of paradise

Iyer, Pico, author.

203.5 /Iyer

"A journey through competing ideas of paradise to see how we can live more peacefully in an ever more divided and distracted world"--

Sacred nature : restoring our ancient bond with the natural world

Armstrong, Karen, 1944- author.

202.12 /Armstrong

"Since the beginning of time, humankind has looked upon nature and seen the divine. In the writings of the great thinkers across religions, the natural world inspires everything from fear, to awe, to tranquil contemplation; God, or however one defined the sublime, was present in everything. Yet today, even as we admire a tree or take in a striking landscape, we rarely see nature as sacred. In this short but deeply powerful book, the best-selling historian of religion Karen Armstrong re-sacralizes nature for modern times. Drawing on her vast knowledge of the world's religious traditions, she vividly describes nature's central place in spirituality across the centuries. In bringing this age-old wisdom to life, Armstrong shows modern readers how to rediscover nature's potency and form a connection to something greater than ourselves." --publisher's website.

Not in it to win it: Why choosing sides sidelines the church

Andy Stanley


Not In It To Win It is a relatable and practical resource that guides readers to the priorities of Jesus, even as we are navigating the complicated and emotionally-charged terrain of today's cultural divides and disagreements. Setting aside partisanship, Andy challenges readers to evaluate all of life through the wide-angle lens of faith.

Ritual : how seemingly senseless acts make life worth living

Xygalatas, Dēmētrēs, author.

306.4 /Xygalatas

"Ritual is one of the oldest, and certainly most enigmatic, threads in the history of human culture. It presents a profound paradox: people ascribe the utmost importance to their rituals, but few can explain why they are so important. Apparently pointless ceremonies pervade every documented society, from handshakes to hexes, hazings to parades. Before we ever learned to farm, we were gathering in giant stone temples to perform elaborate rites and ceremonies. And yet, though rituals exist in every culture and can persist nearly unchanged for centuries, their logic has remained a mystery--until now. In Ritual , pathfinding scientist Dimitris Xygalatas leads us on an enlightening tour through this shadowy realm of human behavior. Armed with cutting-edge technology and drawing on discoveries from a wide range of disciplines, he presents a powerful new perspective on our place in the world. In birthday parties and coronations, in silent prayer, in fire-walks and terrifying rites of passage, in all the bewildering variety of human life, Ritual reveals the deep and subtle mechanisms that bind us together."--

The light we give : how Sikh wisdom can transform your life

Singh, Simran Jeet, author.

294.6 /Singh

"As a boy growing up in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh and his brothers confronted racism daily. Instead of giving in to negativity, he delved into the Sikh teachings he grew up with and embraced the lessons to seek the good in every person and situation and to find positive ways to direct his energy. Part memoir, part spiritual journey, The Light We Give offers an approach to a happier, more fulfilling life through Sikh teachings on love and service"--

The God of the Way : a journey into the stories, people, and faith that changed the world forever

Gifford, Kathie Lee, 1953- author.

220.9505 /Gifford

God's story of His people and biblical truths that offer life, hope, and direction for today.

The varieties of spiritual experience: 21st century research and perspectives

David B. Yaden


In the midst of life's many ordinary moments, some experiences feel extraordinary. They can mark inflection points in one's life, after which one is never quite the same. Most brief experiences capable of making a long-lasting impact involve obvious changes in one's outward circumstances, like a birth, a death, a marriage, or an illness. Yet some life-changing moments seem to come wholly from another source, appearing as mental states or altered states of consciousness either from deep within a person's mind or, perhaps, from a source beyond the self. These experiences have been called by different names over time: spiritual, religious, mystical, peak, or self-transcendent, and people around the world and throughout history have experienced them, up to and including the present day. The sacred texts of every major religion describe these moments, philosophers since the ancient Greeks have pondered them, and according to recent Gallup polls (2003), well over 30% of contemporary Americans have experienced them