God is No Thing: Coherent Christianity, by Rupert Shortt

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Howlers aside, the broader ramifications are especially worthy of note. It is not just scientists such as Dawkins, but also many philosophers (Richard Rorty being a notable example) who fail to see that secular humanism is not a neutral standpoint. It is an alternative metaphysical vision revolving around what a more searching thinker, Charles Taylor, has called ‘images of power, or untrammelled agency, of spiritual self-possession’.¹  We will return to this vision and its very mixed legacy more than once.
¹ Cited in Christopher J. Insole, The Realist Hope: A Critique of Anti-Realist Approaches in Contemporary Philosophical Theology (Ashgate, 2006), p. 166.

One of the religion books that I have logged on my LibraryThing catalogue, even though it’s really Anne’s. I found it a lot more to my taste than most Christian apologetic works; Shortt is arguing only that there should be space in public and private for an honest appreciation of spirituality and belief, and that the New Atheists completely and deliberately miss the point. There’s a quote from Rowan Williams referencing Doctor Who. The weakest part of the (mercifully short) book is when he gets into the specifics of Christian belief, as opposed to others, but as a general defence of religion as a concept, I felt it went to a lot of the places where I find my own sympathies engaged. You can get it here.

This was the shortest unread book on my shelves acquired in 2016. Next on that pile is The Karmic Curve, by Mary I. Williams.

The Bad Christian’s Manifesto: Reinventing God, (and other modest proposals), by Dave Tomlinson

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Eventually I settled on one of the God channels, the sort my wife scorns me for watching. But, hey, she wasn’t there; I could do what I liked. The show featured a man talking about a near-death experience (he called it his ‘resurrection’ experience). He told how, after leaving his body, he travelled through a tunnel of light and arrived in heaven where an angel greeted him and escorted him into the ‘throne room’ of God for a personal audience with the Almighty.

This is a book for Christians, especially those involved in ministry, and that basically means it is not a book for me. I appreciate the author’s efforts to advocate a more open, more generous and more inclusive Christianity, but it’s not my circus and not my monkeys, and I put it aside after fifty earnest pages. You can get it here.

This came to the top of three lists simultaneously: top unread book acquired in 2015, shortest unread book acquired in 2015, and non-fiction book which had lingered longest unread on my shelves. The two remaining books in my 2015 pile are both non-fiction and both equally popular on LibraryThing (in that I am the only recorded owner of either). I will start with the shorter one, Welcome to the Doomsphere: Sad Puppies, Hugos, and Politics, by Matthew M. Foster, and then move to the one I acquired earlier, Rauf Denktaş, a Private Portrait, by Yvonne Cerkez.