Jewish, marriage, relationships, romance, spirituality

The Joy of Intimacy


Author: Manis Friedman with Ricardo Adler
Publisher: It’s Good to Know Publishing
Genre: Relationships / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9862770-0-9
Pages: 216
Price: $14.00

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Today’s marriages are failing at an alarming rate. But what if we discovered the way to experience true intimacy with our life partner? In The Joy of Intimacy, Manis Friedman shares timeless Jewish wisdom in creating a meaningful and lasting relationship with our spouse.

Much of Friedman’s advice is based on orthodox Jewish teaching on marriage. These include proper modesty, relations only at certain times of the month, and an emphasis on creating a baby as a result of the marriage act. But Christians (and especially Catholics) would also relate to many of these concepts. God gifted the married couple with these pleasures, and He wants our marriage to be alive, fresh, and fulfilling. Following this advice would be the perfect start in growing closer to each other.

The Joy of Intimacy would be a great resource for all couples starting out in their marriages, as well as those who may have hit some snags along the way. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, fitness, health, self improvement, spirituality

Nourish

Nourish
Author: Katie Farrell
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian, Health
ISBN: 978-1-4789-7606-6
Pages: 208
Price: $20.00

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Katie Farrell knows what it’s like to struggle with weight issues. Unhealthy and destructive eating habits plagued her for years, until she discovered how to care for herself in accordance with God’s will. In Nourish, she explains how she was able to make peace with her body and learn to live a healthy lifestyle.

Farrell shares the types of foods she enjoys along with those she tries to avoid. This may not be the same eating plan the reader follows, but can easily be adapted if necessary, since she doesn’t dwell on specifics. Some healthy recipes are provided, and the author’s website has more available. Exercise is also encouraged, but again, no specific plan is promoted. Instead, she encourages the reader to discover for herself exactly how God wants her to care for her body.

God’s word can be trusted to instruct us, and Farrell provides Biblical references she has used in developing her own self-care plan. If you’re looking for a diet and exercise checklist to follow, this is not the book for you. But if you’re looking for a spiritual mentor to lead you to God’s will for your life, Farrel is a wonderful guide. I highly recommend Nourish and the Dashing Dish website.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, Christian, spirituality

Heaven is Real But So is Hell

Heaven is Real But So is Hell
Author: Vassula Rydén
Publisher: Alexian
Genre: Christian / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9830093-0-6
Pages: 224
Price: $24.95

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Vassula Rydén was not living a particularly religious life when her guardian angel first appeared to her. And when God spoke to her, soon after, she was completely unprepared to face her many sins and atone for them. Once she was cleansed, she willingly took on her new role in communicating God’s Messages to the people, as He commanded.

Heaven is Real But So is Hell is Rydén’s story of her ministry. It shares some of the visions God has allowed her to see, as well as many of the Messages she received. Organized loosely by topic, this book touches on all the important ideas God has commanded her to tell us.

Originally, the Vatican disapproved of Rydén’s Messages, issuing a warning against them. However, over time, these Messages have gotten support from priests, bishops, and even Cardinal Ratzinger, before he became Pope. Rydén also claims that many who have seen her speak or have read the Messages have come back to the Church as a result.

I admit, I approached this book with healthy skepticism. But as I’ve also read the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, I realized there are interesting similarities. Both women issued dire warnings that come with potential blessings if we turn from our sinful ways, and both have been ridiculed and scorned by an unbelieving public. I have not read True Life in God, which is Rydén’s official publication of these Messages, but from what I’ve read in Heaven is Real But So is Hell, I see nothing that would be contradictory to my Catholic faith.

Prophets are often misunderstood in the era they’re living in, and their messages are only understood much later. If these Messages are truly from God, they will stand up to the test of time.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

spirituality

The Master of Evolution

The Master of Evolution
Author: Gregory Hatton
Publisher: Universal Wisdom Publications
Genre: Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9880275-2-7
Pages: 256
Price: $34.95

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The last prophet lived over 2000 years ago, but what if God decided to send a messenger to his people on earth right now? With all the technological advances we’ve made since then, would He share information about the science behind creation? The Master of Evolution explores this question through a fictional account of a new prophet God is sending to humanity.

John Cavendish is on a special mission to the moon to investigate the Peak of Eternal Light. While there, he suddenly comes face to face with the angel, Gabriel. Through conversations with Gabriel and scientists such as Einstein and Darwin, the history of earth is revealed. God is light, as the Bible suggests, and author Gregory Hatton proceeds to prove this through a series of mathematical calculations. He also shows how this light is involved in all of creation, and man’s purpose and future are explored.

An abundance of interesting theory is presented in this unique fictional work. As with all religious speculation, I err on the side of caution, yet nothing feels dangerous or in conflict with scripture or mainstream teaching. This story is an enjoyable read that will give you a lot to think about.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

spirituality

Unifying Truths of the World’s Religions

Unifying Truths of the World's Religions
Author: C. David Lundberg
Publisher: Heavenlight Press
Genre: Religion
ISBN: 978-0-9796308-2-8
Pages: 448
Price: $18.95

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Religion has long been a divisive force between people and nations, often leading to violence and death. Looking closely at their practices leads to the thought that there is no harmony in the major religions of the world. But author C. David Lundberg shows us his vision of the underlying beliefs they all hold dear.

Broken into sections, Unifying Truths of the World’s Religions covers topics such as the meaning and purpose of life, who we really are, who and what God is, and the various love relationships we share with God, ourselves, and others. Within each subsection, a description of the topic is presented, along with several texts from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in support of this topic.

When provided with such overwhelming evidence of these overlapping beliefs, it’s impossible not to see how alike we are. At its best, religion brings us closer to God and each other, and reinforces morality as a standard of living. It is the author’s hope that he has shown us how much we have in common, so we can begin to break down the walls that separate us. He has done a marvelous job.

AWARDS RECEIVED:

  • Winner, National Indie Excellence Book Award
  • Winner, USA Book News National Best Book Award
  • Winner, Nautilus Silver Award
  • Winner, New England Book Festival
  • Finalist, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year

Reviewer: Alice Berger

spirituality

The Fifth Disciple

The Fifth Disciple
Author: Cynthia Bové
Publisher: O Books
Genre: Spirituality
ISBN: 978-1-84694-420-8
Pages: 199
Price: $19.95

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A Course in Miracles offers spiritual direction for many in their quest to better themselves and their lives. But is it possible that someone else suggested these ideas at a much earlier date? In The Fifth Disciple, author Cynthia Bové proposes that the Gospel of Thomas presents some of these very same teachings from Jesus, himself.

In the first sections of this book, the two source documents are introduced. Insights from A Course in Miracles are presented and analyzed. Then we are provided with the text of Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas. The last half of the book compares this gospel to the writings in the course, looking for similarities in meaning.

Familiarity with A Course in Miracles is of great benefit in reading this book. Many of the ideas presented are abstract, and can easily elude the casual reader who has no knowledge of these teachings. Those who follow mainstream religions may not relate to this New Age message, despite the possibility that it could have come directly from Jesus. But whatever your belief system may be, The Fifth Disciple is an interesting read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

music, self improvement, spirituality

Free Your Voice

Free Your Voice
Author: Sylvia Nakkach with Valerie Carpenter
Publisher: Sounds True
Genre: Spirituality / Self-help / Music
ISBN: 978-1-60407-800-8
Pages: 280
Price: $18.95

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Yoga of the Voice is a unique path used to open ourselves to life through singing. Not through the usual tunes we recognize as songs, but rather through primary sounds and breath. Free Your Voice describes the practice Sylvia Nakkach has created for her clients.

A download accompaniment is available at the Sounds True website, which should be used with this book. As each exercise is explained, the reader is provided examples of the sounds and tones. Nakkach encourages us to develop our own practice, creating an uninterrupted, twenty-one minute program from these.

Voice exercises sound like something only professional singers would perform, but Nakkach reassures us that these are also for the rest of us – even those who claim they can’t sing. Like traditional yoga, Yoga of the Voice will create a discipline that opens us further to life’s experiences.

Reviewer: Alice Berger