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The Spiral Staircase

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307368343
Size: 55.36 MB
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The moving story of her own search for God by the highly-acclaimed author of the bestselling A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism; and Islam: A Short History. In 1969, after seven years as a Roman Catholic nun -- hoping, but ultimately failing, to find God -- Armstrong left her convent. She knew almost nothing of the changed world she was entering, and she was tormented by panic attacks and inexplicable seizures. Her struggle against despair was fueled by a string of discouragements -- failed spirituality, doctorate and jobs, fruitless dealings with psychiatrists -- but finally, in 1976, she was diagnosed with epilepsy and given proper treatment. She then began the writing career that would become her true calling, and as she focused on the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, her own true inner story began to emerge. She would come to experience brief moments of transcendence through her work -- the profound fulfillment that she had not found in the long hours of prayer as a young nun. Powerfully engaging, often heart-breaking, but lit with bursts of humour, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary history of self. From the Hardcover edition.

The Spiral Staircase

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 9780307429391
Size: 46.72 MB
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Gripping, revelatory, and inspirational, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary account of an astonishing spiritual journey. In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her deep solitude and a terrifying illness–diagnosed only years later as epilepsy—marked her forever as an outsider. In her own mind she was a complete failure: as a nun, as an academic, and as a normal woman capable of intimacy. Her future seemed very much in question until she stumbled into comparative theology. What she found, in learning, thinking, and writing about other religions, was the ecstasy and transcendence she had never felt as a nun.

The Spiral Staircase

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
ISBN: 0007372728
Size: 17.95 MB
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A raw, intensely personal memoir of spiritual exploration from one of the world’s great commentators on religion.

Through The Narrow Gate

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307368335
Size: 66.38 MB
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Available in Canada for the first time since its initial publication in 1981, this is acclaimed author Karen Armstrong’s classic memoir of her life as a young woman in a convent — the precursor to the bestseller The Spiral Staircase. Through the Narrow Gate is Karen Armstrong’s intimate memoir of life inside a Catholic convent. With honesty and clarity, she explains what drove her at age seventeen to devote herself to God. Over the next seven years, she endures the difficulties of convent life — the enforced silence, the lack of friendship and family, her own guilt at not being able to stifle her voracious intelligence — and unveils the secrets of religious life during the post–Vatican II years. Through the Narrow Gate is a moving account of a young woman’s search for God and the experiences that put Karen Armstrong on her way to becoming one of the most admired and most respected interpreters of religious faith. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0307595633
Size: 50.20 MB
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One of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—author of such acclaimed books as A History of God, Islam, and Buddha—now gives us an impassioned and practical book that can help us make the world a more compassionate place. Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. Here, in this straightforward, thoughtful, and thought-provoking book, she sets out a program that can lead us toward a more compassionate life. The twelve steps Armstrong suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up “compassion for yourself,” mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She suggests concrete ways of enhancing our compassion and putting it into action in our everyday lives, and provides, as well, a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives.” Throughout, Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two. From the Hardcover edition.

Girl At The End Of The World

Author: Elizabeth Esther
Publisher: Convergent Books
ISBN: 030773188X
Size: 73.84 MB
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I was raised in a homegrown, fundamentalist Christian group—which is just a shorthand way of saying I’m classically trained in apocalyptic stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. I know hundreds of obscure nineteenth-century hymns by heart and have such razor sharp “modesty vision” that I can spot a miniskirt a mile away. Verily, verily I say unto thee, none of these highly specialized skills ever got me a job, but at least I’m all set for the end of the world. Selah. A story of mind control, the Apocalypse, and modest attire. Elizabeth Esther grew up in love with Jesus but in fear of daily spankings (to “break her will”). Trained in her family-run church to confess sins real and imagined, she knew her parents loved her and God probably hated her. Not until she was grown and married did she find the courage to attempt the unthinkable. To leave. In her memoir, readers will recognize questions every believer faces: When is spiritual zeal a gift, and when is it a trap? What happens when a pastor holds unchecked sway over his followers? And how can we leave behind the harm inflicted in the name of God without losing God in the process? By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Girl at the End of the World is a story of the lingering effects of spiritual abuse and the growing hope that God can still be good when His people fail. Includes reading group discussion guide and interview with the author From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Great Transformation

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307371433
Size: 34.79 MB
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From one of the world’s leading writers on religion and the highly acclaimed author of the bestselling A History of God, The Battle for God and The Spiral Staircase, comes a major new work: a chronicle of one of the most important intellectual revolutions in world history and its relevance to our own time. In one astonishing, short period – the ninth century BCE – the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity into the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Historians call this the Axial Age because of its central importance to humanity’s spiritual development. Now, Karen Armstrong traces the rise and development of this transformative moment in history, examining the brilliant contributions to these traditions made by such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Ezekiel. Armstrong makes clear that despite some differences of emphasis, there was remarkable consensus among these religions and philosophies: each insisted on the primacy of compassion over hatred and violence. She illuminates what this “family” resemblance reveals about the religious impulse and quest of humankind. And she goes beyond spiritual archaeology, delving into the ways in which these Axial Age beliefs can present an instructive and thought-provoking challenge to the ways we think about and practice religion today. A revelation of humankind’s early shared imperatives, yearnings and inspired solutions – as salutary as it is fascinating. Excerpt from The Great Transformation: In our global world, we can no longer afford a parochial or exclusive vision. We must learn to live and behave as though people in remote parts of the globe were as important as ourselves. The sages of the Axial Age did not create their compassionate ethic in idyllic circumstances. Each tradition developed in societies like our own that were torn apart by violence and warfare as never before; indeed, the first catalyst of religious change was usually a visceral rejection of the aggression that the sages witnessed all around them. . . . All the great traditions that were created at this time are in agreement about the supreme importance of charity and benevolence, and this tells us something important about our humanity. From the Hardcover edition.

Through The Door Of Life

Author: Joy Ladin
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Pres
ISBN: 0299287335
Size: 26.30 MB
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National Jewish Book Award Finalist for Memoir

A History Of God

Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0307798585
Size: 50.41 MB
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Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—shaped and altered the conception of God? How have these religions influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism—a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned 'the One God' to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic. Praise for History of God “An admirable and impressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers.”—The Washington Post Book World “A brilliantly lucid, spendidly readable book. [Karen] Armstrong has a dazzling ability: she can take a long and complex subject and reduce it to the fundamentals, without oversimplifying.”—The Sunday Times (London) “Absorbing . . . A lode of learning.”—Time “The most fascinating and learned study of the biggest wild goose chase in history—the quest for God. Karen Armstrong is a genius.”—A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life