Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21. This will be the first Father’s Day in many of our families without in-person visits and hugs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But, here’s some good news! Books are a wonderful gift for Dad—or Grandpa. Amazon is still shipping hardcover and softcover books in 3-5 days to Prime customers and of course ebooks can be gifted immediately to Dad via an emailed link. Here are some choices for Dad from Front Edge Publishing and our publishing partners and ReadTheSpirit books.
Appeal to Dad’s Patriotic Spirit
Abraham Lincoln is the soul of America, calling us to our best as Americans. Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer has hosted more than 200 episodes of the public radio series Quiet Fire: The Spiritual Life of Abraham Lincoln. Now, 30 of his best stories provide a month of inspirational reading in a unique volume, Thirty Days With Abraham Lincoln that invites the reader to read the stories—or to follow a simple code to hear the original broadcast each day.
“Since its beginning, radio has offered a warm medium for connecting the heart, the head, and the imagination. This delightful collection of Lincoln’s wisdom was seeded in a creative radio show, Quiet Fire,” writes Sally Kane, CEO of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, where this series was born on WERU, a station in mid-coastal Maine. “Now, Quiet Fire has morphed into a daily companion for readers who connect the dots between time and space to map a new understanding of the chaotic times in which we live. Lincoln’s words resonate more urgently than ever, and Duncan has played alchemist in Quiet Fire to one of our country’s greatest souls and distilled an essence that can guide and comfort us.”
“Duncan Newcomer captures Lincoln’s spirit in every one of these thirty meditations, and I love the fact that these began life on radio since I am a radio guy as well,” Day1 radio host Peter Wallace writes in the book’s Foreword. “By reading these sublime and soulful reflections, possessed—as Duncan puts it—by a quiet fire, you will find inspiration and insight that will make sense in your own life, in your own battles with fear and grief, in your own decisions over the best path to take in a certain situation, in your own yearning for deep meaning and purpose.”
In the book, Newcomer reminds readers of Lincoln’s belief that it is “not the land that makes us American. It’s a mindset. Americans are not a race or a tribe. To Lincoln, Americans are a people who have received a great gift: a free nation with self-government.” And, Thirty Days With Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire reminds us, writes Newcomer, that “Americans did not create this free nation on their own; in Lincoln’s mind, a divine assistance made it possible.”
In these short, daily stories, Newcomer touches repeatedly to the role of the divine in Lincoln’s thoughts, writings and deeds. In one story, Lincoln senses “an abiding presence everywhere for good.” In another, “God acting in history.”
“It may just be,” writes Newcomer, “that more than two centuries after the birth of Lincoln, new generations of people are ready to follow Lincoln once again—in order to find a new birth of freedom. This spirit can make the young wide awake and relight the fire inside the old.”
Thirty Days With Lincoln presents Newcomer’s stories both in text and with a daily link that will play that original broadcast with the click of a smartphone app.
Does Your Dad Live a Life of Duty, Honor and Country?
Clifford Worthy, the great grandson of slaves, was one of the few African-American men of his generation who was accepted and excelled as a Black Knight of the Hudson, a traditional nickname for West Point cadets. In The Black Knight Worthy describes his journey to West Point, the many challenges he overcame both in his family and in the U.S. Army, including service in the front lines of Vietnam.
Rick Forzano, former Head Coach of the Detroit Lions praises Worthy’s memoir and his example to all of us. “He has fought his way through virtually every stage in life with his faith in God giving him the necessary strength and courage,” Forzano writes.
In the late 1940s, the doors to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were closed to most young African-American men. The few who had attended the prestigious military academy before that were subjected to relentless abuse and few survived. Why would Worthy even consider such an impossible dream? At a crossroads in his young life, Worthy took the chance of reaching out to U.S. Rep. John Dingell Sr., who had been a proud part of the New Deal in Washington D.C. and was ready to unlock closed doors.
“We need to keep opening doors for other families,” retired U.S. Rep. John Dingell, Jr., writes in the book’s Foreword. “If my father had not taken that chance in the 1940s of sending a young African-American student from Detroit to West Point—Cliff would not have had his remarkable career. … As it was in the past, our country once again is deeply divided. I love this country. Cliff Worthy loves this country. I hope that this memoir will remind you of what it truly means to be an American.”
Worthy’s commitment to faith, family and service included his loving support of his son Mark, who was born with developmental disabilities at a time when the boy’s disabilities were not widely understood. That part of this memoir already is inspiring readers who share that long journey with loved ones who live with disabilities.
James B. Hayes, former Publisher of FORTUNE magazine, writes of The Black Knight: “Stories of certain lives deserve to be told and preserved. They serve as inspiration for all of us and for generations that follow. Colonel Cliff Worthy’s is one of those lives.”
Is Dad a James Bond Fan?
That’s apparently a popular question this month, considering that the June 12 issue of Parade magazine put Pierce Brosnan—and a prominent James Bond reminder—on newspaper-readers’ doorsteps nationwide.
If your Dad is a 007 fan, then he is sure to enjoy Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins & 007’s Moral Compass.
“I have been bewildered by the staying power of the traditional Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, envy, anger, sloth, covetousness, gluttony and lust. It was not until I began reading and studying Fleming’s “Bond, James Bond,” that I was convinced that Bond was a knight out to slay these contemporary dragons threatening our lives. All of Fleming’s 007 tales follow a common theme that he identified in his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, as parables about evil people. Fleming’s stories have considerable mythological, allegorical and theological depth that are compelling to this day. Fleming found most of the traditional Seven Deadly Sins to be closer to virtues in contemporary culture.
While an editor on the staff of the Sunday Times, Fleming suggested the famous London-based newspaper publish a series of essays on the traditional Seven Deadly Sins. Fleming later saw that this collection of essays was published as a now out-of-print book called simply, The Seven Deadly Sins. In his Foreword to that volume, Fleming lays out seven modern deadlier sins, a list that turns out to be a roadmap to his overarching intention for writing the James Bond novels. Fleming’s modern sins that will send people to Hell are: Avarice, Cruelty, Snobbery, Hypocrisy, Self-righteousness, Moral Cowardice and Malice.
Fleming, often considered a literary light-weight in his day, actually gave us far more than run-of-the-mill adventure stories. He wrote mythical parables of evil people in which, novel after novel, he sketched out the baseline of evil against which we can measure goodness. To counter these evil people, his Bond is a modern-day St. George who slays the dragons and confronts the moral dilemmas that spring from the confusing lures of modern culture.
The evil characters Bond is fighting are fascinating, brilliant villains, often more interesting than James Bond himself. They are larger-than-life caricatures of the evil they personify. Bond is in pursuit of the agents of the Devil. To meet the evil figures in Fleming’s writings is to meet the Devil whom Fleming regarded as a deadly serious threat to our world.
This is what Ian Fleming has done in the 007 series. James Bond, as presented in the Fleming novels, is less than a perfect man who often drops his guard, is captured by his enemy, and yet fights with loyalty and courage to escape the clutches of the dragon. This parallels Fleming’s life struggle as it does the life struggle of many of us who know that we are flawed warriors on a spiritual battlefield.
Now we can clearly see why Fleming was such a prophet. Daily we are confronted with extravagant greed, violence, snobbery, hypocrisy, self-righteousness and spineless moral cowardice. That is why this book has been discussed in small groups around our world.
Do You Want To Make Your Dad Laugh Out Loud?
Humorist Rodney Curtis is the Spiritual Wanderer and he will have your Dad in stitches before the end of the first chapter. Rodney Curtis is an ordinary person like you and me. When he crawls out of bed each morning, he needs to find a cup of frozen coffee before he can contemplate searching for spiritual answers in the cosmos. As his day unfolds, Rodney Curtis looks everywhere for meaning and hope-and always for humor. He wanders through the lives of people around him, through the streets with his beloved dogs and even searches for spiritual guidance in the lights high above us, although that winking glow up there sometimes turns out to be a streetlight.
Rodney Curtis uses his unique wit and gifted storytelling throughout these 40 easy-to-read short essays. Rodney takes a humorous, extraordinary look at his ordinary life as he searches for spiritual guidance and hope in everyday events and in the lives of those around him. These stories will lift your Dad up and make him laugh and when he’s finished reading, he’ll pass it back to you to read and then you’ll gift it to someone else, or buy another copy for someone else.
Do American Politics Sometimes Push All of Your Dad’s Buttons?
Christianity and political conflict are paired so often in daily headlines that Harold Heie’s message in Reforming American Politics is astonishing. A lifelong practitioner of respectful engagement with others, Heie lifts up core Christian values that can transform toxic confrontations into constructive conversations. He proposes a “Way Forward” beyond the us-versus-them tribalistic fighting mentality that currently plagues politics.
As a Christian, Heie believes that “Jesus has called all his followers to love their neighbors. Providing someone who disagrees with you a safe and welcoming space to express that disagreement and then talking respectfully about your disagreement is a deep expression of love.” In Reforming American Politics, Heie aims to model respectful conversations among Christians who have strong disagreements about:
- How Christians and others should talk to one another about political issues
- The meaning of politics and the appropriate scope of political activity
- Public policy proposals that are hotly debated.
He recommends a “Way Forward” for Christians, and others, to seek to reform American politics that presents a stark contrast to current ways of doing politics. In his research for this book, Heie worked with 23 diverse conversation partners for 10 months of online discussions. His electronic forum is an “eCircle” that attracted readers nationwide.
Best-selling evangelical historian Mark Noll writes, “In an age of flaming rhetoric, fractious politics and fissiparous ideology, Harold Heie exemplifies a much better way. The discussions he moderates in this book treat red-hot issues like immigration, health care, economic inequality and money in politics, as well as more general considerations of Christian principles, Christian prudence and Christian practice. The marvel for readers will be to see believers airing their differences frankly, but doing so with Christian friendship preserved and Christian wisdom to the forefront. It is hard to imagine a better book for times like these.”
Award-winning journalist and scholar of American religion Randall Balmer also urges readers to explore Heie’s thoughtful approach to encouraging dialogue by basing his appeal on timeless Christian principles. Balmer writes: “At a time when public discourse has devolved from disagreement to partisanship to tribalism, Harold Heie has determinedly promoted ‘respectful conversations.’ As evident in this, his latest summation, Heie does not settle for bromides or platitudes. He insists on thoughtful, theological, informed discussions, and he points us, all of us, toward a better way.”
As Noll and Balmer point out, Heie addresses some of the toughest questions millions of American families face in trying to live out their Christian faith as well engaging in important public issues. Chapters include: “What Does Christian Love Demand?” and “The Role of Money and Special Interests in Politics” as well as “Wealth and Poverty in America” and “Christians and Churches Doing Politics.”
In these pages, individuals, small groups and entire congregations will discover hopeful and effective new strategies to engage the larger world while embodying the central calling of their faith.
To Your Hero From Our Heroes!
To many people around the world, author Daniel Buttry is a hero because of his peacemaking efforts throughout the world. In Interfaith Heroes and Interfaith Heroes 2 and Interfaith Peacemakers, Daniel Buttry showcases short biographies of men and women throughout history who have crossed traditional boundaries of religious groups to build stronger communities. The dramatic story of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is included as well as biographical sketches of Mahatma Gandhi and St. Francis, among the more famous names in the book. But most readers will discover new uplifting stories, including the recently documented efforts by Albanian Muslims during World War II to hide Jews in their attics. Sketches of other famous leaders include Baptist pioneer Roger Williams, the Sufi poet best known simply as Rumi, Hindu writer Rabindranath Tagore, Jewish theologian Martin Buber, the American evangelist Howard Thurman and the French Catholic Cardinal Aaron Jean-Marie Lustiger.
These stories were written and edited by Daniel Buttry, an international peace negotiator for American Baptist Churches—but the style of the books is balanced and educational. These are an exploration and a celebration of diversity, not books aimed at converting anyone to anything other than peacemaking itself. The books include questions for daily reflection that are designed to spark creative thinking by people of all faiths. The sketches and daily questions could be used by discussion groups or students in classrooms studying history, global culture or the sociology of religion. Also included are Study Guides for individuals, groups and classrooms. Plus, suggestions for organizing new, regional interfaith groups.
Let your Dad know that he’s your hero by sharing these wonderful stories of heroes throughout history and throughout the world.
As we celebrate the Dads in our lives this Father’s Day, our celebrations are sure to be different in ways we never expected. Most of us will not be able to be with our Dads due to the quarantine restrictions. This will be the first Father’s Day that my husband will not have his own father to celebrate – he was one of the 100,000 people lost to the virus. If you are blessed with a Dad in your life, I hope that you are able to find the perfect gift to let your Dad know how special he is to you. If you are a Dad, enjoy your special day. Take the day off. Curl up with a good book and let those you are quarantined with spoil you, as you should be.
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