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 Spiritual Practice:  
  
Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World by Wangari Maathai
Made for Goodness by Desmond and Mpho Tutu 
Deep and Simple: A Spiritual Path for Modern Times by Bo Lozoff   
Dark Night Journey: Inward Re-patterning Toward a Life Centered in God by Sandra Cronk 
 A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly 
 Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster 
 Reaching Out, The Road to Daybreak, and The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen  
Sabbath by Wayne Muller 
 Simplicity: The Art of Living by Richard Rohr 
 Plain Living: A Quaker Path to Simplicity by Catherine Whitmire 
 There Is A Season by Joan Chittister
 Ordinary Graces (anthology of short reading ed. by Lorraine Kisly)   

Catholic Worker:  
  
 The Long Loneliness and Loaves and Fishes by Dorothy Day 
 Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World by Dorothy Day and Francis J. Sicius 
 Voices from the Catholic Worker ed. Rosalie Riegel Troester

 Living an Alternative: 
  
 Engaging the Powers by Walter Wink
 Laudato Si’ (On Care for our Common Home) by Pope Francis
 Plain and Simple by Sue Bender 
 Living More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre
 Following Christ in a Consumer Culture by J. F. Kavanaugh
 Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor
 When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough by Rabbi Harold Kushner
 The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher (focused on families)
 Ivan Illich’s books, especially Toward a History of Needs
 Hamlet’s BlackBerry by William Powers
 Oil and Honey  by Bill McKibben

 Economics/Work: 

 Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) by Pope Francis
 Thieves of State by Sarah Chayes (looks at political and economic injustice and the relationship between corruption and terrorism)
 Empire of Cotton by Sven Beckert (examines the rise of capitalism, wage labor, globalization etc)
 Wendell Berry’s essay collections, perhaps especially The Gift of Good Land and Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community and Citizenship Papers
 The Consumer Society, anthology, edited by Neva Goodwin, Frank Ackerman and David Kiron
 The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich
 The Case Against the Global Economy, anthology, edited by Jerry Mander and Oliver Goldsmith
 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
 Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben
 Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodges (case study of a tribal culture’s collision with the global economy)
 The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein
 On Economics and Ethics and Poverty and Famines by Amartya Sen
What Money Can’t Buy by Michael J. Sandel 

Community/Service: 

 Community and Growth by Jean Vanier
 Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen
 Returning to the Teachings by Rupert Ross (description of Native healing/restorative justice processes for dealing with  trauma and offenses)
The Green Boat  by Mary Pipher
 Search for Silence by Elizabeth O’Connor
 Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown (on how our wish to belong and git with like-minded folks drives our polarized politics and keeps us lonely, and how we could build real community instead)  
  
 Education/Raising Children: 

 What Kids Really Want That Money Can’t Buy: Tips for Parenting in a Commercial World  by Betsy Taylor
 Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood by Susan Linn
 The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher (focused on families)
 And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment and Emotional Violence by James Garbarino and Ellen deLara
 To Know As We Are Known by Parker Palmer
 The Price of Privilege  and  Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine (clinical psychologist)

 Other:

 Unbowed by Wangari Maathai (memoir of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist, tree-planter and educator, dealing with religion, ecology, economics, colonialism, human rights and more)
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu (memoir describing how and why the grandson of a Mexican immigrant joined, and then left, the Border Patrol; also describing his later civilian advocacy for a detainee)
Goatwalking by Jim Corbett (about economics, community, ecology, Scripture, goat care, survival in the wild, and the Sanctuary movement)
 Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
 You Are Not Your Brain by Jeffrey Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding (suggestions for understanding the stories we tell ourselves and the habits we form, and making both clearer and more constructive)

 Quotes from our recent reading (updated January 2019):

 From Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Kenyan activist, tree-planter and educator:

 From her memoir Unbowed:

 Professionals can make simple things complicated. I don’t think you need a diploma to plant a tree.

 Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it.

 A stumble is only one step in the long path we walk and dwelling on it only postpones the completion of our journey.

 Everything was now perceived as having a monetary value  . . . if you can sell it, you forget about protecting it.

 No matter how much you try to destroy it, you can’t stop truth and justice from sprouting.

 Politicians stir people up and give them reasons to blame their own predicaments on people from other ethnic groups.

 Trees are living symbols of peace and hope. A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches to the sky. It tells us that to aspire we need to be grounded, and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance.

From Maathai's other writings:

 Communities without their own culture, who are already disinherited, cannot protect their environment from immediate destruction or preserve it for future generations. Since they are disinherited, they have nothing to pass on.    

 Sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible.

 All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet.

 When you know who you are you are free.

 From Francisco Cantu's The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border:

 Jung asserts that when we come to perceive “the other” as someone to be feared and shunned, we risk the inner cohesion of our society, allowing our personal relationships to become undermined by a creeping mistrust. By walling ourselves off from a perceived other, we “flatter the primitive tendency in us to shut our eyes to evil and drive it over some frontier or other, like the Old Testament scapegoat, which was supposed to carry the evil into the wilderness.” 

We also post quotes and photos weekly on our Facebook page
A few of our all-time favorite quotes: 

On spiritual practice:

The practices of goodness--noticing, savoring, thinking, enjoying and being thankful--are not hard disciplines to learn.  But they are disciplines, and they take practice.  The habits that allow wrong to become entrenched--mindlessness, or tuning out, inattentiveness, the busyness of doing to distraction, and the ungrateful heart--can take hold so easily.   Each habit that allows wrong to become entrenched feeds from the others. --Made for Goodness by Desmond and Mpho Tutu

 Religion is not a nagging parent, nor is it a report card keeping track of our achievements and failures and grading our performance.  Religion is a refining fire, helping us get rid of everything that is not us, everything that disturbs, dilutes or compromises the person we really want to be, until only our authentic selves remain 
--When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough  by Rabbi Harold Kushner

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On living an alternative:

There is a big difference between having many choices and making a choice.  Making a choice—declaring what is essential—creates a framework for a life that eliminates many choices but gives meaning to the things that remain.        --Plain and Simple  by Sue Bender

 ..if we just let the culture happen to us we end up rushed, stressed, addicted, unhealthy, and broke
--The Green Boat by Mary Pipher  

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Economics 

The primary cause of our crises is not human nature...but rather a relentlessly expanding economic system that is steamrolling both people and the planet.  Unfortunately, this system has grown so large that it has become difficult to recognize it as human-made. --From the Afterword to the 2nd edition of Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodges 

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Community
 
Community is a place where people can live truly as human beings, where they can be healed and strengthened in their deepest emotions, and where they can walk towards unity and inner freedom.  As fears and prejudices diminish and trust in God and others grows, the community can radiate and witness to a style and quality of life which will bring a solution to the troubles of our world.  The response to war is to live like brothers and sisters.  The response to injustice is to share.  The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness.  To work for community is to work for humanity.   
--Community and Growth by Jean Vanier 

 the difference between a competent poverty and abject poverty . . . A home landscape enables personal subsistence but also generosity.  It enables community to exist and function.  --What Matters by Wendell Berry 

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Work

Manual labor is physical, repetitive, never finished, always needing more attention, and something I can do while my mind is recollected.  The most suitable work for a contemplative is hidden and necessary.--Humility Matters by M.  Funk 

The moral challenge is...to make work visible again: not only the scrubbing and vacuuming, but all the hoeing, stacking, hammering, drilling, bending and lifting that goes into creating and maintaining a livable habitat.  In an economically unequal world real work, labor that engages hand as well as eye, that tires the body and directly alters the physical world, tends to vanish from sight. --Barbara Ehrenreich in Global Woman 

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Education/ Raising Children
 
The most valuable form of activism in this day and age may be to explore a lifestyle based around simple living and simple joy.  It make take toning down our materialistic demands and figuring out how to live on less income, but that process itself will begin to save some of the world’s resources and thereby address many of the world’s pressing problems, as well as give us more time with our families and communities.... It is activism to explain to our kids the hype and deceit involved with the endless ads which incite them to buy something new or get in on the latest craze.  Our kids may be deeper if we treat them with depth.  Our kids may be deeper if we are.  No guarantees, but they’ll certainly have a better chance.   --Deep and Simple by Bo Lozoff 

 All genuine instruction ends in a kind of silence, for when I live it, it is no longer necessary for my speaking to be audible.   
     –Sören Kierkegaard 

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Service
 
Self-righteous service is impressed with the ‘big deal’...True service finds it almost impossible to distinguish the small from the large service...Self-righteous service is temporary...True service acts from ingrained patterns of living.  It springs spontaneously to meet human need.  Self-righteous service puts others into its debt and becomes one of the most subtle and destructive forms of manipulation.  True service builds community.         -- The Celebration of Discipline  by Richard Foster 

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 Queries
 
Contemporary Christians find that they face many of the same questions as the early hermits.  How does one find one’s true self? How can we learn to see what is illusory and what is real? How do certain elements in our society’s value structure block our ability to hear God’s call? What does it mean to live a life of prayer? How can we find a firm foundation on which to build our lives?         -- Dark Night Journey  by Sandra Cronk 

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