Recent Books from the SKSM Community


Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War

Soul Repairby Gabriella Lettini, PhD Publication date November 6, 2012 Published by Beacon Press Gabriella Lettini Dean of Faculty and Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of Studies in Public Ministry at the Starr King School for the Ministry. Gabriella Lettini and Rita Nakashima Brock, who both grew up in families deeply affected by war, have been working closely with vets on what moral injury looks like, how vets cope with it, and what can be done to heal the damage inflicted on soldiers’ consciences. In Soul Repair, the authors tell the stories of four veterans of wars from Vietnam to our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—Camillo “Mac” Bica, Herman Keizer Jr., Pamela Lightsey, and Camilo Mejía—who reveal their experiences of moral injury from war and how they have learned to live with it. Brock and Lettini also explore its effect on families and communities, and the community processes that have gradually helped soldiers with their moral injuries. Book website: Soul Repair is available for purchase from the publisher’s website and other booksellers.

The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively

Golden Stateby Helio Fred Garcia Publication date April 26, 2012 Published by FT Press Helio Fred Garcia is on the Adjunct Faculty at Starr King and serves as Chair of the SKSM Board of Trustees. Communication is the absolutely indispensable leadership discipline. But, too often, leaders and professional communicators get mired in tactics, and fail to influence public attitudes in the ways that would help them the most. The Power of Communication builds on the U.S. Marine Corps’ legendary publication Warfighting, showing how to apply the Corps’ proven leadership and strategy doctrine to all forms of public communication — and achieve truly extraordinary results. World-renowned leadership communications expert, consultant, and speaker Helio Fred Garcia reveals how to orient on audiences, recognizing their centers of gravity and most critical concerns. You’ll learn how to integrate and succeed with all three levels of communication: strategic, operational, and tactical. Garcia shows how to take the initiative and control the agenda… respond to events with speed and focus… use the power of maneuver… prepare and plan… and put it all together, becoming a “habitually strategic” communicator. Book website: The Power of Communication is available for purchase from the publisher’s website FT Press and Amazon Books.

The Golden State in the Civil War: Thomas Starr King, the Republican Party, and the Birth of Modern California

Golden Stateby Glenna Matthews Publication date March 31, 2012 Published by Cambridge University Press Dr. Glenna Matthews is an Adjunct Faculty member and a Visiting Scholar at Starr King. The Golden State in the Civil War breaks new ground, not only in its coverage of California, but also in its treatment of the role of cultural links in enhancing national loyalty, in its attention to many groups of people of color, including Chinese and Latinos, and what happened to them during the Civil War. In addition, the book devotes attention to the ebb and flow of the two political parties and to the little-known fact that nearly 17,000 California men and women volunteered for military service on behalf of the Union. Glenna Matthews broadens understanding of the Civil War era both in terms of geography and in terms of social groupings. The Golden State in the Civil War is available for purchase (March 31, 2012) from the publisher’s website Cambridge University Press and Amazon Books.

The Liminal People

liminal_people_jacketby Ayize Jama-Everett Publication date January 2012 Published by Small Beer Press Ayize Jama-Everett served as core Faculty member at Starr King. From the publisher’s website:

Taggert can heal and hurt with just a touch. When an ex calls for help, he risks the wrath of his enigmatic master to try and save her daughter. But when Taggert realizes the daughter has more power than even he can imagine, he has to wrestle with the very nature of his skills, not to mention unmanned and uncreated gods, in order keep the girl safe. In the end, Taggert will have to use more than his power, he has to delve into his heart and soul to survive.

The action sequences are smartly orchestrated, but it is Taggert’s quest to retrieve his own soul that gives “The Liminal People” its oomph. Jama-Everett has done a stellar job of creating a setup that promises even greater rewards in future volumes.

San Francisco Chronicle

The Liminal People is available for purchase from the publisher’s website, Powell’s Books, and Amazon.

A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-First Century

Saving Paradise book jacketby Rebecca Parker, co-authored with John Buehrens. Publication date May 1, 2010 Published by Beacon Press Authored by two leading progressive theologians, A House for Hope affirms that the shared hopes of religious progressives from many traditions can create a movement far stronger than fundamentalism: a liberal religious renaissance. Yet for it to flourish, progressive people must rediscover the spiritual sustenance available in the theological house our liberal forebears built, and embrace what our tradition truly holds sacred, as well as understanding what it rejects. A House for Hope was the #1 bestselling book at UU General Assembly in Minneapolis in June 2010 (see related article).

Coauthors Buehrens (A Chosen Faith) and Parker (Saving Paradise), both progressive clergy, engage in conversation with each other and with theologians ancient and modern (Origen, Barth, Buber, J.L. Adams). Using the metaphors of garden, walls, roof, foundation, threshold, they construct a theological “framework” that faith communities can apply to stimulate reflection and reform, which will develop communal hope, discipline, and activism. This accessible, engaging book may inspire religious progressives to claim their proud history and vital role in contemporary theological conversation.Publisher's Weekly

A House for Hope can be regarded as an alternative to the plethora of recent books on fundamentalism—intentionally so. Buehrens and Parker believe that the media have focused far too much attention on the Religious Right while neglecting “the vast majority of America’s diverse people of faith who are not fundamentalists and who care deeply about the common good.” They examine, from a liberal-progressive perspective, the religious frameworks that inspired generations of men and women to fight for women’s rights, racial equality, economic justice, and peace. The big metaphor they employ throughout is that of theology as habitation, and they dispose the discussion into six thematic parts via dwelling metaphors—the garden, sheltering walls, the roof, the foundations, welcoming rooms, the threshold—to explore various key concepts of theology. A thoughtful meditation on religion, duty, and the common good.June Sawyers

A House for Hope is available for purchase online at the publisher’s site Beacon Press, Amazon, Powell Books, and Barnes and Noble.

Rebecca ParkerRebecca Parker served as President of Starr King School for the Ministry from 1990 to 2014 and as Professor of Theology since 2001, the first woman to serve as the permanent head of an accredited theological school. An ordained United Methodist minister, Parker has dual fellowship with the United Methodist Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is coauthor, with Rita Nakashima Brock, of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering and the Search for What Saves Us and Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love for This World for Crucifixion and Empire. She is also coauthor, with John Buehrens, of A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-first Century, and author of Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now, edited by Robert Hardies. John BeuhrensJohn Buehrens was president of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1993 to 2001. He is now minister of the First Parish in Needham, Massachusetts, and special assistant to the secretary general of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He is author of Understanding the Bible, coauthor, with Forrest Church, of A Chosen Faith, and coauthor, with Rebecca Ann Parker, of A House for Hope.

Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire

Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire“, by Rebecca Parker, co-authored with Rita Nakashima Brock. Saving Paradise book jacket Published by Beacon Press, 2008 Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire restores the idea of Paradise to its rightful place at the center of Christian thought.

Every Christian theologian and preacher should read this book and be profoundly challenged.James H. Coneauthor of Martin & Malcolm & America

Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker offer a fascinating new lens on the history of Christianity, from its first centuries to the present day, asking how its early vision of beauty evolved into a vision of torture, and what changes in society and theology marked that evolution.from the publisher's announcement for Saving Paradise

Visit the website for Saving Paradise at: Rebecca Parker served as President of Starr King School for the Ministry from 1990 to 2014 and Professor of Theology since 2001.

Walking to New Orleans: Ethics and the Concept of Participatory Design in Post-Disaster Reconstruction

Walking to New Orleans: Ethics and the Concept of Participatory Design in Post-Disaster Reconstruction by Robert R. N. Ross, adjunct faculty member at Starr King School for the Ministry Walking to New Orleans book jacket Published by Wipf & Stock, 2008 An important new book about the New Orleans hurricane tragedy has just been published by Wipf & Stock, authored by Robert Ross, adjunct faculty member at Starr King School for the Ministry. “Walking to New Orleans” traces how a dominant but paradoxical model of the relation between the human and natural worlds in Western culture has informed many environmental and engineering dilemmas and has contributed to the history of social inequities and injustice that anteceded the disasters of the hurricanes and subsequent flooding.

Walking to New Orleans is an astonishingly informed and informative account of one of the major human, natural, and political disasters in recent memory.Professor Mark C. TaylorChair, Department of Religion, and Co-Director of the Institute of Religion, Culture and Public Life, Columbia University Cluett Professor of Humanities, Williams College

Robert R. N. Ross teaches courses in the areas of philosophy and the study of religion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and at Starr King School for the Ministry/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California; he also works with congregations in transition as an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. View the publisher’s announcement for Walking to New Orleans (pdf, 4.8mb).