Let’s make the world a better place: by acknowledging reality, inspiring our young people, supporting folx with mental and emotional challenges, rooting in sound theology, engaging in inter religious dialogue, and allowing ourselves a few moments of delight…

ONE

For those with their heads in the sand, Creation is crying. Our Angry Eden: Faith and Hope on a Hotter, Harsher Planet (Broadleaf) explores both the “sustained difficulty and disruption” humans will encounter as the planet continues to change under our poor stewardship, as well as the “hope that transcends time and the faith that rises to meet our harsh and unforgiving reality”.

TWO

Which is why we sorely need young leaders to lift up their voice: in Change Sings (Penguin) Poet Laureate/presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman invites young ones to use their varied abilities to share and create their vision of a better world.

Inspire that vision with Glenys Nellist’s illustrated Bible, I Wonder: Exploring God’s Grand Story (Zonderkidz).

THREE

Make the world a little more amenable to folx with emotional and mental health challenges.

Your Brain’s Not Broken: Strategies for Navigating Your Emotions and Life with ADHD (Baker) utilizes current research to help identify unhelpful thinking and emotional patterns and develop strategies for change.

Transforming Loneliness: Deepening Our Relationship with God and Others When We Feel Alone (Baker) invites folx to embrace solitude as a pathway to closer relationships with God and others.

Hiding in the Pews: Shining Light on Mental Illness in the Church (Fortress) is a good place to start for creating a more hospitable environment for all within the congregation.

FOUR

It may help the world if everyone currently disillusioned with Christianity in its current iterations, “awakens [to] personal and social transformation”, as Thomas Cathcart encourages in There Is No God and Mary Is His Mother: Rediscovering Religionless Christianity (Fortress).

FIVE

And we’ll certainly improve things when world religions not only co-exist, but work together. Christian-Zen Dialogue: Sacred Stories as a Starting Point for Interfaith Dialogue (Fortress) – which focuses on the sacred stories of each as a starting point for dialogue between the two – may be a place to start.

SIX

And if all this reality is too harsh to contemplate, just now, Sanctified Art announced their new Spotify play list for their Advent worship series, Close to Home. Listen for yourself; share with your congregation!