It is always heartening to attend a conference, such as the American Academy of Religion which convened in Boston before Thanksgiving, and receive such affirmation from visitors to our booth. A typical comment: “I just love Orbis Books!” Part of the reason, no doubt, is that our program has such a clear and identifiable mission. In this era that mission is defined on the one hand by Pope Francis—with his call for mercy, care for the earth, and the defense of the poor—and on the other hand by President Trump, with his contempt for those on the margins, his disdain for the earth, and his glorification of wealth and power.
In the first case, we have published such books as Pope Francis’s The Works of Mercy, Cardinal Chito Tagle’s memoir, I Have Learned from the Least, and Martin McGee’s Dialogue of the Heart: Christian-Muslim Stories of Encounter. On the other hand, there are titles like The Problem of Wealth: A Christian Response to a Culture of Affluence by Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, The Sin of White Supremacy by Jeannine Hill-Fletcher, and of course Faith and Resistance in the Age of Trump—all of them bestsellers in Boston, with the last the subject of two sessions at the AAR.
Yet the Orbis program is not primarily defined by what we oppose! In every copy of every Orbis book you’ll find our mission statement: to publish books that “enlighten the mind, nourish the spirit, and challenge the conscience.” In that light, leading titles this year have included anthologies of bestselling spiritual writers James Martin and Joyce Rupp, and Peter Phan’s celebration of The Joy of Religious Pluralism, as well as Heidi Russell’s engaging reflections on the Trinity, The Source of All Love, and the latest volume of Pope Francis’s Morning Homilies.
But perhaps you are seeking more specific advice for your Christmas shopping? Here are some suggestions:
In the end, the spirit of this season is not determined by the gifts we exchange or whether we say “Merry Christmas.” In this season we remember the Prince of Peace, born with the smell of the sheep, who came to bring good news to the poor and to scatter the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
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