September 13, 20, 27--Incidents of a Southern Tour or The South as Seen Through Northern Eyes by Rev. Horace Cowles Atwater. This is a book written in 1857 that has been republished just this last year by the University of Michigan.
Atwater was the pastor of First Presbyterian of Elizabethton from 1870-1877. He was a Yankee who concluded his ministry career in Tennessee and is buried in Elizabethton. We have recently recovered about 100 of his sermons. They are in the archives of East Tennessee State University.
He made a long tour of the South in the 1850s to see for himself the conditions and to hope that a war could be avoided between North and South. You can read the text on-line (by opening the above link) and permission is granted to print it. You can also order a copy in book form from Amazon.
October 4, 13, 20, 27, November 3, 10--The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. This is a fine book that has been read in many study groups. Here is part of a synopsis in the review from Spirituality and Health:
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In the first three chapters, Borg lays out the conflict within Christendom between those who cling to an earlier paradigm, with its emphasis upon faith as believing, requirements and rewards, and the afterlife, and those who align themselves with an emerging paradigm of Christian life as relational and transformational. He discusses the essential differences between the two camps vis-à-vis the Bible (the heart of tradition), God (the heart of reality), and Jesus (the heart of God).Before we can relax into this clearly delineated situation, Borg surprises us, calling on mainline Christians to reclaim the Biblical term of being "born again" as a way of drawing closer to their more conservative brothers and sisters.