The impulse to philosophize about sports is often best suppressed—or confined to the back porch. But this essay collection offers some useful and entertaining reflections on such hardwood issues as: Are intentional fouls unethical even if they are strategically effective? What is the connection between luck and skill?

Piety and power

Is religion playing a greater role in public life? Rice University sociologist D. Michael Lindsay answers this question with a patiently researched and carefully nuanced yes.

Islam: Past, Present and Future

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, President Bush declared that the perpetrators had “violated the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith” and that “Islam is peace.” On what basis did Bush make this declaration? The terrorists certainly thought they were being obedient to the tenets of the Islamic faith.

Speaking Conflict: Stories of a Controversial Jesus

In 2000 David Buttrick began a project that focused on the language of Jesus and the ways in which attention to Jesus’ language can inform and shape preaching. Speaking Conflict is the final volume in that project (the first two are Speaking Parables and Speaking Jesus).

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace. . . One School at a Time

Greg Mortenson grew up in Tanganyika, now Tanzania, the son of Lutheran missionaries. He says his parents wore their faith lightly, but from them he learned to appreciate people different from himself, to live simply and to care deeply about people who are impoverished.