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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The mystery in mysteries

Light reading can enlighten the faithful

Years ago as a break from what I considered serious books, I began reading religious murder mysteries — ones that use religious settings or characters. Much to my surprise, that leisure reading quickly became a source of spiritual nurture and guidance.

The characters in these books struggle with the same things I do. They are repeatedly forced to redefine for themselves, and for me, the boundaries between what is sacred and what is secular. And so this reading I once labeled "mind candy" has become an important part of my spiritual life. My Jewish, Amish, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Celtic and Quaker mysteries encourage me to wrestle with my understandings of faith and religious practice. Here are some of my favorites and the themes you'll find within their covers.


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