Steven Clark Cunningham is a surgeon, poet, and scholar of religion.  Developed from his master’s work in religion at Harvard, his new book has been described by world experts in the field as “a must-read,” “creative, accessible, and informative,” “brilliant,” “deeply important,” “well-balanced,” “engagingly creative,” and “an essential reader for youth, parents, all adults.” It was just released November 2022 from Orange Hat Press in Waukesha, WI.

It is called It’s Considerate to Be Literate about Religion: Poetry and Prose about Religion, Conflict, and Peace in Our World and is a cultural-studies approach to religious literacy, written for all ages (it looks like a children’s book – and indeed it one – but is more a book for adults disguised as a kids’ book!).  It is inbued with a keen sense for what a powerful force religion has been, for better and for worse, in shaping our social and natural world.

This nonfiction book is a collection of poetry and prose that explains and illustrates, in Part I, the American Academy of Religion’s definition of religious literacy in a way that is widely accessible to both youth and adults.  Part II uses Part I as a foundation to review several conflicts around the world that revolve around religion and examines them through the lens of religious literacy.  Part III is a succinct, 2-page summary that puts it all together.   Themes are diversity, equity, peace/violence (cultural, structural, and direct violence/peace), human agency, prejudice, and understanding.