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As this selection of essays attests, Seerveld is both well-versed in the history of art and has made significant contributions to this field as well. Each chapter has a contemporary art historian exploring the deep insights of a certain work, or body of work, as they were taught by their teacher, or colleague, or friend, John Walford. A few of the pieces are very, very good, examining the process of Christian art historical discernment including one I truly loved by Calvin Seerveld. A rare, specialized collection for those interested in the methodologies of art history.

With over 20 chapters and pages, complete with color plates it remains a seminal work in the field of nurturing a uniquely Christian art historical method. The publisher explains it like this: ReVisioning examines the application of art historical methods to the history of Christianity and art. As methods of art history have become more interdisciplinary, there has been a notable emergence of discussions of religion in art history as well as related fields such as visual culture and theology.

This book represents the first critical examination of scholarly methodologies applied to the study of Christian subjects, themes, and contexts in art. My observation will be a segue to telling you more about Dr. We are tired but yet exhilarated by our work at this recent string of clergy and church events. We loudly thank all those who helped us lug and unload or lug and reload our vans in recent weeks.

Thanks to friends old and new. Fleming Rutledge a hero of ours — you should read her many books! Thanks to Bishop James Dunlap from teaching from it. We often smile about and enjoy the theological diversity in these groups; around the spacious book displays we discuss the theological wisdom of popular authors like Richard Rohr or Diana Butler Bass or Tom Wright or Barbara Brown Taylor and debate the usefulness of words like evangelical or progressive, liturgical or Reformed. With these folks we celebrate their vibrant churches and share the anxiety about the numerical and financial decline of mainline congregations.

We are glad when we hear about how the gospel is being proclaimed and people being served in and through congregations large and small, in cities and towns and rural areas. What a privilege! We are told over and over that our books make a difference, that our presence matters at these denominational events. Historically, mom and pop Christian bookstores have been part often simplistic pietistic and fundamentalist traditions and have sometimes not been very serious-minded about theology; they have often eschewed working with mainline congregations. We have been graced by those in mainline circles who have welcomed us, knowing that we are a mom and pop, small town, Christian bookstore whose most core convictions remain orthodox.

And we are grateful for those who have trusted us.

Bishop Robert Barron: "Religion and the Opening Up of the Mind" - Talks at Google

We do have good resources for local congregations seeking congregational revitalization, for those doing strategic planning, missional discernment, for those starting spiritual formation groups, revisiting mission statements, searching for a pastor and the like. Whether you want to explore more creative worship planning or are doing appreciative inquiry, or are hoping to move your congregation towards social justice advocacy, we have books to suggest. We have oodles of books on congregational stewardship, on church conflict, on pastoral integrity, on leadership development, youth ministry, and Christian education.

Some rather evangelical books can be wisely used by mainline folks and we have tons of books from more liturgical, mainline traditions. Many folks at these mainline denominational events, clergy and congregants alike, it seems are not very aware of the often very thoughtful resources that are out there. I wish more church leaders — elders, vestry members, council members, deacons, vicars, and the like — reached out to us and sought out resources to help them with their vows of service to the local church.

We can help. But here is what we often notice — and this is the long-in-coming segue to my book review this week: people especially love the books that we bring that are a bit surprising, books that are not about the church, but about the arts or science, creation-care or nurturing a sense of vocation that allows people to serve God in the work-world.

People seemed surprised so see that we feature books that remind us that God cares about Monday as much as Sunday. That all of us who follow Jesus are called to obey God by helping serve the common good. That this somehow means being in but not of the world, in civil society, the arts, education, recreation, politics, and more.

Both books show that a Biblically-grounded sort of socially engaged gospel depends upon a quality of congregational life that nurtures a lifestyle of stewardship, compassion, and activism. As much as mainline church seminary profs like to dabble in edgy and often eccentric theologies that are supposed to be empowering and relevant, most mainline churches are way behind the best evangelicals in fostering conversations around the intersection of faith and science, art, business, work, even racial reconciliation.

Few mainline churches judging from what we hear at these events, at least are doing much in their churches about relating faith to stuff other than churchy or missionary things. When at mainline denominational events for church folk we display books about art or culture or work or science, there is almost always a bit of surprise. But mainline denominational folks tend not to buy them.

They notice — books about faith and food, faith and popular music, books about hiking? But it seems surprising to them. This observation vexes me a bit. Almost everywhere we go we like to display books that honor our deep commitment to ecumenicity. As a matter of principle we like to offer both evangelical and progressive stuff; we always have Roman Catholic authors mixed in with Protestant books.

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Mainline folks rarely buy C. Lewis, but we take his stuff and put him near Rowan Williams and Marcus Borg. We think and feel, work and play, vote and shop. Theorists of all sorts get at this when they talk about two hemispheres of the brain or when educators talk about multiple intelligences or even when we hear about personality types like with the recent interest in the Enneagram.

Which is why the church must proclaim a big gospel of all sides of life and why faith-based booksellers must carry resources for living in every sector of life and culture. That is, all of life is lived — like it or not — corem deo; before God. What we really trust can be misguided and our religion can be an idolatrous one, making an idol of our sense of self or some other ideology, but worship we do. From a Christian perspective, all of life is at once good and bad; blessed, cursed, damaged, and being redeemed and healed by the resurrection power of the Ascended King.

So folks walk into the book room at a conference or, more so, into our Dallastown bricks and mortar store, and see books on Van Gogh and cooking and nursing and engineering — books written often by wise authors calling for reform in the profession or industry — and if they look carefully they will realize that the authors may be people of deep Biblical faith, writing some of these books, integrating, if you will, their Sunday beliefs and their Monday world. From school teaching to lawyering, from math to aesthetics, from farming to journalism, there are Christian authors offering up their workspaces as holy ground, as mission fields.

Such folks may not be church leaders but they are trying to be salt and light, leaven in the loaf, blooming right where they are planted in the factory floor or work cubicle or sculpting studio or kindergarten classroom.

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It is unfortunate, I think, of how few churches honor their college grads. I give this little spiel often at our book display at conferences. Who knew there were Christian insights about fashion and video games and comedy? It is an interesting, playful, grace-filled, feisty study of our culture — the sort of things he does at his exceptional website and podcast Mockingbird. Or even books about racial reconciliation. Often the clerk was baffled. And these are the best CBA stores! It is a personal favorite written by an old college pal, author of the brand new Cinematic Faith, William D.

Soon, Bill felt the call to do PhD work in the study of popular culture; these were the days when MTV was a new thing, when film was starting to use rock music in soundtracks the topic, in fact, of his first co-authored book. He prepared to make a contribution to the burgeoning field of pop culture studies by getting his PhD at Bowling Green then the epicenter of much of this academic study, using a bit of critical theory and other new ways to discern what is really going on in popular entertainment and cultural proclivities and social practices.

Bill was a lit major in college, was a performing artist himself, had worked in campus ministry with emerging adults through the CCO and soon became perhaps the leading voice in the early s discussions about evangelical faith and popular culture. He was speaking widely and doing research and meeting important voices in the entertainment industry. The picture above, by the way, is with the legendary Jack Valenti, the late President of the Motion Picture Association — you know, the institution that runs the Academy Awards and gives out the Oscars.

It remains a standard study in the history of film, and especially Protestant engagement, about which little has been written. Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture in an expanded second edition was his first popular level book and it became a perennial best seller. It is still one of the very best books to offer a broad and thoughtful Christian worldview as a lens to help us be faithful and discerning in engaging modern entertainment.

And how it can — from varying viewpoints and perspectives — help us criticize and even be motivated to reform society. Erin Brockovich , anyone? The Big Short? Dallas Buyers Club? Anyway, Eyes Wide Open is a fine and thoughtful book, only a bit dated, now, and still my favorite resource for thinking in foundational ways about the joys and challenges of watching movies and listening to music and such. If you were with us at any of the aforementioned church conferences you probably saw it. Maybe you were intrigued.

Why are some folks surprised that a Christian bookstore stocks and promotes these kinds of books? And can you help us fix this problem by promoting in your circles books about culture, the arts, society, science, work, citizenship, play, education, health care technology, food, farming and more? Years in the making, we are very, very glad to get to announce a brand new book by professor Romanowski.

If you love movies, you need this book.

In Him we are given light to see the Bible is, after all, a light before our path! We are to let our light shine! John promises an abundant life, not a dim life. Our enjoyment of making and eating good food is enhanced when we read a thoughtful cookbook! Our enjoyment of sports is better when we know some of the nuances of the game. Dare I say that some of us might enjoy sex a bit more if we read a book or two about Godly married life. Books help us see and appreciate and develop the creation God has given us. Books like this will help you have more fun at the movies.

And, trust me on this: Bill has very eclectic tastes and has a lot of fun at the movies. A fun little fact: Bill was led to Christian faith and discipled mostly by a guy who became not only a mentor but one of his life-long best friends. This guy, Dr. Terry Thomas of Geneva College, was himself raised working in a Pittsburgh-area movie theatre that his father managed. Nobody has more fun at the movies than Terry, who Bill mentions in his book. Through all of these excursions, you can tell that his tastes are not overly high-brow.

Cinematic Faith is hoping to enhance your viewing experiences and help you get more out of your entertainment dollar, not bore you with academic discourse or shame you for enjoying the movies you enjoy. We loved, by the way, having literary scholar and teacher Karen Swallow Prior in our store last fall helping launch her marvelous book about virtue and literature On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books.

Like Prior and her love of a wide range of reading, Romanowski is convinced that watching a lot of movies of different sorts is a good thing. Unlike literature, where reading widely is mostly admired, though, we tend to dismiss a thoughtful, spiritually aware engagement with our popular amusements. And did I mention he likes Rocky? What makes Cinematic Faith an important book, besides being a bit of a sequel to the important and popular Eyes Wide Open?

We have literally a dozen recent books on faith and film that have come out in recent years. A genre that was once rather provocative and cutting edge has, it seems to me, become almost commonplace. Movies and digital entertainment here in a new golden age of TV are more popular than ever, taking up more of our time than ever before. We really should, you know; like work or relationships or eating or voting, God wants us to take pleasure in this part of our discipleship, but in a fallen world, things can be distorted and depressing. We have to study up, learn more, deeper our curiosity so we can grow in to maturity in these aspects of life.

But what makes this book on film that urgent? Besides my personal loyalty to my old friend and the reputation of his well-respected work at Calvin College, why Cinematic Faith? I will name several good things that make this a very important contribution, not only for anyone serious about developing a uniquely and inherently Christian way of approaching film, but for ordinary folks who enjoy a good movie night from time to time.

He is clear and teacherly about critical approaches — theories or ways of thinking about film. He explains how different schools of thought about film can enhance our own viewing. He is clear and informative and this will be helpful for you. So: it is practical and helpful. You can even eat popcorn as you turn the pages and nobody will shush your crunching. I mentioned significantly that he has been informed by the aesthetic theories of Calvin Seerveld Rainbows for a Fallen World, Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves, Normative Aesthetics , Redemptive Art in Society and more, including study and conversations with other philosophers of the arts such as philosophers such as Nicholas Wolterstorff and Lambert Zuidervaart as well as pop journalists like the great Steve Turner whose Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts is a great book for anyone wanting to dip into an integrated Christian perspective on art and culture and whose Popcultured I already mentioned.

This means that Bill has worked very hard at a deep level to wonder what it means to take up theories and mindsets that inform dispositions and practices that are not only coherent and consistent from a Christian perspective but that are deeply integral. Faith, in his scholarship, is not an afterthought nor is his sense of quality and value in a film based on cheap inspiration.

Such films and books can even be dishonest about the way faith works in real life. Some of the most theologically sane movies have be made by deeply troubled filmmakers and some of our worst films are made by otherwise Godly people trying to use the art form for evangelistic purposes.

Art — visual art, multi-media art, literature or pop music — must not be propaganda. Preaching is a noble and, at its best, also an artful calling. Marxists and progressives tend to do this a lot; evangelical Christians too often, too. A good message is usually diluted by bad form or a propagandistic ethos. Conversely, an artistically nuanced and allusively subtle vision can be quietly powerful. This insight — which is pretty basic, I suppose — has formed in Bill a professional passion and, after watching a zillion films over a lifetime, a finely tuned craft for understanding film not merely in its content, but it its style.

And this is what makes Cinematic Faith a major contribution to and somewhat unique within contemporary Christian film studies. It seems to me that most of our best Christian thinkers in film studies many published by the same good publishing house as Cinematic Faith who over the last 15 years or so have served up a bounty of faith-based scholarship about culture and review of modern movies have fallen somewhat for this inadequate perspective of how to evaluate film.

That is, they spend a whole lot of time and effort to discern the worldviews of the filmmakers, or doing narrative criticism, exploring the story and the content and the message as if every movie has a moral. But you know what? Maybe we should ask that sort of question about form and function, about aesthetics and craft. Because, after all, for a film to work it not only needs a good story but that story is told by artists with a point of view that is embodied in their craft, their form, their filmic skills.

They pay very little if any attention to the specifics of the medium, to how film makes meaning with images — with framing, editing, mise en scene , with the way an actor moves his body in front of the camera. Further, Romanowski also writes about the interplay of production and reception; that is, our response to a movie is a dance with the filmmakers and her skills and perspective.

No wonder the evaluations at Rotten Tomatoes sometimes vary so very vividly that conversations about favorite or hated films can be explosive. And, oh my, how he later peels layer after layer of different sorts of interpretation — the surface meaning, and the directors deeper meaning and our own interpretive meanings. Interpretation matters as we thereby can be more intentional about what movies shape us and in what way.

In the second chapter Romanowski offers in a no-nonsense manner four basic Biblical principles to serve as a guide for a productive engagement with cinema. In a few pages he packs extraordinary insight; for some, they might be new insight, or intuitions articulated in sensible ways. Together these four principles lay the groundwork for a two pronged approach that is both discerning and exploratory, characterized by encounter and dialogue. With this approach comes a certain attitude. The next few pages are, again, worth the price of the book, reminding us of the ups and downs of this process and posture.

We must understand the value system of the film. How can we critically engage film in imaginative ways that are mindful of and consistent with a faith perspective while also respecting the filmmakers vision and artistic expression? Or, to give it a slightly different twist, how are we to engage movies that are artistically praiseworthy and culturally significant but contain ideals and assumptions that might run against the grain of our own?

Becoming impartial critics — fair and just in our judgments, and rising above our own prejudices — is easier said than done. The risk, of course, is that we might fail to refuse to give a filmmakers viewpoint a fair appraisal, or we might find it difficult to even appreciate an honest artistic effort.

This is a great chapter reminding us about how stories really work, how filmmakers interpret reality and how we viewers then bring our own deeply felt value judgments to the experience of the film. Professor R names a dozen other movies in as many pages exploring this dual emphasis of style and content, of medium and message, if you will.

I am no expert on this, so I learned a lot and I am convinced it is important. Good cheer and gravitas have their places, and aesthetic form carries much of the weight of these human emotions, in music and TV and dance and other art forms. And so it is in film, perhaps even with style trumping content, sometimes.

So, naturally, we should know a bit about cinematic tools such as narrative, cinematography, production design, sound, acting, and editing. Under his helpful tutelage we learn not just what happens in a film, but the way it happens. And — bam! From the special effects team in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince showing the Death Eaters flying to some sexy opening shots in Top Gun that places gender in the center of the story, to great, if brief, comments about the much-awarded cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki who, Romanowski reminds us, won an Oscar three years in a row for Gravity , Birdman , and in for The Revenant this section is chock full of quick examples and fun illustrations and even movie stills.

On and on we go through this book, covering all sorts of things that are fun to learn, helpful to realize, wise reminders and fresh formulations. This book could serve as a good read for a film-going group or a college class or a book club. Romanowski opens this good chapter by highlighting a debate in Commonweal about a Catholic film critic who appreciated a fundamental moral center to movies like Pulp Fiction.

From stuff about gender and violence and heroism he brings new insights to films that he sees connect to this particularly American mythology. And then he goes from he assessment of the conventional American myths to a full-on study of gender in mainstream Hollywood. Do these images reflect our values and assumptions or shape them? What might the recent interest in strong female characters bode for film and storytelling?

He does not particularly address films about LGBTQ characters, by the way, but his framework about being critical of American mythologies of traditional gender assumptions he reads the Bible as offering a trajectory towards egalitarian justice could provide tools for a positive Christian engagement with all sorts of films around those themes, as well.

We can truly enjoy movies and be challenged and grow through their artful style — especially if we know something about it all. A final comment about why on some occasions, it seems, church folk almost all of whom surely watch TV and movies seem surprised when we have books displayed at their events like Cinematic Faith: A Christian Perspective….

I think it is because some religionists and many common people in the pew seem to think that all God cares about is church and maybe the study of theology. He wants to offer us a faith-based, Christian perspective on film making and film viewing, for film makers and film viewers whether they do theology or church work, or not. He wants to equip us to live our ordinary faith before God with intentionality in ways that are distinctive to this side of life — leisure, entertainment, the arts.

And I think that is as it should be. It is for artists and those of us eager to open up our aesthetic side of life, even in our entertainments, our play, our going to the movies. The recent movement of conversations between film-makers and theologians is fascinating, and many books with that approach have chapters that are nothing short of brilliant. But most are doing this rather arcane project — uniting Christian movie lovers with Christian theological scholars. Romanowski, in Cinematic Faith , as he has done throughout his career, has engaged mainstream film studies and taught us ordinary folks how it all works.

Informed by good scholarship — from an integral Christian social imaginary and Biblically-grounded life perspective, to be sure — he helps us all be more attentive and faithful, even in our entertainments. In this regard, Cinematic Faith is for us all. A book about movies that has churchy stained glass on the cover strikes me as awkward. This sort of approach just seems somehow off to me, as if we have to somehow sanctify the ordinary act of watching movies not by thinking Christianly about movies as Romanowski would argue but that we need these professional thinkers about theology to make it so.

Offering great movie choices, insightful analysis, wonderful prose, rich knowledge about film and theology — this book has it all. Romanowski, in his neat book, implies but does not rail out loud that too many Christian film studies volumes overestimate the role of content and underestimate the role of style, the art of the filmmaking craft. And then that scholar continued on with the essay citing example after example of content, with hardly any word about angle of vision or editing or sound or even acting.

That is, even those who say that we need a more aesthetically nuanced view of the art of movie-making, rarely get around to doing it. Happily Deeply Focused: Film and Theology in Dialogue really does do a good measure of this, making it a very up-to-date, delightful, informative, and valuable contribution to those wanting a better Christian understanding of film. Kudos to Johnson, Detweiler, and Kutter for making this a central — and very enjoyable — part of Deep Focus.

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This is a bit obtuse at times, but they are trying to invite us to get beyond our historical debates within the church about film and the popular arts. They bring in lots of theologians Tillich, Niehbur and spirituality writers who will appeal to those who want this sort of churchy dialogue. It is interesting to me that the neo-Calvinist Romanowksi mostly quotes film critics and Christian philosophers and reviewers and rarely cites theologians as such.

The trio of Reel Spirituality authors tell very moving stories, actually, about their own film-going experiences and make a case for watching movies as a spiritual experience. What if we just have a good belly laugh or found ourselves strangely moved by touching romance?

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You know what I mean? Sure some movies move us to tears and for Christians their tears are holy unto the Lord. There is absolutely no doubt that Johnston and Detweiler and Callaway are real film buffs and it is clear they have friends, literally, in the film scene in Hollywood. As faith leaders who are obviously serious disciples of Jesus, we should listen to them and their good call to media literacy. Lindvall is correct in saying that:. This stellar work invites readers to join an ongoing conversation among some of the most cinematically literate companions one can find.

Lets help get that surprising message out there — that God cares about all of life and that we can we must! Our BookNotes and our special discount offers will come to your inbox about once a week. We are especially grateful when we get good feedback and lots of orders the point of this bookselling biz, of course for books we commend.

Reading this book will help you understand your Bible better and help you gain a better vision for dedicated Christian living in these trying times. This is potent, missional stuff, directly inspired by a close reading of Romans. As I explained, Romans Disarmed book fits well within the decades of work and witness and writing Brian and Sylvia have done.

They are a bit rare — academics who publish in the finest scholarly journals who work an organic farm, stewarding it well with old ways and some innovative permaculture approaches. And they have animals and heirloom tomatoes and do workshops on all kinds of homesteading skills.

Plus, they have served among the homeless in Toronto, done campus ministry with college students, have mentored young adults in starting social service ministries and justice-seeking businesses. In that column I named some of their other books as well. Which is all just a way of saying that their broad intellectual and life influences, their years of research and writing and their fruitful leadership has made them into the sorts of authors we want our customers and friends to know about.

Agree fully or not with this robust new or is it ancient? We hope you are glad for this advice from us here at the shop even if it is a hard adventure further up and further in. We would be honored if you ordered it from us. It pleases us greatly that we have had the pleasure of shipping a bunch of these out this past week. It would make an ideal companion — more conventional, but powerful, eloquent, and inspiring.

I suspect that they would have much in common and a few significant differences, and a bunch of quibbles about exegesis text by text by text. There have been a lot of books on St. Paul, lately. Of course, we have raved about the novel-like biography of Paul colorfully written by N. I think it will. If you are a campus minister or youth worker or one who hangs out with those who are on the fringes of faith; that is if you are an evangelist or friend of the un-churched, I wonder how this can help you share the gospel more faithfully?

I think the way Brian and Sylvia interact and reply to the good questions their fictional interlocutor raises would be very helpful to model healthy conversations. Know anybody like that? Know someone who maybe needs a shift in perspective and some renewed energy to move deeper into Christian discipleship? If you need to have your world rocked a bit, Romans Disarmed will shake some truisms you thought you knew and push you into some wild waters.

Hang on, and go for it. It could save your life! Rather than merely reminding us not to spend so much on consumer goods and pressing us to avoid plastics and toxic junk, they channeling Berry invite us to a stewardly vision of life, rooted in a sturdy view and a quite Biblical view of creation. All of these books — some of our favorites — have at least one big thing in common. Richard Middleton not to mention listening to the albums of Bruce Cockburn but a whole lot of Wendell Berry. A whole lot of Wendell Berry.

What great stories they are, lovely, calm, mature, wise, and perfect for summer reading. We hope you have at least a few of his poetry collections. Let the arguments commence for those fans that are true Berry aficionados. For most of us, we need a reliable introduction, a good, well-chosen collection and these are almost perfect. So these new, handsome Library of America editions are wonderful and fill a real need for those wanting such a good collection.

There are three ways to buy them. There is volume 1, offering work from his earlier years, there is volume 2 which includes more contemporary writing, and there is the boxed set of both, entitled Where I Stand that comes in a very nice slip-case box. What a treasure! For those wanting to dip into Mr. Oh my, this is another one of those exceptional books that to describe well I simply have to use superlatives.

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You can pre-order it easily by using our order form link shown below. We breathe in the toxic air, take up habits and values and ways of being in the secularizing, modernist world without too much self-awareness that it could be otherwise. Which is why books like this are so very important. And this one is happily not only insightful and important, but interesting and enjoyable and practical.

He is looking not only at symptoms of our discontent but the ethos of the age. And, yes, he explains Charles Taylor. His sense of place — and his invitation to us to deepen our own loyalties to our own places — is palpable. Lately, many Christian folks have shifted in how we talk about our work in the world and I think it is a good thing. Many are now talking about their efforts to love their neighbors well by describing commitments to the common good.

We hear talk about civic virtue. These are all pretty nascent and it is encouraging to hear this kind of talk about social architecture and civil society and the common good. Jake is on the cutting edge of all this and his book will help us all. The best of these efforts sound refreshingly neither old school left or right but something new, offering a counter-cultural witness, a city on a hill. It is indispensable for anyone wanting to think well about our time and place and what God is calling us to. And, yes, he uses Wendell Berry a lot. Keller notes, by the way, that when he entered evangelical and Reformed pastoral ministry nearly forty-five years ago the lines of debate in conservative churches were largely theological in nature.

He outlines in a sentence or two some of the issues that many argued about and I felt the knot in my stomach as I read but he observes that increasingly the fault lines between churches and the most vehement debates nowadays are about culture. And as our culture is weakening and fragmenting and the dissatisfaction with political leaders and churches and other formerly respected institutions wanes, we are increasingly moving towards very hard times.

I assume you know this. This has long been a classic conservative argument, that as society is unmoored from deeper roots by even well intended revolutionary goals, we lose tradition and values and end up with just atomistic individuals doing whatever pleases them. And voting for those who will help them keep their stuff. So, as Jake illustrates without pressing this exact point we need something more profound than a left wing critique or a historic conservative critique; both have true insights but neither are adequate.

We need some Berry-esque, neo-agrarian? On some pages of In Search of the Common Good Meador sounds pretty darn conservative and he is pretty traditionalist on matters of family and sexuality and on other pages he rails against unjust income disparities and institutional racism. In this, he might offend older conservative types, but he seems to have the church fathers and the best Christian scholars over his shoulder, so this is no facile jive.

Indeed, he bolsters his critique of the economic gods of progress and growth by citing the likes of Augustine, Aquinas, and Calvin. He does love Oscar Romero, and quotes him from time to time. He tells us, in other words, how we got ourselves into this mess. Like a serious doctor giving a diagnosis, nothing cheap will do.

So he goes deep and gives us the bad news. Jake is young and idealistic and has a healthy small church and good friends who, together, are forging a new way of being faithful to God in their daily lives. I am grateful. See all reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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PillPack Pharmacy Simplified. Amazon Renewed Like-new products you can trust. Not too many college Presidents have visited our Dallastown store. Mouw writes about an observation Rod Sawatsky was fond of making about evangelical higher education. Tolle lege. I think it has one of the stronger cover designs, too — what a photo, and what a title. Al Tizon, now executive minister of Serve Globally, the international ministries arm of the Evangelical Covenant Church, is also an affiliate professor at North Park Theological Seminary.


He is a man we admire and appreciate. Yet, Al is no where near the end of his important career and may have even more books in him.

But this, this truly is a major contribution, and mighty, multi-disciplinary work, visionary and solid. Some readers will recall that several decades ago there was much conversation about how best to define mission work — words or deeds? Holistic, intregal, Kingdom advancing ministry was proposed as a Biblically-required and theologically-sound alternative to the typical voices of the fundamentalists and the liberals, both who, in their respective mission agencies and declarations, privileged one approach over and against the other. Well, years of debate and crisis on the ground caused brilliant work to be done within the evangelical camp — the World Council of Churches and other such groups were more reluctant to revise their social gospel only approach, or so it seems — and an entire body of literature evolved over decades including statements such as those that came out of Lausanne that offered a deep and faithful understanding of how Christ is Lord of all of life and therefore redemptive work must be culturally relevant, spiritually and theologically sound, and of solid service to those whom we are called to serve not least, the poor, sick, and marginalized.

I am confident that some of the very best work done in the last fifty years in global development and majority world contextualized social reform has been led by evangelicals with a deep passion to integrate word and deed, good news and good works. One of the grandfathers of this move towards wholistic evangelical missiology is Samuel Escobar raves, as does Christopher Wright of Langham Partnership doubtlessly one of the most important Biblical scholars writing on missional themes in the Scriptures.

The book is arranged in four units, with a couple of great chapters in each. Every one of these sections are worth the price of the whole book and Tizon is to be thanked for packing so very much good content in such readable, lively prose. It is for anyone who ponders the implications of the gospel of reconciliation, the transforming power of a Kingdom vision, the adventure that awaits when the whole people of God care about the whole gospel for the whole world. What a book! Tizon explains how the gospel necessitates the type of reconciliation that penetrates the deepest aspects of individual and community relationships with truth, love, and vulnerability.

Read this important book to learn to be challenged to embrace what it means to be truly whole and reconciled. Speaking of discussion about the nature of mission and hearing voices from the global church, of wanting to work for the unity of the Body of Christ — for the sake of the needy world and creation itself, this is an author who has been on the front lines for decades and is a voice you should know, whose books you should read.

Wes Granberg-Michaelson has spent his adult life pondering and working on these very things. This is surely, surely, one of the most important books of — and I think really helpful for anyone involved in church life. The great and interesting foreword by Soong-Chan Rah says it wonderfully, assuring us that this is an excellent tool for local church folks. Years ago he worked for a hero of mine, Senator Mark Hatfield an anti-war Republican who gave a fantastic keynote talk at one of the early Jubilee conferences in Pittsburgh — that Wes wrote.

He moved over to Sojourners for a while and eventually became a leader in his own denomination, the Reformed Church in America. He has written about leadership and about creation care and has published dozens if not hundreds of articles all over the world. His travels among the global church put him in the upper circle of key scholars of global Christianity in league with Andrew Walls and Philip Jenkins and the recently passed Lamin Sanneh but he writes more tellingly, with vivid storytelling and obvious investment in church life.

It offers us key trends we have to be a part of, one way or another; he pitches them as challenges, but it could just as easily have been written as opportunities. Whether you are a mainline Presbyterian or high-brown Episcopalian or a community church that is non-denominational, a Gosepl Coalition Reformed Baptist or a progressive emergent community or a typical Roman Catholic or Lutheran this book will help you. Some of you will intuitively grasp more than others, some will need more help than others, some churches may be doing well with one challenge but maybe less so on another, but Future Faith is a needed guide.

It is vital for all to frame your own ministry and congregational integrity for the next decade. Not everyone will agree that each of these 10 challenges are as pressing as Wes may say. Few guides to the future of faith are as trustworthy as Wesley Granberg-Michaelson. This book is filled with wisdom drawn from a lifetime of experience and a heart of passion for the love and justice proclaimed by Jesus.

But, thank God, it also gave me hope. Richard Mouw, President emeritus Fuller Seminary. There has been especially just a couple of years ago a huge discovery or rediscovery of the wonderful work of Lesslie Newbigin. From his many volumes written out of his time in India where he lived and ministered for most of his adult life and then his ground-breaking work about how to use contextualization principles that cross cultural missionaries routinely use in the post-Christian, secularizing West.

There are bunches of fantastic missional church resources, some quite lively, all indebted to Newbigin. Many of the best missional church resources not only attempt to analyze the culture, wondering how the Kingdom of God can break through into that distorted creation that God so loves, but ask what kind of local church do we need to proclaim a missional model, and all-of-life-redeemed Kingdom expression in the world as it is? So, there has been a renewed interest in Newbigin, in his understanding of culture and the missional project, and in his view of Scriptures that yielded such a robust missiology.

Many of these books are great, and many of the more popular misisonal books are in discussion with them. Through it all, though, no one figure in my opinion, at least has as much insight into Newbigin and his relevance today as Michael Goheen. Those that follow Lesslie Newbigin studies know him well. Goheen, that is, is an important figure in several different traditions and communities. Which is a very long way of saying why this book is a must-read, why it should be widely known, and why we want to honor it as a truly vital voice, a major release about a very important topic.

What kind of churches do we need to do all this good stuff? This book will help. Barbara Melosh formerly a college prof at George Mason tells her story of trying her best and, finally, realizing the relationship was not a good fit. None of her fresh energy and church growth plans and outreach programs worked; she could not, as she puts it, drag them into a future they did not want.

Yet while the congregation failed to change itself, Melosh notes, it succeeded in changing her. Simply put, it made her a pastor. I know pastors whose ministries seem not to bear much earth-shaking fruit, but they love their flock. I know some who captain large and effective institutions, but have little affection for their place or their people. It seems to me — and this good story captures it — that learning to love and serve real people in a real congregation in a real place is most of what a pastor does.

Sure, there are programs and worship services and classes and meetings, and it all matters. It is touching, human work, which is why this book, even though some of it is out and out hilarious, is heartbreaking as well. By the way, those of us who are not pastors will enjoy this as well. What a grand, lectionary-based set of resources for preaching and worship!

There are African American exegetes and Latina preachers and Baptist liturgists. What a fun and helpful array of prayerful ideas from stimulating voices. And, it attempts to offer ideas for making connections between this ancient Word and the world of today. Surely one of the best worship aids and liturgical resources in many a year, to be celebrated as a publishing win in Every congregation in the country should buy their pastor a complete set, both for their own good and the good of the world.

Given the deep crisis we face in church and in society, the recovery of the biblical text in all its glorious truth-telling is an urgent task for us preachers. For much too long the text has been neglected through complacency, timidity, and embarrassment. Now is the time of recovery of the text. There are few resources as useful for such a recovery as Connections. It is interpretive work done by our best interpreters, skilled in our best methods, grounded in deep faith, and linked to lived reality.

This resource is an immense treasure that invites boldness and imagination in our shared work of proclamation. Connections is well named, for it equips preachers to preach sermons that connect with both Scripture and contemporary life, sermons that are both faithful to their biblical contexts and fitting to the contexts of their congregations in the world.

Connections provides an antidote to biblical lectures with little acquaintance with contemporary life as well as to strings of stories that lack biblical grounding. We owe the publisher, editors, and authors of this series a debt of gratitude for the gift of this resource for preaching. It deserves savoring and pondering. Lauren is a gracious, at times luminous writer and those that love her memoirs will recognize her voice in some of these lovely and poignant stories. Yet, this is a different sort of book it is on Yale University Press, after all.

More scholarly, more philosophical, she goes to great lengths to be clear about her argument. The first chapter is not quite tedious but it is meticulous. And therein is the genius and profundity of this book, a book unlike any other I know. Many these recent decades are talking about not only inner disciplines but distinctively Christian practices. But, to be blunt, can these very practices harm people? Can the joys and healing of, say, receiving communion or saying prayers backfire, so to speak? Thoughtful Christians often commend a return to ancient practices of faith as a means of healing spiritual disorders.

But what if those practices are themselves damaged? This is the discomfiting question Lauren Winner raises in this curious and remarkable book — a literary and historical meditation on damaged gifts that remain, nevertheless, gifts. It is warm and inviting but meaty. McDermott is a splendid writer, the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson at Samford University and here he sees — not unlike Jonathan Edwards who he has studied deeply and draws upon here — in the ordinary stuff of daily life signs and signals of the Trinune God.

Technically, it came out in England in late but it was until we discovered it here in the States. It is a collection of essays offered in appreciation a festschrift for D. Carson and brings together a select group of theologians, Bible scholars, mission leaders, seminary thinkers, and those who do apologetics and preaching to offer good pieces. This is a book for church and parish leaders but it is not mostly or exclusively about the local church but about the reign of God in the world God loves. That is, it is about the culture, about the Kingdom coming in all of life, about entrepreneurial visions and world-changing efforts to make a difference.

This book works on a number of levels. It is energizing and visionary, of course. And it is about a certain sort of audacious collaboration — not just with other leaders in your church, not even with other churches, but other community leaders, and other community institutions. I think he makes a great case for this and invites us to new forms of worldly holiness and healthy collaboration. He has helped us to birth a statewide coalition focused on awakening the faith-based community to bring hope to every child through serving our local schools.

It will change your status quo, muddy your hands, and free you from a predictable life! The transformation of a community begins with the transformation of an individual. I believe this inspired book will help Christians join with God in his kingdom agenda, accelerating improvement on societal issues that is so desperately needed.

Perhaps, for such a time as this, Jesus is changing our minds as it relates to understanding the call of all people. Kristian says she has written for the convinced and the confused alike. Here is how it works. I will be brief, but I could write a long time about various stuff she writes here. There are two things Kristian does: first, she does a survey of various views of several topics. She tips her hand and says why.

In every other chapter she shows that some Christians think one way but others another way about this or that theological, church, and discipleship question. No, this is about really appreciating each other, so she has these rather wild and interesting interviews with all kinds of unique Christian folks. What do I mean?

You will have to re-think, at least for a bit, what it means to follow Jesus today. Perhaps you will become more generous towards others. Perhaps you will become a bit more flexible. Who knows, perhaps it will be a life-line for somebody you know. It is one of the annual books IVP Academic releases — thanks be to God for their publishing savvy and integrity! This book nicely offers the papers and panels and keynotes and sermons from the previous years event on unity within the Body of Christ, especially around our differing view of sacraments.

I did a long review of it last summer at BookNotes and explained it my admiration for the author and detailed the nature of the book. There are the four main units of this book. After several opening chapters he gets to these four chief tasks remembering, anticipating, dwelling, engaging but the opening four chapters are worth the price of the book.

Then Spencer opens up the discussions about how new words can reframe and set us free from less than life-giving, less-than-adequate perceptions.

Buying Options

It is wise and nuanced council about reframing our stories based on how we choose to tell those stories, inspired, as we can be, by Biblical truths and spiritual discernment. This is a handsome hardback, just shy of pages. Like the other big, hefty, well-crafted and helpfully annotated volumes coming out in the Kuyper Translation Project, it should be considered a publishing event to have this content released to the English-speaking world.

And what a treasure this is, revealing again a side of himself that may not be as obvious in his theological work or his cultural analysis. Still, Kuyper religiously wrote weekly meditations, even in his most harried days as Prime Minister. He continued this practice up until his death in These newly released reflections, freshly translated by James De Jong, arose from the s or so. They were originally published and beloved a century ago in two volumes in Dutch.

This treasure is both timeless and timely. He is my favorite devotional writer. And now this wonderful collection of more. One word of protest: this book should not have been published as an oversized, expensive hardback although it is very nice.