Who Could You Call “Bishop” Without Your Fingers Crossed?

(Katharine Jefferts Schori, Gathering at God's Table: The Meaning of Mission in the Feast of Faith, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2012, 219 pages.) This book review is a sponsored post that is part of the Roundtable at the Patheos Book Club. Having been raised in a Baptist milieux, my ecclesiastical instincts reflexively bend in the Free Church direction. And even though my official title these days is "The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg," there is still a significant part of me that wrestles with the ways t … [Read more...]

Life-changing Mentors and Unlikely Friendships


(Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke, Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship, Bethany House Publishers, 2012, 184 pages.) This book review is a sponsored post that is part of the Roundtable at the Patheos Book Club. In this Information Age, most of us are saturated with an overabundance of raw data, but opportunities for deep, healthy formation are sometimes rare. And in this Networked Age, many of us are also constantly connected to the Internet, but o … [Read more...]

Do You Believe in Miracles?


(E. Kent Rogers, 12 Miracles of Spiritual Growth: A Path of Healing from the Gospels, Swedenborg Foundation Press, 2012, 210 pages.) The opening track of Paul Simon's landmark album Graceland ruminates on what the word “miracle” means in the twenty-first century: These are the days of miracle and wonder / This is the long distance call ... / The way we look to a distant constellation / That's dying in a corner of the sky / These are the days of miracle and wonder.... / Medicine is magical and m … [Read more...]

Letters to a Future Church: Take Risks, Be Honest, Stop Equivocating


(Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals, edited by Chris Lewis, InterVarsity Press, 176 pages.) This book collects letters from 25 Christian leaders in response to the question, "If you had one thing to say to the church, what would it be?" Respondents include Kester Brewin, Walter Brueggemann, Peter Rollins, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Ron Sider, Rachel Held Evans, and Shane Claiborne — as well as previously published "bonus letters" from Will Willimon, Gardner … [Read more...]

Praying with Flannery O’Connor

Province of Joy

UPS just delivered my copy of the new Flannery O'Connor prayer book, published by Paraclete Press. I'm looking forward to spending the next week praying through it. There are morning and evening liturgies for each day.The choice to include only morning and evening prayer comes from a letter O'Connor wrote about her personal spiritual practice that was collected in The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor: "I say Prime in the morning and sometimes I say Compline at night" (159-160). … [Read more...]

A Guide to Firsthand Experience with God


(David Benner, Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The Sacred Journey of Transformation, Brazos Press, 2012, 240 pages) I had not heard of David Benner prior to being invited to review his latest book, which is my loss. It turns out he is a well-respected author and editor of more than twenty books at the intersection of psychology and spirituality. And his new book comes with recommendations from Margaret Guenther and Tilden Edwards, two writers on Christians spirituality I have long … [Read more...]