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

Letters

(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, … [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

Benner

(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...]

Ron Sider: An Evangelical Christian Worth Listening To

(Ronald J. Sider, Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget, InterVarsity Press, 2012, 171 pages.) The title of this post could be seen as flippant, callous, arrogant, or all of the above -- implying that an "Evangelical Christian Worth Listening To" is such a rarity as to be worthy of remark. Well, in an age in which many conservatives exclusively watch Fox News (read: "Faux News"?) and read The Wall Street Journal, whereas many liberals watch MSNBC and read The New … [Read more...]

Have You Heard the One about the Pope Who Quit? (Seriously!)

PopeWhoQuit

(Jon Sweeney, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, Image Books, 2012, 288 pages) Jon Sweeney has written a relatively breezy history of an obscure chapter in church history: the story of Peter Morrone (1215-1296), a saintly monk, revered sage, and confirmed hermit, who stumbled backward into becoming Pope Celestine V. His immediate predecessor to St. Peter's throne, Pope Nicholas IV died on April 4, 1292. The normal procedure called for a new pope to be … [Read more...]

“Sorry I’ve Been Busy!” How to Bring Your Life Back Into Focus

Boers

(Arthur Boers, Living Into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions, Brazos Press, 2012, 226 pages) "I'm sorry it's taken us so long to get in touch. I've just been so busy recently." I hear myself and my friends make apologies along these lines far too frequently. But "busyness" is rarely an idle excuse. Most of us are overwhelmed with responsibilities much of the time. And it can be easy to slip into the trap of wearing our busyness as a badge of honor or of trying to prove … [Read more...]


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