With The Zimzum of Love and his new Oprah Network TV show, Rob Bell broadens his focus but it’s all spiritual

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As Rob and Kristen Bell’s book, “The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage”, blankets the country and Rob’s new TV show premieres on Oprah’s network tonight, has Rob Bell become a self-help guru and abandoned his evangelical mission of preaching the gospel? I have been asking myself variations of this question for years, while writing in the space between spirituality and self-help. The answer is that there is no separation. Talking about how to live life fully and honestly and helpfully and robustly and ethically is talking about the gospel. And talking about faith without concern for how to live life is to some extent empty words. [Read more...]

Sybil MacBeth’s The Season of the Nativity is a trove of ideas for fellow Advent extremists

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I’ve always loved Christmas. Growing up in an atheist ex-Christian household, though, the religious aspects of it were limited to: a small crèche on a side table which was never referenced or examined; a star ornament on the top of the Christmas tree; my mother’s occasional mentioning that Jesus was a Jew; and listening on [Read More...]

There Is No Other: The Radical Message of St. Francis in Jon Sweeney’s New Book

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At the beginning of his new book, When Saint Francis Saved The Church, Jon Sweeney warns that what is to follow will not support the “sentimental” rendering of St. Francis as a gentle animal-loving pacifist. But that’s a bit of a tease. It’s not that he paints a different picture; it’s that he paints one much larger and more significant. St. Francis’ gentle temperament, his interactions with nature, his willingness to work with enemies of the state: these are not the point. Rather, they are evidence of a much more radical one: a view of the world in which there is no Other. [Read more...]

Benjamin Corey’s “Undiluted” Calls Fundamentalists to Return to Fundamentals of Love and Openness

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“Undiluted” is more a personal testimonial than a theological treatise. It follows Corey as he encounters the authentic Jesus and struggles to follow Him, learning that this means changing his worldview from the black-and-white one his fundamentalist upbringing gave him. [Read more...]

Great Bible Intro Is That Much Better as E-textbook

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My own stint with an e-textbook startup last year taught me about the complexity of the format. It’s not enough to be a digital copy of a paper book, with perhaps bookmarks and highlighting. There are already plenty of e-readers for that. You need to offer layers of utility and connectivity that could drive a [Read More...]

Protestants Can Use Prayer Beads Too

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Freed from the Catholic premise of praying to the Virgin Mary, and from all fixed aspects of the structure, “A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads” explains how you can use bead counting as an aid for any kind of prayer. It can prompt you to focus on a sequence of things, or on the same thing deeply and repeatedly, or on nothing at all. [Read more...]

Ronald Rolheiser’s Sacred Fire: A Challenge for Deeper Spiritual Maturity

Ronald Rolheiser's Sacred Fire

Most books about the spiritual journey focus on the first steps — on awakening to an awareness that there’s more going on than your own limited perspective and tuning in to the divine in and around you. Sacred Fire assumes the reader has already made headway in these areas and looks instead at what Ronald [Read More...]

Exploring spiritual life and motherhood with Ginny Moyer’s great new book, Random MOMents of Grace

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Being a new parent may be the greatest challenge to spiritual groundedness. In her new book, “Random MOMents of Grace,” Ginny Kubitz Moyer takes us through early motherhood from a spiritual perspective — the struggles she had to maintain a spiritual life, and the spiritual lessons she learned from parenting itself. It’s an obvious gift for mothers, and a valuable and delightful read for any thoughtful traveller, male or female, parent or not, on the spiritual journey. [Read more...]

Life with food — the moving spiritual memoir Recipe for Joy

Robin Davis-Recipe for Joy

A review of Robin Davis’ spiritual memoir, Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love, and Feeding a Family, reflections on the role of food in community and a free book giveaway! [Read more...]

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Slow of speech and tongue — reflections on being an introvert and the book Quiet

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As an introvert, I am restored and recharged by time alone, and depleted, often in an acceptable way, by time with others. I will hold back if I have nothing to contribute, while an extrovert will push forward just to be in the mix. Susan Cain’s remarkable book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking looks at how introverts have been short-changed in the social politics of the industrial and information ages, but how their distinct qualities are needed in the society emerging in the 21st century. I look at her book and reflect on my own spiritual journey as an introvert. [Read more...]


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