Shusaku Endo’s “Silence”

Japanese Martyrs

[Note: Today is the birthday of the great Japanese Catholic novelist Shusaku Endo. To mark the occasion, we're posting an essay John wrote for Besides the Bible: 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (IVP, 2010) about Endo's powerful novel, Silence. The director Martin Scorsese has said he hopes to start production on a film adaptation of Silence in 2014.]Francis Xavier disembarked at the southernmost tip of Japan in August 1549, and for two years the trailblazing Jesuit missionary preached in the streets, debated Buddhist monks, and conversed with local warlords. Wh … [Read more...]

Jean Vanier: From Brokenness to Community

Jean-Vanier

Let me pick up on where Chris left off and post something here to mark the birthday of Jean Vanier. My first book was called Besides the Bible: 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture. The subtitle of Besides the Bible doesn't really reflect the goal of the book, which was simply to recommend 100 books my co-authors and I thought every Christian should read. One of the essays I wrote for Besides the Bible was about Vanier's masterpiece, From Brokenness to Community, a book that has profoundly influenced the way I think about community and communion. Here is what I … [Read more...]

Eternal Beings Living in Time: On Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow”

wendell-berry

I have an unusually long commute these days, a burden I am taking steps to alleviate. The commute is redeemed somewhat by the opportunity to listen to audiobooks. If someone sets out to be a writer, the first piece of advice they get to is to keep writing. The second is to keep reading. I would append the second bit of advice to say "Keep reading. When possible, read out loud or be read to." There is something special about the way hearing a book, story, or poem read aloud can tune a writer's ear to the music of language and good storytelling.For the most part, I've been using the commute … [Read more...]

Slow Church: The Book

Well, it is official and officially public: Chris and I just signed a contract with InterVarsity Press to write the book, Slow Church. The plan right now is to write the book over the next eight months, with a release date of mid-2013.Chris and I both have such high regard for IVP - especially its Likewise imprint, which has published some of our favorite books of the last few years, including books by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Jamie Arpin-Ricci, Andrew Marin, Sean Gladding, Tom Sine, Scott Bessenecker, and Mark Scandrette, among others - that we never "shopped" our … [Read more...]

Dorothy Day’s Birthday

The-Long-Loneliness

Today is the birthday of Dorothy Day - the journalist and social activist who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement. To mark the occasion, I'm posting the essay I wrote about Day's classic autobiography, The Long Loneliness. The essay first appeared in Besides the Bible: 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture (Biblica, 2010). I also encourage you to check out this wonderful video of Dorothy Day on the Christopher Closeup show.The photograph on the cover of HarperOne’s 1997 edition of The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day’s classic spiritual autobiography, captures the c … [Read more...]


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