What if the problem is not out there, but in our own hearts?

A Feature Review of

Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love
William Willimon

Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by James Honig


The long months of the presidential campaign have given people of faith plenty of self-righteous high horses from which to rail at those who would stir up the juices of our all too common human fear of the other.

Reminds me of that delicious story in Luke’s gospel of a Pharisee named Simon who throws a dinner party and invites Jesus (Luke 7). When a woman with a reputation crashes the party, Simon takes the occasion for some self-righteous harrumphing about Jesus’ rusty skills as a prophet. Jesus doesn’t even know who it is who is wetting his’ feet with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair, Simon says to himself. In a brief and masterfully told parable, Jesus turns the tables on that highly religious man, exposing Simon’s self-righteousness and need for forgiveness.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( Sarah Bessey, Robert Putnam, Dallas Willard, MORE)

Via our sister website Thrifty Christian Reader
To keep up with all the latest ebook deals,
be sure to connect with TCR via email or on Facebook


Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women

Sarah Bessey
*** $3.99 ***


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In honor of the elegant new collection of George Herbert’s poems from Cambridge University Press, here are five of our favorite poems of his that are featured in this new book:


George Herbert: 100 Poems

Hardback: Cambridge UP, June 2016.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


The Holdfast
George Herbert

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Hopeful Suspence

A Review of

History and Presence
Robert Orsi

Hardback: Harvard UP, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by Ben Brazil

In 1988, Robert Orsi, an eminent historian of American religion, visited a shrine in a dead boy’s bedroom.  The shrine’s story had begun a decade earlier, just after the boy’s death, when a circle appeared on an image of Jesus hanging in his bedroom.  According to the boy’s parents, the circle grew and changed shape until it took the form of their son’s face.

A miracle, a comfort, a divine gift:  such was the judgment of the grieving parents and a priest they consulted.  Word spread, and others flocked to the house, seeing both comforting images of their own dead loved ones and disturbing images of the living.

Yet Orsi’s own visit to the home, which he recounts in History and Presence, also involves a distinct dramatic question:  when the great historian looks at the image himself, what will he see?

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The most important new book release of this week was most likely:

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
Nancy Isenberg

Hardback: Viking Books, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Here is a great video of a talk in which she overviews the argument of the book…
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The Process and the Product
A Feature Review of

Thumbprint in the Clay:
Divine Marks of Beauty, Order and Grace

Luci Shaw

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Crystal Hurd
J.R.R. Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy, posited that creating art involves a process called “sub-creation.” Tolkien writes in “On Fairy-Stories” the origin of “sub-creation”:

The mental power of image-making is one thing, or aspect; and it should appropriately be called Imagination. The perception of the image, the grasp of its implications, and the control, which are necessary to a successful expression, may vary in vividness and strength: but this is a difference of degree in Imagination, not a difference in kind. The achievement of the expression, which gives (or seems to give) ‘the inner consistency of reality,’ is indeed another thing, or aspect, needing another name: Art, the operative link between Imagination and the final result, Sub-creation.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Alan Hirsch, MORE)

Via our sister website Thrifty Christian Reader
To keep up with all the latest ebook deals,
be sure to connect with TCR via email or on Facebook


Letters and Papers from Prison (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
*** $3.99 ***

This deal is part of a HUGE Fortress Press ebook sale going on now.
SEE MORE DEALS from this sale…



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One of the best new books of this month is Shane Claiborne’s Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us (HarperOne).

Here are a few videos in which Shane explores some of the key themes of the book. Don’t miss Shane’s conversation with Bryan Stephenson, author of our Best Book of 2014, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.


Book Trailer:

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101-TransformativeBooks - MEDIUMAs a companion to his new book Reading for the Common Good, ERB editor Chris Smith has also published a companion ebook, 101 Transformative Books for Churches to Read & Discuss (which is available for FREE for those who subscribe to our email digest).  This companion ebook organizes its book recommendations into 12 questions. Over the next month or so, we will be featuring each one of these questions, and listing the recommended books (without annotations, you will have to get the ebook to read those), as well as some more recent books on this question that are worth discussing.


Question #1:
What is the nature and character of God?
What is God up to in the world?

These questions are essential to our identity as Christians. The Bible goes a long way in helping us answer them, but like any text, it must be interpreted, and it has not always been interpreted the same way across the wide diversity of churches throughout the two millennia of church history. The books I have selected here don’t offer definitive answers to these questions, but together they do serve as a guide to addressing important struggles that the church has had throughout her history.

Classics listed in the ebook:
(With links to FREE ebook editions)

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The Places and People
that have Formed our Souls

A Review of 

The Multitude: Poems
Hannah Faith Notess

Paperback: Southern Indiana Review Press, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Mark Wendland
The Multitude is a collection of accessible free-verse poems. It is the third published work of the author who has connections to Image Journal and Seattle Pacific’s Response and has worked primarily as an editor. The influence of the multitude of memories on the present loosely form the theme of the collection as a whole. Throughout the haunting of the present with the past is frequently achieved by juxtaposing images from different time periods. In “The Virgin in the City”, Mary shows up in a variety of urban settings from a bus, to a shipping dock, to a classroom.  In another poem, the poet notices a leggy girl playing Mario Kart, sitting in the Botticelli room of the Uffizi Art Gallery. She is completely absorbed and seemingly unaware of where she is–like most of us. At times the poet is more daring with the imagery, revealing, and even reveling in, some of her boyish interests. There are repeated references, for example, to early video games.  Saint Augustine, wanders around in a giant Pac-Man maze, pursued by “heresies and ghosts of heresies.” In “Endor (Disambiguation)” the Stars Wars planet sits next to references to Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the ancient Canaanite town, all known by the same name. Drawing inspiration from the repetition of the name in all three places, nerdy details comingle with the profound. “Maybe our universe has a finite number of times you can summon the dead so we’ve begun to repeat ourselves.”

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