The Sanctity of the Mundane
 
A Review of 
 

How to Be Here:
A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living

Rob Bell

Hardback: HarperOne, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Josh Morgan
 
 
Rob Bell, in his latest book, How to Be Here, explores how to create a life worth living through being present in the here and now. It addresses ideas that are becoming quite popular, likely because of their relevance for our modern culture and way of living. Bell continues with his strong, engaging writing style and story telling, so fans of his approach will likely appreciate this text, as well. His style should open up ideas to new audiences. At the same time, the book could be better organized to make his point clearer and send the message “home” more effectively.
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Advent 2015 -Cover_Page_01Did you know…

that in addition to our website we publish a quarterly print magazine with interviews and reviews that are not available online?

In conjunction with the release of ERB Editor Chris Smith’s new book Reading for the Common Good, we are offering our online friends an opportunity to get a FREE sample issue of our print magazine (delivered digitally in PDF format).

The only small catch is that this offer is only available to people who receive our free weekly email digest.

We will send a sample issue of our print magazine from the last year.
(Please allow 1 week for the issue to arrive.)
 

YES!  Send me a free sample issue…

If you are not subscribed to our email digest,
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE.

 
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Creating a More Sustainable, Just and Equitable World for all

A Review of 

The Wisest One in the Room: How you can benefit from social psychology’s most powerful insights
Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross

Hardback: Free Press, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Michelle Wilbert

Poet William Stafford wrote, “Wisdom is having things right in your life and knowing why…” and I’m sure his words could well serve as an epigraph for this fine and indeed, “wise” book by social psychologists, Thomas Gilovich and Lee Ross.  Between them, they have over 80 years of experience in the two fields which define the scope of this book:  social psychology and judgment and discernment with both fields explored in depth and with precision in terms of both analysis and application.  Their exploration of what it means to be wise and to apply it in response to both ordinary and extraordinary questions and situations is both disciplined and practical. They persuasively make the case that what they consider the very heart of human psychology and, consequently, human folly–the reflexive belief that our perceptions bear a one-to-one correspondence to reality, often going a step further in the presumption that our own personal perceptions are especially accurate and objective—is malleable and amenable to alteration. This observation—one familiar to most of us however sheepishly we might respond to its veracity—forms the foundational thematic element of the book and is, then, a recurring point of reference throughout. Gilovich and Ross make a compelling case for understanding not only why we do what we do and how we can transform knowledge, experience and insight into wisdom, it offers direction in harnessing this powerful amalgam in personal, social and political situations towards the objective of creating a more sustainable, just and equitable world for all.  In this, they succeed admirably and while there are minor suggestions that can be made regarding the structure of the book, it is a compelling and worthwhile addition to the library of anyone interested in the pragmatics of applied social psychology.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance

Photographs by Vivian Cherry

 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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Can a Murderer Change His Ways?

A Feature Review of 

Writing My Wrongs:
Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison

Shaka Senghor

Hardcover: Convergent, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle  ]

 

Reviewed by Deborah Bloom

 

Is it possible for a violent murderer to change their ways and become a productive member of society? That is the question at the heart of Shaka Senghor’s engrossing New York Times bestselling memoir.

We first meet Shaka (birth name Jay) as he is growing up in an middle -class neighborhood on Detroit’s East side in the 1980s. At first Shaka is a happy child, an honor-roll student who dreams of becoming a doctor. But his life quickly unravels when Shaka runs away from home after his mother becomes more abusive after his parents’ divorce.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( Richard Foster, C.S. Lewis, Rainbow Rowell, 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

 

Prayer – 10th Anniversary Edition: Finding the Heart’s True Home

Richard Foster

*** $1.99 ***

NEXT EBOOK >>>>>

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Charleston-Syllabus

One of this week’s best new releases is:

The Charleston Syallbus:
Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence
Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, Keisha Blaine, Eds.

Buy now: [ Amazon ]

This book captures a lengthy Twitter conversation, in the wake of the Charleston shootings, about essential readings on racism and racial violence. 

Included below are some of the readings that are excerpted in this new book. The book is divided into six sections and we offer at least one reading from each section.

 

Also of interest…
Our God is Too White?
Diversifying our Theological Reading

 

Section 1: Slavery, Survival and Community Building

Excerpt from Life of a Slave Girl
Harriet Jacobs.

Free Ebook of
LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
DOWNLOAD NOW

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Shattering our views
of Criminal Offenders

A Review of

Where The River Bends: Considering Forgiveness in the Lives of Prisoners. 
Michael McRay

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle  ] 

 

Reviewed By Paul D. Gregory

 

In the documentary “What I want my words to do to you,” American playwright and activist Eve Ensler spoke of the metamorphosis in her thinking about incarcerated women in the Bedford Correctional Institution in Bedford Massachusetts. Similar to most of society, Ensler originally viewed these incarcerated women as “mistakes” saying:

 

“Everyone is here at Bedford because of a mistake. Some of those mistakes occurred within months—some within minutes. Most of the mistakes were dreadful, catastrophic. Now we [society] have frozen you in your mistake. Marked you forever. Held captive. Discarded. Hated for your mistake. You have essentially been forced to become your mistake, the walking daily embodiment of your mistake. Held in the monument constructed to punish mistakes. Before I came here to Bedford, I imagined you the women here—mistakes lying on mistake cots behind steel mistake bars. Mistakes do not have faces or feelings or histories or futures. They are bad. Mistakes. We must forget them—put them away” [ 1 ]

 

Most of the mistakes we make are forgivable. A young man fails to show up for his weekly coffee date with his best friend. A young woman breaks off her engagement to her significant other. We unthinkingly berate a coworker, causing hurt to her/him. Forgiveness is granted for a large majority of our own mistakes.

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Yesterday, Relief Journal released the podcast episode that ERB editor Chris Smith recorded with them about his new book Reading for the Common Good and also his previous book Slow Church.

[ LISTEN NOW ]

Relief Journal’s podcast is relatively new, and previous episodes include interviews with Marilyn Chandler McEntyre and D.L. Mayfield. The podcast features Dan Bowman and Amy Peterson talking with writers and people of faith about life, art, the writing process, and the questions and passions that drive us to create.

 

Reading for the Common Good
will be available in the next two weeks. 

PRE-ORDER now and get a special bonus ebook.

(Also read an excerpt from the book at this link)

 
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How to Address the Issues of the Day?
 
A Review of

Preaching Poilitics:
Proclaiming Jesus in an Age of Money, Power, and Partisanship

Clay Stauffer.

Paperback: Chalice Press, 2016.
Buy now:  [  Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Bob Cornwall
 
 
*** This review originally appeared on the writer’s blog,
     and is reprinted here with permission.

I was raised in a politically active household. My father was chair of the Siskiyou County Republican Party and had a regular radio spot. He even made it into Who’s Who in American Politics. I did my part as a child going door to door handing out brochures and buttons for candidates ranging from local to national. I even imagined becoming a politician. I’ve really never been as politically active as I was at age fourteen.

I remain extremely interested in politics, but as a pastor I must temper my political activities. That is, I have to remember that I serve a congregation that isn’t politically homogeneous. While I do engage in community organizing and address prophetically (hopefully) important issues that have political implications, I don’t bring a partisan vision into the pulpit. Preachers often walk fine line when it comes to politics. Many of us believe it is important to speak to controversial issues, but we also must take a pastoral approach. At a time when the body politic is increasingly polarized this becomes incredibly difficult. This especially true when the conversation involves money.

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