Opening Ourselves to Surprise

A Feature Review of

The Listening Life:
Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction
Adam McHugh

Paperback: IVP Books, 2015.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by Andrew Camp


The American life will never be remembered as a life that listened well, especially in the second millennium. More talking and less listening is our default when it comes to our ideas of leadership and being taken seriously. The technological advances of the past 15 years have also produced a culture that has moved passed being polyphonic to being harshly cacophonic.

Sadly, this disease has infiltrated the American evangelical church to a large degree. We firmly believe it is our duty to tell people what to do, and as the church’s influence wans in America, our solution seems not to listen more, but to pound the pulpit louder and harder. We are a people anxious of what might happen if we shut up long enough to truly hear, not only the voice of God (which is of utmost importance), but also the cries of people both inside and outside the church.

In situations like these, God seems to raise up men and women to call the church back to its task to embody kingdom politics, part of which is learning to listen well. This is exactly what Adam McHugh calls the church to in his new book The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction. This is not a book outlining seven easy steps to becoming a better listener; this book is an invitation into a spiritual life marked by deep listening in all components of the Christian life. Listening is foundational to what it means to be a human, both physically and spiritually.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
(Christian Smith, Suzanne Collins, Jonathan Safran-Foer, 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


What Is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up

Christian Smith

*** $3.77 ***

>>>>>> Part of a HUGE ebook sale that U Chicago Press is now running. BROWSE THE FULL SALE



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Yesterday marked the 110th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s birth…

In honor of the occasion, we wanted to highlight a few lesser-known books by/about him:

You may have read The Cost of Discipleship, or Life Together, or even Eric Metaxes’s Bonhoeffer biography, but here are a few other important Bonhoeffer books, if you want to go deeper:
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Setting an Agenda for the
Future of Missional Theology

A Review of 

Called to Witness:
Doing Missional Theology
Darrell Guder

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Christopher Brown

Called to Witness is a collection of essays, papers, and lectures in which Darrell Guder forcefully develops the theological movement that launched with the 1998 publication of Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. Called to Witness is Guder’s most substantial publication since The Continuing Conversion of the Church (2000), and it possess the richness of more than a decade’s worth of reflection and development. In his foreword to the book, John Franke (now General Coordinator of the Gospel and Our Culture Network and General Editor of the recently restarted Gospel and Our Culture Series) suggests – I think rightly – that the “volume will have a catalytic effect on the development of missional theology in the years ahead” ( x).

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One of this week’s best new book releases is:

The Black Calhouns:
From Civil War to Civil Rights
with One African American Family
Gail Lumet Buckley

Hardback: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

The author did an interview this week with Leonard Lopate at NPR affiliate WNYC.  It is a conversation worth listening to…
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Slow church-Banner


I’m going to start assembling some reading lists to accompany the Slow Church book… The book includes a Recommended Reading List as an appendix, but these lists I’m working on will go deeper than that, and will include books that have been released since the launch of Slow Church.

Haven’t read Slow Church?  Get a copy now… 
I will begin today with this first list that fleshes out many of the books that helped us understand the scriptural story (and the historical witness of the church) in a way that laid a theological foundation for Slow Church…

Does God Need the Church?: Toward a Theology of the People of God

Gerhard Lohfink

*** This book was without a doubt the most helpful in articulating the theology behind Slow Church.

*** Read an excerpt from this book
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I’ve listened to the following On Being interview with David Steindl-Rast three times over the past week (and sections of it a fourth time).  His perspective on gratitude is so invigorating!

If you like this interview, you should definitely also read his book:

Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer:
An Approach to Life in Fullness

Br. David Stiendl-Rast

Paperback:  Paulist Press, 1984
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

I hope you enjoy this and find it challenging:

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One of this week’s best new book releases
is Paul Pastor’s excellent book:

The Face of the Deep:
Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit

Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

Here are two helpful videos that Paul made to introduce the book:


Video #1:  Do We Forget the Holy Spirit?

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Today is the birthday of twentieth-century French philosopher Simone Weil, born 1909.

Here’s a wonderful and concise overview of why Weil’s work matters, and especially to Christians.

This is Leslie Fiedler’s introduction to Weil’s book:

Waiting For God
Simone Weil

Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

*** Other Books by Simone Weil


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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…)

The Face of the Deep: Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit

By Paul Pastor

View the icons with which the book is illustrated


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