Archives For *Conversations*

 

Jacques_Ellul

The work of social critics is vital for the health and flourishing of the church, because they remind us of the brokenness of the world and challenge us to imagine new and more healthy ways of sharing life together.

Here are ten social critics whose work has been particularly helpful for me in trying to discern how to live faithfully in the twenty-first century. With each critic, I’ve included an excerpt that will serve as an introduction to that writer’s work.

 

Wendell Berry

A Kentucky farmer and writer, Berry’s work challenges us to live peacefully within the created created and to find ways to vitalize our local communities.

*** Books by Wendell Berry

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John_Zizioulas

January 10, 2016 will mark of the 85th birthday of John Zizioulas, the Metropolitan of Pergamon and one of the greatest living Orthodox theologians.

This introduction by Douglas Knight to the book
The Theology of John Zizioulas
is a concise and helpful overview of his work.

 

In honor of the occasion, we offer, four videos that together serve to offer a a broad introduction to his work.

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RD-Betts

Early in December, I listened to this NPR interview that Terry Gross did with the poet Reginald Dwayne Betts.

With the craziness of the holidays, I am only getting around to sharing it now. 
 
Betts’ newest collection of poems is:

Bastards of the Reagan Era

Paperback: Four Way, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]
 

[ Read several poems from this collection ]

 
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mandy-smith

Acknowledging our Human Condition

 
An Interview with Mandy Smith,
Author of 

The Vulnerable Pastor:
How Human Limitations Empower Our Ministry

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

The current issue of our print magazine, mailed earlier this week, features an interview that John Pattison did with Mandy Smith.  John’s interview was longer than we could use and several questions were trimmed in the editing process. However, this conversation was too good to waste, so we are sharing these extra questions here.

 

PATTISON: How do you think vulnerability as you describe it in this book should be cultivated in our church communities?

SMITH: For us, it started with me being able to go there. Somebody has to be the first one to break out of the mold. There are all these reasons why that is scary. I hope my book can be a kind of companion along the journey, so that whoever goes first can say to their community, “This is going to be worth it.” Then, not only do they give freedom to other people, by being courageous, they themselves learn not to be ashamed, if the community is kind enough not to reject them for it.

Confession and testimony are a big part of this. They have fallen out of practice in a lot of traditions. But in my experience, that is where all this began and where it began to filter down to more and more folks.

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Here are 10 notable people who died in 2015…

Some were friends of ours here at the ERB, others were luminaries who have shaped our work. They all will be missed!

Phyllis Tickle
(Writer / Editor )

Phyllis Tickle
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Top50-2016

Here are the top 50 books that are slated for release in 2016 that we think will be beneficial for Christians.  Our focus here at the ERB is the life, health and flourishing of God’s people, and specifically we focus on the themes of Community, Mission, Imagination and Reconciliation.

Also note that there are many more books here from the first half of the year than from the second half, as many publishers have not released their full summer and fall catalogs yet.

We’ve broken this list up into the Top 10 books and the remaining 40, which are sorted into five categories: Christian, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Fiction…

What books are you most looking forward to in 2016?

 

[ Top 10 – Pt A ]  [ Top 10 – Pt B ]  [ Top 10 – Pt C ]  
[ Christian Practice ] 
[ Theology ] [ Non-Fiction ]
[ Fiction ]  [ Poetry

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McKnight-Fellowship

Here is our list of 2015′s Englewood Honor Books, the 2Best Books of the year for the life and flourishing of the Church.

Our criterion both for selecting books to review and for honoring the year’s best books is to choose books that are “for the life and flourishing of the Church” – i.e., books that energize us to be the local community of God’s people that God has called us to be and that nurture our mission of following in the way of God’s reconciliation of all things (in all its broadness!).

[ Book of the Year ]  [ Theology ] [ Praxis ]
[ Fiction ]  [ Non-Fiction ]  [ Poetry ]

Our Book of the Year:

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neighborhood-economics

Really enjoyed the Neighborhood Economics conference in Cincinnati this week, and left with much to think about!

What is Neighborhood Economics?  Peter Block has described it this way:

“Neighborhood Economics is an idea committed to accelerating the flow of capital into resident driven entrepreneurial enterprise. It calls us to shift how we think about ending poverty. It brings the world of social investors, community builders, community philanthropists, residents and local neighborhood leaders into the same conversations. This is what a systems approach to economic and racial justice is going to require.”

I came away from the conference with a hefty list of books that I hope to read (or re-read). 

Here are some highlights from that list:

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JesusInTheNameOfTheGunI’ve been traveling a lot over the last few weeks, so am still processing the entries in our Worst Christian Book Covers of 2015 contest.  I hope to post this list next week.

But in the meantime, I discovered this (comic book) cover this week that should have been a contender in last year’s competition…

For a taste of these comics, watch the video below…
(WARNING: Not for the faint of heart or the easily offended!)

Seems to me that these comics strike some deeper and uncomfortable truths about who Americans think (or hope) Jesus is…

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Rene-Girard

 

This week marked the death of one of the most important social and theological thinkers of the last century, Rene Girard.

Receiving his PhD in history, Girard began his academic career by teaching French literature, and it was his work in literary theory that would guide him into the study of scripture, theology and society.

At the core of Girard’s work is the concept of mimetic theory, i.e., that our human desires take shape by imitation, by desiring things that others desire. But these desires lead us into conflict and violence because there is a scarcity of the thing desired.

In remembrance of Girard, we offer the following introductory guide to his work (which focuses particularly on his theological work).

 

Introduction to Mimetic Theory:

This is a great, half-hour video in which Girard lays out the basic components of his mimetic theory. It is a good place to start engaging Girard’s work, as it is clear and relatively concise…

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