One of the best new theology books of this month will release next week…
Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence
Get a sneak peek of this book in the trailer video…
A Feature Review of
This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog.
Reprinted with permission.
*** Visit his blog for many other insightful reviews!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is living water for our dry, thirsty souls. Nationalism poisons the well. For citizens of the Kingdom of God, our political, national affiliation is not the most significant thing about ourselves. And yet, America has a long history of co-opting Christian language and worship for nationalistic, political ends. Craig Watts, the pastor at Royal Palms Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Coral Springs, FL, probes the reality of American Civil Religion that has permeated our churches in Bowing Toward Babylon.
Several practices of American civil religion have permeated Christian worship in US churches: The placement and honoring of American flags in the sanctuary, celebration of national holidays, the singing of patriotic songs, etc. Watts makes the case that, “rather than being innocuous practices, expressions of nationalism in worship constitute manifestations of misdirected worship that lead to the spiritual malformation of worshippers” (11). In other words, the symbols and story of America (or any nation) is at odds with the Christian story, where Christ calls a new humanity from every tribe, tongue, and nation. Drawing a long prophetic tradition, Watts calls America, Babylon— a metaphor for an empire or nation where God’s people are tempted to succumb to majority practices and the worship of national gods.
*** $1.99 ***
Compiled by Madeline Cramer
“I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me,” said Dylan Thomas (the poet who inspired Robert Allen Zimmerman to legally change his last name at 19), and perhaps Bob Dylan’s poetry and music has achieved its legendary, timeless status by encompassing those three parts of the human experience so well.
*** For a limited time, the ebook
The Gospel according to Bob Dylan
by Michael Gilmour is only $1.99 for Kindle!
(Albums arranged in the order they were released… )
* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology
I should probably blame my interest in ecumenism on books. Reading theology introduced me to the voices of genuine and deeply learned men and women living out their faith in a wide variety of Christian traditions, and while I happily worship as part of a United Methodist congregation, I know my spiritual life wouldn’t be the same without the writings of Catholics like Thomas Merton, Anglicans like N.T. Wright and Rowan Williams, and Presbyterians like Eugene Peterson, just to name a few. This experience has given me a deep-seated appreciation for the depth and breadth of common ground shared by believers of all stripes—whether Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant—and it’s made me rather wary of works that exhibit more sectarian tendencies, arguing either explicitly or implicitly that only certain parts of the Church are “real” followers of Jesus.
Given all these things, it’s understandable why I felt a spark of excitement upon finding out that Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft was working on a book exploring the question of how Protestants and Catholics can learn from one another. In terms of structure and style, Catholics and Protestants: What Can We Learn from Each Other? is inspired by Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, and it shows (117). Kreeft is a gifted communicator, writing in a direct style that for the most part stays away from overly-technical theological language.
I recently finished reviewing this superb new book for our fall print magazine issue.
(Not a Subscriber? SUBSCRIBE NOW…)
Hardback: WJK Books, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
I’m excited to share the following excerpt from this book with you, which I take as one of Jennings’s central (and most timely) themes in this commentary.
Reprinted from Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible
by Willie James Jennings.
Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.
“You have heard that it was said, . . . but I say to you . . .” (Matt. 5). These often repeated words of Jesus set the stage for our interaction with the living God, whose words to us are living, because they are bound up with the source and giver of life itself. Acts 11 is a moment of reorientation where the Spirit is teaching us a crucial lesson that the church must constantly remember: God yet speaks and word of God always presses against word of God. What God has said in the past is pressed against by what God is saying now. Israel shows us that the human creature is always positioned between these two words and destined for yet more hearing from a God ever extended in grace toward us. This in-between position has often been painful for us as we try to grasp clarity of thought and action on a walk of obedience to God on a well-lit path, albeit with multiple twists and turns. (Ps. 119:105) In this regard, the struggle of the church has been twofold: we struggle to hear the new word that God is constantly speaking, and we struggle to see the link between the new word and the word previously spoken.
(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)
James Bryan Smith
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the next few months, we will be featuring a cartoon every Sunday by our friend and ERB reader Josh Dease. Let us know what you think of these cartoons.
Alive with the Possibility of Revelation
CLICK IMAGE TO SHARE ON FACEBOOK