Archives For Volume 9

 

JohnTheSilent

A glimmer of hope on this Inauguration Day. 

American society has been rapidly fragmenting over the last century, and amidst this crumbling edifice, we have elected a president that conservative pundit David Brooks has called “professionally unprepared, intellectually ill informed, morally compromised and temperamentally unfit.” Today is not our nation’s finest day.

And yet, in this season of chaos and uncertainty, our hope runs deeper than the future of an empire. Since the election, I have been finding hope in the quiet-yet bold folk music of John the Silent, the nom de plume of Orthodox priest Joel David Weir.  Weir’s keen songwriting bears witness to the hope we find in vulnerability, friendship, mutual care.

Here are a couple sample songs for you to check out…
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Today is the Feast of
St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-c.395)…

 
I’ve been digging into his work recently, especially his theology of the Trinity, and this book by Hans Urs von Balthasar…
 

Presence and Thought: Essay on the Religious Philosophy of Gregory of Nyssa
Hans Urs von Balthasar

Paperback: Ignatius Press, 1995
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
I’ve been particularly been fascinated by von Balthasar’s understanding of history as described in this passage…
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Elizabeth_Strout

Today (Jan. 6) marks the birthday of noted novelist, Elizabeth Strout.

In honor of the occasion, here is an introductory guide to her novels…

Olive Kitteridge

 

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama–desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love.

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

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“Be holy, because I am holy.”
 
 
A Review of 

Blessed Among Us:
Day by Day with Saintly Witnesses

Robert Ellsberg

Hardback: Liturgical Press, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Danny Wright
 
 
In His book Blessed Among Us, Robert Ellsberg provides readers with an encyclopedia of introductions to a wide variety of saintsEach day offers a brief biography of two “saints” who have lived a life of example and ends with quotes to aid the reader in reflection. This particular volume can be used as an addendum for praying the hours (and can be found as such in the daily prayer app offered by Liturgical Press, Give Us This Day), as a supplement for personal inspiration and reflection, or as the subject for family devotions, or as encouragement for a church/ministry staff. There is a wealth of information shared in a succinct, accessible style that will spark your creativity and curiosity, inspire more attentive living, and may even cause you to fire up your search engine, or send you to your favorite website or bookstore in search of the actual writings that are being referenced.

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2017Watch

With 2017 almost upon us, here are the 30 new books that we are most eager to read…

Due to the nature of publishers’ catalogs, this list only spans the first half of the year.  We will do a similar list in June for the second half of the year.

[ Top Ten ] [ Fiction ]  [ Theology ]
[ Praxis ] [ Culture ]  

TOP TEN (Part 1):

These titles are arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name…

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A Vision of Love and Unity
for All of Creation

A Feature Review of 

The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian
Brian McLaren

Hardback: Convergent Books, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

Reviewed by Leslie Klingensmith
 

For several years, I was a Brian McLaren skeptic.  It wasn’t personal.  I’ve never met him, and have not seen him speak in person (although I would like that to change).  My skepticism was based on what felt like a universal wave of adulation for him that, in my opinion, was easily turned into dismissal of everything about the church and our history.  While I agree that much about the church needs to (indeed MUST) change, I bristle at the suggestion that the church by which I was nurtured and to whom I have dedicated my vocational life is as hopelessly misguided and selfish as many McLaren devotees say it is.  After all, there are millions of people across denominations who are doing such wonderful work in the world and who make me hopeful for the future of God’s people.  If the church produced them, can it be all bad?  Skeptics in the McLaren universe don’t get very far – if you raise questions about the “Everything Must Change” mind set, you are dismissed as defensive and too invested in the old order of things.  If you point out ways that the current church is already moving in many of the directions McLaren advocates, especially missional communities and emphasis on serving the wider world instead of maintaining institutions, you are in denial about how bad things really are in the mainline church.  Brian McLaren’s cult-like status got on my nerves.

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Here are 5 essential ebooks on sale now that are worth checking out:
( Peter Enns, Dallas Willard, Mandy Smith, 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

  

#1:
The Evolution of Adam, What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins

Peter Enns

*** $1.99 ***

 

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Our Book of the Month for November/December is…

Endangered Gospel: How Fixing the World is Killing the Church
By John Nugent

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

We will be reading through the book this month, and posting discussion questions as we go. We hope you will read along with us, and share your thoughts and questions. (Or, even better, get a group of people at your church to read through the book together!)

NOTE: Our read-along of this book will likely go through the end of December…

Previous Parts of this Conversation:
[ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ]  [ Part 4 ] [ Part 5 ] [ Part 6 ]

 

Part 6:
Chapters 20-23

Here are some quotes and questions, please use the comments below to share your own thoughts and questions.

Chapter 20: Vocation

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What is the Human Being?

 
A Review of 

Being Human in God’s World:
An Old Testament Theology of Humanity
J. Gordon McConville

Hardback: Baker Academic, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Nick Jordan
 
 
J. Gordon McConville’s central question, repeated at regular intervals throughout this book, is a Biblical question: “What is the human being, that you [God] should call him to mind; or the son of man that you should pay attention to him?” (Psalm 8:4). He explores this question not only as a Biblical scholar and theologian, but as one who wants to help Christians. As he writes in his Preface, “what follows should be regarded as an essay in reading the Bible in pursuit of oneself, individually and in one’s various communities, as a human being.”

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A More Productive, Fulfilling Life.
 
A Feature Review of 
 
Rest: Why You Get More Done
When You Work Less
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Hardback: Basic Books, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Emma Sleeth Davis
 
 

In Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, author Alex Soojung-Kim Pang starts with a simple premise: working more hours does not mean getting the most—or best—work done.  Part self-help, part scientific findings, part biographical anecdotes, Rest is an engaging, well written and researched read for white collar workers interested in improving their productivity.

The book is organized into three parts: an introduction and two opening chapters; the pith of the book, concerning the schedules and techniques of successful workers; and a concluding section on sustaining productivity.

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