This week marks the birthday of Dietrich Bonhoeffer… 

The February 2018 issue of SOJOURNERS asks the pointed question:
Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?

It is common to wonder what we would have done if we lived in history’s most challenging times. Christians often find moral guidance in the laboratory of history—which is to say that we learn from historical figures and communities who came through periods of ethical challenge better than others. Christians who wish to discern faithfulness to Christ often look back to learn how others were able to determine faithful discipleship when their contemporaries could not. With this in mind, Dietrich Bonhoeffer may help us out today.

[ READ the full article ]

Relevant Words of Bonhoeffer
for the Trump Age

 

 

Judging sheerly by the publishing industry, we can answer SOJOURNERS question in the affirmative…

Here are 10 helpful books on Bonhoeffer
that have been released in the last two years:

 
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Tomorrow (Feb. 9) is the birthday of poet and novelist Alice Walker.

Here are five of our favorite poems by her…

All the Toys
Alice Walker

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Searching for Sacredness

A Review of

For Sabbath’s Sake:
Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community
J. Dana Trent

 
Paperback: Upper Room, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Alisa Williams
 

As a Seventh-day Adventist, I’m always excited and intrigued when I come across books by authors from other faith traditions exalting the virtues of the Sabbath. I was born into Adventism, and so the Sabbath has always been a central part of my faith, which is both a beautiful thing and an incredibly easy thing to take for granted. Reading about how others have discovered or rediscovered the Sabbath, what it means to them, and how they are reverently carving out a place for it in their lives is a delightful journey I never tire of walking.

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This is a fascinating new book…

What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia 
Elizabeth Catte

Paperback: Belt Publishing, 2018
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

“Many journalists and pundits refer to J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy for a better understanding of the people who live in the Appalachia region. That doesn’t sit well with historian Elizabeth Catte, so she wrote her rebuttal in What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia.”
 

Listen to an NPR interview with the author:

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Today (Feb. 7) marks the birthday of agrarian and theologian Norman Wirzba…

 
In honor of the occasion, we offer a series of our favorite brief video clips that introduce Wirzba’s work…
 

*** Norman Wirzba’s FOOD AND FAITH
was our 2011 Book of the Year!

 

Food for Thought:

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This excellent book released
last month… 

All Things Hold Together in Christ:
A Conversation on Faith, Science, and Virtue

James K.A. Smith /
Michael Gulker, Eds.

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2018
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 

*** Watch for our review in our
Lent 2018 magazine issue [SUBSCRIPTION INFO]

 

This book was produced as part of the work of the Colossian Forum.
Watch a brief video intro to their important work….

Watch the trailer video for this book:

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Looking to Christ

A Brief Review of

The Spirit of Simplicity
Jean Baptiste Chautard

 

Translated by Thomas Merton
Paperback: Ave Maria Press, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Josh Morgan
 
 

The Spirit of Simplicity has a compelling backstory: a 70 year old hidden text written by a famed French Cistercian, Jean-Baptiste Chautard, translated with notes by Trappist (a Cistercian branch) monk, Thomas Merton. In a world of complexity and loudness, simplicity for our lives and souls is compelling and increasingly popular.

The text itself is short: 114 pages of content, including 14 illustrations of monasteries, and 23 pages of notes from Merton. It is broken into two parts: The first being the aforementioned translation of Chautard’s The Spirit of Simplicity and the second excerpts from writings and speeches of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a leader of the Cistercian order, on the topic of interior simplicity, with added commentary by Merton. From a readability standpoint, the reader must remember this text’s place in history: Part 1 was written in 1920s French, translated into 1940s English, both with a target audience of the theologically trained monastic community. Bernard died in 1153. For readers familiar with dense mystical and theological texts, this time will seem familiar and accessible. For those looking for a simplicity self-help book, it will be a grind.

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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…)

  

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved

Kate Bowler

*** Read an op-ed from the NY Times based on this book

 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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A Democratic Experiment

A Review of

Undomesticated Dissent:
Democracy and the Public Virtue of Religious Nonconformity
Curtis Freeman

Hardcover: Baylor UP, 2017
Buy Now [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by James Honig
 
 

The dissenting movement 17th and 18th century England has been a lacunae in my knowledge and understanding of church history. While I have read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as a young pastor and  Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as a teen and again in college, I had little awareness of Bunyan’s association with the dissenting movement and of Defoe’s, nothing.  And while I have read isolated poems of William Blake, never the long and difficult Jerusalem.

That gap has at least been closed by Undomesticated Dissent: Democracy and the Public Virtue of Religious Nonconformity. Curtis Will Freeman, on the faculty of Duke Divinity School, places these three towering figures of literary history firmly into the outline of church history. Freeman tells the story of the works in their historical contexts, and especially their context in the history of the Christian Church, with special attention to the church in North America.

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An Increasingly Inclusive Family Structure

A Feature Review of

Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World
Kelley Nikondeha

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Lynn Domina

 

Part memoir, part theology, part scripture studies, Kelley Nikondeha’s Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World is a provocative and perceptive commentary on how we choose to live together. She illustrates her argument with stories from the Bible—particularly the birth of Moses, the allegiance between Ruth and Naomi, and the birth of Jesus—and from her own life. Following Paul, she suggests that we are all God’s adopted children, and that this status is crucial to our identity, not because we are second only to natural-born children, but because adoptive families are equally as loving as other families. “Because that is the essence,” she says, “of our relationship to God—our adoption—exploring what that means is vital to better understanding our membership in God’s family and its implications for our connection to one another” (2-3).

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