Archives For Christ

 

A Necessary Conversation 

 
A Review of

Representing Christ: A Vision For the Priesthood of All Believers
Uche Anizor and Hank Voss

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Trent Crofts

 

My first year of college involved a lot of church shopping. Oddly enough, the experience was analogous to shoe shopping. I remember thinking, “this church feels too restricting, this feels too loose, this is bland, this is flashy, this smells,” and so on and so forth. At the time, I focused on what I could get out of church—rather than what church could get out of me. I lacked vision for how believers can serve within the Church, a vision that Representing Christ provides.

Written by Uche Anizor and Hank Voss, Representing Christ provides an introduction to a necessary conversation about the priesthood of all believers, a conversation that is based on Scripture, grounded in history, and motivated for service in the Church and in the world.

Continue Reading…

 

By C. Christopher Smith

In the current issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity, and the new book Gray Matters: Navigating the Space between Legalism & Liberty, offers his top 5 books on Christ and culture that have shaped this new work.

[ Read McCracken’s list on Christ and culture… ]
 
While McCracken’s list is solid, and I have a deep appreciation for three of the books on the list (Smith, N.T. Wright, Myers. Niebuhr’s work is dated and not particularly helpful and I haven’t read the Rogers book), I have been struck by recent statements by both Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben (in his new autobiography Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist) that the way forward for humanity lies in cultivating strong local communities. There often is a temptation to think of culture in the broadest, most abstract sense and to gloss over the particularities of the local cultures in which we daily live and move and have our being, therefore I thought that I would spin McCracken’s idea a bit and offer my own top 5 list, on the theme of Christ and LOCAL Culture.

I am eagerly anticipating the Spring 2014 release of The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community by Dwight Friesen, Tim Soerens and Paul Sparks, next spring, which will likely supercede all of these books, but until then, you can’t beat these five books.

 


1) Journey to the Common Good by Walter Brueggemann.  [ Read our review… ]
Brueggemann provides here a compelling theology of church and local culture. He concludes the book by saying:”[A] biblical perception of reality is urgent for the imagination of the public community, especially if that public imagination has been enthralled for a very long time in the claims of Enlightenment rationality.  While there are huge gifts given in that rationality, what we cannot derive from the account of Enlightenment rationality is demanding, generous neighborliness grounded in God’s own passion for the neighborhood.”

This book and Brueggemann’s recent work with community development gurusPeter Block and John McKnight, moves his work to the top of this list of resources for understanding the relationship of Christ and local culture.
 
 

2) Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World by John Howard Yoder
Although Yoder’s work is coming under scrutiny of late, as the Mennonite church wrestles to understand it in the context of Yoder’s patterns of inappropriate relations with women, this is an essential book that demonstrates how five essential Christian sacraments each provide a way for churches to engage their neighborhoods and to leaven their places with the shalom that God intends for all humanity.
 
 
3) The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

[ Our 2010 Book of the Year – Read our review… ]

As long as a we continue our habits of moving from place to place every few years as individuals, families and churches, we are unlikely to bear much fruit in the work of engaging our neighborhoods. As the most prominent non-monastic book on stability, Wilson-Hartgrove makes a compelling case for staying rooted in our places.
 
 

Continue Reading…

 

Our Latest Book Giveaway…

 

We’re giving away three copies of the new book
Bonhoeffer, Christ and Culture
(IVP Academic 2013)

[ Read our review of this book by Todd Edmondson … ]

************

Enter to win a copy of this book!
Enter now to win (It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!) :

Continue Reading…

 

Wrestling with the Place of the Church in the World

A Feature Review of

Bonhoeffer, Christ and Culture
Keith L. Johnson and Timothy Larsen, Editors.

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Todd Edmondson

 

As Keith Johnson and Timothy Larsen state in their introduction to Bonhoeffer, Christ, and Culture, “Bonhoeffer’s works at times can seem almost a kind of Rohrschach test, telling us primarily something about what the people encountering them stand for and believe rather than something about Bonhoeffer himself.” Such a quality is not unique to Bonhoeffer, of course—Albert Schweitzer famously employed a similar metaphor when talking about the elusive “Historical Jesus”—but one would be hard-pressed to find another figure in modern Western Christianity (with the possible exception of C.S. Lewis) who means more things to more people than Bonhoeffer, the young German theologian whose execution at the hands of the Nazis forever enshrined him as a courageous hero of the faith. To many evangelicals, including recent biographer Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer is an ally to the cause of truth and moral conviction in a relativistic age. To more liberal readers, especially those who identified with the “Death of God” theology of the mid-twentieth century, Bonhoeffer was adopted as a conversation partner due to the (admittedly ambiguous) category of “religionless Christianity” advanced in his influential Letters and Papers from Prison. For countless believers in the last half-century, Bonhoeffer’s writings on the Christian life, particularly The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together have been admitted into the canon of devotional classics, and his “theology of sociality” has contributed to ecclesiological discussion across both generational and denominational divides.

Continue Reading…

 

The Appealing Prospect of Giving Everything to Christ

A Brief Review of

Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus

Mary DeMuth

Paperback: Thomas Nelson, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed By Gina Dalfonzo

 

Many of Mary DeMuth’s books have been easy to categorize: novel, young adult fiction, memoir, self-help. Her newest book, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus, is not quite so easily pigeonholed.

 

As its title suggests, Everything’s themes are wide-ranging and comprehensive. Is it a guide to Christian growth? Another self-help book? A spiritual autobiography in the vein of C. S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy or Karen Swallow Prior’s more recent Booked?

 

In truth, it’s all of the above, and more.

 

Continue Reading…

 

Past and Future
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

MY future will not copy fair my past
On any leaf but Heaven’s. Be fully done,
Supernal Will ! I would not fain be one

Continue Reading…

 

“Discerning the Cruciform Wisdom of Christ… Together”

A review of

The Drama of Ephesians:
Participating in the Triumph of God
.
By Timothy Gombis.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The Drama of Ephesians:
Participating in the Triumph of God
.
Timothy Gombis.

Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

[ Read an excerpt from this book here… ]

Of all the books of the Bible, the one that has been most formative for us as a congregation here at Englewood Christian Church has undoubtedly been Ephesians. Early on in our Sunday night conversation, we spent several years pushing forward verse-by-verse, phrase-by-phrase through the text, and never did make it all the way through.  Recently, we have again returned to Ephesians 3, and spent several weeks re-examining that text as part of a larger exploration of the scriptural account of God’s mission in the world.  With that recent revisiting of the Ephesians text, it was particularly timely that I picked up Timothy Gombis’s delightful new book on this New Testament epistle, The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God.  Gombis emphasizes at the outset of the book that it is neither commentary nor an assortment of reflections, but rather “a cultural and theological engagement with the text of Ephesians” (10).  This approach, resonates with our own explorations of the text, engaging it as we do, trying to discern as a community what God is doing in the world and therefore what we should be about as a people who are seeking to follow God in the way of Christ.  Discernment is a key word in Gombis’s reading of Ephesians, as a defining characteristic of the Church in the age between the death/resurrection of Christ and the return of Christ, when all things will be consummated.  Early on in the book, he says:

Continue Reading…

 

“Spiritual Canticle”
(Stanzas XXIV-XL)
St. John of the Cross
(1542-1591)

XXIV
THE BRIDE
Our bed is of flowers
By dens of lions encompassed,
Hung with purple,
Made in peace,
And crowned with a thousand shields of gold.

XXV
In Your footsteps
The young ones run Your way;
At the touch of the fire
And by the spiced wine,
The divine balsam flows.

XXVI
In the inner cellar
Of my Beloved have I drunk; and when I went forth
Over all the plain
I knew nothing,
And lost the flock I followed before.

XXVII
There He gave me His breasts,
There He taught me the science full of sweetness.
And there I gave to Him
Myself without reserve;
There I promised to be His bride.

XXVIII
My soul is occupied,
And all my substance in His service;
Now I guard no flock,
Nor have I any other employment:
My sole occupation is love.

Continue Reading…

 

“Spiritual Canticle”
(Stanzas XIII-XXIII)
St. John of the Cross
(1542-1591)


XIII

THE BRIDEGROOM

Return, My Dove!
The wounded hart
Looms on the hill
In the air of your flight and is refreshed.

XIV
My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales;

XV
The tranquil night
At the approaches of the dawn,
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude,
The supper which revives, and enkindles love.

XVI
Catch us the foxes,
For our vineyard has flourished;
While of roses
We make a nosegay,
And let no one appear on the hill.

Continue Reading…

 

“Spiritual Canticle”
(Stanzas I-XIII)
St. John of the Cross
(1542-1591)


I  – THE BRIDE
Where have You hidden Yourself,
And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?
You have fled like the hart,
Having wounded me.
I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

II
O shepherds, you who go
Through the sheepcots up the hill,
If you shall see Him
Whom I love the most,
Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

III
In search of my Love
I will go over mountains and strands;
I will gather no flowers,
I will fear no wild beasts;
And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

IV
O groves and thickets
Planted by the hand of the Beloved;
O verdant meads
Enameled with flowers,
Tell me, has He passed by you?

V – ANSWER OF THE CREATURES
A thousand graces diffusing
He passed through the groves in haste,
And merely regarding them
As He passed
Clothed them with His beauty.

Continue Reading…