Archives For Church

 

Claiming Too Much.
 
A Review of 
 

5Q: Reactivating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ.
Alan Hirsch

Paperback: 100M, 2017.
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Reviewed by Chris Schoon
 
 
Relying on Ephesians 4, one of my early mentors taught: “Ministers are not hired to do the work for the church; they are called to equip God’s people to do works of service.” In light of that teaching, I have followed missional discussions of the five-fold gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor/Shepherd, and Teacher (APEST) with great interest. From Frost and Hirsch’s The Shaping of the Things to Come to Hirsch’s other work in The Forgotten Ways and The Permanent Revolution to works from a few other missional theologians, this conversation has kept my attention. As such, I eagerly engaged Hirsch’s latest exploration of APEST through 5Q.
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Wisdom Sprinkled Lavishly
 
A Brief Review of 

Love Big, Be Well:
Letters to a Small-Town Church

Winn Collier

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017.
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Reviewed by Rhodara Shreve
 
 

In this new novel by Winn Collier, you might think letters written by a pastor to his small church congregation would be irrelevant to the modern, urban churches in larger city areas but, you would be so wrong. In fact, reading this book is more about getting a chance to remember what we can be robbed of in this crazy high-tech, global world and why this has to do with our deepest need for friendships that matter as as we journey through life. In this book, a pastor finds himself called to a rural church, and as he writes these letters to his congregation, he shares so much wisdom through the stories of people he meets in this church as he gets to know them and the community they inhabit.

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Developing a Taste of Place

A Review of

The Bees of Rainbow Falls: Finding Faith, Imagination, and Delight in Your Neighbourhood
Preston Pouteaux

Paperback: Urban Loft, 2017
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Reviewed by Duke Vipperman

 

If the author speaks as well as he writes, you should definitely consider getting in touch. Preston Pouteaux has written a thoroughly enjoyable manual on being both incarnational and missional captured through the fascinating lens of his beekeeping: a subject I knew less than nothing about, but which now fascinates me. Part One opens up the life of the hive, wandering bees, and the faithful bee keeper. We know that apples, avocados, broccoli, cranberries, cucumbers, grapefruit, melons and onions depend on bee pollination. Blueberries and cherries are 90-percent dependent. Almonds would completely disappear without honey bee pollination. Bees are a keystone of those crops: withdraw the bees and the crops will collapse. The collapse of bee hives across North America is a serious concern.

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A Timely Meditation
 
A Brief Review of 
 

October 31, 1517:
Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World

Martin Marty

Hardback: Paraclete Press, 2017
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Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith
 
 
Today marks the 500th anniversary of the date attributed to Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church Wittenberg. Martin Marty, one of the most distinguished scholars of church history over the last century, has written a powerful and timely meditation on the significance of this event. It is, as James Martin, SJ refers to it in his foreword: “a short book on a big topic written by an expert.”

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Cultivating Shared Presence
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Together: Community as a Means of Grace
Larry Duggins

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2017
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Reviewed by Alden Bass
 
 
 
New Testament scholars believe that when Paul entered a new city on his missionary journeys, one of the first things he did was set up a tent-making stall in the local market. Day after day, he would sit in the narrow alleys of the shopping district, doing business and striking up conversations with passersby. Though he engaged local synagogues, there is no doubt that many of his contacts came through the spontaneous communities which formed around his daily presence in the marketplace.

In this latest addition to the Missional Wisdom Library series, Larry Duggins suggests that the church recover something of this model by facilitating missional “communities” – making space on church property and within church life for Christian and non-Christian people to come together for work, play, and fellowship.

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Learning to Dance Together
 
A Review of 

A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community
John Pavlovitz

Paperback:  WJK Books, 2017.
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Reviewed by Jennifer Burns Lewis
 
 

Whether one is graceful and light on one’s feet or is rhythmically challenged with two left ones, learning to dance with a partner can take time and varying amounts of patience. In his new book, A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community, John Pavlovitz calls for courage and patience in leading congregations…and people in general… toward the marks of a bigger table, a different kind of dance. Radical hospitality, total authenticity, true diversity and agenda-free community are the author’s indications of a faith-filled community of believers that truly strives to welcome all. Like dancing together, the building of a bigger table takes patience and Pavlovitz offers an honest and transparent new book that is filled with autobiography, story-telling, and strategy for a hopeful path forward for those who wish to accept the invitation to be brave and bold in their faith community’s welcome and to be effective dance partners in the dance between religion and culture today.

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Another of the best theology books released this month is: 
 

The Pietist Option:
Hope for the Renewal of Christianity

Christopher Gehrz / Mark Pattie III

Hardback: IVP Books, 2017
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Like Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option, released earlier this year,
Gehrz and Pattie invite the church into a timely new way of being…

 

The four instincts that are at the heart of The Pietist Option:

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Single And Married People Together
 
A Review of 
 

One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church
Gina Dalfonzo

Paperback: Baker Books
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Reviewed by Catherine Guiles
 
 
As a never-married Christian woman in my mid-30s who’s been a part of fairly mainstream evangelical-ish churches my entire life, I was excited to read Gina Dalfonzo’s One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church. Like a lot of single Christians, I’ve been the recipient of slights, misunderstandings, exclusions and insults from fellow believers, many unintentional, but all hurtful to one degree or another. But thankfully, I’ve also been the recipient of a great deal of love, community and opportunities to serve and lead — the kind of things Dalfonzo argues that churches need to give more of to their single members, whether never-married, divorced or widowed; male or female; or young or old. I wholeheartedly agree and appreciate the way she unpacks the issue and frames it within a larger, holistic context of how Christians should relate to one another and make their churches places where “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:26). ­­­

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A Unique Gift to World Christianity
 
A Feature Review of 
 

Born from Lament:
The Theology and Politics of Hope in Africa

Emmanuel Katongole

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
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Reviewed by James Matichuk
 
 
 
I first encountered the work of Fr. Emmanuel Katongole in Reconciling All Things (IVP 2009), a book he co-authored with Chris Rice. That book was a user-friendly guide, discussing the Christian resources for reconciliation, and included an excellent chapter on lament.  This, alongside several other reflections, convinced me of the power and place of lament in Christian Spirituality. Since then, Katongole has written several books reflecting theologically on politics and violence in Africa and ethics.

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Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

    

Church in Ordinary Time: A Wisdom Ecclesiology

Amy Plantinga Pauw

Eerdmans
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