Archives For Churches


Choosing Honest Engagement
A Review of 

Race in Post-Obama America:
The Church Responds

David Maxwell, Ed. 

Paperback: WJK Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Heather Caliri

The first day of our family vacation in New York, my blonde six-year-old rushed joyfully into the opening elevator. Not a second later, she rushed out just as fast, a startled look on her face.

I looked up to see two African-American ladies staring at me, their faces shocked as my child’s.

“Come on, honey,” I said, grabbing her hand, and nodding at the women. I didn’t know what to say—so I said nothing. By staying silent, I hoped to pretend nothing had happened.

Which is exactly why many white Americans stay silent about race.

But the older of the two women spoke up. “We’re just human beings, honey,” she said to my daughter. Then she looked at me. I saw a tiredness and anger that seared my heart.

“Oh, dear Lord, ma’am,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”

The encounter hurt me. But it clearly hurt those women more.

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One of the main reasons that we launched The Englewood Review of Books almost six years ago was to promote the practice of reading

(and the related practice of talking about books) as  immensely beneficial to local church communities.  This has been true for us at Englewood Christian Church, as reading has served as a catalyst for our ongoing Sunday night conversation (you can read more about our Sunday night conversation in the book The Virtue of Dialogue: Conversation as a Hopeful Practice of Church Communities ) and other conversations within our life together.



So, I’d love to hear more about the practices of reading in your church…

(Please use the comments below to respond.)
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Well, as most people in the US know, this Sunday is Super Bowl XLVI …

and usually the Super Bowl is not something that we would comment on here at The Englewood Review of Books, but this year Indianapolis is hosting the Super Bowl and it’s a pretty big deal locally.   Even closer to home than Lucas Oil Stadium, the site of the Super Bowl game, is the Super Bowl Legacy Project which has been a $150 million redevelopment in the Near Eastside neighborhood where Englewood Christian Church is located.

I have written a new piece about the role of churches and conversation in the Super Bowl Legacy Project, that is currently featured on the front page of the Christianity Today website:

A Legacy in Indianapolis That Outlives the Super Bowl

Long before the NFL named my hometown this year’s host city, Near Eastside leaders were revitalizing the heart of their neighborhoods.

Since the early 1990s, the NFL has a tradition of leaving a legacy in each Super Bowl host city by helping to fund a Youth Education Town (YET) there. YETs are typically built in lower-income neighborhoods to offer afterschool programming, including sports, tutoring, arts, and career training. But long before Indianapolis became the host city for Super Bowl XLVI, churches, including my own, and neighborhood groups on the city’s Near Eastside were diligently working to leave a positive legacy of a different kind.

The vision began years ago. In 2008, as Indianapolis was creating a bid to host Super Bowl XLVI, the city decided it wanted to do something different: Instead of building a YET, Indianapolis’s Super Bowl Legacy Project would showcase an entire neighborhood, with the YET being one part of the effort. Bill Taft, Indianapolis director of the national nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC), e-mailed Mark Miles, chairman of the Super Bowl Bid Committee, and pitched the idea of focusing on an entire neighborhood. Miles, inspired by former NBA player Kevin Johnson’s work in Sacramento, was receptive to the idea. Taft suggested two neighborhoods that had been part of the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative, in which neighbors developed a vision for rebuilding their communities.

The 2012 Host Committee decided to showcase the Near Eastside, 21 neighborhoods just east of downtown Indianapolis. The choice was apt, for the Near Eastside neighbors have a long history of talking and working together. For example, the Near Eastside Community Organization (NESCO) was founded in 1970, before the worst urban challenges hit the neighborhood, and churches were the driving force during NESCO’s early years.

[ Read the full
Super Bowl XLVI Legacy Project article on the Christianity Today website… ]

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A Review of
Greenhouses of Hope:
Congregations Growing Young Leaders
Who Will Change the World
Dori Grinenko Baker.
Paperback: Alban, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall.
[This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog and is reprinted here with permission.]
From where will the leaders of the church tomorrow emerge? More specifically, in what context will the gifts and callings to ministry of the church’s future leaders be nurtured? The answers will be found in local congregations, both large and small, where seeds of faith are planted and visions of service are nurtured. Although there are many cases of this happening without intentionality – with young people catch a vision and pursue a calling, even if the local congregation and its clergy are uninvolved and unaware of their callings – there will be greater benefits to the church and to the world at large if congregations intentionally commit themselves to discerning and supporting calls to ministry. These kinds of communities are, as the title of this book suggests, “greenhouses of hope.” These are places where young leaders emerge, desiring to join with God in changing the world.