Archives For Emergent


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1455527084″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”” width=”106″ alt=”Book Giveaway” ]Our Latest Book Giveaway…

We’re giving away THREE copies of the new book

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
Nadia Bolz-Weber

Hardback: Jericho Books, 2013
Fueled by a wonderful ON BEING interview with Krista Tippett,
PASTRIX debuted at #17 on the NY TIMES Non-fiction bestseller list last week…

[ Watch the Book Trailer for PASTRIX ]

Read Kim Roth’s wonderful review in our current print issue
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Enter to win a copy of this book!

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We’re giving away 5 copies of

Doug Pagitt - Church in an Inventive AgeChurch in the Inventive Age.
by Doug Pagitt.

Paperback: Sparkhouse, 2010.

This is the first book
in the “Inventive Age” series.
Read our review of the two most recent books


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

NOTE: You may enter to win once per day as long as the contest is running…
(Additional entries only need to complete steps #2 and #3.)

1) Receive our free weekly online edition via email -or-
LIKE our Facebook page (LGT: More info…
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2) Post the following message on your blog, Facebook Page, or on Twitter:
I just entered to win the book Church in the Inventive Age by Doug Pagitt from @ERBks ! You can too:

3) [ *** IMPORTANT *** If you do not complete this step, your entry will not count ]
Leave a comment
below noting which option you chose
for #1 **and** a link to your post for #2 before 12AM ET on Friday November 18, 2011.


We will draw the winners at random after the contest ends, and will notify them within a week.


Review of Two New Books by Doug Pagitt.


Reviewed by Amy Gentile.

As Christians learn to navigate what it means to be the Church in the 21st century, there is an important question that must be raised. How do we stay faithful to God’s witness throughout history, the teachings of Scripture and the historic orthodox faith, yet also explore new forms and structures for these teachings as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit? Doug Pagitt’s books, Community in the Inventive Age and Preaching in the Inventive Age, offer insights that deserve thoughtful reflection.

Pagitt begins both books with a description of several different ages: the Agrarian Age, Industrial Age, Information Age, and finally, the Inventive Age. He also describes some of the unique values of “the Inventive Age” including, but not limited to: “inclusion, participation, collaboration and beauty.” He sees a world being marked by creativity and community, dialogue and openness, and in Community in the Inventive Age, sets forth a vision for what an Inventive Age Church might look like.

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In our continuing effort to fund the publication and free distribution of The Englewood Review, we are going to be collaborating more intentionally with Christian Book Distributors. Primarily, we will be offering you the opportunity to buy bargain books from CBD that we think of are interest. Buying books this way is a win / win / win proposition. You get great books for a great price, CBD gets the sale and we get an excellent referral fee from CBD.

This week’s Bargains:

071560: An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (softcover) An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (softcover)

By Edited by Doug Pagitt & Tony Jones / Baker Books

$2.99 – Save 82%!!!

Is the Emerging Church another passing fad, or the future of Christianity? Written by by 19 prominent leaders within the emergent community, this collection focuses on the new types of congregations arising in our midst. Topics include thoughtful insight on spirituality, theology, multiculturalism, post-colonialism, sex, evangelism and other subjects, ultimately delivering an unprecedented overview of this fast-growing movement. Includes new afterword by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones.

027772: Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church

By Ronald E. Heine / Baker Academic

$4.99 – Save 79%!!!

Does the modern church take the Old Testament seriously enough? Major early church fathers like Augustine, Origen, and Tertullian embraced it wholeheartedly. Heine demonstrates that the law, history, prophets, and psalms are vital to everything a Christian does and believes. 224 pages, softcover.

035043: Brokenness & Blessing: Towards a Biblical Spirituality Brokenness & Blessing: Towards a Biblical Spirituality

By Frances Young / Baker Academic

$3.99 – Save 80%!!!

In Brokenness and Blessing, Frances Young challenges the spirituality fostered by our culture’s desire to assert a basic right of freedom from pain and suffering. Rather than viewing our human frailty and mortality as things to be denied or overcome, Young encourages us to place them at the very center of a truly biblical spirituality.Young has discovered, through study of the Scriptures, the church fathers, and her own experience with a profoundly disabled son, that true biblical spirituality involves suffering and an acceptance of our own and others’ brokenness and flaws. In this volume, which is at once academic, pastoral, and personal, Young explores five motifs that are recurrent in Scripture, in the writings of the church fathers, and in traditional church hymnography: the desert experience, spiritual wrestling, Jesus’s way of kenosis, exile, and frustrated desire. She seeks to present a way of thinking and living as a Christian that will sustain a person through the hardships of life to a deeper relationship with the one who heals.

32830: The Executed God: Way of the Cross in Lockdown America The Executed God: Way of the Cross in Lockdown America

By Mark Lewis Taylor / Augsburg Fortress

$1.99 – Save 89%!!

Is there a contradiction in worshiping the Son of God, who was executed by the state, while supporting capital punishment? In this penetrating theological analysis, Taylor calls for a new understanding of the “way of the cross” and suggests ways Christians can resist and transform unjust systems of imprisonment and death. 208 pages, softcover from Fortress.

22200X: The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God"s Family The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God’s Family

By Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner / Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

This is front-line work on an urgent topic, that practical kind of “how to” book on one level, and the “why to” theology work we have needed, on another. It is hard to think of any Christian who will have to read it who will not have acquired new perspectives on adoption and on God as Adopter, perspectives that we solely need and will surely welcome.

031818: Renewing the Center, 2nd edition Renewing the Center, 2nd edition

By Stanley J. Grenz / Baker

$4.99 – Save 83%!!!

Renewing the Center has been an influential catalyst for many in the emerging church. With a new foreword by Brian McLaren and a new afterword from John Franke, the second edition updates the book for the contemporary church scene and shows how Stanley Grenz’s theological insights continue to shape postmodern church movements.In this book, Grenz challenges evangelical Christians to take stock of their faith and its relationship to the world around them. According to the author, “The postmodern condition calls Christians to move beyond a polarity that knows only the categories of ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ and thus pits so-called conservatives against loosely-defined liberals. The way forward is for evangelicals to take the lead in renewing a theological ‘center’ that can meet the challenges of the postmodern—and in some sense post-theological—situation in which the church now finds itself.”

Grenz begins with a historical survey, considering the influence of two major strands within evangelicalism. He goes on to sketch a creative vision for a renewed evangelical theology that faces the intellectual challenges of its time. He further envisions an “evangelical center” through the establishment of a “generous orthodoxy” that enables the church to fulfill its mission in the world.


“Whither the Community?

A review of
Naked Spirituality:
A Life with God in 12 Simple Words.

By Brian McLaren.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

NAKED SPIRITUALITY - Brian McLarenNaked Spirituality:
A Life with God in 12 Simple Words.

By Brian McLaren.

Hardback: HarperOne, 2011.
RELEASE DATE:  March 15.

Pre-order Now [ Amazon ]

For many years now, I have had a deep respect for Brian McLaren’s work.  Over the last decade, I have read the vast majority of his books and found him to be one of the clearest interpreters of Christianity in this postmodern era. Even when his previous book, A New Kind of Christianity, stirred up a storm of controversy by asking some pointed questions about the nature of the church, I thought the questions he asked were sorely needed and on the right track.  With this bit of history in mind, I found myself rather perplexed by Brian’s new book Naked Spirituality: A Life With God in 12 Simple Words.

I should be clear here that I am sympathetic to the premise of the book. There is a growing population of young adults in North America who have been wounded by Christianity and who want nothing at all to do with the church (this demographic has been described in recent years in books such as They Like Jesus but not the Church and UnChristian); Brian has a keen sense of their pain and wants to extend an olive branch of sorts to these young people, re-engaging them in a conversation about faith.  In the early parts of the book, Brian describes the task he is undertaking:

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“Defining Emerging Christianity

A Review of
An Emerging Dictionary for
The Gospel and Culture

By Leonard Hjalmarson.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

An Emerging Dictionary for
The Gospel and Culture

Leonard Hjalmarson.

Paperback: Resource Publications/Wipf and Stock, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

EMERGING DICTIONARY... HjalmarsonLen Hjalmarson has been in the middle of conversations about emerging forms of church for many years now. His blog, , has been not only a place for him to post his keen insights, but also a place for conversation and exploration. Thus, I was excited to hear that he had recently published a book rooted in his experience in these conversations.  An Emerging Dictionary for the Gospel and Culture is indeed as it sets out to be “a roving, eclectic dictionary that is both ridiculously current and particular, and at the same time broadly inclusive, reaching back to Augustine and St. Benedict … the ABC’s of the emerging and missional conversations.”  Hjalmarson does a superb job introducing the topics that he has included here, which basically fall into the two categories of biographical entries and conceptual entries.  All entries here are brief (rarely more than 2 or 3 pages), engaging and helpful in their introducing the person or concept at hand.  I imagine that most readers, even those who have been deeply invested in the emerging and missional church conversations for many years will find at least a few entries here that are surprising or unknown.  For instance, the philosopher of science in me was delighted to see the entry on Thomas Kuhn here, as his work is essential to our work of understanding the times in which we live, and yet his name does not pop up often in church conversations.  There are also a number of terms here that are essential to understanding postmodern criticism – e.g., difference and L’avenir.   Hjalmarson also does a wonderful job at interweaving the entries here; one does not typically think of a dictionary as a book to sit down and read from cover to cover, but this engaging and well-written work flows along nicely and is certainly an exception to that rule!

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A Review of

853982: A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith A New Kind of Christianity:
Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith

By Brian McLaren
Hardback: HarperOne, 2010.

Buy now: [ ]

Review by Adam Ellis.

[ This review originally appeared on Adam’s blog,
and is reprinted here with permission ]

Though I’m quite sure he would deny that anyone owed him anything, I owe Brian McLaren a debt of gratitude. Over the years, Brian’s writing has breathed fresh life and vitality into my faith. To say that I was excited when Viral Bloggers offered an opportunity to review his newest book would be an understatement along the lines of claiming that Bono is kind of interested in social justice, or that Glenn Beck exaggerates a little.

Reviewing the Reviews

As I was finishing the book, I watched as reviews began to pop-up on the internet. The less-than-surprising news is that hard-core Calvinists (including the “New-Calvinists”) hate it with a white-hot hatred they normally reserve for child abusers and made-for-TV movies on the Lifetime Network. Reading their reviews, you would think that Brian had done something to them personally, or had betrayed them in some sense (which is weird, sense they haven’t liked most of his books). I was disappointed to pick up on this vibe even in a review by Michael Wittmer, whom I had generally considered to be one of the more level-headed thinkers from that perspective. Scot McKnight, whom I have a great deal of respect for, and who is not really thought of as a Calvinist, wrote a review for Christianity Today that, while much kinder and more respectful in tone, claimed that Brian wasn’t really saying anything new, but was simply re-packaging the Classical Liberalism that was typical of German Theology before the 2nd World War as typified in Adolf Von Harnack. This struck me as odd, because Brian clearly intends to transcend such polarized categories (not merely repackage one category in a fresh way as “the right one”), and the point at which Brian’s thought draws this criticism from McKnight, is actually closer to the much more contemporary (and 3rd-way) thinking found in the work of Peter Enns.

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David Fitch Reflects on
Brian Mclaren’s New Book

It feels a bit ominous to read the blog reviews of Brian McLaren’s latest – A New Kind of Christianity. The book is raising quite a stink. No surprise eh? One gets the sense there is something different going on this time versus the last couple book releases of Brian’s: The Secret Message and Everything Must Change. One gets the impression we are at a pivot point, a moment that upsets the whole terrain of theological allegiances having to do with the post evangelical emerging church developments of the last ten-fifteen years. It’s like Brian is shaking up the foundations of post evangelical theology. I read the book on my flight home from the ecclesia network national gathering  last week and here are some initial observations.

Read the full review:

Brian McLaren.

Hardback: HarperOne, 2010.
Buy now: [ ]

The NY TIMES Review of
The Rise of America’s Surveillance State
By Shane Harris

At this very moment analysts at the National Security Agency some 30 miles north of the White House are monitoring countless flashpoints of data — cellphone calls to “hot” numbers, an e-mail message on a suspicious server, an oddly worded tweet — as they carom around the globe like pinballs in cyberspace.

The snippets of information could conceivably lead them to Anwar al-Awlaki, a fugitive cleric in Yemen whose fiery sermons have inspired violent jihadists. Or to the next would-be underwear bomber. Or, much more likely in the needle-in-a-haystack world of cyber detection, it might lead to nothing at all — at least nothing of any consequence in determining Al Qaeda’s next target.

This is the world of modern eavesdropping, or signals intelligence, as its adherents call it, and for many years it operated in the shadows. “The Puzzle Palace,” the 1983 best seller by James Bamford that remains the benchmark study of the N.S.A., first pulled back the curtain to provide a glint of unwanted sunlight on the place. And the years after the Sept. 11 attacks — a period in which the surveillance agencies’ muscular new role would lead to secret wiretapping programs inside the United States, expansive data-mining operations and more — gave rise to public scrutiny that made the place a veritable greenhouse of exposure.

Read the full review:

The Rise of America’s Surveillance State
Shane Harris.

Hardback: The Penguin Press, 2010
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


Here is an excerpt from a wonderful book that somehow slipped past us last year without a review:

Everyday Justice:
The Global Impact of our Daily Choices.

Julie Clawson.

Paperback: IVP Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


A Rich, Organic and Conversational Vision
of the Local Church Community

A Review of
The Teaching of the Twelve:
Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity
of the Ancient Didache Community
by Tony Jones.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The Teaching of the Twelve:
Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity
of the Ancient Didache Community
Tony Jones.

Paperback: Paraclete Press,  2010.
Buy now: [ ]

[ Click Here to Read an Excerpt from this book! ]

Tony Jones - The Teaching of the TwelveThe Didache was one of the first texts that sparked my interest in the life of the earliest church communities.  In the wake of 9/11 and the many signs of the church’s domestication to American culture, the Didache as a powerful reminder that another way was possible, a way that is not rooted in returning evil for evil, a way that leads to life.  Over the last decade, I have read a number of books on the Didache, but none has been so vibrant and accessible as Tony Jones’ new book The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community.  Jones not only seeks to introduce the Didache to a broad audience – an excellent task by itself – but also to make a case for the significance of its message in these postmodern times that in many ways resemble the era in which the Didache was written.  He says in the book’s introduction:

The Didache offers something of an alternative to what many know of Christianity.  The real power of the Didache is its ability to remind us of what is truly important in  Christianity: showing the love of Jesus to the world. (11)

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