Archives For Eucharist


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”B014G2TGNY” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”216″]Important book on the meaning of the Eucharist…

N.T. Wright –
Our Intro Reading Guide


The Meal Jesus Gave Us
N.T. Wright


*** $2.99 ***

Acclaimed theologian and writer N. T. Wright explains in clear and vivid style the background of the Last Supper, the ways in which Christians have interpreted this event over the centuries, and what it all means for us today.

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*** The Best Ebook / Audiobook Deals
from Amazon’s monthly sale for  February!


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0802862330″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]An Embodied and Communal Celebration
A Review of 

Remembrance, Communion, and Hope: Rediscovering the Gospel at the Lord’s Table
J. Todd Billings

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
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Reviewed by Andrew Stout


How does your congregation celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Does “celebrate” actually describe your experience of communion? Could you say that your experience of the Supper has significantly shaped your understanding of the gospel? These are some of the questions that J. Todd Billings provokes in his most recent book. In Remembrance, Communion, and Hope Billings argues that the Lord’s Supper is more than simply an addendum to the worship service. The Lord’s Supper is an “icon” of the gospel, “an icon that draws us into a divine drama by the power of the Spirit” (1). By inviting readers to a more robust experience of the Lord’s Supper, Billings is inviting us to a meal that places us in the center of Scripture’s redemptive drama and incorporates us into the life of the Trinity.

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William Cavanaugh - BEING CONSUMEDHere’s a superb theological reflection for Black Friday…

An 11-minute video introduction to:

Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.

William Cavanaugh

Paperback. Eerdmans, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

A 2008 Englewood Honor Book
[ Read our review… ]

Part I:

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Read an excerpt from Norman Wirzba’s excellent new book…

We recommend chapter 5, “Eucharistic Table Manners”,
though Google should let you look at other parts of the book too.

Food and Faith:
A Theology of Eating
Norman Wirzba
Paperback: Cambridge UP, 2011.
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“A Pre-History of the Lord’s Table”

A Review of

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
By Brant Pitre

Reviewed by Michelle Van Loon.

[ Read an excerpt from this book… ]

JESUS AND THE JEWISH ROOTS OF THE EUCHARIST - PitreJesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist:
Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper
Brant Pitre.
Hardback: Doubleday Religion, 2011.
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It was the first Sunday of the month, which meant it was time for communion at the non-denominational church my family attended at the time. At best, our once-a-month communion of broken matzo and plastic thimbles-full of syrupy grape juice on was usually treated as a postscript to the service. At worst, it was a rushed affair that made the church service a few minutes longer. I think church leaders spent more of their platform time recruiting volunteers to fill those little cups than they did explaining why we “remembered” Christ in this way each month.

Is this really what Christ had in mind when he offered the matzo and cup to his friends during the final Passover Seder he celebrated with them and said, “Do this in remembrance of me?”

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An excerpt from

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist:
Unlocking the Secrets of The Last Supper
Brant Pitre.
Hardback: Doubleday Religion, 2011.
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[ Read our review above…  ]


A Review of
Barbies at Communion and Other Poems.
By Marcus Goodyear.
Paperback: T.S. Poetry Press, 2010.
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Reviewed by Thomas Turner.

What strikes the reader most about Marcus Goodyear’s poetry is the immediate action of the poetry. The action is simultaneous with the writng, as if Goodyear was dictating the present in lines like a sportscaster gives a play-by-play on a baseball game. The effect of Goodyear’s poetry is not immediately deep or penetrating but matter-of-fact, a pronouncement of ordinary life in poetic lines.

This lack of impact is Goodyear’s modus operandi as he seeks to find meaning in the commonplace and mundane. If anything, the poetry in this collection testifies to the fact that anything, and I mean anything, can become sharp and fragrant with meaning when in the hands of a poet.

In order to capture the commonplace in his poetry Goodyear must deconstruct the sacramental into its common elements. He strips away the layers of meaning from figures of Christ and the Eucharist, leaving only “saltless crackers / and shots of grape juice” along with “Jesuses in the attic / after Christmas.” Goodyear removes the metaphorical in order to let the literal stand naked before us, and in a twist of his poetic prowess, he uses his steady syntax and phrasing to build up an image from the deconstructed literal. This is most evident in the titles of his poems, which give direction to the meaning that Goodyear delivers in his poetry of ordinary life.

Goodyear can accomplish this poetic game of stripping down to the literal and building up again because of his clever use of conceit. The reader (this review included) can so easily be lulled into the normalcy of Goodyear’s images, only to discover that in his recounting of a seemingly dull event there is a deep beauty and majesty to the everyday and ordinary. Goodyear showcases this deft skill in poems such as “Drought on the Open Road,” in which he writes:

Once the herd was so thirsty

they ate the burn right off

the interstate shoulder, two bites

from asphalt and cars flying

75 miles to nowhere.

Heat paralyzed cows

never look up.

In the singular image, which Goodyear commands so well, the poet offers up a commonplace moment that hinges on so much. In the isolated event of cows inching ever closer to the highway Goodyear pushes the reader to contemplate the chain reactions caused by a singular event. In essence, Goodyear’s simplicity of poetry is a conscious statement to the irreducible complexity of life, that complex weather systems can cause a drought that eventually leads a herd of cattle into the dangers lurking on an isolated patch of Texas highway.

The power of Goodyear’s poetry is thus in his ability to hold so much back, to be so reserved as a poet that he lets the multiple meanings of words burst out from the pages. In essence, he lets the poetry, and not the poet do the work. He does not seek to answer the mystery as other poets do, but stays in the realm of plain sight and plain poetry. As he himself writes, “Where the mystery is / too great, give us flesh.”


A Review of

Worshiping With the Church Fathers.
Christopher Hall.
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.
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[ Read an excerpt of this book here… ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Christopher Hall - Worshipping with the Church FathersWorshiping with the Church Fathers is the third volume of Christopher Hall’s four volume work on the Church in its earliest centuries.  This new volume, looks specifically at the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, the practice of prayer and the spirituality of the desert fathers.  His objective is:

To present as clearly as possible the fathers’ understanding of what worship is and what it isn’t.  I have tried to allow them to speak for themselves, to present their case and then to encourage readers to make their own decisions as to the validity of the particular patristic viewpoints.

Hall does a fine job both of achieving his stated goal of letting the Church Fathers speak for themselves and of providing enough context through which the reader can understand the writings of the Fathers.  The book’s first two chapters explore the roles of baptism and the Eucharist respectively, with a particular emphasis on the sacramental (and material) nature of both practices.  Hall explains that the material nature of the sacraments is rooted in the incarnation of Christ:

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“Look Around You!”

A Review of
The Sacred Meal
Ancient Practices Series).
By Nora Gallagher.

Reviewed by Ragan Sutterfield.

The Sacred Meal
Ancient Practices Series).
Nora Gallagher.

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
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The Sacred Meal - Nora Gallagher“Instead of thinking of that Communion as a ghoulish eating of human flesh, think of those who gather at Communion as the body of Jesus…This is my body, he said.  Look around you.”  Looking around is exactly what Nora Gallagher does as she explores the ancient practice of Communion in her new book The Sacred Meal.  This book is one of the latest releases in the “Ancient Practices” Series edited by Phyllis Tickle, and like the other books in the series its aim is to ask us to remember, renew and recollect the essential practices of the Church such as prayer, fasting, and Sabbath-keeping.  Communion as a subject however has challenges that go beyond most ancient practices.  Communion, as we have seen over the history of Christianity, is a source of great division, a means of exclusion as much as embrace.  Nora Gallagher certainly had her work cut out for her in approaching this subject, but she answers the call beautifully.

Rather than centering on all of the ins and outs of the “real presence,” transubstantiation and consubstantiation, Gallagher focuses on her story as it connects with Communion because, as she says in the introduction, it “is the only story I can truthfully tell.”  By reflecting on her own story Gallagher opens up the experience of Communion in all of its complexity, banality, and surprise.

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ERB Editor Chris Smith
Reviews Nora Gallagher’s THE SACRED MEAL

The “Ancient Practices” series from Thomas Nelson – with its deep historical rooting and careful theological attentiveness – is rapidly becoming one of my favorite ongoing series of books. Thus, I was pleased to see the release of two new volumes. The first of these volumes is Nora Gallagher’s THE SACRED MEAL, which explores the meaning of the practice of Eucharist (or communion, as it is called here Englewood and in many other churches). Gallagher eloquently reflects upon the communal nature of the Eucharist, the stages of participating in the Eucharist (waiting, receiving and afterward) and then explores the theological meaning of the bread and the cup as it has been honored in various traditions at various times in church history.

Read the full review:

The Sacred Meal (Ancient Practices Series).
Nora Gallagher.

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
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The POPMatters Review of
Chris Wickham’s The Inheritance of Rome:
Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000

The Roman Empire and the Renaissance loom large on the timeline of human history, two great epochs of accomplishment and achievement that demonstrate our ability to shape and exert control over our world. The Middle Ages, so titled because they exist between those two monumental pillars of civilization, are often seen as the inverse, when humankind languished in an uncertain, anarchic world.

Chris Wickham, professor of medieval history at Oxford, challenges this point-of-view, arguing that the Middle Ages must be considered not just as a speed bump on the path of progress but rather on its own merits, as a complex and intricate system that emerged in response to a changing environment. His book, The Inheritance of Rome, is a very meticulous, overwhelmingly detailed account of an era largely unfamiliar to modern readers. It is, at times, exhausting and cluttered, but also laden with interesting passages that shed light on this volatile period in history.

Read the full review:

The Inheritance of Rome:
Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000.

Chris Wickham.

Hardcover: Viking, 2009.
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ORION Magazine Reviews Poet Charles Wright’s
Newest Collection, SESTETS

THE POEMS in Wright’s astonishing nineteenth collection of poetry serve as a loyal lighthouse to the reader: a sure and steady beam that pulses, discovers, and searches out—all while allowing the reader that important and necessary pause to let his lines haunt and delight. When one thinks of “sestets,” six-lined poems, one would normally assume compression and density of taut lines. Not so: these expansive and gratifying poems often perform a sort of intimate “aside” to the reader. Wright breaks or “drops” the line part way into a singular line, as if to nudge the reader to pause for a bit and contemplate the themes of mortality and nature that often appear in these poems. What comes after the visual drop on the page is usually a somber reflection or a surprising twist on the previous image. The poems are almost bursting with notions of what it means to be at once at odds and in harmony with nature, and the visual drop deftly allows for this juxtaposition. Consider: “This is the light its wings dissolve in / if it ever gets out from underground.”

Read the full review:

Charles Wright.

Hardback, FSG, 2009.
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