Archives For Playlist

 

Much_ado

Last week, marked the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

In honor of the occasion, here are seven of our favorite film adaptations of Shakespeare’s play from the last 50 years…

#7 – Ten Things I Hate About You
    (Adaptation of Taming of the Shrew)

[ Stream the Movie via Amazon ]

Continue Reading…

 

Rainforest

For Earth Day today, we offer a list of ten superb recent books on various facets of creation care that Christians should be reading…

 

Books of a variety of genres by authors like Wendell Berry, Norman Wirzba, Naomi Klein, Walter Brueggemann and MORE!

#1 From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World
Norman Wirzba

One of the best theological resources on understanding creation, and how we live within it.

Continue Reading…

 

Sojourner_truth

March is Women’s History Month, and while I am a bit queasy about relegating women’s history to a single month out of the year, it is a good time to remind ourselves that we need to be working harder throughout the year to know the stories of women who have followed faithfully in the way of Jesus.

 

Here are brief introductions to ten women saints (I use this term loosely to include other prominent women of faith, not just those who have been canonized by the Roman Catholic church) that you should be very familiar with. There are so many more faithful women that could have been included on this list. With the focus here on history, I have limited myself to saints who have lived prior to 1900.

Also, see:
Ten Essential Women Writers for Christian Readers

 
 

Perpetua (and Felicity)

Martyred c. 203 for her faith.

*** Books about Perpetua

Continue Reading…

 

Slow church-Banner

 

I’m going to start assembling some reading lists to accompany the Slow Church book… The book includes a Recommended Reading List as an appendix, but these lists I’m working on will go deeper than that, and will include books that have been released since the launch of Slow Church.

Haven’t read Slow Church?  Get a copy now… 

 

Part 2: Terroir
Previous Parts of this list:  [ Part 1 ]

 
Chapter 2: Terroir is our argument for a church that reflects the “taste of the place,” a church rooted not in ideas and practices copied from other churches, but from the people and ecology of that particular place.
 
 
Here are some books that fit with this chapter:
 

The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community

Dwight Friesen, Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks

*** If you can only read one other book, on cultivating distinctively local churches, read this one.

*** Read our review
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Continue Reading…

 

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of theologian Marcus Borg.

 
Although his work was rooted in convictions that could be called liberal or progressive, he was a “friendly dialogue partner” (Ben Witherington) with evangelical theologians.

“He was the kind of scholar one could not and did not want to ignore. He patiently listened to all sides of the debates and knew the strengths of evangelicalism and historic orthodoxy, even if he pointed more often to weaknesses. Borg was the kind of progressive/liberal theologian who welcomed evangelicals to the table—as long as they would listen, as well.”
– Scot McKnight

Read the Christianity Today tribute to Borg

Even if you don’t agree with Borg on everything, in the spirit of dialogue that guided him, there is much of his work that is worth reading and reflecting upon.
 

Here are three books that merit reading by broad audiences in both evangelical and progressive Christianity.

 
Continue Reading…

 

Best Books (and music and films) on Hildegard of Bingen
ERB Playlist #6
Compiled by Caitlin Michelle Desjardins


This is the sixth in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme.

 

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)

 

*** A Recent essay by ERB editor Chris Smith on a theology of the playlist

[ Previous Playlist – #5 Favorite Madeleine L’Engle Books ]

 

*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months…

 


 

We have just passed through a seminal year for women, monastics, mystics and healers with the canonization of Hildegard von Bingen, followed by her being named a Doctor of the Church—one of only three women to hold that distinction. Hildegard, for me, has always been, first, a fascinating story and figure and, secondly, an inspiration for writing and all kinds of singing. Below are some of the works by or about Hildegard that have been most formative and delightful for me as I’ve explored her life and legacy.
Continue Reading…

 

My Favorite Books by Madeleine L’Engle
ERB Playlist #5
Compiled by Chris Smith


This is the fifth in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme.

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)

*** A Recent essay I wrote on a theology of the playlist

[ Previous Playlist – # 4 Top Ten Books on Cultivating Gratitude]

*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months…


In Honor of Madeleine’s birthday today, November 29th…

Madeleine L'Engle - My Favorite BooksMadeleine L’Engle has been one of the most significant writers in my formation.  Part of that can be attributed to the breadth of her work, and encountering different works in different phases of life and finding that they all moved and challenged me: reading Wrinkle in Time in second grade and the other Time novels, A Ring of Endless Light, and other YA novels over the next couple of years of elementary school; finding comfort in the warmth and grace of her theological reflections during my college years, which eased me into the transition out of the fundamentalism that I had grown up with; and finally turning to her poetry and other novels in the years after college.

 

Here are my favorite of her works, in order from my very favorite downward. I do offer the caveat that beyond the Time Quintet, and the couple of other novels here, I am not a huge fan of her fiction…

 

1)      Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art [ Buy now: Amazon ]

As a writer, this book is one that I keep coming back to and being challenged by; it is arguably the best reflection on what it means to be both a follower of Christ and an artist.

 

2)      The Time Quintet [ New Hardcover Box Set – Amazon ]

This is where most people first connect with L’Engle’s work.  I’m still partial to the original three novels, but the latter two are very good as well.

 

3)     The Rock that is Higher: Story As Truth Buy now: [ Amazon ]
This was my introduction to the possibility of narrative theology.  Again, this was one book that particularly resonated with me as I was seeking a faith beyond fundamentalism.

Continue Reading…

 

Top Ten Books on Cultivating Gratitude
ERB Playlist #4
Compiled by Chris Smith


This is the fourth in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme.

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)

 

*** A Recent essay by ERB editor Chris Smith on a theology of the playlist

[ Previous Playlist – #3 Top Ten Books that Every Pastor Should Read ]

 

*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months…


With the Thanksgiving holiday coming later this week, we offer the following list of books on cultivating gratitude…

 

Top Ten Books on Cultivating GratitudeLiving into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us by Christine Pohl (Eerdmans 2012)  [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle ]
Although this book is not exclusively on gratitude, Pohl does begin with the virtue of gratitude and shows how it is interwoven with the virtues of making and keeping promises, truth-telling and hospitality.  This book is at the top of the list because it locates the church community as the place where we cultivate gratitude and is especially helpful in working through the challenges of doing so in a consumer society. [ Read an excerpt of this book… ]

 

The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block. (B-K Publishers 2010) [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle ]
For us here at Englewood Christian Church, one of the most powerful practices of gratitude is our journey of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD).  There are a number of John McKnight’s books that one could read to be introduced to ABCD and its deep roots in gratitude, but The Abundant Community is probably the most accessible; it stirs our imaginations with the possibilities of what it might mean to really be grateful for our neighbors and to seek an abundant and flourishing community together with them.

 

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp (Zondervan 2011) [ Buy now: Amazon // Kindle ]
This volume is an exquisitely written call to embody a life of everyday gratitude.  Our reviewer Zena Neds-Fox notes: “Ann’s writing reads like letters from a poet or a priest.  She is caught up in the world where God is expressing love through the gifts which show her he can be counted upon.  There is a section where she describes contemplating a soap bubble while washing dishes.  I read with marvel as she over and over finds another way to express God’s truth and reality’s frailty and beauty here.  Ann is able to find Jesus in ten thousand places and has gifted us all with a window into a different kind of living.”
[ Read the full review ]

 


 

Continue Reading…

 

Top Ten Books Every Pastor Should Read
ERB Playlist #3
Compiled by Todd Edmondson


This is the third in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme.

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)

*** A Recent essay by ERB editor Chris Smith on a theology of the playlist

[ Previous Playlist – #2 Best Agrarian Books ]

*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months…



( With Christmas right around the corner,
these books would make great gifts for pastors in your church/family!)

This list is ordered alphabetically by title…

 

Top Ten Books for Pastors1. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle – FREE! ] Writing in an era in which novelists could afford to be both earnest and clever, Trollope crafted, in his Chronicles of Barsetshire a brilliant, satirical portrait of English society in all its beautiful and frustrating complexity. But the character who will likely make the greatest impression on the lucky reader who picks up this second novel in the series for the first time will be Mr. Slope, the ambitious clergyman invariably described–by Trollope, by his contemporaries, and by readers in the decades hence–as oily. This chaplain, who is all too willing to enter into the ecclesiastical power struggles that provide one of the major storylines of the novel, is the kind of character that will be (lamentably) recognizable to any pastor, or to anyone who has spent much time in the church at all. As an added bonus, in the excellent film version of the series, Alan Rickman plays Mr. Slope, as only Alan Rickman could.

 

2. Darkness Visible by William Styron [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle ] In a completely different vein, this slim “memoir of madness” by the acclaimed novelist provides one of the most intense, revelatory depictions of what it feels like to wrestle with depression that I have ever read. It is not a pleasant read. It’s certainly not fun. But it draws readers into an experience that every pastor should seek to understand.

 

3. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle ] In the interest of doing something unexpected, I really wanted to select a less obvious choice from Robinson here–Housekeeping is one of the finest novels of the twentieth century–but I simply can’t avoid this one, the theologically rich, elegantly crafted, Pulitzer-prize-winning novel about John Ames, an Iowa pastor in the final years of his life. Last year, at a book signing for Home, which functions as a companion piece to Gilead, I stood in line and wondered what I was going to say to this author whose novels just completely floor me each time I read them. When I got my chance, all that came out was “Thank you for making the life of a pastor seem beautiful.” That’s really all I can say about this work.


Continue Reading…

 

Francis Re-mixed
A Deeper Look at the Best Books on St. Francis

by Trevor Thompson

This is the latest in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme. This one offers another, deeper look at the best books on St. Francis (the subject of our first playlist earlier this month).

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)

*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months, and for a forthcoming essay on playlists as a way of doing theology.


Use the comments below to let us know what you think…
Are there books that should be added to or deleted from this list?

St. Francis Remixed – Best BooksIt is thought to be the case that Francis is the most biographed person of all of history.  If this is the case, it is no doubt because of Francis’ holy and eternally compelling witness for living the gospel life.  But the number of biographies is also, quite frankly, because his image and mission are highly contested.  The argument about the “true Francis” gleaned from the variety of written sources and oral traditions coupled the wider historical-cultural critical work parallels the argument about the historical Jesus in so many ways.  Before Francis even dies, he himself is torn by the many versions of this so-called Franciscan life that were circulating around Europe.  As the history of Franciscan life unfolds, the drama is thick, chock-full of contentious feelings and deep fractures, even bloody sanctioned murder.  So, leaning into a top-10 list for Francis might be a more serious and risky venture than one imagines.

I will offer my “remix” playlist using genre-type classifications, dividing these works into five groupings.  I am conscious that with all typologies, there are weaknesses in classification, and of course, plenty of overlap, but this was a helpful way to consider all the strands of influence on me from this “poor one” we call Francis.  Francis is so deeply a part of my imagination, and so I offer this list to you with all the excitement, care, and vulnerability that I made and shared those cassettes of jams back in the day.

1.            Books that highlight Francis’ more radical social embodiment of the gospel life and freely use the language/lenses of Catholic social teaching (including care of creation), liberation theology, and labor/work

  • Boff, Leonardo. St. Francis: A Model for Human Liberation. Trans. by John W. Diercksmeier. New York: Crossroad, 2006. [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
  • Crosby, Michael.  Finding Francis, Following Christ.  New York: Orbis, 2008.  [ Amazon ]
  • Dennis, Marie, Joseph Nangle, OFM, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and Stuart Taylor. St. Francis and the Foolishness of God. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002.  [ Amazon ]
  • Flood, David.  Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan Movement. Quezon City: Franciscan Institute of Asia, 1989.  Out of print, but a great work if you can get your hands on it!
  • Flood, David, and Thaddée Matura. The Birth of a Movement: A Study of the First Rule of St. Francis. Trans. by Paul Schwartz and Paul Lachance. Chicago, IL: Franciscan Herald Press, 1975.  [ Amazon ]
  • Flood, David.  The Daily Labor of the First Franciscans. St. Bonaventure: Franciscan Institute Press, 2010. [ Amazon ]

Continue Reading…