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Today is the birthday of Marva Dawn, one of the theologians who has been most influential for our congregation at Englewood Christian Church.

To mark the occasion, we offer the following introductory reading guide to her most significant works.

We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and offered a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve also included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.



1) Truly the Community: Romans 12 and How to Be the Church

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This week marked the anniversary of the death of Flannery O’Connor (3 August 1964), one of the greatest fiction writers of the twentieth century.

To mark the occasion, we offer the following introductory reading guide to her work.

We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and we offer a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.

*** Don’t miss these rare clips of
Flannery O’Connor reading her work 


1) The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connnor

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One of this week’s best new releases is:

The Charleston Syallbus:
Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence
Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, Keisha Blaine, Eds.

Buy now: [ Amazon ]

This book captures a lengthy Twitter conversation, in the wake of the Charleston shootings, about essential readings on racism and racial violence. 

Included below are some of the readings that are excerpted in this new book. The book is divided into six sections and we offer at least one reading from each section.


Also of interest…
Our God is Too White?
Diversifying our Theological Reading


Section 1: Slavery, Survival and Community Building

Excerpt from Life of a Slave Girl
Harriet Jacobs.

Free Ebook of

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Willie Jennings

A friend of mine recently posted this NY Times article about the lack of diversity in philosophy on his Facebook wall, and speculated that its argument might also apply to theology. 

When you read theology, how many of the theologians are white men?

As a means to start diversifying our theological reading, here are 10 important books by non-white theologians. These books will undoubtedly open the gates to a host of works by other authors.


Willie Jennings
The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race

Listen to a talk that Jennings gave
at the Slow Church Conference in 2014.


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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 ]

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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.

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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

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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
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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.

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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.
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