Archives For Practices


Drawing Near
A Feature Review of

The Eternal Current:
How a Practice-Based Faith Can Save Us from Drowning

Aaron Niequist

Hardback: Waterbrook, 2018
Buy Now:
Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]  [ Audible ]
Reviewed by Janna Lynas


Growing up Christian, I believed and learned the lingo at a very young age. Subtly, and not so subtly, I learned other faith practices were not to be observed or even discussed. Eventually this thirty- something young woman wondering about a lot of things. Growing up Christian, believing and beginning to wonder if there were deeper things at hand, led me to an inductive study of the book John in the home of a woman who had a picture of the Virgin Mary on her wall and sometimes spoke of mystery and wondering as though they were acceptable and inseparable from the gospel. This once-a-week Bible study touched something that had been stirring within this “growing up Christian” woman who was just beginning to realize what was growing up within her was what would sweep her away. Aaron Niequist describes this as an universal ache for more in his first book, The Eternal Current.

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This week, I read Christianity Today’s interview with Rosaria Butterfield, on her new book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World. The interview piqued my interest in the book, but it also raised questions about the nature and ends of Christian hospitality. 


Here’s a list of the most helpful books I’ve found on the Christian practice of hospitality.
(This list includes, and builds on, the list of recommended books on hospitality from Slow Church that I co-authored with John Pattison)


By ERB Editor C. Christopher Smith



Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition 

Christine Pohl

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Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove - The Awakening of HopeBook Trailer of the Week…

The Awakening of Hope: Why We Practice a Common Faith

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
DVD Study Guide, featuring Shane Claiborne.

Paperback/DVD set: Zondervan, 2012.
Buy now: [ Book – Amazon ] [ DVD – Amazon ] [ Kindle ebook ]

Watch for our interview with Jonathan about this book in our next print issue…

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For the next few weeks, I will be reading Christine Pohl’s excellent new book Living into Community, and as I have time, will be sharing morsels from the book on our Twitter and Facebook pages.  Make sure you’re connected with us in at least one of these two ways, and keep an eye out for quotes/thoughts from the book!  I will try (as space allows) to use the hashtag #CPLIC

Below is an excerpt from the book

Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us.

Christine Pohl.

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

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Living into Focus - Arthur BoersThe Focused Life We Want

Living into Focus:

Choosing What Matters

in an Age of Distractions.

Arthur Boers

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Review by Maria Drews

There are times when I look back and cannot remember what I have been doing for the last hour. Jumping from one activity to the next, making something in the kitchen while cleaning up the living room, playing the Colbert Report on my laptop in the background and attempting to answer a few nagging emails on my phone before dinner is done. Instead of efficient multitasking, I end up with a half-cleaned living room, a poorly timed dinner, emails left to reply to before bed, and an episode of Colbert I barely listened to, even though I heard the whole thing.  I may be more easily distracted than I would like to admit. Funny thing is, although I long for a focused, full, good life, I’ll probably opt for the same distracted evening tomorrow night, too.

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A Brief Review of

How to Write Fast Under Pressure.
Philip Vassallo.

Paperback: AMA.COM, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

I do a fair amount of writing for The Englewood Review and other publications, and juggling the responsibilities of family, other work and writing often leaves me pinned up against ultra-tight deadlines.  Thus, I was eager to explore the wisdom offered in Philip Vassallo’s new book, How to Write Fast Under Pressure.  I should have not been surprised since the book was published by The American Management Association, but Vassallo focuses primarily on writing in a business environment: minutes, emails, requests, etc.  Although this is not primarily the sort of writing that vexes me most, there are some excellent ideas here about time management and creating an environment for writing that will be helpful to most writers.  The trajectory of the book is summarized in Vassallo’s acronym DASH:

DIRECTION: Hitting the ground running with the end in mind

ACCELERATION: Moving quickly through any writing assignment

STRENGTH: Possessing the stamina to get the writing job done.

HEALTH: Maintaining productivity through your writing life (22).

Two of the most helpful facets of How to Write Fast Under Pressure were the “Three Big Questions” which Vassallo offers to clarify the direction of a writing project, and the “common energy stoppers” that would interrupt the flow of a writer’s work.  The three big questions that Vassallo names in order to give shape to the direction of a writing project are:

1)      “Where Am I Going?”  (i.e., what is the task at hand?).

2)      “When Must I Get There?”  (i.e., what is the deadline?).

3)      “How Am I Going to Get There?”

The other facet of this book that was particularly beneficial were Vassallo’s “energy stoppers” that threaten to deter our work as writers; these include:

  • Having no plan when we need one.
  • Trying to complete all of the writing process simultaneously.
  • Making of the message more than it really is
  • Worrying unnecessarily.

Because of its dual focus on business and speed, Vassallo tends to favor quantity over quality, which is not helpful for most of the sort of writing that I do, but otherwise there is some helpful reflection on the writing process here, which is worth the consideration of not just professional writers, but anyone whose work includes writing – which I suspect, as does Vassallo, is most of us.