Archives For Reading

 

An Open Letter

 
on 
 

Reading for the Common Good:
How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish
C. Christopher Smith

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
By Ragan Sutterfield

 

Dear Chris,

I couldn’t write a straight review of your book.  I know you too well and I couldn’t really be objective (not that that is an ideal).  Instead I want to offer a kind of open letter, a way to reflect with you about the book and invite others into the conversation.

There are two things that guided my understanding of Reading for the Common Good.  The first is that, like you, I cannot conceive of my faith apart from reading.  As a child my faith was formed by fiction—Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many others.  Later, it broadened to include philosophy and theology, the classics of the spiritual masters, and profound fiction such as The Brother Karamazov.  My reading now is steady and varied, this year I’ve enjoyed books about microbiology and woodworking, Christian ethics in a time of climate change and a novel about a community in the midst of a fracking boom.  All of it has something to say to my life as a Christian because such a life is lived through the God who is the creator and sustainer of all things.  This is something you get and communicate so clearly in Reading for the Common Good.  You share this deep love and dependence on books and you make that alive to the reader.

Continue Reading…

 

How Shall We Then Read the Bible?
 
A Feature Review of 

Saving the Bible from Ourselves:
Learning to Read and Live the Bible Well
Glenn Paauw

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by James Dekker

 

Saving the Bible from Ourselves is one of those rare books that I wish were longer. A longer book might require delving into issues still more sensitive than Glenn Paauw already takes up. Exploring controversial themes might risk challenging unofficial, but strongly accepted Bible reading practices among Paauw’s intended audience. That is, “how to read” could veer onto significant, but bumpy paths of “how to interpret.”

For example, Saving the Bible’s greatest strength is Paauw’s repeated emphasis that readers must respect and learn to read the Bible’s various literary genres as originally intended. Thus he frequently emphasizes that Bible readers—laypersons, teachers, pastors—read the Bible’s histories, stories, poems, letters, gospels and apocalyptic visions first to understand their messages to original readers.  Only after rigorous analysis and wrestling with the texts’ earlier times and cultures is it fair to discern the meaning and application for today.

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I have been on the road for the last couple of weeks with my Slow Church co-author John Pattison, talking with churches throughout the southeastern U.S. about that book and my new book, Reading for the Common Good.  It’s been good to get the new book into people’s hands and to begin conversations about it.

Reading for the Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish
C. Christopher Smith

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle

 

I am deeply grateful for these great reviews of the book that have been posted within the last couple of weeks. Here are some clips (with links to the full reviews)…

Joe Johnson:

“Working for the flourishing of churches, neighborhoods, and the world cannot be done without the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, and I think it’s a reasonable proposal to argue that reading is an important means by which the Spirit works. Reading for the Common Good makes a very interesting case for the communal importance of reading and conversation, and it paints a portrait of what local church life can be like that is well worth pursuing. I recommend it.”
[ Read the full review ]

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Donald_Trump

The Unexamined Life and Politics of Donald Trump

 

C. Christopher Smith

 
Donald Trump’s inclination to not read books has been highlighted in two recently published articles. Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who collaborated with Trump on his bestselling book, The Art of the Deal, was recently interviewed in The New Yorker, expressing his deep regrets for “presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.”

Schwartz emphasized Trump’s inability to concentrate and his apparent lack of an attention span, and then proceeds to draw a connection between that and Trump’s seeming avoidance of reading books:

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Yesterday, Relief Journal released the podcast episode that ERB editor Chris Smith recorded with them about his new book Reading for the Common Good and also his previous book Slow Church.

[ LISTEN NOW ]

Relief Journal’s podcast is relatively new, and previous episodes include interviews with Marilyn Chandler McEntyre and D.L. Mayfield. The podcast features Dan Bowman and Amy Peterson talking with writers and people of faith about life, art, the writing process, and the questions and passions that drive us to create.

 

Reading for the Common Good
will be available in the next two weeks. 

PRE-ORDER now and get a special bonus ebook.

(Also read an excerpt from the book at this link)

 
Continue Reading…

 

The new book from ERB editor Chris Smith is almost here… 

(Copies arrived in our office today!!!
And will be available in bookstores and online within 2ish weeks…)

Reading for the Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish
C. Christopher Smith

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Order Now: 
Amazon ] [ IVP Books ]
 
*** Scroll down for a special offer when you order now!
 
*** Kindle and other ebook editions will also be available soon!

READ AN EXCERPT of this book…

What people are saying:

“C. Christopher Smith offers a fresh, rich and quite unfamiliar proposal concerning human renewal and church regeneration. He exposits the cruciality of reading, thinking and conversing in the community as a bedrock practice for a sustainable missional community. His project serves to awaken us from our numbing ‘electronic slumbers’ into a slow engagement with imaginative words. I suggest that this book can be a valuable reference for pastoral nurture and education in the church.”  – Walter Brueggemann

“Having devoted the entirety of my personal and professional life to the vision and practices laid out in Reading for the Common Good, I offer a hearty ‘Hear! Hear!’ This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church.” – Karen Swallow Prior
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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.

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Going Deeper with C.S. Lewis’ Books
 
A Review of 

Reading C. S. Lewis: A Commentary
Wesley Kort

Hardback: Oxford U.Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

 
Reviewed by Leslie Starasta
 
 
Many people have extremely positive or negative feelings regarding C.S. Lewis. Wesley A. Kort attempts to take a middle ground in his work Reading C.S. Lewis: A Commentary.  Dr. Kort, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University, emphasizes multiple times throughout the work that he is “neither a devotee nor a detractor” (vii) and indicates his study of Lewis arose from students requesting a class on Lewis.  For this reason before embarking on a journey through this book, it is imperative that readers actually read the preface and other front matter rather than turning immediately to the first chapter.  Doing so prepares the reader for Dr. Kort’s attempted objective attitude and the approach he takes to Lewis.

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Bringing Coherence to
our Scattered Spiritual Lives.

A Review of 

Lectio Divina: From God’s Word to Our Lives
Enzo Bianchi

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 

Reviewed by Andrew Stout

 

Theological interpretations of Scripture are very much in fashion. These methods emphasize the Church’s interpretive role through typology, creeds, and liturgical use. Plenty of good books are available that call for reappropriations of premodern and precritical interpretive methods (in addition to a host of individual authors, book series like the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Intervarsity Press’ Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, and Baker Academic’s Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality could be mentioned). However, as Rowan Williams notes in the Foreword to Lectio Divina, “We have plenty of good scholarship and plenty of good popular summaries of that scholarship – but very little on the actual theology of reading the Bible, very little on reading the Bible as a central form of our discipleship” (vii). Enzo Bianchi understands the scholarship, and he provides a helpful orientation for the layperson. More than this, however, Bianchi shows that proper interpretation requires the faithful entrance into an active dialogue with the Word.

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Why Adults Can Read Whatever They Want
(Or, Why You Might Want to Read Children’s Books)

By Sarah Lyons

WildThings

 

You may already be familiar with the (probably unnecessary amount of) controversy over whether adults should be allowed to read children’s literature. It’s not an uncommon topic today, considering the popularity of The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and Harry Potter; adults and children alike are curious about whether these stories will be able to grab their attention and immerse them in another world.

 

And this is often exactly what happens. Novels for children and adults have a lot to offer and can serve as a perfect pick-me-up in the midst of real life. So, to add another voice to the debate, here are some reasons why you might actually want to read a children’s book this summer!

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