Archives For Religion


A new book, out tomorrow, makes a broad case against football.

Publishers Weekly’s review notes:

Almond makes a convincing case for the theory that Americans have turned to football in order to meet spiritual needs that arose as a result of industrial and social progress.

Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto
Steve Almond

Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Read an excerpt from the book, and tell us what you think…

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A Mischievous and Playful Argument

A Feature Review of

Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense

Francis Spufford

Hardback: HarperOne, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Kurt Armstrong


Before we get started, I’d better state my bias: I love this book. Spufford’s Unapologetic has tied Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss for my favourite book last year, something I suspect my co-workers will hate me for. I’ve been cornering staff members and waving Unapologetic two inches in front of their noses, insisting that they to drop whatever it is they might have planned for the evening and go out and buy a copy right now.

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Aligning Beliefs and Practice

A Feature Review of

THE ANSWER TO BAD RELIGION IS NOT NO RELIGION: A Guide to Good Religion for Seekers, Skeptics, and Believers.   
Martin Thielen

Paperback: WJK Books, 2014.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Bob Cornwall

*** This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog and is reprinted here with permission.
It’s no secret – fewer people are going to church than they used to.  Many give the bad state of religion as their reason for staying away.  People seem to have noticed that there is a lot of hypocrisy among Christians.  They’re too politicized, angry, exclusive, dogmatic, and self-righteous.  They’re simply not pleasant to be around.  So why spend your Sunday’s around such people.  Instead, we can be spiritual without the trappings of religion.  I can understand the sentiment – I’ve known these kinds of people.  I’ve even been counted among them a few times in my life.    But just because some religion is bad, doesn’t mean we have to totally give up on religion!
Martin Thielen, a United Methodist Pastor serving in Tennessee, and a former Southern Baptist pastor, doesn’t think that we have to give up on religion completely, because some representatives of the faith are not all that attractive.  In other words, he’s asking people to give the church a second look.
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Dreaming Freely about a Better World

A Feature Review of

Cinematic States: Stories We Tell, the American Dreamlife, and How to Understand Everything*

*(Mostly. But Not Really. But Sort Of.)

Gareth Higgins

Paperback: Burnside Books, 2013.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by Brett David Potter


Film is oneiric. When we all sit together in a darkened room, fixated on the flickering shadows dancing on the luminous silver screen, we engage in a kind of collective dreaming. As film theorists have pointed out, it’s Plato’s cave without anyone standing up to interrupt the show.

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Free Ebooks

Looking for something to read?

Here are hundreds of classics that are available as FREE ebooks for your Kindle, iPad or other e-reader…

Mix up your reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books…

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books…

Stay tuned as as we will be adding
more categories to this list!

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Through Monday May 27, Amazon is running a huge sale on ebooks.


Over 500 ebooks have been marked down, with savings of up to 88%!!!


You can browse the full list here:


CLICK HERE to jump right into the Religion/Spirituality section


HOWEVER, if you don’t have the time or desire to browse the full collection, we have picked 10 essential ebooks that you should own and read:

1) The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Communities – John McKnight / Peter Block
Read an excerpt here
2) The Autobiography of Mark Twain
3) Abraham Lincoln: Lessons in Spiritual Leadership by Elton Trueblood

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Amazon currently has 100 Kindle ebook bargains in their Religion/Spirituality section.

We’ve highlighted some of the books that will be of the most interest to ERB readers below, but you may also want to BROWSE THE FULL SALE CATALOG.


 Check out these bargains for $3.99 or less! :

Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith
Henri Nouwen
 Rob Bell and a New American Christianity
James K. Wellman, Jr.
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Jacques Berlinerblau - How to be SecularWho is Fit for the Secular Kingdom?

A Review of

How to be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom

Jacques Berlinerblau

Hardback: HMH Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Matthew J. Kaul

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. I listened to a lot of Christian rock. One of my favorite bands was Audio Adrenaline. Audio A’s second album, and the one that introduced me to them, was called Don’t Censor Me. Listening to it now is a bewildering experience.


The album’s theme — remember, this is rock music — is a defense of what many would call “traditional values.” It’s full of rock-n-roll protest songs that call for a defense of the Christian family-values establishment. And no small amount of the Christian rock that I listened to (which is to say, the most popular Christian rock) took this form: in addition to several tracks on Don’t Censor Me, songs by the Newsboys and dc talk expressed similar sentiments.


What concepts help us understand such strange juxtapositions as rock and conservative politics? What’s the best way to understand what it means to headbang to lyrics like “You can take God out of my school / you can make me listen to you. / You can take God out of the pledge / but you can’t take God out of my head”? Who was I, as I was doing so?


In Jacques Berlinerblau’s terms, I would be a good little “revivalist.” What’s a revivalist? It’s tough to say, because he never defines the category. He’s not using it in the tradition sense of someone who works for or participates in a revival meeting. For Berlinerblau, the “Revival” (both terms are always capitalized, because they’re really scary) is simply the fact that religion hasn’t died off yet:

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Shane Hipps - Selling Water by the RiverSeeking Fulfillment.

A Feature Review of

Selling Water By The River: A Book About the Life Jesus Promised and The Religion That Gets In the Way

Shane Hipps

Hardback: Jericho Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by David Nash

*** Watch the trailer video for this book

While reading this book, I saw myself in a classroom listening to Shane Hipps gently and clearly leading a group of people into an understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  Hipps is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids. This book comes out of his experience of teaching at Mars Hill. Having fourteen chapters, this book fits into a quarter year’s teaching schedule.


The book title shapes the theme of authentic spiritual experience contrasted to a religious faith that comes through institutional religion, a popular conversation for today.   To quench one’s thirst for God, a person can choose to reject the stagnant, polluted water of the world and choose, instead, to drink one’s fill of the Living Water which God provides through Christ.  Through this Living Water a person enters into the “peace, love, and joy” while living one’s life in the secular world.  Hipps writes especially for those who are caught up in a dogmatic creed that must be accepted as the only truth.


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J. Kameron Carter - RaceThis is a superb video from earlier this year in which J. Kameron Carter talks about Race, Religion, Obama, the Trayvon Martin Case and his superb book

Race: A Theological Account.

J. Kameron Carter.

Hardcover: Oxford UP, 2008.
Buy now from:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

This book was selected as our most important theological work of 2008,
and it is perhaps the most important theological work of the last decade.

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