Archives For Resurrection

 

With Easter upon us this weekend, here is our theology reading list of books that have been helpful for us in understanding the resurrection of Jesus for the life of the church… 

 

1)  The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3)

N.T. Wright

*** This book is only $4.99 for Kindle, through the end of April 2017

Why did Christianity begin, and why did it take the shape it did? To answer this question – which any historian must face – renowned New Testament scholar N.T. Wright focuses on the key points: what precisely happened at Easter? What did the early Christians mean when they said that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead? What can be said today about his belief?

This book, third is Wright’s series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his “appearances.”

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“Vitality that can never be Killed off”

A Review of

Unfamiliar Fishes.
By Sarah Vowell.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Unfamiliar Fishes - Sarah VowellUnfamiliar Fishes.
Sarah Vowell.
Hardback: Riverhead, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon – Hardback ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

Although Sarah Vowell’s name might not be a familiar one, you will likely recognize her voice, AND especially if you are an avid NPR listener.  Vowell was a contributing editor for the wildly popular NPR show This American Life for over a decade (1996-2008); she also provided the voice for Violet in the animated Pixar movie The Incredibles.  Although she might be most recognized for her distinctive voice, Vowell is also a gifted writer and avowed history buff.  She has previously written five books, and in each of them, history plays a significant role.  Her sixth book, Unfamiliar Fishes, has recently hit the shelves of bookstores, and it follows in the footsteps of her previous books, crafting in a way, a sort of people’s history of Hawaii that depicts the story of how the island land was colonized by New England missionaries and of the eventual fall of the monarchy and the annexation by the United States.  Although its focus is on a different context, the book is an unexpected but fitting follow-up to her 2008 book about the Puritans, The Wordy Shipmates.  Several generations after the Puritans settled in New England, their ancestors were sending out missionaries all over the world, including – of course – Hawaii.

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“A Better Resurrection”
Christina Rosetti

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish’d thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

 

Spring Thaw
Maureen Doallas
From her book Neruda’s Memoirs
[ Read our review… ]


Heads up:

tiny shoots

break earth’s shell

spring up

from winter’s

bed of dreams

showing us

how to make

a comeback

every time.

 

“Specific, Strange and Special”

A Review of
Sun of Righteousness, Arise!
God’s Future for Humanity and The Earth.
By Jürgen Moltmann
.

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall.


Sun of Righteousness, Arise!
God’s Future for Humanity and The Earth.
Jürgen Moltmann
.
Paperback: Fortress, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Sun of Righteousness, Arise!  Jurgen MoltmannToo often we’re presented with theological “choices” that are either so narrow that they exclude a vast number of those who call themselves Christian, or so broad that there is little substance left.   Jürgen Moltmann walks down a middle path, not too light or too heavy, not to narrow and not so broad as to leave the faith empty.  For many modern Christians, Moltmann has been and continues to be a faithful theological companion, opening new vistas, offering new ways of seeing God and God’s relationship with humanity and the world.  His is a theology that is both evangelical in the truest sense of the word and ecumenical.  It recognizes the suffering present in the world, but it also foresees a time when God will be all in all, so that suffering will be no more.  When a new book emerges from his pen, many gravitate toward it, hoping to find something that will help sustain one’s faith journey.

In The Sun of Righteousness, Arise! Moltmann takes up many of the issues that have been close to his heart over the years – the future of the world, the resurrection of Christ and humanity, justice, the Trinity and creation.  The chapters in this book, seventeen in all, are not original creations; rather this book is a gathering together of lectures, meditations, sermons, and essays that were either presented at the meetings of the Gesellschaft für Evangelische Theologie or published in the journal Evangelische Theologie over the past the past ten years.  They may have previous incarnations, but they are available for the first time in English translation (ably provided by Margaret Kohl).

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“Being Transformed
In the Direction of a World without Death”

A Review of
After You Believe:
Why Christian Character Matters.

N.T. Wright.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

After You Believe:
Why Christian Character Matters.

N.T. Wright
.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

[ Enter to win a copy of this book or others by N.T. Wright! ]


NT Wright - AFTER YOU BELIEVEN.T. Wright’s newest book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, follows in the footsteps of two of his other recent books 2006’s Simply Christian — which makes a case for Christianity in a fashion not unlike that of C.S. Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity — and 2008’s Surprised by Hope — which explores in depth resurrection and the biblical concept of heaven.  Wright describes the trajectory of the three book in this new volume’s preface: “Christian life in the present, with its responsibilities and particular callings, is to be understood and shaped in relation to the final goal for which we have been made and redeemed.  The better we understand that goal, the better we shall understand the path toward it” (ix).  All three of these books are excellent, but this newest volume is most relevant to the sort of holistic Christian faith that we regularly advocate for here in the pages of The Englewood Review.  Wright’s case for the significance of Christian character is based on the philosophical concept of virtue, which he traces back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, although he emphasizes that for the Church, the Aristotelian concept of virtue must be reinterpreted through the lenses of Scripture and the tradition of the Church.  His locating the focus of Christian ethics — for that in a nutshell is what After You Believe is about — in virtue is much endebted to the work of Roman Catholic philosopher Alasdair Macintyre and noted theologian Stanley Hauerwas, whose work relies heavily upon that of Macintyre.  However, although Wright does believe that the church is essential to the redemptive work of God in the world, After You Believe seems to evade the strongly communitarian themes that drive the work of Hauerwas and Macintyre. For instance, for the first half of the book, Wright addresses virtue in almost completely individualistic terms and only in the second half of the book does he begin to explore the role of the Church in the development of virtue.  Finally, in the last chapter he gets around to making the crucial point that “[O]ne of the primary locations where, and means by which, any of us learns the habits of the Christian heart and life is what we loosely call the church” (272), noting that this is not a book on ecclesiology.  Although Wright is a bit reticent on the role of the Church in the development of virtue, we should be clear that he is also not a thoroughgoing individualist.  For instance, he drives home the point early in the book that:

Christian virtue isn’t about you — your happiness, your fulfillment, your self-realization.  It’s about God and God’s kingdom, and your discovery of a genuine human experience by the paradoxical route — the route God himself took in Jesus Christ! — of giving yourself away , of generous love which refuses to take center stage (70).

Despite his overall minimization of the Church’s role in the development of virtue, After You Believe is an excellent book and makes a strong case for virtue as the demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s “transformation of character” in us.

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Easter Ode
to the Mad Farmer
By Kevin Book-Satterlee


The Mad Farmer
Taught us to practice resurrection,

Live the ideals of renewal,

Seek the liberation of the day,

And love;

Live with open hands,

Redeem paychecks to buy seeds;

Plant some trees,

So that our offspring can breathe again;

Cultivate the revolution,

The insurrection resurrection;

Pacify the violent;

Turn over the soil;

Plant an urban garden in Camden;

Pick up trash in the park;

Recycle;
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Many Christians do not realize that the Church has traditionally celebrated Easter, not just as a one day holiday but as a season that stretches from Easter Sunday to Pentecost.  The season of Easter presents a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus.   We’ve selected several recent books on these themes for you to consider during this Easter season.


Recommended Reading for the Easter Season:

829559: Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up In Christ Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up In Christ

By Eugene H. Peterson / Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

$17.99 – Save 25%!!!

The fifth and final book in Peterson’s best-selling Conversations in Spiritual Theology, discusses Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, urging readers make Christian character to the centerpiece of their lives. New birth in Christ is essential, notes Peterson, yet the American church does not treat Christian growth and the formation of character with equivalent urgency. Practice Resurrection strikes at the heart of healthy Christian formation by using the voice of Scripture to guide us into the fullness of Christian maturity.

697013: Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter

By Daniel A. Smith / Fortress Press

$21.99  – Save 24%!!!

What do the Gospels and Paul’s letters actually say about Jesus’ resurrection? How should we understand the meaning of the empty tomb? What do Jesus’ encounters with his disciples after his death suggest? How is his disappearance linked to his future role? A careful, nuanced synthesis of this vital, perplexing topic. 192 pages, hardcover. Fortress.

838486: The Challenge of Easter The Challenge of Easter

By N.T. Wright / IVP Books

$3.99

Lost among the colored eggs and chocolate candies is Easter’s bold, almost unbelievable claim: Jesus has risen from the dead, and now everything is different.

Bestselling author N.T. Wright looks at Easter in its earliest context, where a band of followers discovered the fulfillment of all the promises God had made to their people over the centuries. The announcement of a new era unsettled their friends and scandalized their oppressors. That era extends to our day, where to celebrate Easter is to live as though God is among us, making everything new.

825332: We Believe in the Crucified and Risen Lord We Believe in the Crucified and Risen Lord

By Mark J. Edwards, ed. / IVP Academic

$34.99 – Save 30%!!!

This commentary offers unique access to the doctrines and beliefs of the church’s earliest theologians. As such, it provides a rare tool for scholars and laypersons-immediate access to the relevant writing on a specific topic in the Church Fathers. Taking its title from the Nicene Creed, this volume, We believe in the Crucified and Risen Lord, covers primary source treatments of the doctrine of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The commentary follows the creed phrase for phrase, as gives extensive commentary on each phrase from a diverse group of early Christians ranging from Justin Martyr to Gregory of Nazianzus, and from such well known authors as Augustine, to the very obscure such as Arnobius of Sicca.

 

Just in time for Easter, here are two excellent videos of NT Wright discussing the importance of the resurrection of Christ for the Christian faith.  We will be running a review of Wright’s newest book After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, in our next issue due out this Friday.

Also, there is less than a week left to enter our Easter N.T. Wright Book Giveaway (with over $250 of N.T. Wright books to be given away as prizes!). If you have not yet entered, you will want to do so soon!




 

Leave More Tracks Than Necessary

A Review of
Practice Resurrection:
A Conversation on
Growing Up in Christ.
by Eugene Peterson.

Reviewed by Ragan Sutterfield.


Practice Resurrection:
A Conversation on
Growing Up in Christ.
Eugene Peterson.
Hardback: Eerdmans, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Eugene Peterson - Practice ResurectionLooking at the church today we may well wonder what God was thinking.  Our congregations are filled with lax believers, pulled by the world, this way and that.  Looking around at the group of people filling the pews on a Sunday morning we think, surely this isn’t what God had in mind.  If only we could be like the early Church, we say, when Christianity was vibrant and authentic and not nearly so lazy and messy.

Eugene Peterson’s new book, Practice Resurrection, answers exactly these sorts of concerns and he does it by wiping away any of our ideas about some authentic, pure Christianity in the early church.  His task is to show us what it means to grow up in Christ, in the churches we have, and his guide for how we do this is Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.  The question is how Paul could say such grand things about the work of the Holy Spirit in that Ephesus when the church was clearly a mess?  “Obviously, the church is not an ideal community that everyone takes one look at and asks, ‘How do I get in?’” Peterson writes, “Clearly, the church is not making much headway in eliminating what is wrong in the world and making everything right.  So what’s left?”  What, indeed.

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