Archives For Shalom

 

An excerpt from the new book

Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision.

Randy Woodley

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

Watch for our review of this great new book in the near future!






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“Built-in Opportunities for
Human Relationships, Health, and Flourishing

A Review of
Cities for People.

Jan Gehl.

Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.


Cities for People.
Jan Gehl.
Hardback: Island Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

In a city like mine, a story which is typical of many US cities has happened: built over the last 200 years, emptied out since the 1960s, and now making a few steps to revitalize the health of what makes cities great; there are hopeful moves of homes rehabbed and occupied, small businesses open, narrow bike stripes painted. And like other cities, we’ve gotten on board with the ‘greening’ of the city – thousands of new trees, some green roofs and rainwater collectors, and small but productive gardens.

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“Trauma and its Far-Reaching Consequences

A review of
Outsmarting Yourself:
Catching Your Past Invading the Present
and What to Do About It

by Karl Lehman, M.D.

Review by Jasmine Wilson.


Outsmarting Yourself - Karl LehmanOutsmarting Yourself:
Catching Your Past
Invading the Present
and What to Do About It

Karl Lehman, M.D.
Paperback: This JOY! Books, 2011.
Buy now:
[ OutsmartingYourself.org ]

I had the privilege of meeting Karl Lehman this summer and being mentored by his wife, Charlotte. Being in the community where the two of them work on the methods Dr. Lehman describes in his book, it was apparent to me how influential his theories and practices were in the lives of those in the church community.

Dr. Lehman’s work begins with the notion of trauma, but he explains trauma is not caused just by incidents like hurricanes or military combat. Instead, trauma can be caused even by minor painful experiences. For example, one of Charlotte’s memories from her childhood was when a fifth grade boy kept saying boys are better than girls. Seems like a small thing at the time, but when an experience like that is internalized, it can cause latent trauma that an individual might not even recognize. These internalized experiences can then be “triggered” by present events: “When something in the present triggers a traumatic memory, the unresolved content from the trauma… will come forward as ‘invisible’ implicit memory that feels true and valid in the present.”

As I read Lehman’s book, I began to think back particularly on all the negative interpersonal interactions I’ve had in the past few years, and recognizing how in certain situations I had been triggered, and I was directing my anger and frustration toward a person from my past at the person I was arguing with in the present.

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MAKING HEALTHY PLACES A Review of

Making Healthy Places:
Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability.

Dannenberg, Jackson and Frumkin, eds.
Paperback: Island Press, 2011.
Buy now : [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

[ Read an excerpt from this book ]


Making Healthy Places is a superb collection of essays that explores how neighbors can work together in a variety of crucial ways to seek the health and well-being of their places.  Richard Jackson observes in the book’s preface that:

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An excerpt from

Making Healthy Places:
Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability.

Dannenberg, Jackson and Frumkin, eds.
Paperback: Island Press, 2011.
Buy now : [ Amazon ]

Read our review above

 

“Good Things Come to Those Who Sit

A review of
God in the Yard:
Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us.

By L. L. Barkat.


Reviewed by Denise Frame Harlan.


God in the Yard: Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us.
L. L. Barkat.
Paperback: T.S. Poetry Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

“ …we disquiet our minds by I don’t know how many devices;
we give ourselves a world of trouble…to attain a sense of the Presence of God.”
Brother Lawrence, as quoted by L. L. Barkat

GOD IN THE YARD - L.L. Barkat“There’s a part of me that feels pinched in this life,” L.L.Barkat says in God in the Yard: Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us. She remembers finding solace in the woods, to help her survive a difficult childhood. But she doesn’t live near the woods in her adult life. She craves a pilgrimage, citing Annie Dillard’s life-changing journey to the Galapagos—but the pilgrimage Barkat finds begins on a red plastic sled going nowhere, in an unkempt urban backyard. She sits. Perhaps she chooses the sled because she is just that desperate. She proposes a spiritual practice for those who need respite—for people who feel busy and a little crushed. For people like me.

My church school classroom houses a 30-foot long history of the Jewish people. Each time we unroll the timeline, I note how much biblical history passed before the written word, before written scripture was available to the common person. How did they worship, before these stories could be read from a page? They built altars from the stones they found, as a way to say thanks to God, and they talked through the stories by firelight, under the open sky.

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“Dance, Rise, Chew, and Swallow

A review of
Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ

By Marcia W. Mount Shoop


Reviewed by Angela Adams.

Let the Bones Dance:
Embodiment and the Body of Christ

Marcia Mount Shoop.
Paperback: WJK Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Let the Bones Dance - Marcia Mount Shoop.Let the Bones Dance is based on Marcia Mount Shoop’s premise that the body is ignored in and exiled from Reformed spiritual experience because “the body is a liability, a conspirator in our fallenness” (2). As an overweight woman over 30 struggling with infertility, the idea of the body as liability is nothing new to me. More often than not –in social situations, in the business world, at baby showers – I try my damnedest to prove my worth based on the value of my intellect, my acerbic wit, and my spirit; that is, I try to convince myself and the world to ignore all of this extra flesh. Frankly, I’ve taken some comfort in the fact that church has been the one place where I can check my body at the door. And now Shoop’s gone and screwed up my coping mechanism.

See, Shoop sees it as a problem, a dis-ease, that within church walls we usually relate to our bodies in terms of pain and disease that need healing or weaknesses and lusts we need deliverance from, forgetting that Christ came to us complete with vertebrae, hunger pains, and feet that were probably desperately in need of a good pedicure with all the walking and dirt and dust. Shoop believes this dis-ease does none of us any favors because it cements our own negative opinions of our bodies and prohibits us from healing.

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The 911 Campaign for the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

By Shane Claiborne / Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.
26 August 2009

As we remember the eighth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, we join our voices with the psalmist in a cry of lament: “How long, O Lord, until Abel’s blood stops crying, until justice rolls down like waters, until the lion can lay down with the lamb in a restored creation?” We lament the violence suffered by 9/11 victims and their families. And we lament the violence that people in Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered these past eight years. We cry out against the violence, and we want to act now for peace.

A couple of decades ago our brother Ron Sider made the following statement: “Making peace is as costly as waging war. Unless we are prepared to pay the cost of peacemaking, we have no right to claim the label or preach the message.” Before long the Christian Peacemaker Teams was born. CPT has been interrupting injustice and respectfully partnering with local nonviolent movements in some of the toughest corners on the planet for years. CPTers radiate the sort of courage and imagination we need if we are to expect folks to take our cross seriously in a world riddled with terror and smart bombs. For this reason, many of us have joined delegations like the one we went to Iraq with in March of 2003.

This sort of Christian “witness” is marked by the truth at the center of the Christian message – greater love has no one than those who are willing to lay down their lives for others. There is something worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for. No doubt, CPT is a new face of global missions in a world of omnipresent war—a witness to the God that loves evildoers so much he died for them, for us. These days, the cross presents a beautiful alternative to the sword. Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of Restorative Commons:
Creating Health and Well-Being Through Urban Landscapes.

Lindsay Campbell and Anne Wiesen, editors.

Get this book for FREE from the US Forest Service!!!
(Print version or PDF e-book)

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

On one hand, Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-Being Through Urban Landscapes is the proceedings of the Meristem 2007 Forum and is published as “General Technical Report” of the US Forest Service.  But wait, before you write this book off, allow me to add that this book is typical of neither conference proceedings nor government technical reports.  Printed in full color, laid out with an edgy design and illustrated throughout with a host of photographs, Restorative Commonsis not only a beautiful book but also is written in a very engaging style and draws its readers into a conversation about how the landscape of cities can be redeemed.  Considering that we are called to be people marked by God’s shalom (health and wholeness) and considering the scriptural image that we are given of the New Jerusalem – in which all has been reconciled – as a city lined with trees (Rev. 22), this book promises to be of great interest to urban Christians.  Restorative Commons starts with three diverse essays that offer the “theory” behind this vision of restored urban landscapes.  Don’t let the term “theory” fool you, however, as these pieces are written in plain language and frame the conversation from the perspectives of history, psychology and urban planning.  The next section includes two “thought pieces” which again are engaging and serve to introduce the areas of green building and green infrastructure (landscaping, gardens, etc.) respectively.  The latter half of the book is narrative and serves to flesh out through stories and interviews the ideology offered in the first half of the book.  The interviews with practitioners, albeit brief, are perhaps the highlight of the book.  This book is a fabulous resource for seeding the imagination of urban churches who desire to seek the shalom of the particular places in which they find themselves.  From starting community gardens to promoting green buildings to participating in conversations about how public spaces should be planned and used, this book is an excellent resource for introducing these conversations and for making a case from the place of ecological health and well-being that such endeavors are well worth our attention and energy.  And if this book were cake, the icing would be its price tag; it is being made available for free in both printed format and PDF e-book thanks to our federal tax dollars hard at work.  Click here to get your free copy today, and if you are part of an urban church I plead with you to read this book, get others in your congregation to read and discuss it, prayerfully seeking how your church community can engage more deeply in God’s redemptive work in your city!