Archives For Todd Hunter

 

Todd Hunter - Our Favorite SinsLoving Desire, Desiring Love

A Feature Review of

Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit And How You Can Quit

Todd Hunter

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Seth Forwood

Our Favorite Sins is the newest book from former Vineyard pastor now Anglican bishop, Todd Hunter.  Hunter’s past in evangelicalism and high church conversion provide a good picture of what one should expect from his book on temptation – an evangelical heart with the blood of liturgy, sacrament and ancient prayers flowing through it.  He relies heavily on both Barna Group research and ancient wisdom and practices to address the issue of temptation.  This results in a tension that pulls the book in odd directions.

Continue Reading…

 

“For Those Who Have Tried Church
And Found it Wanting”

A Review of
Giving Church Another Chance:
Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices.

by
Todd Hunter.

Reviewed by Jeff Romack.


Giving Church Another Chance:
Finding New Meaning in Spiritual Practices.

Todd Hunter.

Hardback: IVP Books, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Todd Hunter - GIVING CHURCH ANOTHER CHANCEGiving Church Another Chance is a book, according to author, Todd Hunter, “for everyone who has tried church and found it wanting, but somewhere deep within they still desire a spiritual life in the way of Jesus.”  If his publisher has a solid marketing plan they could do quite well considering the size of the target market.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  Actually, they have their work cut out for them considering the number of recent books in the genre of spiritual practices and/or the genre of ‘they love Jesus but not the church.’  Still, the number of people who have tried church and found it wanting must be enormous and growing larger each week if you believe the word on the street.

Hunter has written for us a book intended to stimulate our thinking toward fresh vision for what he terms the repracticing of traditional forms associated with the church.  A worthy introduction counsels us that repracticing the familiar forms is not an end in itself but best understood as a key move in forming and empowering us for the sake of God’s purposes through us and for the world. So far so good. Hunter’s mindset is missional and his concern that people be brought to faith and discipled is clear.  He, by his own admission, is not emerging, describing the theology of the emerging church as “fuzzy” and the concern for evangelism as limited.  Hunter comes across as a generous evangelical that has landed in the Anglican Mission in the Americas (related to the Anglican Province of Rwanda), at least for this part of his journey, and wants to tell us how it works for him and how it might work, perhaps, for you and me.

Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of  What Is Church? A Story of Transition.

by Mike Bishop

Reviewed by Jason Evans.

What Is Church? A Story of Transition.

Mike Bishop.

Paperback: Missio Dei Books, 2009.

Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

In the introduction to his first book, What Is Church? A Story of Transition, Mike Bishop writes, “The purpose of this book is not to try to answer that question in an academic sense. Nor is it an attempt to present a model for doing church…”

Well, geez, Mike! What is left for there to tell us, then!? I said.

But as I read on, I found a sobering, transparent tale of the journey one faith community made towards trying to get to the core of what it means to follow Jesus together. That is, afterall, what being the church is supposed to be about, right?

Like the early Anabaptists, Mike and his faith community seem to have a propensity for saying, “Let’s follow this age-old conviction to it’s logical conclusion in how we meet and live. No matter what it costs us.” Like he says, this isn’t an academic book such as John Yoder’s Body Politics. But it often reads like Yoder’s book applied. And a lot easier to read!

Don’t get me wrong, Mike does not call himself an Anabaptist. In fact, he speaks frequently of his evangelical Christian commitments and roots to the Vineyard movement. Which might be another reason why this book is so intriguing: he spends a lot of time not just asking what church is but questioning most modern, evangelical assumptions about church. In this regard, What Is Church? reads like David Fitch’s The Great Giveaway but again, applied in a particular context. And a lot more pithy!

It is clear from the book that Mike is a student of Todd Hunter’s. Hunter is the former executive director of Vineyard Church USA, is mentioned often in the book and wrote the foreword. He is known for his easy going, plain speaking way of communication. Mike’s writing has much of the same style. What Is Church? is approachable and enjoyable to read.

I consider Mike to be a friend and I have similar roots. So, decided to challenge my bias. I gave this book to my Roman Catholic lesbian neighbor to see what she thought. She loved it just as much as I did. I’m not sure what that says to you about the book. But I would encourage you to pick it up and judge for yourself.

 

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  No where is that more true than in this wonderful little book by Jonas Bendiksen called The Places We Live (Aperture 2008).  Prepare to be drawn into a world and a reality that is far from our own.

             At the end of this past century, it was estimated that close to a billion people lived in the world’s slums.  It is also thought that by the middle of this next century those numbers could easily double.  The Places We Live takes us on an unforgettable journey outside the bustling cities Caracas, Nairobi, Mumbai and Jakarta giving us an incredible glimpse into the hearts and minds of those who inhabit the slums and shanty towns that are growing by the day outside of so many of our world’s cities.  “The common perception of slums as locations of poverty, squalor, destitution insecurity and danger tells one part of the story—but there are also stories of enterprising, hardworking slum denizens. Life in a shantytown is full of challenges and hardship, but shanties are homes, where conversations take place over dinner, kids do homework and neighbors live next door.”   The photography in this little book is amazing and the stories captivating; we find here a broader global perspective that we desperately need.  (L. Benjamin)

There are very few books that explore the relevance of the historical books of the Old Testament for our present world (one exception that comes to mind is Jacques Ellul’s The Politics of God and the The Politics of Man).  Daniel Berrigan’s recent book The Kings and Their Gods (Eerdmans 2008), however, is exactly this sort of book.  Berrigan works his way through the biblical books of I and II Kings, reflecting on the text and commenting on the meaning of the text in the present age.  Introducing the book, Berrigan summarizes his approach: “In sum, we are offered in the books of Judges, Samuel, Kings and Maccabees a diagnosis of the pathology of power.  Thus is implied a biblical anthropology, a biblical version of the human, conveyed in a stark ‘via negativa’” (6).  There is much we can learn here about our American lusts for power and Berrigan is an ideal prophet to speak these truths to us.  (C. Smith)


Todd Hunter’s new book Christianity Beyond Belief: Following Jesus for The Sake of Others ( IVP Books, 2009) is refreshing in the theology that it offers us.  Hunter offers a new and corrective view of the Christian faith for those who are dissatisfied with evangelicalism.  Hunter offers what I believe are some essential critiques (e.g., chapters addressing “What if you knew you were going to live tomorrow?: The problem of getting ‘Saved’” or “The Role of the Church: Jesus is not just your personal savior”) but he does so in a gentle and engaging way.  He depicts the Church in terms of four facets:

  • Cooperative Friends of Jesus
  • Living in Creative Goodness
  • For the Sake of Others
  • Through the Power of the Holy Spirit.

My only disappointment, and it is a relatively small one, is that the thrust of all this excellent theological framework is driving toward a programmatic solution, what Hunter calls “Three is Enough” groups.  Maybe this sort of direction is what the primary audience of this book expects or needs, but in my experience, programs — however well-intentioned — never seem to be sustainable in what they set out to do.  Take the last chapter and the appendix on “Three is Enough” groups with a grain of salt and this is an excellent book, that I pray will find a wide audience in evangelical churches.  (C. Smith)

THE PLACES WE LIVE.
Jonas Bendiksen.

Hardcover: Aperture, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $33 ]   [ Amazon ]

 

THE KINGS AND THEIR GODS:
THE PATHOLOGY OF POWER.

Daniel Berrigan.

Paperback: Eeerdmans, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $17 ]   [ Amazon ]

 

CHRISTIANITY BEYOND BELIEF:
FOLLOWING JESUS FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS.

Todd Hunter.
Hardcover: IVP Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $18 ]   [ Amazon ]