It’s back-to-school time, and despite all the chaos this year imposed on us by the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s a good time to remember that as disciples of Jesus our schooling never ends.
We are always learning and being formed by our choices and by circumstances thrust upon us. Regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, what are the practices that help keep us focused on the compassionate and just way of Jesus? These 40 recent books on discipleship and formation (published within the last three years or so) help us to wrestle with this question that lies at the heart of our Christian identity. Not all of these books will be relevant to every reader, but hopefully you will find one or two good books here to read or re-read as you (and the sisters and brothers of your church) press deeper in the coming year into the abundant life of Christ.
[ TOP 10 – Part 1 ] [ Top 10 – Part 2 ] [ Slowing Down ] [ Prayer ] [ Formed Together in Church ] [ Renewing Our Minds ] [ Other Practices ] [ Staying Focused ]
Page 7: Other Spiritual Practices
(In Alphabetical Order by Author’s Last Name)
Part theology, part history, part field guide, God Walk explores walking as spiritual formation, walking as healing, walking as exercise, walking as prayer, walking as pilgrimage, suffering, friendship, and attentiveness. It is a book about being alongside the God who, incarnate in Jesus, turns to us as he passes by–always on foot–and says simply, “Come, follow me.”
Grace Ji-Sun Kim and
We live in conflicted times. Our newsfeeds are filled with inequality, division, and fear. We want to make a difference and see justice restored because Jesus calls us to be a peacemaking and reconciling people. But how do we do this? Based on their work with diverse churches, colleges, and other organizations, Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Graham Hill offer Christian practices that can bring healing and hope to a broken world. They provide ten ways to transform society, from lament and repentance to relinquishing power, reinforcing agency, and more.
Can you imagine a God who dances with shouts of joy, laughs when you laugh, loves to play, enjoys life, and invites us to join the fun? Like many of us, Christine Sine had spent many years with an image of God who was “a very serious, workaholic type of God.” And even when her theology told her this was not true, she struggled to live into this new way of thinking. What she needed was a childlike spirituality.
What if our memories are like shells we gather on a beach? According to pastor and spiritual director Casey Tygrett, “We―and all those who have come before us―pick up the experience and we sense it: we feel its edges, notice its color, we smell the distinctive character (for shells it is the sickly seafood salt smell) of the experience and we try to make sense of what it is. Is it beautiful? How would you describe the color―the tones, the shades, wrapped around the ridges and swirls? Has it been damaged? Does the hard edge scrape our hand, leaving a blemish or a mark?” How we hold and carry these memories―good and bad―is a part of what forms us spiritually.
Most believers live in the state of “being a Christian” without ever being deeply formed by Christ. Our pace is too frenetic to be in union with God, and we don’t know how to quiet our hearts and minds to be present. Our emotions are unhealthy and compartmentalized. We feel unable to love well or live differently from the rest of the world—to live as people of the good news. New York pastor Rich Villodas says we must restore balance, focus, and meaning for our souls. The Deeply Formed Life lays out a fresh vision for spiritual breakthrough.
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"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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