Books

Lisa Caton 1-06-2015

How Maps Change Things. Woodlake. 

Duane Shank 1-06-2015

Short Stories by Jesus. HarperOne. 

Julienne Gage 12-09-2014

With a Little Help from Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older. Vanderbilt University Press. 

Ryan Herring 12-09-2014

Black Prophetic Fire. Beacon Press. 

Diverse books mark the 100th birthday of the great mystic and writer Thomas Merton. 

David P. Gushee 12-08-2014

Five books that are changing the evangelical discussion about LGBT Christians and the church. 

I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations With Truth and Love. IVP Books. 

Rosalie G. Riegle 11-06-2014

Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest. Cascade Books. 

Molly Marsh 11-06-2014

A Path Appears. Knopf Publishing. 

Jenna Barnett 11-06-2014

Radical Spirituality: Repentance, Resistance, Revoluton by Jason Storbakken / Dorothy Day for Armchair Theologians by Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty / Rich Hill directed and produced by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo  / Black Bear by Andrew Belle 

 

Timothy King 10-24-2014

It was in my senior year of high school that I began to lose my faith in Scripture.

Then, my first year of college I read the entire Bible, cover to cover, and that pretty much destroyed what confidence I had left.

The Bible, I discovered, was full of polygamy, incest, murder, rape, genocide, adulterers, inconsistencies, impossibilities, and a whole bunch of screwed-up people who never seemed to get anything right.

The more I studied the “perfect” word of God, the more I expected that doctrine would become clear and consistent, the authors exemplary, and the stories contain distinct and readily discernible meanings.

When I read, I found I had more questions than answers, concerns than affirmations, and was more likely to feel disrupted than tranquil.

I almost gave up entirely.

Christian Piatt 10-23-2014

Disquiet Time. Photo via Christian Piatt.

I was asked to contribute a chapter to a new book called Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels. The volume, an edited compilation put together by Cathleen Falsani and Jennifer Grant, takes on many of the weird texts in scripture that we either gloss over or completely ignore because they’re just too … well, weird.

Of course there are plenty of spiritual oddballs to choose from, but as soon as I got the invite, I knew I wanted to write about the book of Revelation (note that there is not “S” at the end; there is no such book as Revelationsssssssss in the Bible). Suffice it to say that my relationship with the last book in the bible is a little bit complicated. In fact, it ruined my potential career as a lifetime Baptist. A number of you may have heard bits or pieces of the story about how I got kicked out of church as a teenager, but may not know all the details.

Well kids, you can blame it all on one freaky Bible book, one intransigent teenager and a floppy-Bible-wielding youth minister. But although the experience pushed me out of church for a solid decade, it didn’t forever ruin my search for the divine. But this particular story isn’t about that. It’s about how I got one particular youth minister so red-faced and flustered that he cussed me out and almost hit me square in the noggin with the Good Book.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson spoke at Union Seminary in March 2014. Photo by Kristen Scharold/RNS.

What are you afraid of? That’s what Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson asks writers who shy away from writing about faith.

The beloved author has won accolades after writing so openly about belief, but it remains a subject few other writers take on.

“It’s courageous of Robinson to write about faith at a time when associations with religion are so often negative and violent,” Diane Johnson wrote in her New York Times review of Robinson’s latest book, Lila, which was released Oct. 7.

Like its predecessors Gilead (2004) and Home (2008), the new novel takes place in a 1950s Iowa town and focuses on minister John Ames and his family. The story is told from the perspective of his wife — and later, widow — Lila.

Robinson has been able reach varied audiences. A member of the liberal United Church of Christ, she is far from holding up ideals put forward by the religious right, but that hasn’t stopped conservative Christians from engaging with her writing. Earlier, she spoke with Religion News Service about guns, gay marriage, and Calvinism.

Before giving an address at Union Theological Seminary last spring, Robinson also spoke about the tensions between faith and writing. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Julie Polter 10-07-2014

Paternal Insights edited by Anderson Campbell / Sing Freedom by Robert F. Darden / In Between by finelinefilms.org / More than Metaphor edited by Shelia E. McGinn, Lai Ling Elizabeth Ngan, and Ahida Calderón Pilarski. 

 

 

 
10-07-2014

Forgive Us, by Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, and Soong-Chan Rah. 

Julienne Gage 10-07-2014

Pilgrimage through Loss: Pathways to Strength and Renewal after the Death of a Child, by Linda Lawrence Hunt. Westminster John Knox Press. 

Driscoll has been an influential but edgy pastor in conservative evangelical circles. Courtesy Mars Hill Church, via Flickr.

The nation’s second largest Christian book retailer has pulled megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll’s books from its website and 186 stores.

Leaders at the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay Christian Resources, informed stores on Friday to stop selling books by the Seattle pastor who has been in hot water.

Last week, leaders of the church planting network Acts 29 removed Driscoll and his churches from the group he helped found and asked that he “step down from ministry for an extended time and seek help.”

Driscoll has been an influential but edgy pastor within conservative evangelical circles for several years. His Mars Hill Church attracts some 14,000 people at 15 locations across five states. He has been provocative, occasionally profane, and has faced allegations of plagiarism and inflating book sales.

The mushrooming set of allegations led the publishing arm to suspend sales while it “monitors the developments of his ministry,” said LifeWay media relations manager Marty King.

“It was a cumulative effect,” King said. “The Acts 29 leadership asking him to step down was certainly a part of that.”

Reggie L. Williams 8-05-2014

Excerpt from Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance, by Reggie L. Williams

Julie Polter 8-05-2014

Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus. IVP Books.

Anne Colamosca 8-05-2014

The Kennan Diaries. W. W. Norton & Company.

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