Books

Julie Polter 8-05-2014

Accidental Theologians by Elizabeth A. Dreyer / Extending the Table by Mennonite Central Committee / Overrated by Eugene Cho / Burning Down the House by Nell Bernstein

7-21-2014
Dean Nelson, the prose editor, is the founder and director of the journalism program at PLNU (Point Loma Nazarene University) who writes occasionally for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Christianity Today, Sojourners and other national publications and has co-written 11 books.
Brian Truitt 7-17-2014

World’s top exorcists form a supergroup in “The Devilers.” Image courtesy Matt Triano/Dynamite Entertainment

There’s never a better time for a bunch of holy avengers than when all hell actually breaks loose.

The Dynamite Entertainment series The Devilers debuts Wednesday as an action-packed supernatural comic book full of demonic beasties, big-picture philosophies, and heroes that have to put religious differences aside in order to save Vatican City – and the world – from being turned into brimstone.

“When suddenly it’s ‘Oh that is a giant hellmouth that opened up in front of me,’ that changes your beliefs,” said series writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker, The Life After), who’s doing the The Devilers alongside artist Matt Triano.

Rosalie G. Riegle 7-09-2014

Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom. W.W. Norton and Company.

Andrew Wilkes 7-09-2014

Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World. IVP Books.

Jennifer Moon 7-09-2014

Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy, and Human Flourishing. The Crossroad Publishing Company.

6-09-2014
Now that he’s just about finished promoting his environmentally conscious movie about a Flood that wiped out most of the world’s population in the distant past, Darren Aronofsky has signed on to produce an environmentally conscious HBO series about a “Waterless Flood” — actually a pandemic brought about by genetic engineering — that wipes out most of the world’s population in the near future.

Lifechurch.tv pastor Craig Groeschel has been accused of plagiarizing writer Danny Murphy. Photo courtesy Lifechurch.tv

Thou shalt not steal another pastor’s sermon?

Recent cases of high-profile pastors who have been accused of lifting others’ material are raising questions about whether pulpit plagiarism is on the rise — and whether it has become a more forgivable sin.

Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll was accused last year of plagiarism in material he wrote with Tyndale House Publishers and InterVarsity Press. “Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for,” Driscoll said in a statement. Most recently, popular Oklahoma City-based megachurch pastor Craig Groeschel has been accused of plagiarizing the work of writer and comedian Danny Murphy.

Groeschel is the pastor of Lifechurch.tv, a tech-savvy megachurch founded in 1996 that has quickly grown to one of the nation’s largest churches, with 80 weekly “worship experiences” across 19 campuses in five states.

On his blog, Murphy suggested Groeschel used material that Murphy wrote in the now-defunct magazine The Door in 2000. The material was later used by Groeschel in a sermon and in a book now titled Love, Sex, and Happily Ever After, printed by Multnomah Books. Murphy’s name never appeared with it.

Julie Polter 6-04-2014

Visions of Vocation by Steven Garber / Anicent Sufi Invocations and Forgotten Songs from Aleppo by NAWA / Invisible Hands by Corinne Goria / Jacob's Choice by Ervin R. Stutzman

 

 

Christian Piatt 5-20-2014

There’s a place in the cultural conversation for both friars and fools, for those who discern truth through contemplation and prayer, as well as those who seek to reveal it through satire and silliness. But it’s not every day that both come together for substantive (if not always serious) theological conversation.

Aric Clark, Nick Larson, and Doug Hagler, also known online as Two Friars and a Fool, host such conversations on their blog and podcast about theology and spiritual practice, sexuality, and popular culture. They recently combined forces as well for their first book, Never Pray Again: Lift Your Head, Unfold Your Hands and Get to Work. The intentionally provocative title emphasizes the need for Christians to get outside of our own heads and churches, and about the business of being the hands and feet of Jesus in a world in need.

I chatted with the trio recently about their new project, as well as the “Never Pray Again” coloring book, which they crowd funded through a recently successful Kickstarter campaign.

 

5-19-2014
Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College and received his DMin from Chicago Theological Seminary, and MDiv from Yale Divinity School. Moss has been featured in EBONY and Sojourners magazines and is a blogger for Huffington Post. With his father, the Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., he wrote “Preach! The Power and Purpose behind Our Praise.” Moss is married and has two children. Order from UCC Resources www.uccresources.com, your local bookseller, or Amazon.com. “The Gos- pel According to The Wiz And Other Sermons from Cinema” by Otis Moss III / ISBN 978-0-8298-1991-5 / 160pp / Paper / $17.

“Kosher Lust” book cover photo courtesy of Rubenstein PR

Celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, spiritual counselor to Michael Jackson, onetime Republican candidate for Congress, and author of the best-selling “Kosher Sex” and “Kosher Jesus,” has a new book for Jews and non-Jews alike: “Kosher Lust.”

Its provocative subtitle: “Love Is Not the Answer.”

The answer, Boteach says, is lust, the God-given fuel for a healthy marriage. Love, he argues, cannot sustain marriage, but lust — what he calls the unfairly maligned member of the Seven Deadly Sins — can.

Christian Piatt 5-13-2014

One phrase comes to mind, time and again, when I think of Frank Schaeffer: “THINK AGAIN.” Any time I think I have a handle on things theological, he seems to find the thread, hanging from the edges, and gives it a good, solid yank.

Such is the case once again with his newest book, Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to give love, create beauty and find peace. Just when it seems the delineations between theism and atheism, between believers and nonbelievers, is sufficiently clear, Schaeffer blurs even those lines, leaving us to wonder what it is any of us actually believes and why.

Frank Schaeffer is not one to deconstruct theology (or even the lack thereof) with some kind of sadistic joy, leaving us to sort through the pieces. Rather he explores what I might call trans-theism, offering us practices, a vocabulary, and a worldview that take us far beyond belief toward a deeply human – and yet inexplicably transcendent – experience.

I asked Frank several questions about his new project; here is what he had to say.

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

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Marilynne Robinson draws a wide fan base that spans lovers of serious literature, including many conservative Christians. This fall, she will release “Lila,” a follow-up to her earlier novels “Gilead” (2004) and “Home” (2008) about a 1950s-era Iowa town that won her many accolades.

Robinson’s diverse fan base was described in The American Conservative as “Christian, not Conservative.” As the author noted, Robinson is far from holding up ideals put forward by the religious right. But that doesn’t stop conservative Christians from engaging with her writing.

Before giving an address at Union Theological Seminary this spring, Robinson spoke to Religion News Service about a variety of social issues. In the interview, Robinson explained why she thinks Christians are fearful, why she loves theologian John Calvin and whether she’ll join Twitter. 

Barry K. Morris 5-09-2014

The Earth Manifesto: Saving Nature with Engaged Ecology, by David Tracey
A Political Theology of Climate Change, by Michael S. Northcott

Julie Polter 5-09-2014

Her Next Chapter by Chicago Review Press / A Shimmer of Something by Liturgical Press / The New Parish by IVP Books / A Permeable Life by Available Light

4-07-2014
Select titles from the Religion Nonfiction finalists are: Boring by Michael Kelley (B&H Books); Consider the Birds by Debbie Blue (Abingdon Press);On God's Side by Jim Wallis (Brazos Press/Baker Publishing Group); Playing God by Andy Crouch (IVP Books); Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear (B&H Books); and The Good Funeral by Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch (Westminster John Knox Press).
Elizabeth Gerhardt 4-03-2014

The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and GIrls, by Elizabeth Gerhardt

Duane Shank 4-03-2014

Pacifists in Chains: The Persecution of Hutterites During the Great War. Johns Hopkins University Press

Gareth Higgins 4-03-2014

James Patterson has pioneered something beautiful in the world of books and will be remembered for it.

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