About July 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Hearts & Minds Books in July 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2014 is the previous archive.

August 2014 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

July 2014 Archives

July 4, 2014

10 Books to Read About Restoring Civility -- ON SALE at Hearts & Minds' BookNotes

Those who spend much time on Facebook or watching TV news shows are surely aware of the hostility that continues nearly unabated in our often uncivil public debates. The Supreme Court decision about RFRA,  Hobby Lobby and the Hahn family's Mennonite wood business has generated so much nasty comment and ridiculous accusations that I found myself in painful, draining, conversations with folks less about the substance of the decisions but about the tone and style of our public discourse. I know that I've failed to be gracious in public debates and in my own writing at times, but am amazed at how mean-spirited some people are.

My friends on the left might be surprised when I say that some of their spokespeople tend to be as bad in the vitriol department as the notorious loud-mouths at Fox News.  Conservatives who have made a cottage industry documenting the ugliness of the left seem to be tone-deaf to how negative and aggressive they themselves sound.


angry-mob2.jpg

While thoughtful voices and serious arguments worth considering are found in respectable journals that represent various stops on the political spectrum, too many people on Facebook or call-in shows just vent their spleens with inane bloviating. This grieves me.  I was reminded again this week how I resonated when I heard one blogger a few years ago saying he was going to be a "conscientious objector in the culture wars."

But yet, I'm not sure that is responsible, and hardly even possible unless one is completely disengaged.

Which reminds me of the last BookNotes post I did, highlighting the DVD series called For the Life of theflow package.jpg World: Letters to the Exiles.  Promoting the artful, big picture overview of patient, missional, "in but not of the world," whole-life discipleship and cultural engagement so graciously presented in that DVD is one good way to counter this ugly tendency.

FLOW (as some at the Acton Institute abbreviate For the Life of the World) offers a delightfully rich and thick view of culture and God's call to steward the various economies and spheres of life, in wonder and joy, with great concern for justice and order, but it refuses to traffic in alarmism or negativity. It is engaged, but nonpartisan. No one who watches even a few of those seven short film experiments will think we who follow Christ are called to anything other than a robust life in and for the world, including living into God's call to justice. Yet, I am hopeful that those who embrace this sort of perspective will be motivated to find alternatives to culture wars and winner-take-all, scorched-Earth political strategies. If, as FLOW suggests, we are inspired by the wonder and grace and goodness of the creation and the holiness of the good God who is disclosed in the story of redemption of the cosmos, few will be content to resort to the sort of shallow and dehumanizing name-calling that I've seen, even from pastors and theologians, this very week.

So, in addition to what I said earlier in the week, here's another good reason to work through this wonderful  FLOW DVD curriculum and the Field Guide: it presents a better way, an alternative to the really awful examples of ugly cultural engagement on offer too often, and a vision that is distinct from the Christian left or religious right, without at all opting for a tepid or overly pious disinterest in the things of Earth.  Isn't that what you long for, what you wish your own faith community could take up?

Having said all that -- my anguish this week about the mean-ness and incivility in our debating, and my hope that the vision offered by For the Life of the World can form among us a different posture and social alternative  --  allow me to offer just a few more resources to help us think about our civility and our commitments to things like our first freedoms as US citizens. (For our international readers I might note that I'm posting this on our celebration of Independence Day, the 4th of July.)

Most of these books I have suggested before, and reviewed them more thoroughly in somecivility poster (humorous).jpg cases.  If you are as burdened as I am about the caustic tones and bad arguments so prevalent these days, I trust you will appreciate this list. As with anything else, there are skills and attitudes to be learned, habits and values that under-gird skills of good thinking and fair debate and respectful discourse. We need to deepen the craft of clarifying one's views, thinking through the implications of one's convictions, and nurture the virtue and character of being the kind of person that respects others and even is willing to learn from those with whom one disagrees.  Call this, at least, open-mindedness and humility. Remember to be kind.  Stand up for others.  Love our enemies, including those you disapprove of.  We can learn to "speak the truth in love" and to disagree without being disagreeable.

Here are ten resources that we think will help. Maybe those who need them most won't buy them, but you can, and you can share their insight and contribute to a conversation about public manners, at least, and forms of civic life that enhance dialogue, freedom, and, as Parker Palmer puts it, "a politics worthy of the human spirit."

Uuncommon decency.jpgncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World Richard Mouw (IVP) $16.00  I have often said that this is one of my all-time favorite books, and it is a splendid little resource, thoughtful, informative, deeply theological and yet delightfully accessible. It has profound meat on the bones, and will help you be formed in the virtues demanded by the call to Christ-like cultural engagement. There are good and important insights here, and a wise, balanced framework for thinking about disagreements - religious, political, philosophical. I like Rich Mouw's impulse (shown in most of his many good books) to ponder other views by saying "on the other hand..." But there is also the chapter called "When There Is No Other Hand." This is not a schoolmarm scolding us about bad manners, promoting milk-toast moderation, but offers a robust public theology worked out with thoughtful etiquette and respect. This is so good!

Ssaving civility.jpgaving Civility: 52 Ways to Tame Rude, Crude & Attitude for a Polite Planet Sara Hacala (Skylight Paths) $16.99  Tasteless and tactless behavior is on the rise, so I thought I would list a book that is not rooted intentionally in a Christian perspective but is written by a consultant and speaker who works in business, schools, among non-profits and others who works in this field of resisting incivility. She goes beyond a superficial discussion of proper manners to new protocols and practices. As it says on the back cover, Hacala "taps the wisdom of ancient spiritual luminaries as well as the latest social science research" as she "presents civility as a mind-set that encompasses values and attitudes that help us embrace connections to others and help repair society." Fifty-two practical ways are suggested showing how to reverse the course of our current cultural tone.

Ii beg.jpg Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love Tim Muehlhoff (IVP) $15.00 This splendid book gets as practical as can be in what I think is an extraordinarily useful resource.  Most of us, I think, believe ourselves to be agreeable and pleasant. Yet, as the internet has reminded me this week, there are just terrible knee-jerk instincts that kick in during times of controversy and even leaders who should know better seem ill-prepared to handle conflict very well.  I am pretty conflict averse and realize that I've got much to learn.  How about you? I've read several books on arguing well, on civil disagreements, and on conflict management, and this is one of the best. It is informed by good psychology, solid theology, a fine attitude and good writing skills. Muehlhoff is a communications expert and brings good insights from Scripture and communication theory.  I think every church should have this available in the church library or resource room and every pastor or ministry leader should have one to loan out, since we all face conflict and need help learning how to do conflict well.

Ppeace cat.jpgeace Catalysts: Resolving Conflict in Our Families, Organizations and Communities  Rick Love (IVP) $15.00  I have mentioned Rick Love before, a courageous, Spirit-filled former missionary who, in his conversations and relationships with Muslims (including some very strict and even hostile ones) grew to not only love them, but to move increasingly to be interested in global peace-making, bridge-building, conflict-resolution and the like. This backstory has equipped him to learn remarkably well profound skills that we can now all learn about. This is a very good book on conflict and includes extraordinary stories of God's work as we attempt to be a peace with others. This is very impressive stuff.  Thanks be to God for this peace-maker who has had global experiences and invites us all to this great adventure, following Christ into the world.

Hhealing the heart of demo.jpgealing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit  Parker J. Palmer (Jossey-Bass) $24.95  I recall doing a review of this when it first came out a few years ago, sharing how very glad I was that this deep Quaker leader was able to bring his experience in building community, circles of conversation and heart-felt sharing to bear on how we could find ways for local conversation, civil society, and good, respectful debate, face to face, in our local communities. We are in an era (have we ever not been?) of deep divisions and here he gives us tools to take "we the people" seriously.  Palmer wrote a very early book called The Company of Strangers which was about civic life and the spirituality of our lives as citizens, so this is no new terrain for him.  I like this quote by Congressman John Lewis who writes, "We have been trying to bridge the great divides in this great country for a long time. In this book, Parker Palmer urges us to 'keep on walking, keep on talking' -- just as we did in the civil rights movement -- until we cross those bridges together." This is a dignified, practical book, wise and helpful.

Tcase for civ.jpghe Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends On It  Os Guinness  (HarperOne) $23.95 Few people in the culture wars - the secularized progressives or the sanctimonious right, those wanting a religiously-denuded "naked public square" or those wanting an enforced "sacred public square" -- are consistent with the genius of the First Amendment. Dr. Guinness is a respected sociologist, public thinker, and extraordinary communicator and here he brilliantly points us to a framework of "freedom for and freedom from" religion which is obviously rooted in the US Constitution and our Bill of Rights.  He passionately invites us to consider how to work this out, and reminds us of the sorts of structures that enhance what he calls a "cosmopolitan public square."  I think The Case for Civility is a hugely significant proposal about protecting public justice in our pluralistic society. Make it the next thing you read after Mouw's call to convicted civility.

Afps og.jpg Free People's Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future Os Guinness (IVP) $16.00  Although it isn't exactly a sequel to the important Case for Civility, here, again, Dr. Guinness, a Brit, holds up the genius of the US Founding Fathers and their vision of the Bill of Rights with exceptional aplomb and his legendary eloquence. Here he expounds on the virtues and habits of heart needed to sustain the American experience. I cannot tell you how important this is, although Guinness cites many who sounded similar warnings (Jefferson, de Tocqueville, Kennedy.) This is a fabulous study of the ideas of the Founding Fathers and an urgent call for Americans to ponder the nature of our democracy and what kind of people we want to be.  Even if one thinks that he doesn't comes down completely right on every page, this is none-the-less one of the most important books of this sort in recent times, exploring the nexus of religion, freedom, character and civility. If you are flying a little flag this Independence Day, reading this British celebration of the ideas behind - and the values and virtues needed to keep - our American freedoms will help you understand all that is at stake, and for what those original thirteen colonies were striving.  Fascinating!

TGlobal Public Square.jpghe Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity Os Guinness (IVP) $16.00  Folks are not only angry about the Supreme Court Decision about Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite business that sought an exemption from paying for what they consider to be profoundly dangerous abortion-causing birth control methods, many are debating the merits of the Presbyterian Church (USA) divestment from three corporations who do controversial projects in Israel, the debates about the Benghazi fiasco, the exchange of Gitmo prisoners for a US soldier who went AWOL in Afghanistan, the role of the US military around the world.  In others words, the vitriol is not only about domestic issues, but about foreign policy, often related to terrorism driven by radical Islam.  I don't need to dwell on the evils of ISIS or describe the horror of groups like Boko Haram and their enslavement of children in Nigeria or the persecution of the ancient Christian church in places like Syria to remind us of the significance of figuring out and promoting notions of religious freedom throughout the world. Good people can disagree about what US policy should be about all this, but there is a constellation of issues about religion in foreign affairs about which we must be aware.

I say all this just to once again highlight this book which I know Dr. Guinness feels very passionate. As well he should - he has traveled throughout the world, has seen great injustice first hand, and realizes that while big ideas and philosophical debate isn't the only answer to religiously-based injustices, a framework of affirming international religious freedom is a major part - and too often, and minimized part - of effective peace-building and international diplomacy.  There are heavier and more scholarly works on the role of faith in global diplomacy, and there are lurid documentations of the martyrdom of Christians at the hands of brutal forces of repression. The Global Public Square is better than most: thoughtful, engaging, important, passionate, and strikes a great tone for ordinary readers.  I cannot recommend it more highly. It is needed this very season, perhaps now more than ever and we would all be better global citizens if we spend some time with these pages.

Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times Os Guinness (IVP) $16.0renaissance os g.jpg0 While mentioning some older books of Os Guinness we are happy to announce his next book. We are taking PRE-ORDERS of this forthcoming book (due early August 2014) which is brief, passionate, thoughtful, and a book which invites morally-serious and thoughtful Christian engagement with the culture, refusing both shallow accommodation and postures of alarmist hostility. I have an advanced copy of this manuscript and I will read it over the 4th of July, reminding me of the hope of the gospel, how to keep "first things first" and ways to resist the cynicism of these times.  While Guinness' two most recent books (listed above) are very much about the ideas of America and the need for religious liberty, pluralism and civility, this one backs up to offer a grand vision of how to be salt and light and leaven in the broken world of idols and ideologues. It is handsome and powerful, perhaps akin to his small classic such as Time for Truth or in some ways, even his essential The Call. I believe it will be seen as a major contribution, readable, lucid, inspiring, and refreshing reminding us to serve "an audience of One" and live out faith without fear, trusting God and God alone for the results of social change.  Can there be a renaissance of goodness in our culture? Certainly, yes, if the church returns to clarity about the gospel.

LLuminous .jpguminous: Living in the Presence and Power of Jesus  T. David Beck (IVP) $16.00  I could list any number of great books about being shaped by the virtues of Christ - you saw our several recent reviews about new books by Dallas Willard, for instance, a master of promoting processes that help us experience the renovation of the heart. I wanted to highlight this book by Beck (that I reviewed at length here at BookNotes before) because although it is mostly a book about spiritual formation and how to be open to God's work in our lives, it reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the purposes of God to be about peace and reconciliation in the world.  Oh. if other books about prayer, spiritual renewal, and the power of the Spirit were aligned with the call to peacemaking.  (And, oh, if books about peace-making in the world were framed by the broader purposes of God in the world and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.) Yes, in a post about civility, reconciliation, religious freedom, social justice, and gracious practices of public engagement, this kind of book is part of our tool-kit. To learn to make a difference in the world, especially in areas of disagreement and serious argument and momentous current events, we need grounded in the ways of Christ, the power and purpose of the Spirit, reminded that God is at work bringing healing and hope and reconciliation to the world.

By the way, our friends at Q Ideas gathered together a few of their own best video clips of talks they've hosted on this. What an excellent collection of (fairly short) timely pieces on the theme "How Can We Get Along When We Disagree?" All are great, including the smart one by Gideon Strauss on "principled pluralism" who commends Richard Mouw's book listed above. After ordering a few books from us (below) click here an enjoy these valuable Q videos.

BookNotes

SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333



July 13, 2014

A balanced, helpful, reliable, brief guidebook - The Skeptic's Guide Series: "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" by Dale Hanson Bourke ON SALE

rockets.jpgThe outbreak of war between the Palestinians and Israel again these last days has been upsetting for all decent folks, and has caused many of us here in the States to discuss and debate the relative merits of the claims made by each side, highlighting the different injustices, the different fears, the different geo-politics, and trying to understand the leading ideological and religious motivations. It is sad to say that this outbreak is nothing new, and the history of this beautiful and violent part of the world is nothing if not complicated.

I spent a bit of time involved in several on-line conversations about it all. Not only did I get several different views, but I was reminded --  this time, painfully for me -- how deep the differences of perception are.somebody is wrong cartoon.jpg One man, from a Mediterranean country, would not allow me to blame the Palestinians for anything; it was all the Zionist's fault. Another friend of Jewish descent had an equally one-sided view. Neither would budge and although both were followers of Jesus, they seemed utterly disinterested as I tried to interject into the conversation His holy call to peacemaking. Like many these days, it seemed as if their faith didn't equip them for even having open minds or tender hearts, let alone unconventional solutions: their minds were made up, and the other guys were to blame.

In these kinds of discussions, my call for a third way, for being God's agents of transformation by maybe "thinking outside of the box" or using prudent, faith-based insights about wisdom and reconciliation, are hindered; sometimes people just don't care about Biblical visions and proposals, but sometimes, although I can usually preach that stuff in a way that sounds good in theory, I sometimes just don't know all the facts.  And in the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the facts are, as I've said, complicated.

Not only was the need for having a reliable source for basic data pressed upon me again this week as I listened to the news of the death of youths, then the rocket attacks, and then found myself gaping at Christians who seemed not to care about nuance and fairness and balance, but I've found myself talking a bit about the needs for a just solution in this Middle Eastern trouble-spot as my own denomination's recent policies were in the news. The PC(USA) passed resolutions to selectively financially divest from three US-based companies who were involved in building equipment used by Israel in what our denominational voters concluded were unjust and inappropriate ways. Many didn't understand or agree with this vote, so the issue has come up. Other Christians, Jewish activists, and even non-religious organizations have either applauded or protested our vote. (You can read about the history of this evolving discussion here, or a report about the recent vote here, if you'd like.) A few leaders in our tribe even posted an open letter (signed by a few friends of mine) which called for social justice but also reminded those who care about justice for the Palestinians not to overstate the matter, thereby seeming to minimize Israel's great and very legitimate concerns. That letter, an attempt at balance and civility, resulted in the revoking of what some thought was a one-sided study piece. (You can read that letter here, and a critique of it.) So it has been an emotional few weeks talking about this stuff, with people I respect offering differing views, positions, and passions.  As I said to some friends the other day, I'm feeling kind of beat up.

I do not usually use BookNotes as a platform for expressing the details of my own policy views, and this post is not offered to you for that purpose, either.  Rather --  of course, of course -- I want to highlight a book or two to help you sort through the issues, to offer some direct answers to tough questions, that I found helpful to get "up to speed" on the basics.  

Our inventory of books here in the Dallastown bookstore about the Middle East, by the way, is pretty large and certainly diverse, so if you want more sophisticated, detailed, treatments just give us a call.  But if you need a quick read that is fair-minded, and up-to-date, allow me to recommend this.   It is a must-read for anybody who cares about this topic.

WE HAVE THESE AT 20% OFF and you can order them at the link below.

T
israeli-palestinian.jpghe Skeptic's Guide Series: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  Dale Hanson Bourke (IVP) $13.00  First let me say that I've used other books in this "Skeptic Guide Series" and they are each excellently done. Bourke has traveled all over the world, is a first-class journalist, and while she has deep concerns about peace, justice, compassion, and other Christian virtues, her desire for fairly and clearly reporting the facts and explaining the background of the issues at hand are impeccable. I have admired her for the early books she released, and for her days as editor of the Today's Christian Woman. (Don't ask, but I used to read it, okay?) She's a darn good writer.

The format of these "Skeptic's Guides" is appealing as they are all published on paper that is just a bit heavier then usual, flexible and glossy, with full-color photos and just the right amount of helpful graphs, charts, and nice side-bars. The Q & A format is really helpful, and if you've ever said I wonder about... but maybe felt too dumb to ask, or didn't know which website to check for a reliable (and concise) answer, any of these, but especially the one about the Holy Land troubles will be a fabulous resource for you. 

Bourke has obviously read very widely in the field, has interviewed some key playersdale.jpg, and has done on-the-ground research.  That she firstly thanks the deeply respected Telos Group and their staff, including Todd Deatherage (renowned for balance and respect for all parties and for the trusting relationships they've developed with many important leaders on both sides of the Wall) I knew this was going to be a very rare, balanced book.

One reviewer (Mark Galli of Christianity Today) says she is "unmatched in giving an even-handed and readable account of controversial matters."

Bill Hybells, founder of the influential Willow Creek Church (which has been very socially involved in recent years, by the way) writes this great endorsement:

It's important to have civil discussions on difficult issues even when we disagree. I'm thankful for the hard work of Dale Hanson Bourke, who sifts through the thorniest issues--HIV/AIDS, global poverty, immigration, even the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--to extract what we need to know not just to get along but to make meaningful change in the world. Her Skeptic's Guides have been important for our church, and I know they will be for your community as well.
It seems to me that although these short books are for those of us who need a quick primer, those who are already engaged in learning and advocacy will find them good resources as well. They are, as they say, "user-friendly" and great to use when preparing presentations, drafting letters, creating classes, or answering questions of whoever you got into a conversation with about these things.
global poverty.jpg
I previously read her early one in the "Skeptic's Guide Series" about global poverty -- what a great little guidebook it is, useful for anyone who cares about world hunger -- and her powerful one about the global aids crisis. (Order those from us, too!) I love the concise depth and balanced vision and informed background she is able to give to these complex topics in such a short, inexpensive, and colorful volume.

global aids crisis.jpgAnother source of anguish for some of us this week has been some of the controversies that came into the spotlight this week regarding the detention centers for children of immigrants in Arizona.  Several related issues have come up in the news, and have been debated on-line in the last few days.  Again, few of those with whom I was in lengthy debates (who had strong opinions, based on one news report, about Who Was To Blame for some of the sad situation and failing policies there) seemed to have much actual data about the very thing we were discussing. I sensed that my interlocutors didn't know much about the details or texture of the people or places involved, but, again, I didn't, really, either. Once more, I realized that my own passion -- not unlike a whole lot of people also posting on the web -- gets ahead of me, and I have deep feelings and opinions, but sometimes not a lot of facts.  Do you relate?  We need answers!

And, yep, it was Dale Hanson Bourke again to the rescue with her latest little book in theimmigration.jpg series called, simply, The Skeptic's Guide Series: Immigration (IVP; $13.00.)  I have been involved in one way or another in some immigration right's issues over the years, and have great appreciation for (may I say it again?) how darn complicated some of these policy matters are.  Still, at the very least, as people of faith (and others citizens) develop their opinions on things, besides a thoughtful, Biblically-informed worldview, we do need some basic facts. We need to know the terms being used in the field, and what reporters and solid activists mean by this or that. If you are like me, you will welcome this fine compendium of helpful definitions, a few easy-to-follow charts, a bit of historical background, and good answers, presented in a way which is fair-minded, thoughtful, concise and reliable.  

With the tragic news unfolding this very weekend -- in Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and other such places, and along the US Southern border, too -- we need to know some basic data. We need to know the meaning of the words used in the debates, who the various stakeholders are, and what is at stake for each side. I am very, very grateful for having read these books, and, today, as I finished The Skeptic's Guide Series: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, I realized that the maps and pictures and stories and history lessons and background pieces have reinvigorated my own interest and desire to be fair, balanced, informed and faithful.  Most of us want to be on the right side of history, standing up against injustices, adding our voices to the right.  But it sometimes isn't easy to know just what to do, and who is who in the great issues of the day.

If you, too, want to be brought "up to speed" on where the "West Bank" is, about what The Temple Mount and Dome is, questions about Hamas or the differences between the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, about how it is that Israel is a religious but democratic country, about the history of the infamous refugee camps, and about the contested terms used for the wall, the green-line, even of the term "occupied," I am sure Bourke's little book will serve you well.

israeli-palestinian.jpgimmigration.jpg
 























BookNotes

SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333

July 17, 2014

Join Us for the Third Annual Hearts & Minds Pittsburgh Summer Lecture - with James K.A. Smith July 22, 2014

James KA Smith poster.jpgIf you are friends with either Beth or I on Facebook, or a member of the Hearts & Minds Facebook group, or follow me on twitter, well, then, you know we are sponsoring a free public lecture with James K.A. Smith this Tuesday, July 22nd, in Pittsburgh. (See the poster below.)

Our very competent bookstore staff will of course keep the shop open while Beth and I sojourn West to be with our friends in the CCO campus ministry during one of their annual training events; we are even now pulling and packing boxes, lugging stuff up stairs and soon into our big van. We set up a pretty large book display there, and glad to share our curated wares with them.

Ahh, but what titles to take?

The CCO folks who do campus ministry are interested in almost everything, and they help college students relate evangelical Christian faith to the details of daily life. So we take theology and spiritual formation as well as books specifically about Christian engagement with art, film, music and culture. Of course we have books about higher education, that section onlearning for the love of god.jpg the tables anchored by the lovely little hardback Make College Count by Derek Melleby (Baker; $12.99) and Learning for the Love of God: A Guide for Students by Derek Melleby and Donald Opitz (Brazos Press; $14.99.) We will be with Steve Lutz, too, and of course will promote his great book for collegiates, King of the Campus (House Studio; $14.99.) We have a lot of books on how to help students gain a vision for their careers and callings, with titles on vocation and work, of course promoting Steve Garber's rich, eloquent Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good and the new paperback edition of Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work by Tim Keller and Katherine Leary Aldsdorf (Dutton; $16.00.) 

We take books on developing the Christian mind and resources on sports, sex, and science. We have books on evangelism and books on prayer, books on politics and books on the arts, books on law and books on worship, books on food and books on nursing, teaching, and engineering.  CCO works hard to apply their robust and relevant vision of Christ's Lordship to issues like racial diversity or global poverty and, naturally, to ordinary things kids go through on campus like eating disorders or roommate problems, stuff about digital technology and even how best to use video games. Did you know there were really thoughtful Christian books about such things?  If you've followed us for long, I guess you do.

So, off we go to serve the staff of the CCO, selling books that they will use in their ministries at dozens of campuses in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.  

And then, in the middle of that, we and the CCO throw what I like to think of as a Hearts & Minds party. We underwrite a lecture series, and invite as many folks as can come to hear a famous author and a good time is had by all. (That's a party in my book -- right? And, as Andrew Bird puts it in one of his very cool songs, "there will be snacks!")

Which brings me to just one of the glimmers of insight into this year's Hearts & Minds lecture: Jamie Smith, who is a very serious philosopher, with scholarly books admired literally all over the world, who cares deeply not only about allowing his faith to be formative and controlling of his academic work, also cares about relating his scholarly research not only to the academy, but to the church and world. And he loves pop culture -- I'm sure he got the Andrew Bird "Tables and Chairs" reference. He is immersed in indie rock and contemporary cinema and the best modern novels. In fact, I have reason to think that in his Pittsburgh lecture this Tuesday he will site Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and the upbeat, melancholy songs of Death Cab for Cutie.

(Just notice how he uses music lyrics in this beautiful, new piece in Comment.  Did I mention he edits Comment?)

I suspect that you, too, believe that God cares about all of life, that we not only may, but should, think seriously about all manner offor the life- letters to the exiles.jpg things in popular culture and, empowered by God's grace and Spirit, dive deep into the real world around us, messy as it is.  Almost like the Jewish exiles of old, we are called to help the flourishing of our world; we are called to know the world around us. That DVD we were promoting last week gets it right: For the Life of the World, indeed.  

Maybe that is why you are a customer of Hearts & Minds, you want to support a business trying to work this stuff out, and help you in your own faith journey.

So there is a lot to know, a lot to learn, new habits to embrace, and books can help us on our way.  I'm sure you believe that.

My own passion for this kind of missional Kingdom vision, that insists that all of life in God's ordered creation is spiritual and that true faith is lived out in the daily, mundane stuff of ordinary life (as well as in big and important gestures of being involved in whatever may be the burning issues of the day, taking up causes and involvements in social initiatives with winsome passion and gusto, giving ourselves away to the needs of the world) was formed in many ways by the CCO's ministry among students when I was in college in the early and mid- 1970s.  And then, more so, when Beth and I worked with them in the late 70s, helping in a small way to create that little conference now known as Jubilee.
 
pittsburgh.jpg
PITTSBURGH
For these important reasons, although we are not "from" Pittsburgh, we go back to the Three Rivers to co-host with the CCO a public event that tries to illustrate and underscore, celebrate and extend this heritage of proclaiming the good news that all of life is redeemed. For some of us, it is what (drawing on Al Wolter's influential Creation Regained, perhaps) we used to call a reformational worldview.  

And this year, James K.A.Smith is our man, and man, does he do it well.

jamie hand on chin.jpgAs I mentioned, Professor James K.A. Smith captures much about contemporary culture, and he is very much in tune with music and art and architecture and movies; he experiences and engages these artifacts from within his classic, historic, ecumenical, faith. He sometimes says he is Pentecostal -- he wrote one serious book about being a Pentecostal philosopher called Thinking in Tongues (Erdmans; $19.00) although he is also a member of the Christian Reformed Church (he teaches at their flagship Calvin College in Grand Rapids.) In most of his writing, though, one senses a deep loyalty to the grand apostolic tradition, to the communion of the saints in the one, big Body of Christ; in his book Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Baker; $22.99) he offers a phenomenology of worship that is resonant with many of the best liturgical thinkers these days, Anglicans, Lutherans, Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, even. I guess he is a lower case c catholic and a capital K Kuyperian. In all of his body of work he is giving a fascinating and generative account of this grand story and how it can shape our deepest desires, our life and times and how we "do life" together in this 21st century as only such a faith-based philosopher can.

HOW (NOT) TO BE SECULAR
The topic he will be addressing at the CCO/Hearts & Minds Pittsburgh Summer Lecture ishow not to be secular.jpg based on his very thoughtful recent book called How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (Eerdmans; $16.00.) 

As you can see on the poster below, the title of his talk alludes to the much-discussed "nones" (those that checked "none of the above" in the religious category in the recent census and other surveys and polls.) Many people today in the West, especially younger adults, including many who have had some connection to the church, call themselves "spiritual but not religious."  Much ink has been spilt and every denomination is pondering what to do about this growing crowd.

Perhaps the first thing to say is that we all (still) long for transcendence. 

And Smith maintains that the massive Harvard University Press book by the eminent Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor (The Secular Age) helps us understand our times and those who might be caught in the Death Cab for Cutie/David Foster Wallace world, a world that although not overtly religious in any conventional sense, is still haunted; our longings are freighted, there are signals of some desire for transcendence nearly everywhere. We don't so much live in the land of the new atheists, and while every Christian publisher has released apologetic resources to counter them, Taylor and Smith believe this isn't quite the needed approach. Smith's own new book, How (Not) To Be Secular, is, to put it simply, a guide to the Taylor tome, which gives a better account of what is going on these days, even given the rise of the new atheists and their hostility to Christianity, and what it might mean for Christian witness. 

Smith's book draws us into Taylor insights, and then adds his own explanation not only of Taylor's insight, but what gospel-centered folks might do, what difference it all makes.

Tim Keller, the thoughtful pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York, says of Smith's book 

This volume (if read widely) could have a major impact on the level of theological leadership that our contemporary church is getting. It could also have a great effect on the quality of our communication and preaching.I highly recommend this book.

LINKS AND REVIEWS
Here are a handful of resources to help you learn more about Jamie Smith and some of his many books.  I do hope that if you are anywhere near Pittsburgh this Tuesday, you'll join the party.  If not, watch these videos, order some books, and be with us in spirit.   Thanks!

  • Here is a broader, more general overview of Smith's work that I did as I promoted his wonderful collection of essays called Discipleship in the Present Tense: Reflections on Faith and Culture (Calvin College Press; $14.99.) I love that book.
  • Here is a splendid 3-minute intro to the project of these two books (there will be a third!)   After watching that, you can see several other short takes on other aspects of these important books, especially the second. Wow. You will want to watch them more than once.
  • Here is a short video about his lovely small paperback, Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition James K.A. Smith (Brazos; $14.99) Several years ago, Smith weighed in on the discussions and debates about what Time magazine called, drawing on a book title by this name, the phenomenon of the "young, restless and Reformed." Anyone observing the American religious landscape knows there has been a renewal of conservative Calvinistic theology, and many passionate young adults have their own heroes, authors, bloggers, church planters, many who are identifying themselves as seriously Reformed. Go to any evangelical conference and you'll see young folks talking about Jonathan Edwards and the Westminster Confession or the latest trend in PCA hymnody.   But it isn't always pretty.  Uh, yeah.
So, Jamie wrote this series of letters to a fictional young man and a young woman, which guides them through the strengths and weaknesses of this new interest in old Calvinism and frames their interest by the bigger question of their own spiritual growth and involvement in the broader church. Smith's fondness for Augustine comes up, here, again, and it is warm and inspiring. These letters are theologically informed, pastoral, interesting, and very, very helpful for anyone wanting to grow in their faith.  For those who care about these details, I tell folks that these letters draws the reader along, from Piper to Kuyper. I also tell customers that even if they are not young or not Calvinist, this has wisdom for which you will be grateful and glad. Letters... is a quiet little book that deserves a wide readership.
  • Here is a review I did of Smith's other very new book, Who's Afraid of Relativism: Community, Contingency, and Creaturehood, which is part of the very important "The Church in Postmodern Culture" series. Smith did the first book in that series, the popular Who's Afraid of Postmodernism: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Baker Academic; both $19.99.)  Learn about them here -- but come back and buy 'em from us. We stock the whole set, of course.  Thanks.

We have all these books at a BookNotes discount -- 20% OFF. 
Just use the link shown below, which will take you to our secure order form page. 
Or, come to Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh this Tuesday and join the party.


                                                       Thanks to Ned Bustard of World's End Images for the poster. He desires the Kingdom.
James KA Smith poster.jpg













BookNotes

SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know

                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333

July 26, 2014

Books to Follow-up James K.A. Smith lectures -- spiritual but not religious // the nones // desires // practices ON SALE at Hearts & Minds Books

For those who are curious, who had prayed or wondered, our third annual Hearts & Minds Pittsburgh Summer Lecture with James K. A. Smith went fabulously. He's such a deep and well-read philosopher, but has such a dynamic, passionate presence.  We had a great crowd, had the chance to greet (or miss greeting, as the case may be) old college friends, CCO staff alum, students we've met at Jubilee or OCBP, and an array of friends from the greater Western Pennsylvania world. Kudos to folks like Lisa Slayton and her team at Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation/Serving Leaders and friends at Geneva College for helping to promote our work.  And, of course, the CCO staff, old and brand new, had been gathering at Robert Morris University anyway, so they were out in force. What good folks they are! 


At the public event Jamie talked about his new book How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (Eerdmans; $16.00.) Smith guided us into a heady conversation -- what do wehow not to be secular.jpg mean by the secular, are we in a secular age, and what does that even mean, and how can the heavy Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor help us? Nicely, though, he helped us along the way (yes, he quoted The Postal Service and Wallace's Infinite Jest and British novelist Julian Barnes.) His entry into all this was the recent conversation about the "nones" (that is, those who check "none" on the survey's asking for religious affiliation.) These folk, however, are often also those who claim to be "spiritual but not religious."  Oh my, this was an important stuff for anyone interested in cultural discourse, understanding the times, or who may be interested in the religious landscape, congregational health, evangelism, or a missional vision of relevant ministry in our postmodern contexts. Pastors? Elders? Evangelists? Artists? Journalists? Youth Workers? Christian teachers? College administrators? Parents?  Yes! Yes! Yes!


In the morning, Jamie had given one of the best talks I've heard in quite a while, pouring his teacherly heart out instructing CCO staff about the sorts of things he writescultural liturgies - both.jpg about in great detail in Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation and Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (both Baker Academic; $23.00 each.) If you want to understand what we're about here at Hearts & Minds and our own unique heritage and passions, these books certainly get at that well.  We were just thrilled to have him teach at CCO staff seminar, and glad that CCO is the sort of organization that wants to be shaped by this Calvin College prof.  We gave a little pitch for his work at the neo-Calvinist/Kuyperian journal of public theology, Comment magazine, too. I don't write for them anymore, but still promote their classy quarterly journal whenever I can.  So, again, thanks be to God.


I have a hunch that there are those who may appreciate our recommendations of these books by Smith but are either intimated by their intellectual heft, or the size and price. 


You know we understand that, and although these are important volumes, we are very (very)discipleship in the present tense.jpg eager to promote the best little collection of shorter pieces by Smith, some of them covering much of this ground -- reviews, essays, sermons, speeches, articles and the like.  I highly recommend Discipleship in the Present Tense: Reflections on Faith and Culture by James K. A. Smith (Calvin College Press; $14.00) as a great anthology and primer and companion for your own journey towards a deeper and more meaningful daily walk through the world. Although I love almost all of these many chapters, there are one or two that are literally worth the price of admission. 


If you are a preacher or teacher, by the way, you will get some mileage out of the introduction, which exegetes the ancient/future connections shown on the very cover of the book -- a new modern wing of an art museum built out of but refreshing the tradition of the older style. That'll preach!  And if you are a fan of books about cultural engagement and social reforms, you should know he has a very good chapter which explores the thesis and implications in the much-discussed Oxford University Press book, To Change the World by James Davison Hunter which takes him to task a bit.) And there is that chapter, an open letter to praise bands. So, yes! This is very good.


* * *

Here, then, are a few quite readable books that might relate to Smith's two lectures. If you don't have the aforementioned Smith volumes you should get them from us. (And if you take my advice here, but get them elsewhere, well, that's just wrong.)


Bbelief without borders.jpgelief Without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious Linda A. Mercadante (Oxford University Press) $29.95 This is a very recent and notable book filled with real conversations, interviews and observations with some conclusions drawn from this primary source research.  Perhaps it was Diana Butler Bass in her controversial but very important Christianity After Religious: The End of the Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening who really best described this trend, and gave significant energy to wondering how to best do ministry among that cohort, in these times. Butler Bass offers a rave review to this scholarly volume: "For those who think that being 'spiritual but not religious' is intellectually vague," she writes, "it is time to think again.... Linda Mercadante explores the beliefs of the religiously unaffiliated regarding God, sin, community, the afterlife, and ethics and finds people living "between" the worlds of secularism and traditional faith."  


Phyllis Tickle -- ever the book woman! -- compares this to the award-winning Habits of the Heart by Robert Bellah, saying that it offers "a brilliant narrative introduction to the theology and belief systems of the "spiritual but not religious" among us. Highly accessible and rife with insightful commentary Belief Without Borders is far and away the richest study I have seen to date of the SBNR and is destined to become a classic in the field." These in-depth interviews and Mercadante's evaluation offers a much-needed contribution to both the role of belief in contemporary American culture but also to the ways and work of the local parish. I think this is important, and wish I could have showed it to the crowd gathered to hear Smith talk about Taylor (especially those who have reason to work particularly with this rising population.) It would have gone nicely with his great question, "How is it that we live in a culture that gives us both Elizabeth Gilbert and Richard Dawkins?"  Exactly.


Dr. Linda Mercadante is Professor of Historical Theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio and is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA.)


TRise of the Nones.jpghe Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated James Emery White (Baker Books) $15.99  I am a fan of James Emery White -- his two IVP books, Serious Times and Christ Among the Dragons are very good at pondering our moment with a grave awareness of our cultural ethos and ways to faithfully "engage the culture" with the newspaper in one hand, as they say, and the Scriptures in the other. His little (IVP) book A Mind for God  is one I often share, sometimes give as a gift, and  from which I sometimes read out loud in workshops and sermons. White is a solid evangelical, mega-church pastor, reads the times well, and is a lively, clear writer.  Although I haven't read it, I've been told his recent one The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity is also quite good, a sobering, basic cultural overview pitched to ordinary church leaders. 


Now, he has taken some of that passion to understand the times, and offers us a quick and easy overview of the "nones." Again: the single fastest-growing religious group of our time is those who check the box next to the word "none" on national surveys. In America, this is nearly 20% of the population.  And most churches are doing very little to reach them with the gospel.  And, it seems, what intentional effort we've made, has been not too fruitful.  (I applaud, by the way, those who have used You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church... and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman --  you know we brought him to Dallastown a few years ago to talk about that stellar book, and it is still very, very valuable, as is the DVD curriculum which we also sell. It is about young adults who have left the church, but who often still see themselves as Christian, or at least some kind of religious.)


This new Rise of the Nones book by James Emery White gives you the important definitions and data you need: exactly who are the unaffiliated? What caused this seismic shift in our culture? And it offers ways churches can more effectively reach these people, insights that are wise and reliable -- the sort of relevant orthodox vision I think many of our churches need to explore.


Here is church growth and church planting guru Ed Stetzer:


 "In an era of increasing complexity and religious apathy, James Emery White has written a book that is helpful, informative, challenging, and timely. Those who care about communicating the gospel in this complex culture and think the church must regroup and re-engage should read Rise of the Nones."  


TTeach us To Want.jpgeach us To Want: Longing, Ambition, & the Life of Faith Jen Pollock Michel (IVP/Crescendo/her-meneutics) $16.00  I stood up in front of CCO staff telling them how good this one was, glad that it so nicely dove-tailed with Smith's staff seminar lecture on Desiring the Kingdom. and was, further, just a moving, delight to read. In that lecture, of course, he insisted that we are not merely "brains on a stick" and a wholistic anthropology must lead us to pedagogy and methods of ministry that honor our deepest heart/gut desires. Worship (and worldview formation) shapes our longings, teaches us to love (but what?)  Of course, the secular liturgies and ideologies of the day do this, too, so our habits are often shaped less by the things of God, and more by the longings drawn out by the secularized forces and habits learned (at the mall, most obviously?) So Smith is all about desire, which he gets from Augustine, by the way.


This beautiful new book, almost written as a memoir, attends to this vital question of how we come to love the things we do, and the ways we do, and asks what we should do with our desires. As a woman, particiularly (but written for anyone) she asks big questions about her longings, her passions, her body, her vocation... it is marvelous, rich stuff.


The Gospel Coalition blogger Bethany Jenkins (who reads quite a lot, I happen to know) writes of it, "Seriously, one of the most beautiful nonfiction books I have ever read."   The very impressive writer Leslie Leyland Fields says, "I've been waiting for this book for a very long time." 


And Rebekah Lyons (who wrote the lovely Freefall to Fly) notes that "Through her own story of fear, loss, and God's goodness, Jen Pollock Michel stirs us to recover and reshape (these) desires in light of the kingdom of God."


Here is what the very fine wordsmith Mark Buchanan says of it:


Jen Pollock Michel fuses three things that make her book essential reading: deep insight, raw honesty and radiant prose. She's a terrific writer, an agile thinker and--if that were not enough--a fearless witness to her own heart's darkness and light. By inviting me deeply into the mess and beauty of her own story, she has given me courage to step into the mess and beauty of my own--and, with her, to meet afresh the One who awakens, names, purifies and meets all the desires of my heart.


Here is a short interview with Ms Michel, with some nice points about the book, and some good quotes. Check it out, and come back to us, please. 


By the way, IVP / Crescendo Books is an imprint of very thoughtful books by and mostly for women  -- every one so far has been a winner.  The her-meneutics imprint refers to the wonderful blog, for which Michel writes.  


Rreordered love.jpgeordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness David K. Naugle (Eerdmans) $18.00 Well. This wonderful, rich, provocative, interesting, important book came out a few months before Smith's Desiring... and it covers (in somewhat different language and tone) some very similar material. It is clear they are both traveling in some similar circles, with similar influences and insights. Not only do they both allow their friends to use rather intimate nicknames -- James K.A. goes by Jamie, and Professor David goes by Davey -- they both have studied Dooyeweerd and other Dutch Reformed philosophers, have written about the notion of worldview, and both are excellent, excellent teachers. Davey spends a lot of time with undergrads and teaches a lot -- and has learned to take deep, mature, and important stuff and help convey it to ordinary, thoughtful folks. They both love Augustine (and both have epigrams from the 4th century Bishop in their books.) As John Witvliet of the Calvin Institute on Christian Worship notes, "Naugle's candid discussion of the disordered human condition is particularly crucial for explaining just how dramatic and transformative the gospel really is." 


I agree. In the hands of writers like Jamie and Davey, the old "our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee" line comes alive, is seen as a powerful counter to the confusions of our times, and the key to a multi-dimensional, relevant and radical Christian spirituality. Wow, this is great, great stuff. Anybody reading Smith should pick up Reordered Love, and anyone who has taken our advice on this -- we've raved about it before -- should follow up Naugle with a few of Smith's important works.  Do it! It is a "rightly ordered" choice that will help rid you of disorder.  I promise.


Ddangerous passions.jpgangerous Passions: Deadly Sins: Learning from the Psychology of Ancient Monks Dennis Okholm  (Brazos Press) $16.99  Smith, as I gather you now realize, makes a bit deal about the "loving" nature of the heart -- that we come to desire certain things, we love sometimes the wrong things, and we are transformed less by data and information then by images and seductive longings. I think this brilliant work fits right in!


Once again, Brazos Press gives us a remarkable, learned, thoughtful book that can help the church universal. Okholm, an evangelical with a PhD from Princeton, who teaches at Azusa Pacific and Fuller Theological Seminary, is a pastor at Holy Trinity Anglican, and a Benedictine oblate.  I love this ecumenical mash-up, and this book -- the subtitle says it nicely -- does what few books do well: bringing the ancient insights of the church Fathers and Mothers into dialogue with modern authors and our postmodern milieu.  This really is a book about how the ancients viewed the seven deadly sins, and it may be the most magisterial book on this topic yet. One reviewer has called it a "tour de force of early Christian monastic psychology and theology." Another says it is "wise, accessible...brims with insight...practical and profitable." 


Gary Moon writes of Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins,


Dennis Okholm reminds us of the classic nature of what is at the heart of humans -- a tendency to move away from the heart of God -- and the fact that some of the beset Christian psychologists lived before modern psychology was born.


Ssinning like a christian.jpginning Like a Christian: A New Look at the 7 Deadly Sins William Willimon (Abingdon) $14.99  I am a fan of former Bishop Will Willimon, who has an lovely elegance and profundity of his clear, literate sermons, and good, practical theology. He usually emphasize something that Jamie Smith did in his Hearts & Minds Lectures, namely, that the church has a very, very important role in forming the desires and habits and hopes and visions of the people of God. Spiritual formation happens mostly in church, in community, and (for better or worse) is shaped by the congregation's liturgy.  Worship -- directed towards the Triune God or directed towards false gods in the culture -- does something to us.  If we are called to be transformed as Romans 12:1-2 says (in our bodies, by the renewal of our minds, non-conformed to the culture, expressing worship in all of life) we must concern ourselves with not only proper and effective worship, but the insidious ways sin creeps in and idols take hold.  This is a matter of reflecting together about virtue and brokenness.


And so, reflecting on how we think about sin, how we are misinformed and misinformed by idols and the distortions of our virtues, really is something we must talk about.  Willimon, with his famous Duke U philosophy buddy Stanley Hauerwas, always has much to say about how embodied virtue in the way of Christ is shaped in community.  Here, he gives this fresh take on the propensity to sin, and what it means when Christians sin.  This updated edition is a really good resource -- as it says on the back, "penetrating observations will be welcomed by readers who are dissatisfied with shallow, feel-good Christianity (from the left or the right...)" It includes discussion questions.  If you thought that the serious Okholm one seemed a bit much, try this.


Ccounterf gods 2.jpgounterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power and the Only Hope That Matters Timothy Keller (Dutton) $15.00  This is not new, and yet it just cries out to be mentioned whenever we do cultural analysis about the things that most seduce us.  I have long recommended Richard Foster's powerful, thorough study of materialism, Freedom of Simplicity (HarperOne; $13.99) and his very useful, and nearly prescient book The Challenges of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex & Power (HarperOne; $14.99.) This powerful little book by Keller -- who does ministry at the heart of the empire, near Wall Street and Broadway, I might add) -- is up to date, brief, and offers the centrality of sanctification through the cross and grace of Christ as the antidote to these misguided loves. Although Foster is one of my favorite writers, and he is wise in his cultural discernment and spiritual direction, Keller is a bit more philosophical and a bit more astute about the idolatrous lures of the age.  Highly recommended.


Ppracticing our f.jpgracticing Our Faith: A Way of Life for a Searching People (second edition) edited by Dorothy C. Bass (Jossey Bass) $19.95  When this first volume came out in the late 1990s I predicted that it would create an avalanche of new books and new ways of talking about the uniquely Christian things we do, practices, habits, ways of leaning into life with idiosyncratic stuff we do. I said it was prophetic, important, yada, yada, yada.  And I was partially correct: it was very well reviewed and a whole series of books spun off it it, offering uniquely Christian insights into living before God, with spiritually attuned ways of engaging our bodies, music, money, time, speaking, caring for children, and more.  We respect the ecumenical, mature, and lovely writing that is on offer in each of the "Practices of Faith Series." But this is the one that started it all, and we couldn't be happier to be reminded of it when Jamie cited it as an example of the "liturgical" ways of being in the world. Here is a considerable re-take on the language of spiritual disciplines, practices are communal and outwardly tangible.  There are chapters here on how to think about dying, sabbath, offering testimony, being hospitable, ways of doing "household economics" and more. The more general chapters (by Bass and Craig Dykstra) on thinking about practices, and, well, practicing them, are very generative and thoughtful.  


Some of our conversation with Smith touched on this question of how worship shapes us well (this is the heart of Imagining the Kingdom) but he was quick to invite us to realizing liturgies, practices, and habit-forming rituals are woven into the fabric of our daily life as discipleship in God's world.  This book helps open up that conversation considerably.  This includes suggestions for conversation and further reflection.


We also stock the teen version (co-written by some church teens) called Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teens (Upper Room $18.00) and the amazing, and under-utilized edition for hip, young adults, On Our Way: Christian Practices for Living a Whole Life (Upper Room $17.00.)


Dflow package.jpgVD For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles (Acton Institute) regular price $59.99 our sale price $35.00 


No, no, I'm not just slipping this in because we're on the FLOW bandwagon: this really does offer a way of being in the world that is somehow idiosyncratic, from thinking about work to family to art to law, and living into the wonder and mystery of it all. This is allusive and creative and fun, and although I've reviewed it extensively already, had to note that anyone reading Jamie Smith, or pondering the nature of uniquely Christian ways of life in the world, resisting disorderly affections and the distortions of idols, will surely find this insightful, provocative, and useful. Yes!


See my long BookNotes review of the For the Life of the World DVD HERE.  See the cool trailer, HERE.




BookNotes

SPECIAL
DISCOUNT
ANY ITEM MENTIONED

20% off
order here
takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form page
just tell us what you want

inquire here
if you have questions or need more information
just ask us what you want to know


                   Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown, PA  17313     717-246-3333