3 new edgy reads on church life

Since I was raving this week about the new Diana Butler Bass book, I thought I’d mention a few other new books about the church that I thought might be interesting. One is brand new and looks awesome, another came out a month ago and is unique as a voice of a 20-
something writer and nicely formatted. The third is, well, just listen…
First, there is the brand new Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture by Michael Frost (Hendrickson; $19.95.) Frost was a co-author of the very, very significant The Shaping of Things To Come and the lovely and creative Seeing God in the Ordinary. This may be one of the most important new paperbacks to explore the disillusionment of those who’ve had it with disengaged, boring congregational life and who desire a faith that is edgy, faithful, transformational and attends to the pains of our lives and our world. Trust me, you will be hearing more of this book. Hard-hitting, to say the least.
Dear Church: Letters From a Disillusioned Generation Sarah Cunningham (Zondervan; $12.99) I will admit that these letters are not the finest of brillant literary gold. They are interesting, honest, packed with good stories and solid sociological stuff. Each “letter” is a candid heart-cry from this twenty-something, asking the church to be what it ought to be. What is really helpful are the take home points at the end of each chapter and the helpful discusion quesitons, making this useful for a twenty-something study group or an any-age book club who cares about the fact that most churches have simply lost most of this age group. Does anybody care? If so, at least consider reading this book. Or give it to your pastor.
The Dust off Their Feet: Lessons From the First Churh Chris Seay, Brian McLaren and friends (Nelson; $9.99) Perhaps you have heard that a gang of mostly emergent voices— McLaren, Seay, Chuck Smith, Jr., Andrew Jones, and others writers like Phyllis Tickle, Lauren Winner and Bible scholars such as Darrel Bock and Peter Davids are doing a creative, multi-
faceted Bible translation called The Voice. This is their version of the Book of Acts. Along with the fresh translation there is some art, poetry and punchy commentary, even some case-studies of congregations trying to live out the narrative of Acts. Who thought that the First Church in Acts is actually the original Emerging Church? Ha! Dr. Luke gets powerfully updated here, and before the Greek language purists complain, I’m told that they do a good job. It sure looks cool. The first volume in The Voice project came out a while back and is a nicely produced hardback telling the story of the passion of Holy Week (called The Last Eyewitness.) This one is trim-sized paperback and well worth passin’ around.
Please visit the great project website at www.hearthevoice.com
Have you heard about the alt-folk albums they are doing, too? The first one was selected Psalms and we’ve got it; the next—-amazing!—will take the texts from Handel’s Messiah and put them to new contemporary tunes. How great is that?! (I’ll blog about that when it comes.) Performing artists such as Derek Webb, Waterdeep, Lori & Don Chafer, Jill Phillips, Jamie Smith, Sandra McCraken… Here is a good review of the first one.

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