If you’ve read the last few posts you surely have picked up our (exhausted) elation for the opportunity to partner with the CCO, our rockin’ reformational friends who organize this wild and woolly Jubilee conference on the Lordship of Christ over every area of life. Designed for college students, it has a particular emphasis on helping students relate a thick Biblical worldview to their callings as students. From the nurturing of prayerful practices that form inner character to inviting folks into community and loyal friendships, the CCO helps students mature in historic, orthodox faith so that they might see live from within God’s redemptive story, think about their own sense of calling, discern the spirits of pop culture, engage in social activism and, mostly, learn to “think Christianly”Â in faithful ways in their collegiate academic work, and preparation for taking up “salt & light”Â ministries in their eventual professions and vocations. God cares about it all, amen? The CCO and the Jubilee event understands this, and over decades has shaped a movement of people who are serving in big and little ways, making a distinctive impact for God’s Kingdom, now. I hope you looked over the books and authors I cited in my last post: they are all worth knowing as they help frame this kind of culturally relevant, Biblically faithful alternative to the goofy and often unproductive efforts of both the liberal mainline churches and the conservative fundamentalists. I loved meeting these authors and thought you’d like to read about them, even if only in passing.
Hearts & Minds exists, you know, to share books and ideas and promote authors— and to invite you into the experience, supporting you in your effort to live out this kind of broad commission, the kind of view that is as equally shaped by Genesis 1:26-28 (the cultural commission one of our speakers called it) as Matthew 28: 16-20 (the great commission); the view that ponders the implications of Leviticus 25 (The Year of Jubilee) and why Jesus started his public ministry with a reference to it in his Luke 4 manifesto. What does it mean that that year of liberation and public righteousness and rest and atonement and ecological balance and justice and healing and is now a reality, in Christ? Could it really be true?
Anyway, this is much of what we are about, helping readers, ministries, churches and anybody else that cares to talk about books, using literature and ideas and resources to explore the implications of a Christian worldview for daily life, work, career, calling, citizenship, culture. Thanks for being a part of it!
It drives me crazy, though, that we come back from this big event, with conversations with students and authors and leaders literally (literally) ringing in our ears, and there are stacks of new arrivals, great books that we would have loved to unveil in Pittsburgh. And so, my annual “wish they would have released a few days earlier”Â list. If you browsed the Jubilee book display—or wished you could have—here are some last minute offerings, brand spankin’ new.
1. Jesus for President Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw (Zondervan) $16.95 Special price: 30% off.
Shane was at Jubilee last year and his neo-hippie call to a faith that is as radical as Jesus was, mediated by his friendships with Tony Campolo and Mother Theresa and his admiration for Dorothy Day, makes this feisty fella a perfect fit to at least get the Jubilee vision conversation going. Here he calls us to a prophetic critique of nationalism, a suspicion of any militaristic moves and a counter-cultural commitment to be the “peculiar people”Â that Hauerwas says we should be. Uh, I mean that Jesus says we should be, at least if Jesus is read through the anti-Empire eyes of Jacque Ellul and Bill Stringfellow. Get it? You should! This has full color on every page, truly amazing stores, great Bible study. I will do a major review soon over at the monthly review column and will have plenty to say. I can’t believe we didn’t have this for students who were obviously eager to know about such new/old ways to read the Scriptures and new/ancient ways (like the early church, say, or the Jews in exile) to witness against the injustices of kings gone wild. Agree fully or not, this is one of the most urgent books of the year, and surely one of the most interesting, creatively designed and zany, despite it’s dead serious perspective. Very highly recommended.
2. Free To Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (NavPress) $12.99 If Zondervan publishing Shanster’s Jesus-centered anarchism is remarkable, it is jaw-droppingly amazing that NavPress has done this stunning book by his compatriot and fellow new monastic, who had previously written about his pacifist journey in Wipf & Stock’s To Baghdad and Beyond: How I Got Born Again in Babylon. This story takes a high ecclesiology and a commitment to the marginalized and poor, and insists that a racially reconciled Body of Christ is an essential feature for authentic Kingdom witness. With a forward by John Perkins and a blurb by Chris Rice, you can see that this is right on; as Shane says, “This is a book that sings truth like old spirituals and lets you sip justice like sweet tea.”Â Can you tell it is set in the South? Very, very good, with a great study guide included.
3. Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ Through Community James C. Wilhoit (Baker) $17.99 While this may be a bit meaty for most young students, it has CCO “written all over it” so I would have featured it at Jubilee if I could have. As a campus ministry, despite the cultural and social reformation focus of Jubilee, they are very, very committed to the local church; unlike most campus para-church groups, they are intentional about partnering with congregations. Here, this thoughtful educator and scholar of Christian Formation at Wheaton shows how inner transformation, spiritual formation and deep discipleship happens in the context of community in the local congregation. The forward by Dallas Willard notes that Wilhoit, “with a warm heart and a gentle and intelligent manner”Â helps us see, in great detail, “what we can do to relocate spiritual transformation at the center of what we do in gathering as disciples of Jesus.”Â Very thoughtful and passionate, filling a huge need for how to really arrange our church life for Christlikeness.
4. Johnny Cash and the Great American Contradiction: Christianity and the Battle for the Soul of a Nation Rodney Clapp (Westminster/John Knox) $16.95 How I wish this had been at our Jub display. I read and recommend anything this very smart, very interesting, very radical writer does. He helped form Brazos Press a few years back and has given us some fabulous books that walk a line beyond left & right, liberal & conservative; he knows country music, social ethics, deep philosophy and has a high regard for the liturgical traditions of the wider church. Clapp is in his element here, drawing huge lessons from Cash’s tumultuous and complex life, suggesting that we must learn to think and live more intentionally in our particular time and place
as Americans. With chapter titles like “Lonesomeness and Community”Â and “Holiness and Hedonism”Â and “Guilt and Innocence”Â he frames his study of Johnny Cash with deep theological categories, informed by the likes of Will Campbell and Flannery O’Connor. It may have some similarities to David Dark’s fabulous meditation on being a Christian in our land, The Gospel According to America (a past Jubilee hero) which is nothing but a great compliment. Walk that line and buy this book!
5. Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears (Crossway) $19.99 Some students asked about this and while I appreciate any book that present Jesus to seekers, and which desires lasting commitments to Biblical truth, I must tell ya that I don’t much like young Mr. Driscoll. He’s been arrogant and rude in his debates about the emergent conversations, and his last two books bored me.(He overstated how cool the emerging movement was in his first, and overstated how bad they were in the next, all the while presenting himself as a wild man, which I suppose he is. Preaches with his shirt untucked, ya know.) This new one may or may not break with his reputation for having this mean anti-emergent ‘tude, and it is written with a co-author, but since theological leaders like Packer, Grudem, Ware, and Colson commend it, it should be solid. He is an edgy guy, a very successful church planter in a very unchurched city, the cover is amazing, and I suspect it will be interesting and informative. I really could have sold some of these at the big J event.
6. Lord Save Us From Your Followers: Why is the Gospel of Love Dividing America Dan Merchant (Nelson) $19.99 The title is catchy, the graphics retro, the pictures funny and this wacky author seems to have a lot of common sense and a good eye for the punchy interview. He tells stories throughout—including the amazing confessional booth story from Blue Like Jazz— and introduces readers to those who live out faith in ways that are deeper than bumper-sticker slogans. The back jacket says that his road trip documented here explored “intellectually daring search for meaningful dialogue.”Â Merchant is a film-maker and he conducts street interviews discussing the culture wars with major players, and common folk, who long for a Christian faith that is positive, service-oriented and closer to Jesus’ own style
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