Here’s a posting to give a public thanks to the Penn Southeast Conference of the UCC for having us to their annual conference again; that hall in the Host is so gigantic! It was great (if exhausting) to set it up with such a huge display. We are grateful for your interest in books, and glad for the freedom to stock such diverse topics and varied perspectives. From worship resources to the various theological texts, from faith-based perspectives in politics and global concerns to books on spiritual formation, from Christian ed resources and kids books to the massive amount of stuff on congregational life and parish development, like the Alban Institute books that we stock, we loved to show off so much of our wares. Thanks for caring.
Somebody asked that I post the books I announced from the main podium, so here is the gist of my announcement from Thursday afternoon. Order any on line, or call us, and we’ll offer the conference discount price of 10% off of the regular retail price shown.
Minding the Spirit: The Study of Christian Spirituality Mark S. Burrows & Elizabeth Dreyer (Johns Hopkins University Press) $20.95 Keynote speaker Mark Borrows (formerly of Andover Newton and apparently a very well-loved seminary prof) did a fabulous job by all accounts in inviting us to think seriously about communicating our faith, growing deep spaces in our churches for meaningful reflection and mature, grounded discipleship. Of course, we loved his stuff on the role of the imagination, was glad for his call to use poetry (he gets extra points for citing Mary Oliver), and found it marvelous that he called upon church leaders to read widely, to read also for themselves, including novels. I’d add, also, creative nonfiction, memoirs and autobiographies. (His suggestion of the Annie Dillard novel The Maytrees was very interesting; it recently came out in paperback.) Rev. Burrow’s helped edit this volume, a spectacularly interesting and deep scholarly book which makes a case for studying spirituality (some of the insights from his talk had some overlap with at least one of his chapters in this collection.) It is a rare bit of scholarship and not an common book to find. Glad we have it!
The Invitation: A Simple Guide to the Bible Eugene Peterson (NavPress) $16.99 I’ve promoted this at several conferences this spring and folks have consistently shown great interest. This is simply a handsome hardback casebound copy of the introductions to each book of the Bible that are found in Peterson’s best-selling Bible paraphrase, The Message. His eloquent and interesting and historically helpful overview of each Biblical book, and some other introductions (like, say, a chapter in the beginning about the big picture of the whole Scriptures, or his intro to the prophets, or to the gospels) are simply spectacular. When a writer this good explains the Bible so well, with such gusto, insight and brevity, it is a winner. I was glad that some of our UCC friends were as excited about using it in their personal devotions or in church settings as we are.
Love The Ultimate Apologetic: The Heart of Christian Witness Art Lindsley (IVP) $15 Art is a good friend and has written other books on apologetics, rejecting the relativistic ethos of our culture, drawing on C.S. Lewis and others to offer up a solid argument for truth, for Christian orthodoxy, for a mature witness of balanced Biblical perspective in the public square. Here, though, he reminds us how this must be accomplished: through love. Few good books exist about this topic, and his explorations and ruminations are thoughtful and provocative, nothing mushy, always balanced and solidly Biblical. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love…” the old song goes. This helps unpack that with depth.
Jesus for President Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw (Zondervan) $16.99 You may know that we’ve been big promoters of his first book, The Irresistible Revolution, and we pushed it at the conference last year. This one is a bit deeper, but with a stunning full-color, youthful look. I’ve noted before that the conservative evangelical publisher releasing this pacifist manifesto with its edgy pomo graphics and hard hitting critique of imperialism—especially of the proud US sort, government or corporations—indicates a new wind blowing through Christian publishing. Shane exposes the bankruptcy of civil religion and calls us back to the radical implications of the Bible. He and his co-author draw on John Howard Yoder and William Stringfellow, the Berrigan brothers, Walter Wink, Dorothy Day and other scoundrels of radical faith to call us, joyfully, to a vision of political life that is rooted in the unfolding Scriptural story about peace, justice, a sane lifestyle and a Kingdom that is supplanting all other contending reigns. Whew. This may be our biggest selling book of the year as we recommend it everywhere we go, even if it sometimes takes some explaining.
Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes To God Kay Warren (Zondervan) $21.99 Okay, I’ll admit you may be scratching your head, since some have this view that mainline denominational folks, let alone more radical Christians like the new monasticism and resistance movement of Shane are opposed to mega-churches, and see Warren’s popularity as somehow a sign of serious sell-out.
All I can say is that this book moved me to tears, that her struggle with breast cancer, her friendship with gay folks with AIDS, her risky and dynamic work in Africa are simply told and inspiring. They are fabulous examples of following Christ into areas of great suffering, of wholistic service, of obedience to the call of God. Kudos to the Warren’s for parlaying their great fame and wealth into something like their work against AIDS and poverty in Africa. And kudos to friends in the UCC who, knowing their different theologically perspectives, were willing to purchase some of this easy-to-read story of not just a mega-church star, but a serious follower of Jesus, who is willing to “say Yes to God.”. I hope it bears fruit in helping mainline folks and evangelicals respect one another and maybe, maybe, help readers to take steps towards such brave and effective service themselves.
Feasting on the Word Year B volume 1 Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary edited by David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor (WJK) $39.95 I believe it was years ago at a Penn SE event where Beth and I first met Barbara Brown Taylor. We went on to promote all of her books, every where we go. If you read her in the Christian Century or other sources, you know she is thoughtfully engaged and deeply interested in the actual words, rhetoric, sentences, stories of Scripture. She works hard as a preacher, thinking, praying, preparing each week. As an elegant writer, she, along with respected New Testament professor (Columbia Theological Seminary) Dr. David Bartlett, are well positioned to offer up this extraordinary first volume of what will become a historic, extraordinary resource for lectionary preachers.
Each week offers four perspectives on the four lectionary selections; that is, there is a brief essay which they call a pastoral, a theological, an exegetical, and an homiletical perspective. Four columns, each running for a page or more, on each of the four weekly lections. (They are in facing columns, a very nice design option.) The writers drawn in to this project are a diverse and ecumenical bunch, delightfully interesting, it seems, and all actively involved in Christian formation, teaching, preaching or writing. A quick glance over the contributors shows a number of folks I know, a number more I know of and trust. This is a goldmine and treasure-trove.
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