The increase in Covid rates around here is tragic and presents complications for many, including us. It has become evident we’re not opening the store for in-store browsing this month. We’re very sad about that and are glad for those local customers — and some who made road trips here from farther away — who allow us to serve them in our back yard and parking area. We are making “curb side service” a thing, believe me.
We’re glad our staff enjoy getting outside a bit to show customers items in the safer outdoor setting.
We appreciate those who understand our righteous zeal for public health. We cannot fathom why some, like some of our local elected officials, put an ideology of personal freedom above the Biblically-demanded commitment to the common good; we invite those who are frustrated with our decision about our in-store situation to talk to me. The unsigned notes and letters are demoralizing, but we are always up for friendly conversations about our convictions. In any case, we’re still here, working hard to adapt in helpful ways.
Our hearts go out to those who have experienced grieve and loss this past year or so. We are praying for a few friends and customers who we know are sick. And we are glad for those who support us in these complicated days.
On a glad note, despite polarization and the spread of danger, people continue to buy books. Reading as a pastime is making a comeback. Maybe now more than ever, we need the printed page and the conversation partners we find in good literature.
As we said on Facebook the other day while celebrating our store’s 39th anniversary last week, we are honored to be your bookseller, to get to suggest titles, to have your ear and some of your money. We’re grateful for your support of this retail biz and we hope to stay afloat (with your help) through this crisis. We’re not going anywhere — we love books too much and love saving you energy and time by curating and suggesting good ones. We take great encouragement from those who send us orders and those who share their own favorite reads.
To wit: here are some more new ones — some you’ve heard of, some maybe not. That BookNotes collection of important recent releases we did last week necessarily couldn’t list all I wanted to, so this is Part Two. Here are some we just had to list so you know we have ‘em. Enjoy.
ALL OF THESE LISTED TITLES ARE AT OUR BOOKNOTES 20% OFF. JUST ORDER BY USING THE LINK SHOWN BELOW. TELL US WHAT YOU WANT AND WE’LL TAKE IT FROM THERE.
The Upper Room Disciplines 2022 (Upper Room Books) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
I was surprised a few years back when I heard that every Christian bookstore didn’t carry this annual chestnut. We love the gentle and quiet prose so often found in Upper Room books and appreciate their doing this annual volume. Each year it is written by 52 different writers, mostly United Methodist (but not exclusively), mostly not well known, each giving us a week of thoughtful, easy to read, clear-headed, basic devotional writing. It’s handsome, trim size is perfect and it is always a delight to see which writers and which weeks most resonate. Actually, we hear that many of them regularly do. Thanks be to God.
This year it seems that the 2022 Upper Room Disciplines has some new features. Besides the focal Scripture passage for each day and the readings and prayers, there is a weekly Scripture overview section and a “guide to daily prayer.” I do indeed recognize more of the contributors this year and it is perhaps drawing from a wider range of denominations. There’s a week done by Kathy Khang, Lynn Baab, Steve Harper, Will Willimon, Amy Oden, Brandan Robertson, Daniel Wolpert, Patricia Raybon, Lydia Wylie-Kellerman, Oshetta Moore, and so many more.
Jesus Listens: Daily Devotional Prayers of Peace, Joy, and Hope Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99
It is well known that one of the biggest selling religious books of recent years has been Jesus Calling (and four others) that offers imagined letters from Jesus to us. No, Sarah Young does not say that these are real, channeled voices from God, they are an exercise of sanctified imagination. They offer tender, caring, intimate words from Jesus that are pretty faithful to Biblical themes and conventional evangelical piety and theology. They are out in several editions from journalling versions to very handsome larger ones to the classic, small sized ones with padded covers. They are well loved and very nice.
This is her brand new one and it is a reversal in style: these are her (our?) prayers to Jesus. These are “devotional” prayers, lush and well written and earnest. It invites us to, as the back cover says, “experience a delightful relationship with a Savior who loves to hear your prayers.”
It takes you on a “365-day journey of Scripture-based prayers to draw you closer to ht e One who loves you perfectly.” There are Scripture references at the ned of each prayer.
I am not sure this is the most mature or sophisticated book on prayer you will read, nor the most eloquent, elegant prayerbook. It is really religious-sounding with all kinds of pious lingo. Who knows if she knows what she’s doing, really? But Jesus invited children and sinners and the broken and other surprising folks to come to Him and in Sarah Young we have at least one nice example of a person giving voice to her deepest longings and fears and hopes. I am sure it will help many. Nice slightly padded cover, heavy paper, a ribbon marker, it’s a handsome hardback.
DVD Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers DVD+Study Guide Dane Ortlund (Crossway) $39.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $31.99
Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear a testimony about this book, 90% of which are wildly passionate, praising how it helped them come to understand Christ and His grace better, a handful who mostly liked it because it explored how Christ’s work (and the Puritan’s classic teaching about that) could be applied today, and another handful who thought that is fine, but a bit abstract and tedious and deeper than it needed to be. I get it. It is marvelous and draws on the Puritans and that leads to what some might call a Reformed Protestant mysticism. It’s deep stuff, about one aspect of our faith and discipleship.
Happily, the content of this deeper life stuff based on knowing intimately the kindness of Christ has been made into a well-produced, clear-headed, 10-session teaching video.
I’ll let the publisher describe it:
In his best-selling book Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund takes readers into the depths of Christ’s very heart for sinners. Focusing on Jesus’s words that he is “gentle and lowly in heart,” Ortlund dives deep into Bible passages that speak of who he is, encouraging readers with the affections of Christ for his people.
This supplemental video series features ten videos, including ten teaching sessions as well as an introduction and conclusion from author Dane Ortlund. Each session covers 2-3 chapters from the book and can be used with the book, the Gentle and Lowly Study Guide, or both. It is ideal for serious small groups to work through together or for reflective, personal study.
The Making of C.S. Lewis: From Atheist to Apologist (1918-1945) Harry Lee Poe (Crossway) $22.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $18.39
This is the second very handsome volume of a major projected three volume biography. A number of significant reviewers last year said that the first volume was the absolute best work on Lewis’s young life. This may be the best on his key years before and during his conversion.
There are rave reviews on the back: for instance, Joseph Pearce says, “There are few more-erudite scholars of Lewis alive today than Harry Lee Poe.” Malcolm Guite, Colin Duriez and others recommend it. This really is a major work and wonderfully made. I bet you know somebody who would love it for Christmas — get ’em volume 1, too, if they are really serious…
Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World Michaela O’Donnell (Baker Books) $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99
Many know that we’ve featured many books on vocation and calling, work and labor, finding the connection (as Tom Nelson puts it in the subtitle of Work Matters) between Sunday worship and Monday work. We all want a “seamless life” (as Steve Garber puts in the book by that title, with the subtitle “a tapestry of love & learning, worship and work.”) Well, there are a lot of books these days on a faithfully Biblical vision for marketplace ministry and meaningful work and the need is there — not enough churches talk about this major aspect of our lives and a lot of the book are starting to sound a bit redundant. We’re glad for that, but this one, you should know, is fresh and timely and takes into consideration the ways in which the work world has changed in recent years.
Give the extreme shifts in work in this last year or so, a book like this is very urgent. Make Work Matter invites us to discover how God might want us to contribute, to define “where you are in this season of work” and embrace what God says (and doesn’t say) about calling, which will enable us to develop a “mindset and habits suited for the new world of work.” Michaela O’Donnell helps us “reflect on and work out ways that sustain you on the journey.” That’s a lot of promise in a nicely written paperback, but Dr. O’Donnell knows what she’s doing. She is the executive director of Fuller Seminary’s famous De Pree Center for Leadership.
Dave Evans, who cofounded the Stanford Life Design Lab and co-wrote the amazing Designing Your Work Life volume says:
The pursuit of work takes work — and this book is a powerful tool to focus your labors and easy the challenge of that worthy pursuit. I recommend it heartily.
The Loneliness Epidemic: Why So Many of Us Feel Alone and How Leaders Can Respond Susan Mettes (Brazos Press) $22.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $18.39
Once again, Brazos Press offers us a remarkable, serious, but not overly academic resource to help leaders and others come to understand our culture. In this can, as the title explains, this offers data and insight and proposals to ameliorate the loneness so many folks report these days. This features original research from the Barna Group and David Kinnaman offers for foreword.
(The book is truly excellent but David’s opening is raw and riveting and the next few summarizing pages are worth the price of the book.) Mettes in this book asks what makes people lonely, what it is and isn’t and how we (especially in the faith community) can better minister to those who are lonely. This is more important than some of us may realize. I really recommend you consider this.
As Kinnaman says,
If you are experiencing loneliness or know someone who is… you should know what ideas are circulating about the crush of loneliness and the buffering of healthy relationships. Susan helps us close these gaps.
Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms Justin Whitmel Earley (Zondervan) $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99
Justin’s 2019 book The Common Rule was a game changer for many and has been a consistent big seller. It is rooted in a solid vision of the good life in God’s world and a profound awareness of the temptations in the high-tech, fast-paced digital culture. Justin understands, as Jamie Smith puts it, “the things we do, do things to us.” So his first book was a guided set of plans and proposals and priorities (with colorful graphs and cool charts) of how to set new habits; he helps us resist the chaos and disorder by affirming things we do daily and weekly and monthly, and things we say no to in similar patterns, It’s the best blend of visionary thinking storytelling and practical self-improvement guidance of any recent book we know. Kudos to IVP for that good one.
And now there is this brand new sequel where Justin offers ways to establish new habits based on healthy values in our homes, with our children. He offers bedtime liturgies and a better framework for discipline as discipleship. He invites us to examine screen time and ways to help children understand the Biblical rhythms of work, play, and rest. He even has a custom age-chart for “your family to plan for shared years under the same roof.”
There are hundreds of great parenting and family books and dozens we love, This is surely one of the best, what Andy Crouch calls “gold.” Ann Voskamp calls “a gem of a book that I want to give to absolutely every family I know.” She continues,
Earley hands us transformational hope for every family with these practical and gospel-saturated pages. I couldn’t put it down.
Take Back Your Family from the Tyrants of Burnout, Busyness, Individualism, and the Nuclear Ideal Jefferson Bethke (Thomas Nelson) $27.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $22.39
Bethke burst on to the scene a decade ago as a very young dude with a viral video extolling the goodness of the gospel, the passion we can have in dedication to the way of God’s Kingdom, how grace and grace alone is the heart of radical Christian faith. His book Jesus > Religion sold millions, I think. He keeps maturing and writing — I adore This Thing Called Christianity: A Dance of Mystery, Grace, and Beauty. He has one coming out in January called Love is: How Messy Stores Can Meet in the Heart of God. He seems to really be in touch with what folks a yearning for — his To Hell with the Hustle captured a lot about a truly Christian view of “reclaiming your life in an overworked, overspent, and overcorrected world” and paired nicely with John Mark Comer’s popular The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Jefferson Bethke gets a lot abouto our culture, about true spirituality, and about being church folks together living out God’s redemptive story. He is a great voice of a certain sort of youthful, serious, but very accesible gocple-centered discipleship.
Which is just to say that this new one is ideal, needed, powerful and fun. Just look at that cover. It isn’t funny, but it sort of is. Many really are needing to “take back your family” from these cultural tyrants.
Isn’t it interesting that this punchy gospel preacher names as one of the tyrants “the nuclear ideal”? That is, our families are not our own and we need broader networks of communities to thrive. He has a chapter about how we learned to think about our families the way we do from the Sears department store and their wish books. He says it leads to toxic hyper-individualism (and widespread brokennes.) America’s family model isn’t working. Maybe we need a more radically Christian framework for what he calls “family teams” which help us do life multi-generationally with other families on mission together. Wow.
John Mark Comer says: “This book is a road map for the weary family soul.”
You just might no somebody who would appreciate it.
The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character Jon Tyson (Baker) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
Speaking of John Mark Comer (who most recently wrote the amazing Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace which is a hip and contemporary study of the old formulation of “the world, the flesh, and the devil”) this author, Jon Tyson, has a tone somewhat like Comer’s. Jon Tyson is an Australian church planter who came to New York City and founded a remarkable church in Manhattan. He’s culturally aware, relevant but deeply Biblical, perhaps somewhat like a young, hip, Tim Keller; his latest book is Beautiful Resistance. It is this reputation and my respect for him and his work that makes me want to read whatever he writes. And, my goodness, we need this new compact and punchy guide to fathering boys. I would read anything Comer writes, and that this draws on recent research from Barna — and bears a moving forward by David Kinnaman — makes it all the more appealing. It’s smart, casual, insightful, solid stuff.
As Tyson says, “It’s not good enough to hope our sons will become good men. We need them to be good at being men.” This book shows fathers, grandfathers, and other male mentors how to lead the way.
Rewilding Motherhood: Your Path to an Empowered Feminine Spirituality Shannon K. Evans (Brazos) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
If you’ve read Calvin University history professor Kirstin Du Mez’s much-discussed Jesus and John Wayne or the much-loved (and unfairly maligned) The Making of Biblical Womanhood by Beth Allison Barr, you know there is afoot a move to reconfigure the nature of being a Godly man or woman, and that there is a fresh diversity of recent books that are not just the sorts on the evangelical best-seller list or “Focus on the Family.” In that context, it makes sense to learn of amazing new books such as Rewilding Motherhood by a justice-seeking, Catholic-contemplative mom with five kids who offers a new understanding of faithful feminine spirituality — for motherhood, no less. Kudos to Brazos and their healthy ecumenical publishing agenda to bring to the world this expansive spirituality which necessarily leads to a proper understanding of God and self and life lived with virtue and compassion.
Arranged with some profound structure and insight, but with friendly and upbeat writing, Rewilding Motherhood offers chapters under the unit “Growing Inward” and then several on “Flowing Outward” which look spectacular, deeply intertwined in a wholistic vision of spirituality and real life.
If you are a mother who longs to feel at home in motherhood–or a seeker who wrestles with finding a home in faith–Shannon Evans offers a new way to encounter the divine within the ordinary. — Laura Kelly Fanucci, author of Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting
Evans takes us on a journey to explore the fullness of our identities as women. This book surprised me, taught me, and held me, reminding me not only of the gift of being a mother but also the gift of coming home to myself in every way possible. — Kaitlin B. Curtice, author of Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God
In a culture that has long minimized the full humanity of women, Evans invites us to a more expansive view of motherhood and ultimately femininity. Rewilding Motherhood is both a fierce encouragement and a deep exhale. I’m grateful for this book. — Aundi Kolber, therapist; author of Try Softer and The Try Softer Guided Journey
The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World edited by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann (Broadleaf) $17.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39
Perhaps the above-mentioned Justin Earley and his Habits of the Household is a bit too practical for you. (Don’t fear it — believe me, it’s good, interesting, life-giving stuff.) And perhaps cool Jefferson Bethke is a bit too evangelical (don’t fear it — believe me, it’s good stuff from that faith tradition.) Okay, though; they aren’t for everybody. Here, then, is a parenting book unlike any you’ve seen. I can count on one hand parenting books like this, as challenging as and as important as this. The Sandbox Revolution is a report from seriously radical, faith-based social activist about how they’ve raised their kids consistent with their lifestyles and visions and convictions that often put them at odds with the mainstream values of their friends, families, and neighbors, and, often, their church families. I suppose some of our good customers aren’t going to see themselves as part of this energetic movement of public theology and social resistance. But for those who want some important conversations that you might not get in your own family or church, this could be stretching and helpful.
Endorsements on the back are weighty, from Liz Theoharis (co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign), Cindy Wang Brandt (who wrote the very nice Parenting Foreword: How to Raise Children with Justice, Mercy, and Kindness) and the wise Quaker, Parker Palmer.
Lydia Wylie-Kellerman was raised in a family of deeply Christian, radical discipleship. Her parents wrote for Sojourners at what might be considered the height of their agitating, doing civil disobedience, and leading local campaigns of fighting the principalities and powers in nonviolent and transformative ways. I am glad that Lydia emerged from that with faith and new creation visions intact; some kids of parents of those movements have scars and resentments that their parents conscripted them to such activism.
Wylie-Kellermann is a good writer like her parents, and she is the editor of Geez magazine. She has curated the Radical Discipleship blog and writes for various Catholic Worker papers.
I’m dating myself but the main book for parents like this in the 1980s about this sort of thing was Parenting for Peace and Justice by Jim and Kathy McGinnis published by Orbis. The Sandbox Revolution is a larger collection of inviting stories for parents who want to raise children to work for justice and who see their parenting as part of their whole-life spiritually-based activism. You will find here pieces by folks of various Christian faith traditions, interviews and conversations with people in different places within the broader networks of social change projects. Some are scholars (Laurel Dykstra) and some are long-standing faith leaders (Dee Dee Risher) and some are themselves from legendary activist families (Frida Berrigan.) Some of the contributors you may know from recent books such as Jennifer Harvey (on anti-racism work among white parents) and Randy Woodley bringing his Native insights.
Lydia is a good writer, an imaginative organizer, and here she has brought together a remarkable collection for those wanting to ponder and learn about parenting for peace and justice. The alternative, lefty bibliography is amazing, too… wow.
Aging Faithfully: The Holy Invitation of Growing Older Alice Frying (NavPress) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
This small sized hardback just arrived and I can’t say much other than to say that Alice Flying has done remarkable work for her entire career as an editor of thoughtful religious books, Bible study guides, and several books of her own on spiritual formation and discipleship. She is a moderate, thoughtful, reliable evangelical woman with a lot of kindness and a lot of awareness of the whole movement towards spirituality and contemplative formation. She was using the enneagram back before only a few of us knew what it was.
That Richard Foster and Ruth Haley Barton are the two endorsements on the back — both rave recommendations about the author and the book —is an indication that this isn’t a typical self help book or a oddly mystical new plan to find new faith in our last seasons. Nope, I am sure this is just deeply Christian, warmly spiritual, helpfully wise, solid stuff, inviting us to live with hope as we age faithfully. I think this will go in our store right next to the famous Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old by Parker Palmer, The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister, and (for those growing even older) the many wise books by Missy Buchanan.
The back cover asks “Would you like to grow as you age? Do you have the courage to receive God’s love and life in new ways?” This book is going to help. Nice!
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and The Language of Human Experience Bene Brown (Random House) $30.00 OUR SALE PRCE = $24.00
Most Hearts & Minds customers and BookNotes readers will surely have heard of Brene Brown. Maybe you’ve read one or two of her New York Times bestselling books like Daring Greatly or watched her viewed-by-zillions TED talk. Maybe you’ve noticed the very wise ways the Biblically-rooted psychotherapist and neuroscientist Curt Thompson uses her work in books like The Soul of Shame and The Soul of Desire. Anyway, a new book by Dr. Brown is a big deal in the publishing world.
And this, Atlas of the Heart, is amazing. It is a slightly oversized book with heavy, glossy paper. There is artwork, pull quotes enlarged in cool designs, there is edgy illustration and some sophisticated, graphic-novel type cartooning. It is a very cool book, artful and enticing. For anybody who might think a conventional book is a bit daunting or boring, this is a gift. What a presentation!
And, yes, it continues her large theories and visions about “mapping meaningful connections.” “We are the mapmakers and the travelers” she says. Let that sink in. Atlas of the Heart is a book worth savoring, enjoying, pondering. She highlights (get this) eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that she claims define us as human.
As it says boldly on the back,
“As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she give us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances.”
Ms Brown invites us to “a universe where we can share and steward our stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.” This is one of the most interesting and, hopefully, helpful books of this year. What a joy.
Speaking Code: Unraveling Past Bonds to Redeem Broken Conversations Diana DiPasquale (Square Halo Books) $33.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $27.19
Any time Square Halo Books does a new volume, we want to kick up our heels and celebrate. I don’t think I know of any boutique-sized, small, indie press within Christian publishing that is a classy or interesting, doing good books, well made, and utterly delightful in so many ways. So, yay!
Speaking Code is a bit of a departure for their oeuvre, as this is a fairly technical book for Christian therapists, pastoral counselors, serious caregivers, and those who want a deep dive into the techniques and practices of careful, biblically-infused communication. We all “speak code” and here, Diana DiPasquale, a seasoned counselor, offers keys to speak the truth in love, to be heard, to hear and understand. She has scripts and case studies offered in a slightly oversized format making this a handsome but workbook sort of resource.
As it says on the back, “This book helps decipher a cryptic conversations, allowing us to see where God’s specific goodness enters our lives.” Yep — she believes God’s goodness is central and Christ’s own grace can shape our own conversations and patterns and impulses.
I’ve read Speaking Code in manuscript form and am delighted to hold the bigger, better, real book. It is very useful, wise, biblically-based, and — I might admit — a bit daunting. This is not a casual read through a few quick techniques about listening skills or being honest and vulnerable. Weighting in at 350 well designed pages, this is a major work, slightly oversized and a notable volume.
And here is my own quick option, a reflection that ought to be teased out more fully in another review: it is a perfect companion to the above-mentioned Atlas of the Heart. If Brene Brown is a bit too inspiration with her humanistic values of connection and joy and meaning and resisting shame, Diana brings a Calvinist’s realism about the human condition and a pastor’s wife’s care for real, ordinary folks in desperate need of concrete help. Granted, not everyone can take in Brene Brown’s elite workshops and spiffy TED talks or even the hip appeal of her beautiful new book. Diana offers Biblical grit and Christian educational counseling services, a nice supplement to the new age idealism of Brown.
I might say that the energetic and zestful Brene Brown is also a nice supplement to the workmanlike handbook of Speaking Code. Both are very useful books, each in their own way, but, truly, I suspect they’d each be a good counterbalance and supplement to the other. In any case Speaking Code is a major contribution to seriously Christian consideration of communication and honest relationships.
The Journey Toward Wholeness: Enneagram Wisdom for Stress, Balance, and Transformation Suzanne Stabile (IVP) $24.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20
Let it be said: I do not know what enneagram number I am, although friends and customers have had betting games trying to figure it out. You know who you are. I don’t know my Meyers-Briggs letters, either, but whichever mysterious batch of numbers or letters it is, it’s the one that loves this stuff (for others, but not for me.) Ha.
We’ve carried E stuff since before it caught on, and we’re happy to stock all the good ones these days. The 40 Days of Being whatever number yours is, the Whitaker House devotionals, the heavy, complex ones, the best of ‘em all (maybe) called The Enneagram of Discernment by Drew Moser and published by Falls City Press. We’ve got Alice Fryling’s and A.J. Sherrill’s and we’re taking pre-orders for the forthcoming Ian Cron one (The Story of You due the end of December.) But off all of those, the most popular and the best for most readers is the Suzanne Stabile one co-authored with Cron called The Road Back to You. And the best one showing how the enneagram insights relate to relationships, her The Path Between U is excellent. I’m not sure I believe in all these numbers and wings but it’s a great, helpful book that we happily recommend. I liked it a lot.
Which brings us to this recent one, The Journey Toward Wholeness.There is no doubt that Stabile is one of the leading lights in this movement and if she can help us towards wholeness, we should give her a listen. The subtitle helps place this one in the enneagram universe: “enneagram wisdom for stress, balance, and transformation.” Oh yeah, we need some deep insights for that, don’t we?
The Journey Toward Wholeness is timely and wise. In these pages, you’ll find language that will guide you through the lifelong process of becoming who you were made to be. You’ll find hope and next steps so you can keep traveling these liminal times at a graceful pace. This book caused me to feel seen and understood, and also challenged me to go deeper, right here where I am. Suzanne Stabile really spoke to me with this book, and I will be returning to it often. — Morgan Harper Nichols, author of Forty Days on Being a Five
During a time when the popularity of the Enneagram is unprecedented and sound bites are plentiful, the depth of this ancient wisdom is often overlooked. Suzanne Stabile, using her uncommon understanding of the Enneagram, coupled with her gift of synchronicity and a deep appreciation for storytelling, offers The Journey Toward Wholeness. It will be a treasured companion for those who seek the kind of spiritual transformation that will add both peace and goodness to their own lives and to the world around them. — Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation
Holy Vulnerability: Spiritual Practices for the Broken, Ashamed, Anxious & Afraid Kelley Fabian (NavPress) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
Oh man, some of us need this. We’re grateful for this thoughtful woman who cares deeply about good questions and good, Biblical answer (she wrote the fabulous and fairly in-depth daily devotional called Sacred Questions: A Transformative Journey Through the Bible.) But she knows (as she says in that earlier year-long devotional) that seeking solid doctrine and intellectual answers only gets us so far — we have to bring our whole (hurting) selves to God, we have to be, as she puts it here, vulnerable. If that book was a honest search for real answers and a Biblical imagination, this is about meeting God even if we’re not okay “Our brokennes,” she says, “is an invitation to a deeper kind of wholeness.”
The forward to Holy Vulnerability is by Scot McKnight, a very successful New Testament scholar and ecumenically-minded pastor. He has named this is favorite book this year about spirituality. He’s right, this is remarkable stuff as we offer our wounds to God, who will love us at those places.
I like that she not only cites Cornelius Plantinga’s Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin but the wonderful Daniel Taylor book The Myth of Certainty. This is good stuff.
All the Things: A 30-Day Guide to Experiencing God’s Presence in the Prayer of the Examen Katie Haseltine (Morgan James) $15.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79
Perhaps you will recall our previous BookNotes rave review as we explained about this very nifty little book serving as a great introduction to the famous “prayer of the examen” that is often used in spiritual direction programs. Katie Haseltine is not one who was raised using the language or practices of Benediction or monastic spirituality, so this book is ideal for those who want to join her on a journey into some lovely and practical and transformational habits to discover faith, hope, and love.
Whether you are seeking spiritual intimacy or needing to deepen the art of discernment, whether you are hoping to practice greater Godly mindfulness or if you just need rest, or generosity, or curiosity even, this book brings all sorts of short readings about the Christ-like virtues of those wanting to inhabit the Kingdom of God. One day at a time, they say. This can help. Fresh with hopeful energy to make a difference in this hurting world, it is based on ancient important wisdom made practical for ordinary folk.
As excellent author and mentor to many Steve Garber (author of A Seamless Life) writes,
Katie has worked hard to form her heart after the heart of God, and I have watched with affection and respect as she gives herself away to others, for others. I pray that this new book will bring her commitments and love to a wider world.
On Love & Mercy: A Social Justice Devotional Stephen Mattson (Herald Press) $21.99 Our SALE PRICE = $17.59
I’m not a Mennonite but sometimes I sort of wish I was. I know that we stock nearly every new book done by their publishing house, MennoMedia and their long-standing publishing imprint Herald Press. Many of their books have a edgy, young feel, bringing together the yearnings of younger Christians these days, a gospel-centered focus that isn’t right wing, a thoughtfulness about culture that isn’t part of the culture wars, a evangelical spirit without any of the tradition’s baggage. This book is a perfect example, a fiery, Christ=centered daily devotional that is a pious and spiritual as any you may want, but loaded with teaching about the Biblical basis for social justice and peacemaking ministries. On Love and Mercy has 60 substantial reflections complete with Bible, thoughtful reflections, and a closing prayer and a small black and white illustration or contemporary woodcut. Classic.
The first reading is “Removing the Stigma from Social Justice” by which he means the false divide between those who feel drawn to social change ministry and activism and who are sometimes made to feel — heck there is a whole cottage industry of books aimed against them these days — that this isn’t fully Biblical, isn’t really connected to discipleship, is mere trendy cultural stuff, not Biblical or gospel. This book puts that ridiculous claim to rest and invites devout followers of Christ as Lord to dig into the works of mercy, public justice, social transformation and reconciliation. As Karen Gonzalez — another Herald Press author — put it, Mattson challenges us to do the work of justice and “reminds us o fits divine importance.”
Some of the readings are almost straight Bible teaching and spiritual formation. Others are more thematic with reflections on Christian thinking about topics from the idolatry of nationalism to the need for prison reform to sexual and gender prejudice.
We are glad for these kinds of resources — we have before celebrated Rest for the Justice Seeking Soul by long-standing and respected civil rights activist Susan K. Williams Smith (Whitaker House; $14.99) and the great Bread for the Resistance: 40 Devotions for Justice People Donna Barber (IVP; $16.00) and the brand new, hefty, We Cry Justice: reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign edited by Liz Theoharis (Broadleaf; $19.99) with 53 provocative entries. Stephen Mattson (who graduated from Moody Bible College, by the way) has written one of the best in this genre and we are really glad for On Love and Mercy: A Social Justice Devotional.
Wanderlost: Falling from Grace and Finding Mercy in All the Wrong Places Natalie Toon Patton (Paraclete Press) $18.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19
Speaking of publishers that we enjoy carrying all their new books — this is going to be a great read because Paraclete always does lovely, thoughtful, intentionally well-crafted titles. If they say it is fun or inspiring or profound or artful, we believe them. And this one is said to be beautifully written and the story of a woman hurt by toxic fundamentalism and on the road — literally — to recovery.
As Paraclete tells us, Natalie Toon Patton’s journey is more than pilgrimage: it’s a one-way ticket to the palace of her own resurrection.
Secondly, we love travel books and there is a growing collection of books at the intersection of travel and faith. Some are fun or funny, others heavy and complicated. With this title — Wanderlost — I gather the author is witty and likes to chuckle. But we realize that this isa s one reviewer put it, a “summons to a place many of have long forgotten: the spiritual home within.” That she departs from the American south to the passions of the Middle East and on to Europe is fascinating…
Another reason I am going to read this myself for my own pleasure is that the excellent writer Steve Wiens says her prose is “elegant and easy, like falling into a conversation you don’t want to end. A trusted guide for anyone willing to take the long way home.” I like that. Maybe you will, too.
I’m grateful to Natalie Toon Patton for showing us how richly God’s mercy dwells in all the corners of this big earth. This memoir is a moving account of a life on the run and a faith on the mend, but it is also much more. Watching Patton find pieces of herself through her travels, we learn an enduring truth: wandering is a deeply formative part of the Christian life, one that can bring us home again.” — Lisa Deam, author of 3,000 Miles to Jesus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life for Spiritual Seekers
The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos Sohrab Ahmari (Convergent) $27.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60
Well, if Wonderlost is a fun, moving, travelogue, literally, about a woman taking some detours to find meaning and faith, this major work is a search of a similar kind, written in a different style and format. This is, I might say, a learned defense of the meaning of tradition, the significance of knowing the grand traditions of the past — intellectual and practical — and offers a serious apologetic about some of the deepest questions we need to be asking now. Those on the progressive let (who says “progress” is a good thing, anyway?) and the alt-right with their fake conservatism (remember how Bill Buckley nearly excised the ugly John Bircher’s and their racism from the conservatism movement decades ago?) all need to grapple with this weighty question. Archbishop Cardinal Dolan of New York, calls it a “vivid and learned defense” and assures us that he recovers important truths about the nature of ad the potential for authentic human flourishing.
Read carefully this summary of the book that, if you are like me, will thrill you with curiosity to know more:
As a young father and a self-proclaimed “radically assimilated immigrant,” opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari realized that when it comes to shaping his young son’s moral fiber, today’s America comes up short. For millennia, the world’s great ethical and religious traditions taught that true happiness lies in pursuing virtue and accepting limits. But now, unbound from these stubborn traditions, we are free to choose whichever way of life we think is most optimal-or, more often than not, merely the easiest. All that remains are the fickle desires that a wealthy, technologically advanced society is equipped to fulfill. The result is a society riven by deep conflict and individual lives that, for all their apparent freedom, are marked by alienation and stark unhappiness. In response to this crisis, Ahmari offers twelve questions for us to grapple with-twelve timeless, fundamental queries that challenge our modern certainties. Among them: Is God reasonable? What is freedom for? What do we owe our parents, our bodies, one another? Exploring each question through the life and ideas of great thinkers, from Saint Augustine to Howard Thurman and from Abraham Joshua Heschel to Andrea Dworkin, Ahmari invites us to examine the hidden assumptions that drive our behavior and, in so doing, recapture a more humane way of living in a world that has lost its way”–
Listen to these weighty recommendations:
Ahmari’s tour de force makes tradition astonishingly vivid and relevant for the here and now. Only a writer with Ahmari’s intellect, his audacious commitment to faith and reason, and a journalistic gift for storytelling could have pulled this off. — Rod Dreher, author of How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History’s Greatest Poem
In this fascinating book, Sohrab Ahmari eloquently articulates what many American founders understood and the French Revolutionaries forgot: that faith is essential for freedom to truly flourish, and that we abandon the wisdom of the past as great peril to our future. Traditional Jews, Christians, and all who care about the future of the West are in his debt. — Rabbi Meir Soloveichi, director, the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Truth and Western Thought, Yeshiva University
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside Nick Offerman (Dutton) $28.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40
Okay, this is one of these books that (a) we love stocking in our religious bookstore because it surprises folks to see a seemingly secular comic actor’s book on offer and (b) because it is funny, and, (c) because it is wise and (d) because it reminds me of another of our all-time favorite authors, the essayist and fiction writer (see the hilarious Jesus Cow) Minnesota blue collar philosopher Michael Perry. Oh, and he’s smart: Offerman is, in fact, one of the most astute observers and fans of Saint Wendell Berry. I loved it when Mr. Berry won some big-wig award for literature and Nick gave a about a half hour speech about Berry that was eloquent and funny and insightful while Berry read a pretty boring and perfunctory acceptance speech.
Anyway, Offerman offers his “pastoral observations” here that shows how he “loves to walk outside.” Which is code for thinking well about land use, outdoor adventure, agriculture, ecology, religion, and more. He quotes Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopald and John Muir. Enough said.
I love the back cover quotes, too, those endorsement blurbs that always matter. One is from Henry David Thoreau, which is hilarious. Another is from Aldo Leopald (“Mildly interesing, anyway, but a bit heavy on the Muir? Was he really so great? I mean, who wouldn’t look at Yosemite and think it was amazing. Duh.”) A badger weighs in about George Saunders and Jeff Tweedy, Sara Vowell disapproves, and John Muir says, “Yes, I heard that Mr. Leopald is portrayed favorably by this author, to whom I say, if you like prairie grass so much, why don’t you marry it?”
You’ve got to read what “Mother Nature” says. She mocks Offerman’s choices and his “too-thick treatise (begging the question: Where does he think paper comes from?)” Reader, she says, “You do the math.” Ha.
Feed the Wolf: Befriending Our fears in the Way of Saint Francis Jon M. Sweeney (Broadleaf) $26.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59
I’m immediately attracted to this book for a bunch of reasons. Sweeney is an important spiritual writer who has earned the respect of all who have followed his work. (By the way, he did the wonderful biography of his friend, the late Phyllis Tickle.) Somewhat like Phyllis, Sweeney has traversed various fields of the Lord, from conservative evangelical Protestant to a sacramental Episcopalian, to his home, now, in the Catholic Church. He has long been attracted to the mystics and saints and has written a number of books about Saint Francis, particularly.
I wish I could say more but I am holding this to savor at just the right time — it is one of those very special books, I think, that deserves special attention. (One review says, “this is not just something you read; it is something you put into practice.”) As the best books about the saints will tell us, in their lives and foibles and courage and virtue we might find healing for our own disoriented and disordered lives. Their truths could heal us and equip us to be agents of transformation in the world. And who better than Saint Francis to lead us to new hope?
Sweeney is a good storyteller, and this book he focuses on these exceptional stories of what Sweeney calls his “ordinary miracles.” Francis’s relationship with creation is part of that and there is at least one chapter which includes the legend of his relationship with the wolf. But this is not a mushy book about being one with nature or mostly about animals. Each “ordinary miracles” discloses something wise and vulnerable and healing from a story from the saint from Assisi and from it he offers fifteen spiritual practices to explore.
Jon Sweeney has written several remarkable books about Saint Francis, but this one seems especially appropriate for these troubling times. Read this book, then read it again, and a few more times, and tell every open-hearted soul you know to buy a copy. It’s that good. — Claudia Love Mair, author of Zora & Nicky and Don’t You Fall Now
Kudos to Broadleaf and artist/designer Sonny Ross for such a striking cover.
You Are the Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience: An Anthology edited by Tarana Burke and Brent Brown (Random House) $27.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60
When we heard that Brene Brown had helped curate an anthology of black authors, storytellers, activists, artists, and writers to tell their stories of “shame resilience” I was a bit surprised and grateful for her collaboration with people of color and leaders like ‘me too’ founder Tarana Burke.
Yes, this is huge. What do those historically oppressed and who have been traumatized be ongoing racism have to say to Brown’s upscale TED talks on vulnerability and shame and resilience? Do her teachings even apply? Might folks whose stories are told in powerful books like My Grandmother’s Hands (by Resmaa Menakem) have something to inform Brene Brown and how might this collaboration offer not only insight about the black experience but about shame, resilience, and “shame resilience” for us all?
There are a lot of great writers in this collection (although some you may not know; I didn’t.) But some are important and all are splendid. From Jason Reynolds to Austin Channing, from Keise Laymon to Marc Lamont Hill, from Lavern Cox to Luvvie Ajayi Jones, to Imani Perry to Sonya Renee Taylor, this is a rich and interesting gathering of authors. You Are the Best Thing is an amazing; highly recommended.
Kudos, too, for the powerful cover, with just a bit of texture and remarkable art.
Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation: Thirtieth Anniversary Expanded Edition Cain Hope Felder, editor (Fortress) $32.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $25.60
I can hardly believe that this book is 30 years old but we rejoice that the publisher has reissued it in this slightly expanded well-made hardback. (There is an important new introduction by Brian Blount and three other new scholarly chapters.)
Dr. Cain Hope Felder is one of the great leaders of our time and this book paved the way for many other resources on reading the Bible from angles of vision that are not the mainstream of conventional white culture. It has been considered a landmark volume, representing “a major shift.” Surely it is as vital today as it was thirty years ago.
Stony the Road We Trod works out of the powerful interfacing of the heritage of African American Christianity and the presence of African American scholars in theological academies of the US. I want to read it as both challenge to and expression of theologies of prophetic pragmatism. — Rebecca S. Chopp, Emory University
God Gets Everything God Wants Katie Hays (Eerdmans) $21.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59
Oh my. Oh my. I’m wishing I had time and energy to describe this is great detail, weigh in on my appreciate and criticisms, offer a mature and gracious evaluation. No time for that, and maybe it isn’t necessary, but those who want their theology upright and precise and conventional and the sort of systematic theology taught in Bible colleges and evangelical seminaries, or practices in most conservative churches, this isn’t going to be appealing to them, anyway.
If you like nuance and edgy sarcasm, a positive move within the movement deconstructing evangelical cliches and hurtful practices, if you like the colorful language and creative theologizing of the likes of Nadia Bolz-Weber and Sara Miles and Lenny Duncan and Heidi Neumark, this book has your name on it.
If you rolled your eyes, or nearly wiped tears of sadness when you saw vicious attacks on twitter last week on thoughtful, balanced, legitimate post-evangelical contributions to theology like David Gushee’s After Evangelicalism or even Jonathan Merritt’s Learning to Speak God from Scratch, than this freshly written, clever, and very interesting new exploration of theology by edgy church planter Katie Hays will be a must for you. It makes them look at bit tame, and it invites us into her church’s practices of thinking stuff through together in conversation with the Bible in all it’s honest weirdness.
If you wonder what deconstruction might look like — the good, the bad, and the ugly (and funny as hell) — then God Gets Everything God Wants is a fine place to start. I like David Gushee’s more professorial and systematic text, myself — I’m an older and whiter guy than he is, for crying out loud — but Katie Hays is a piece of work, and her wild and wide-ranging explorations of “a gospel of hope, inclusions, and defiance.” are a blast. It is, you should know, her creative, colorful telling of how they do theology at Galileo Church and it’s candid.
Even after reading the remarkable We Were Spiritual Refugees: A Story to Help You Believe in Church (which I highly recommend, but put your seat belt on, first, gentle readers) I still don’t know if the church name — Galileo Church — was inspired by the fabulous Indigo Girls song. I suppose not, but I sort of hope so.
Here is what some others are saying about God Gets Everything God Wants and the open-source, communal, theologic project down there among the spiritual refugees in Texas where Katie is doing simply remarkable stuff, that thrills my evangelistic heart:
Katie’s book is for anyone who has felt unheard and unwelcome in church and those who are still shaking off the dusty remnants of a loveless, controlling faith in cahoots with systemic injustices. She invites the reader on a tour through personal and scriptural witness toward a reimagined, loving community where real, no-holds-barred relationship reigns — with God and with others. She writes with humor and insight while baring her own faith struggles and wonderings. To quote the author herself–you are likely to find yourself saying, ‘Thank you for telling me that. Tell me more. — Heidi B. Neumark author of Sanctuary: Being Christian in the Wake of Trump
This book is for Christians who’ve been there and done that but now would like to take a second look at the religion of Jesus. It’s also for people who haven’t been there yet but are waiting for an invitation. Hays covers a lot of ground in theology and the life of faith, always with good cheer, conversational style, and plenty of energy. This is a good read in the church–or just outside the front door. — Richard Lischer, author of Just Tell the Truth: A Call to Faith, Hope, and Courage
Spirituality is best explored in community, and in God Gets Everything God Wants, Katie Hays invites us to bring all of our beautiful, broken, burdened selves to the conversation. Do not be fooled by Katie’s light-hearted language and easy way with words. This book is a serious theological rehabilitation of the core message of the gospel, with the kind of clarity and insight that puts you in mind of Richard Rohr or Brian McLaren. We’ve needed this book. — Paula Stone Williams author of As a Woman: What I Learned about Power, Sex, and the Patriarchy after I Transitioned
In our Zoom Bible study at church this week we were digging into the heavy and at times pretty odd (and wonderful) book of 2 Peter. It’s sort of Advent-ish, we were sure of it, as it invites us to live right as we anticipate the future coming of Christ in judgement and healing power. There’s a line about participating in the Divine and, wearing the conservative evangelical hat that often I don, I admired that this is pretty unusual language. Maybe Orthodox monks talks without heresy about “divination” but it’s not something that I quite can wrap my creaturely head around. And so, I don’t like the title of Becca’s new book.
But, man, it’s a good one. She is, as you should know, a major leader of social justice ministry and restorative business as a key to rehabilitating broken lives. She founded the fabulous Thistle Farms and spin-off businesses offering dignity and jobs to women who have been abused, trafficked, hooked. It is one of the great Christian ministries in North America and her many books about love, faith, hope are all very nice, clear, inspiring. She’s an ordained minister and super smart, but her books are not rocket science. They are about loving others well with the love we get from God. We respect her a lot, as do people who know her well (“she’s the real deal” a good friend told me, as we learned soon enough upon meeting her at a conference a few years ago.) This new book is just out and I can only say it surely includes moving stories, inclusive, caring theology, and a call to both “participate in the Divine” and to live it out with kindness and grace in everyday life. As she puts it, “There is no secret formula to experiencing the sacred in our lives — it just takes practice and practicality.”
As the back cover puts it, “No matter where we are — on a walk in the woods, in a sacred building, or in a dusty refugee camp — signs of love abound. You’re invited to join Becca Stevens as she explores what it means to be “practically divine.”
Here is how one of the great literature figures of our time, activist and best-selling and highly awarded novelist Isabel Allende, puts it in her admiration of Becca and her recommendation of this book:
These are the moving stories of broken women and wounded communities healed by the immense power of practical love. No one knows more about redemption than author, pastor, activist and speaker, Becca Stevens. Having herself experienced the trauma of sexual abuse, poverty and death, Becca has spent decades working for and with women survivors. It’s a life spent in unconditional service, and joyful faith. Practically Divine is a prayer book, a manual for living with an open heart. — Isabel Allende, activist and bestselling author
This extraordinary book just might be Becca Stevens’ best…and that is saying a lot! Like the healing oils from her famous Thistle Farms, Practically Divine is gentle, powerful and, yes, very practical indeed. Open these pages and prepare to experience the practice of love, a balm for your soul. —The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and author of Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times
Connections Worship Companion Year C Volume 1 – Advent throughout Pentecost edited by David Gambrell (WJK) $25.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00
We have quite a number of older classic and newer edgy liturgical resources (see, for instance, for the former, see, and for an example of the later, see the recent Liturgies from Below: Praying with People at the End of the World by Claudio Carvalhaes.) The great Connections Worship Companion is the first in a new series to supplement (or at least be in the spirit of) the WJK multi-volume series of lectionary-based preaching and worship planning volumes Connections: A Lectionary Commentary for Preaching and Worship.
As the publisher describes it: “This book offers complete liturgies for all worshiping occasions between Advent and Pentecost of Year C, from the call to worship to the closing charge, with prayers and litanies for every need in between. Part of the Connections commentary series, these worship resources help congregations illuminate the connections between Scripture and liturgical rhythms. A “Making Connections” essay precedes each liturgical season’s resources, providing context for worship within the themes and purpose of the season.”
The Connections Worship Companion is an indispensable aid for worship planners and preachers. With liturgies from a diverse range of voices and attention to both the Revised Common Lectionary and the Narrative Lectionary, these volumes provide creative, faithful, and lyrical words for worship. Editor David Gambrell’s wisdom and eloquence grace the introductions to each liturgical season, offering concise and compelling insights into the Christian year. These volumes are a gift to the church and a guide to worship that is beautifully embodied, spiritually alive, and theologically rich. ―Kimberly Bracken Long, editor, Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts
What an inspiring array of weekly liturgical resources and reflections on the theological themes of the seasons of the church year are offered in this new resource! All are beautifully crafted and thoughtfully prepared with the worshiping people of God in mind. A must-have resource for pastors, lay leaders, and worship planning teams. ―Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Clement-Muehl Professor Emerita of Divinity, Yale Divinity School
Why Can’t Church Be More Like an AA Meeting? And Other Questions Christians Ask about Recovery Stephen Haynes (Eerdmans) $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99
This is truly fascinating book that almost defies categorization. It is a new book about congregational life and what the church could and should be. It is, more obviously, a book about the recovery movement, about AA and addiction ministry and pastoral counseling. It has some history, some inspiration, some theology, and some sociology.
I like the clear questions of the chapter titles and the spunky little answers:
1. Why Can’t Sunday Be More Like Saturday? (it’s not what you think)
2. What Can the Church Learn from AA? (quite a bit)
3. Do Christians Need Recovery? (not until they do)
4. Are AA and the Church Allies or Competitors? (maybe both)
5. What Is Recovery Anyway? (it’s complicated)
6. Is Recovery Anti-Christian? (nope)
7. Is Recovery Biblical? (sort of)
8. Can Christians Embrace Recovery? (apparently)
9. How Are Christians Reclaiming What the Church Gave AA? (let us count the ways)
10. What Does the Church Bring to Recovery? (in a word, theology)
11. Does Twelve-Step Recovery Work? (define work)
12. What about Sex Addiction? (is that even a thing?)
Epilogue: When Is Recovery Finished? (when you are)
Here is how Sonia Waters describes it. She wrote an excellent book called Addiction and Pastoral Care (and is a prof of pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary) she is well-equipped to understand this book and it’s value. Listen to her:
Stephen Haynes’s book is both an introduction to Twelve-Step culture and to the influence that Twelve-Step wisdom has had on Christian communities, including recovery programs, recovery ministries, self-help groups, and even recovery churches. For those Christians who are curious or suspicious about the Twelve-Step model, this book offers a balanced introduction to Twelve-Step recovery, including the Christian influence behind Alcoholics Anonymous and the many ways contemporary Christian groups have critiqued, adapted, or embraced Twelve-Step recovery. Haynes also reviews theologies of addiction, providing a primer for students to develop their own theologies of addiction and recovery. Informed and thoughtful, Haynes views the whole landscape of Twelve-Step and Christian recovery but also challenges Christians to consider how we might reclaim the humility, honesty, and mutual caring that rests at the center of the Twelve-Step culture.
Here is Seth Haines, whose amazing book Coming Clean is a striking memoir about his own alcoholism…
If you’ve attended a Twelve-Step recovery meeting, you’ve likely come to a simple conclusion: If church were more like this, no one would ever leave. In this book, Stephen Haynes highlights the hallmarks of programs like AA–the nonjudgmental curiosity, unmitigated acceptance, and unfailing support of the members–and casts a new vision for the church, one that sees brokenness as the first step in a miraculous healing journey. This book is a must for every pastor, priest, deacon, or lay leader. Do not pick it up lightly. — Seth Haines author of The Book of Waking Up: Experiencing the Divine Love That Reorders a Life
Renegades Born in the USA – Dreams, Myths, Music Barack Obama & Bruce Springsteen (Crown) $50.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $40.00
Alllll riiight!!!! I’m saving this for last, like a big, loud encore. But yet, some of it is gentle and quiet and almost whispered as these two thoughtful guys talk about literature and faith and family, their visions of America, their past, its future. And, yes, about rock and roll and race and justice and fame and glory days. True fans know the backstory of the conversations these aging baby boomers had and the extraordinary podcast and films made as they chat and laugh and ponder some of the things that matter much to them both. And to us all, really.
After the last years, it may be surprising to remember that Mr. Obama was a reader and thinker; he developed a friendships with writers and artists — for instance with writer Marilyn Robinson, with whom, he tells Bruce, he was corresponding when the horrific shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston happened. As she wrote to him about a theology of grace, he was inspired to sing “Amazing Grace” at the funeral. Bruce is very interested in that story and invites him to tell. It’s a very moving episode in the podcast and, of course, is in the book.
Renegades is an incredible, large, lavish text to serve as further proof that these exquisite and utterly remarkable conversations — a rock star and US President! — actually happened. It is incredibly designed with lots of interesting art and vivid photographic history with a cool edge. And it includes the transcripts of the conversations which, on their own, are amazing. It is a souvenir, a keepsake, a testimony. Like either man and his work that much or not, this is simply extraordinary, and if you are a fan of either, or both, it is a must-have keepsake.
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