SPECIAL SALE — ONE WEEK ONLY
Buy any one book at 20% off, as usual.
Buy more than one at 30% OFF
Offer expires August 23, 2022
You may recall that earlier in the summer we reported here that we once again did an off-site event, the first such face-to-face event since the start of the pandemic. We are still concerned about the implications of long-Covid and the high rates at which the virus continues to spread, so it was a big deal for us.
It was an event with our good friends and colleagues at the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach.) Some of you know that I remain an Associate Staff with them, helping with new staff training, speaking at some events. Beth and I serve them the best we can with book displays at staff conferences and some student events. It was our time working full time in campus ministry with them more than 40 years ago that inspired us to start our bookstore in 1982. Their annual Jubilee conference — inviting college students to think Christianly about the integration of faith and every aspect of life, including academic life — is a highlight of our year, and the best place in the country to see missional, vocational, whole-life discipleship evoked with gusto and grace and a whole lot of fun.
(You can still visit our adjunct, virtual Jubilee Conference on-line bookstore that we created with about 60 categories of books, to see the sorts of stuff we suggested in helping students relate faith and their college careers, HERE.)
CCO, “CREATION REGAINED”… AND SO MUCH MORE
At this past CCO staff training event there was —among lots of other things — an hour and a half each day set aside to reflect on the book Creation Regained: The Biblical Basis for a Reformational Worldview by Al Wolters (Eerdmans; $15.00). Like another seminal book that came out that same season, The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview by Brian Walsh & Richard Middleton (IVP Academic; $25.00), Creation Regained does a couple of very, very important things.
First, it reminds us of the scope of redemption —Christ is actually rescuing this Earth, with salvation truly being creation redeemed, so all of life is, in this potent view, essentially religious, spiritual; that is, there is no dualism between the realm of nature and of grace, no dichotomy between the so-called secular and the sacred.
We need to connect worship and work, closing the gap between Sunday and Monday. Others have said this well of late but in the 1970s, when Al Wolters (then at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto) gave the lectures that became Creation Regained to the CCO, I can tell you, it was exciting stuff. Traumatic for some, evocative for others. To think deeply about rejecting the idols of the age and the presuppositions of our culture’s fixation with metrics and quantity over quality, say, informed how the CCO began to think about its own context as an ecumenical (“trans-denominational”) campus ministry working in the context of higher education. Shortly after those heady years of asking if CCO would truly live out this calling to “take every thought captive” and think faithfully about how we did campus ministry (and, for that matter, why) several CCO staff people wrote books. All of Life Redeemed and At Work and at Play are now long out of print, but they were influential as we doubled down on this worldview-ish sense that we were inviting students to (as CCO even now puts it) “transform the world.”
Of course we never really took it all that seriously and the spirit of mainstream evangelicalism, for better or worse, continued to shape and form the ways in which CCO did its good work. They were instructed in contemplative spiritually by Ruth Haley Barton and racial justice by John Perkins and Brenda Salter McNeil (and, more recently, by Esau McCauley) and Biblical studies from many, including the late Kenneth Bailey. Jamie Smith spoke at a staff seminar and years ago they hosted Ron Sider on wholistic evangelism. From Marva Dawn to Bill Edgar, they’ve had a lot of pretty remarkable influences.
Over the years, CCO became known as a special and rather unique organization. Former CCO staffer Steve Garber famously did two books (Fabric of Faithfulness and Visions of Vocation) that highlighted the cogency of the CCOs vision for higher education and for work.
Other staff or former staff took what they were learning and created much-discussed books — for instance, you know we have promoted Sam Van Eman’s Disruptive Discipleship:The Power of Breaking Routine to Kickstart Your Faith and Erica Young Reitz’s After College: Navigating Transitions, Relationships and Faith and, more recently, the marvelously creative This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us by Cole Arthur Riley. In fact, my own compiled collection of speakers who did great commencement addresses was earnestly dedicated to CCO staff who have nurtured so many students through their college years and helped keep their faith and idealism alive so they could live into Serious Dreams.
Still, over time, some of the passion for taking Al’s work seriously has faded, so the leadership wisely invited CCO outdoor educator (and philosopher) Sean Purcell to reflect a bit on some of the most essential parts of that distinctive vision. Al Wolters, who studied with philosophers like Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven at the Free University of Amsterdam eventually became an Old Testament prof but early in his career, inspired by Evan Runner at Calvin College, he taught the history of philosophy at ICS in Toronto; from his own time there, Sean was able to unpack some of the deeper implications of Creation Regained as a key text for our time, embodied and flexible, more a map than a plan.
LEARNING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
I had a bit of a hand in helping with that, and among other things, I highlighted the importance of Learning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness by Don Optiz & Derek Melleby (Brazos Press; $17.00) which delightfully opens up some of these themes for young students, inviting them to see the very classroom as an avenue worship and service. That Don and Derek both worked for CCO and caught this vision of whole-life discipleship and translated it into this upbeat and readable book says much about how the CCO can be nimble and contextualized. They knew an easy-to-read and witty book would go far in helping students get a meaningful approach to this call to see their studies as central to and a venue for deepening their faith.
Naturally I also plugged Greg Jao’s booklet Your Minds Mission (IVP; $10.00) that I think every college kid should have. And for those wanting something even more eloquent, I suggested Cornelius Plantinga’s gorgeous, moving, Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living (Eerdmans; $16.99.)
I say all this to you now since I know many BookNotes readers will be sending student’s off to college soon. These are gifts you should tuck into toothier going-away bags.
Many other authors these days are promoting a “culture making” vision (to use the title of the marvelous book by Andy Crouch) even if it was nearly revolutionary 40 years ago when Creation Regained hit us like a ton of bricks.
Many now draw on the creation/fall/redemption/restoration flow of Scripture (as Al did, opening those four themes up to show their significant influence in our thinking and imagining.) For instance, just consider the really great overviews of the Bible with this wholistic, institutionally engaged missional sort of trajectory, such as Exiles on Mission: How Christians Can Thrive in a Post-Christian World by Paul S. Williams (Brazos Press; $19.99) or the tremendously interesting The Symphony of Mission: Playing Your Part in God’s Work in the World by Michael Goheen & Jim Mullins (Baker Academic; $24.00.) Recall the book we highlighted a month ago by the great Amy Sherman, Agents of Flourishing: Pursuing Shalom in Every Corner of Society (IVP; $26.00) It’s just so rich, offering such a hopeful, good agenda.
Or, as I highlighted in my talks to the CCO staff, the compact-sized hardback that is just so very interesting and helpful, eloquent and compelling, A Seamless Life: A Tapestry of Love and Learning, Worship and Work (IVP; $20.00.) Few can say so very much in such short essays, inspiring us to live an integrated life for the Missio Dei. .
So we talked about all that last month with the new and old CCO staff and I wanted to share that with you. Thanks for caring.
MEET YORK MOORE
Here, then, is what I’m also very, very excited to tell you about, if you care at all about this corner of our work.
CCO recently hired a new President/CEO, R. York Moore. While he wisely intuits much of the above, it isn’t exactly his background. York has worked for years with IVCF and has a heart for evangelism which he understands as much more than cheap soul saving; he insists that sharing the gospel with others is an announcement of God’s Kingdom, an invitation from a loving God that demands a response. He is a good and creative writer, too. He’s sharp, strategic, and enthusiastic. Even if you don’t know CCO well, please pray for him as he helps CCO move into a new season back on to campuses after a hard couple of years.
York has four books which we naturally celebrated at the CCO event. Because he has addressed CCO in the past (and even was a main stage speaker at Jubilee a few years ago) many of our older staff have some of his books. Alas, we ended up with a bit too many, so we want to offer them to you at a special discounted deal, now. Help support us as we serve the CCO by taking a few of these four books off our hands.
EXTRA SALE NOW — ONE WEEK ONLY
As is the custom here at BookNotes, most of the titles we highlight are 20% off. But if you buy more than one of these now, we’ll sell ‘em at 30% OFF. That’s a great dea! One week only.
Here they are.
Growing Your Faith by Giving it Away: Telling the Gospel Story with Grace and Passion R. York Moore (IVP) $17.00
OUR 20% OFF SALE PRICE= $13.60
SPECIAL SALE PRICE – 30% off = $11.90
As it says on the back, “Talking about Jesus isn’t just good for the people who hear. It’s good for you, too.”
Yep, if you don’t want your own faith life to grow stale, lose it’s zip, fall into a spiritual rut, just share your path with others. As most of us know from experience (and as York explains) the Holy Spirit energizes you when you talk about God and the gospel with others and can awaken you to experience life in greater fullness.
The book has a couple of good things going for it — it is concise and to the point. It is loaded with stories. It reminds us of stuff we knew but calls us to rely on the Spirit as we find ways to tell the Story of God.
The first six chapters are as clear about evangelism as any I’ve read and worth the price of the book. The next seven are about various sorts of folks who God may bring your way and how to talk with them meaningful about God’s redemption and the life God has for them. From enemies to the hurting, those close to us to complete strangers, York offers examples and stories, strategies and plans of how to “meet them where they are” and be stretched to share good news with them. This is really good stuff.
As the publisher puts it, “Rediscover the energy and passion of following Jesus by telling his story. Grown your faith by giving it away. Warning: the lives God changes may include your own!” Ha. May it be so.
Making All Things New: God’s Dream for Global Justice. R. York Moore (IVP) $18.00
OUR 20% OFF SALE PRICE= $14.40
SPECIAL SALE PRICE – 30% off = $12.60
It was nearly a decade ago but I remember it distinctly. I was longing for more good books that were serious about evangelism and were passionate about social change; books that wanted to offer, in Ron Sider’s famous phrase, “good words and good deeds.” Or, in the title of a book by Harvey Conn that was so very important to many in the CCO in the 1980s, “evangelism and justice.” This, I thought, was it.
York was not only a gifted mass evangelist and a passionate communicator of the simple gospel of grace through Christ, he was traveling around the world, observing and helping organizations (like IJM) that were were fighting sexual trafficking and modern day slavery. He was learning first hand not only about the racism and injustice he experienced as a poor kid growing up in Detroit, but global injustices. It seemed like new lights were going off in his head, new recesses being touched in his soul. His Kingdom vision was expanding from these often horrific first hand encounters and he told his unfolding story beautifully in Making All Things New.
Wonderfully, York places the Biblical call to justice within yet even the bigger, even more audacious dream of God’s plan to bring restoration to all corners of this broken planet. The cosmic dream of “all things new” is conjured up in the Bible in part by proclaiming how the will be liberty to the captives, the poor getting a Jubilee-like second chance for real restoration, swords beat into plowshares and the nations reconciled. Could this big picture of the Kingdom coming be what we mean when we invite people to faith? Does evangelism really entail all that?
Indeed. York guides us through Biblical teaching and stories and a passionate (and honest) account of the Bible’s own vision of the last days. There is judgement against evil, there is hope that evil will be smashed. And the meek inherit the earth.
The meek, naturally, need our help. (And perhaps, many of us need their help.) The oppressed and marginalized need our solidarity, at least, and our efforts. And we all need Jesus.
This powerful book is one of a kind and I’ve read it three times. Each time — perhaps because I was at a different place in my own journey, my own reflections, or maybe my own season or mood — I got something a bit different out of it. (Ahh, the mark of a good book, eh?) I appreciate that York, in his remarkable efforts about educating people about social injustice and his work as a modern-day abolitionist, never gave up his desire to see ordinary people come to faith. He is, as I’ve said, a gifted evangelist. Few books relate the full-orbed Kingdom of God, the resistance to social injustice like modern day trafficking and global poverty, and the call to personal, evangelical faith, the way Making All Things New does.
Agree fully or not with his big hope for the end times or his reflections on passages from the prophets and the epistles, his blend of judgement and grace, sin and redemption, I think you need this book! To this day there is nothing like it. We are happy to offer it here, glad to share that, indeed, this message resonates with the all-of-life-redeemed worldview that influenced the CCO back in the 1970s. God is good to bring CCO and this former IVCF evangelist together. Maybe you, too, can take inspiration in a book like this, fully clear about the gospel and fully visionary about the true hope for God’s intention to bring justice to the poor and liberation to the captive.
Do Something Beautiful: The Story of Everything and A Guide to Finding Your Place In It R. York Moore (Moody Press) $13.99
OUR 20% OFF SALE PRICE = $11.19
SPECIAL SALE PRICE – 30% off = $9.79
Although I suppose it isn’t the main thing, there is something about the many books that Moody Press does lately that have two color ink, nice graphics, a couple of handsome touches. It makes for a beautiful little product and since this book invites us to “do something beautiful” it certainly fits. Kudos to Moody for doing one of the best, simple books on evangelism of the new century.
(Yes, yes, there are recent ones that are heady and important. I’ve said before how fond I am of Models of Evangelism by Priscilla Pope-Levison (Baker Academic; $21.99) and how important the provocative The Invitation: A Theology of Evangelism by Princeton’s Richard Osmer (Eerdmans; $24.95) is. This decade has seen significant work in evangelism and related fields with books like Seasoned Speech: Rhetoric in the Life of the Church by James Beitler (IVP Academic; $25.00) and the lovely Mere Evangelism: 10 Insights from C.S. Lewis to Help You Share Your Faith by Randy Newman (Good Book Company; $16.99.) There are so many recent releases in this field, including very thoughtful ones.)
York, though, smart as he is, did something remarkable in Do Something Beautiful. He used what some of us call —borrowing a term from Abraham Kuyper’s people, as explained in Richard Mouw’s All That God Cares About: Common Grace and Divine Delight — “common grace” and built a bridge with any who long for a more beautiful world. As he re-tells the big story of God’s good world gone awry, he invites us to a sort of redemption that is good, true, glorious, healthy — in a world: beautiful.
I suppose York (as a former philosophy student) knows a bit about aesthetics, but this isn’t an arcane and high-class rumination on Greek or Roman or Renaissance virtues. It isn’t about art, even, really, but about this multidimensional sense of the ineffable, the luminous, the lovely. In a “world made right” there is more.
Although the book has a light and appealing tone, he does invite us to consider hard stuff and how God even promises to renew and restore those rough places. As he puts it:
The things that look hopeless in our lives are often used as an opportunity for God to show up and bring life out of death, bounty and beauty out of the ashes, and allow us to dream another dream.
One of the chapters of Do Something Beautiful is about “doing something beautiful together.” (Interestingly, this is the theme near the end of Andy Crouch’s seminal Culture-Making and appears again in Andy’s recent and must-read The Life We’re Looking For which is about technology.) Ahh, but, as York warns, “doing something together is easier said than done. Joining God in His work and initing others to join the work takes time and preparation.
It is true that sometimes we “fall into” a community that is doing righteous and beautiful things, but more often, we have to do some work. Understanding where we are, where our home is, where our church has been and is going are all important starting points… (we) “exegete our community, analyzing its contours and content with an aim of understanding where the possibilities are.
This book is, simply, “your guide to the story of everything.” Nobody said York wasn’t audacious and bold. Yet this charming little book, energetic as it is in calling us to do something good and righteous, just and beautiful, is also gracious and inviting. It is both a book about how to do evangelism well and, well, it is a book of evangelism. I assure there are those who read it who find themselves desperately longing to be conscripted into this movement of God’s people, into this faith community, those who live for Jesus and show it by offering beauty to the world. Buy a few and give ‘em away and see what happens!
Seen. Known. Loved. 5 Truths About God & Your Love Language Gary Chapman & R. York Moore (Northfield) $9.99
OUR 20% OFF SALE PRICE = $7.99
SPECIAL SALE PRICE – 30% off = $6.99
Again, this is a nicely handsome little book, with three very cool die cut holes on the front and a cover that is a tiny bit off edge, showing forth the strips of color underneath. That Moody Press would spring for this extra touch of a handsome product is glorious and I’m a fan. That York wrote a good chunk of this with the Uber-famous Five Love Languages guru himself, is telling.
I do not know if it was Gary Chapman that realized the evangelistic nature of his various love languages schtick or if it was York who naturally saw the beauty and goodness of adopting those love languages into truths about how God may reach us. Either way, it’s genius!
Others have done this using the Meyers-Briggs personality tests, or the Enneagram, or other personality type theories adapted to prayer or one’s spirituality. Nobody has quite done this, using the Love Languages, and it is a thrill to read. One more tool in the toolkit for people (like you, too?) Who want to share the good news of the gospel with others but rarely know how to bring it up, get into it, actually do evangelism with others. This is one more way into those deeper conversations and it is a blast.
Most basically, it asks: “Could your love language guide you to a more meaningful life?”
The title doesn’t unpack it all, but get’s us started: We are seen. We are known. And we are loved!
The book’s subtitle offers “5 Truths” and here they are:
- Chapter 1 – You Are Loved: The Words That Change Everything
- Chapter 2 – You Are Seen: You Matter and So Do Your Actions
- Chapter 3 – You Have Worth: The Gift of Being Accepted
- Chapter 4 – You Belong: Embraced for God
- Chapter 5 – You Are Known: Experiencing True Togetherness with God
The last little chapter (bringing the whole book to under 90 small pages) is called “Living Into Love.” Yes! As it says on the back cover, “We are all designed to uniquely desire love…”
As York himself puts it on the last page, “We become lovers when we are loved.” This book can help you and your loved ones understand this more deeply, perhaps even discover it anew. It’s a very nice little volume, short and sweet and perhaps life changing.
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