For those who want to review all our three part Favorite Books of 2022 list, you can see them by visiting the BookNotes archives HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Here are some new books that have recently been released, or are just out, or are coming soon. I was going to use the alliteration “Five for February” but there’s a few too many that I just have to name. Here’s thirteen.
Be sure to scroll through to the very bottom to see all the reviews. Unless your picking things up here at the shop, please click on the “order here” link (below) which takes you to the secure Hearts & Minds order form. Thanks.
Ordinary Saints: Living Every Day Life to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard (Square Halo Books) $24.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $19.99
I could go on for pages about this, and perhaps I will, later, but it is just out now so we are thrilled to be among the first to announce it. That I’ve got a chapter in it makes it sort of special for me. Other than my own edited collection, Serious Dreams, I’ve never had a chapter in a book, so, to be honest, this cause for a little personal celebration. I wrote about the calling of a bookseller, a few pages about the work of being in retail. Like the others in the book, it invites us to expand our imaginations as to what it means to glorify God in our ordinary lives.
This book is full of heady visions for Kingdom living and a whole lot of whimsy, too. Tom Becker’s fun chapter on roller skating is amazingly good and the piece on karaoke is wonderful, as is the one on comic books. Margie Haack’s ruminations on raising chickens is a hoot. There’s a chapter on the Muppets, for God’s sake. The book is designed handsomely by graphic designer, artist, and writer Ned Bustard and is chock-full of art of all sorts. (He has a chapter, by the way, on lovemaking.)
There is a verve and intellectual depth to all of the pieces, some more playful, some more intense. There is one on mental health, one on chronic pain, one on therapy, one on grand parenting which is beautiful amidst some struggle, and an honest one on pornography — but every one is a delight, wise and interesting, informative, entertaining. From museuming to writing to juggling to creating playlists to homemaking, there are so many examples of ways to see how ordinary folks — saints, all! — have considered what they do, their passions and hobbies and vocations, and how these become venues for theological consideration and spiritual formation. What does God require of us? How does faith inform our daily grind, the fun stuff and the hard stuff of down to Earth life? Ordinary Saints is a treasure-chest giving us glimpses of that, a tool, a challenge. It is a brilliant sort of book and I do not think there is anything like it in print. Kudos to all at Square Halo for thinking up such a task and pulling it together so well. It is an honor to be included.
There are a few famous saints in this splendid paperback. Luci Shaw has a piece on knitting. Calvin Seerveld has a chapter on knowing. Christie Purifoy has a terrific testimony about home repairs. Artist Bruce Herman has a great essay on painting. Poet Malcolm Guite has an original poem commissioned for the book and a chapter about his love of smoking pipes. Psychiatrist and author Dr. Curt Thompson has one on “presence.” Did I mention Byron Borger has one on selling stuff? It has the most footnotes of any chapter, I can say that, at least.
Ordinary Saints is a book for anyone wanting to ponder the spirituality of the ordinary, the human creatureliness of daily faith. These aren’t essays on big cultural trends — politics, racism, global poverty — but they invite us all to wonder about how we glorify God in our very common-place (or, not so common place) quotidian activities. One of its great gifts is the particularity of glorifying God in our seemingly secular ways. It gets specific.
I got a real kick out of the well-written piece by Mark Bertrand on choosing a high-end briefcase. Steve Scott has a good contribution on storytelling. There is a wonderful reflection on small talk. I haven’t yet read the one on napping, but I’m going to take it very seriously. There is a short but meaty reflection on drinking wine and another of honoring God in our own limitations, a great piece written by a former punk rock girl who came to grips with a physical disability. Theologian (and C.S. Lewis scholar) Donald Williams kicks the whole thing off with a chapter on the truth of God’s own glory and the Biblical meaning of glorifying God. What is that even about? He explains.
There are a bunch of chapters I don’t even have time to mention, pieces by living saints, gathered together sharing about their own daily passions. Everyone rose to the occasion, contributing excellent work, helping Square Halo Books celebrate their own 25 years of serving God’s ordinary people. I’ve reviewed and promoted almost all of their nearly 40 books over the years. This may be the best yet. It will provide hours of entertaining, edifying, reading, offering transformational insight. It will help you deepen your own daily habits, offering them up as worship to God. As this book shows with such vigor, we can even read to the glory of God and have a blast doing it. Hooray!
Perhaps you know Douglas McKelvery who compiled the moving Every Moment Holy prayer book volumes. Here is what he said about this collection:
“A delightfully organic, fleshing out of the “every moment holy” idea. Real people communing with a real God in the midst of real lives.” — Douglas McKelvey
A Year of Slowing Down: Daily Devotions for the Unhurried Alan Fadling (IVP) $20.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00
This is a nice, solid hardback, a real bargain even before our BookNotes discount. You may know Fadling from his best-selling An Unhurried Life (and the follow-up called The Unhurried Leader.) It’s very good stuff He is a church and organizational consultant and has helped many groups focus on how they’ve created cultures of rush, of hurry, of growth at all costs, inviting the to, well, slow down. With the overwhelming pace of life, “many of us struggle to stop long enough to be present.” Don’t you, as it says on the back, want to have “breathing room to hear from God?”
This is a collection of what you might call “five minute daily retreats.” There are rich blurbs on the back from contemplative Jan Johnson and writer A. J. Swoboda. Fadling is well-loved and well-respected.
Bill Gaultiere, author of Journey of the Soul, says:
I found myself drawn into the selah of the psalmist, the richness of God’s Word, the whisper of the Holy Spirit and the pace of Jesus.
Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People Tracy Kidder (Random House) $30.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00
This book just released this week and I have not spent time with it yet (but have sold one already!) Beth and I are fans of the great nonfiction writer and literary journalist Tracey Kidder, who has many creative books to his name ( the unforgettable Strength in What Remains, Home Town, Among Schoolchildren, and the extraordinary book about the late doctor who served in Haiti, Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains.) When Kidder does a new book, we notice.
Rough Sleepers takes its title from what the Boston activist / street doctor Jim O’Connell calls those who sleep unhoused. It is a heroic story of O’Connell’s mission and in it’s almost 300 pages you will learn plenty about the vocation of medicine, about social services, about the homeless population, about the humanity of those in those situations.
Rough Sleepers will do for treating homelessness what Mountains Beyond Mountains did for public health. What a compellingly beautiful, inspiring read. — Alex Kotlowitz, There Are No Children Here
Rethinking Life: Embracing the Sacredness of Every Person Shane Claiborne (Zondervan) $19.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99 PRE-ORDER – DUE February 7, 2023
It has been a while since we’ve seen a major new book by our busy, activist friend in Philly, Shane Claiborne and we are nothing short of thrilled that he is bringing this out next week. We were in correspondance with Simply Way folks just recently and we know they are still inviting folks to a whimsical sort of serious ministry, a dedicated life of influenced by Jesus by way of Dorothy Day and Saint Francis, maybe. If Dorothy had been a communist before her dramatic turn to taking Jesus and the church seriously, Shane was a right wing Southern fundamentalist zealot, flying his Stars & Bars while listening to Rush Limbaugh. That we would become a Jesus-following servant of the poor, starting urban gardens and learning blacksmithing so he could literally turn urban handguns into gardening implements is nothing short of astonishing. His first book after his great transformation, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical and he has continued to encourage thinking and action, rooted in regular prayer. I hope you know the prayer book he and some others put together —Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.
This is not the time to revisit his whole story, but we appreciate so much of what he and his friends at The Simply Way have been doing. From his speaking about intentional community to doing civil disobedience with righteous, nonviolent zeal, from sharing life with struggling neighbors in the city to writing books to helps us understand the inequities of the death penalty, he seems tireless, eager, and usually pretty upbeat.
I do not know if this forthcoming book was in the works for a while but there is little doubt that the public debates about the overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court and the fresh conversations happening around the pro-life issue gives it an urgent context.
I have not seen the book yet but here’s what I’ve heard: it is taking seriously, as many do, the call to be conscientiously and consistently pro-life. Ron Sider was, in a way, one of his guiding lights as a younger man, and Sider years ago tried to link an consistently Biblical non-violent social ethic pushed made him to be anti-abortion and anti-war; pro-life and pro-woman; he was pro-life when it came to the unborn but he was equally pro-life when it came to the hungry, the imprisoned, the oppressed. It ends up not being a very popular position, believe me.
Others have invited us to ponder how to not merely be against abortion but to be robustly and consistently in favor of life. I think of David Gushee’s extraordinary, large Eerdmans book, The Sacredness of Human Life. For a recent, excellent exploration from a Roman Catholic view, see, for instance Rehumanize: A Vision to Secure Human Rights for All by Aimee Murphy (New City Press; $24.95.) I suspect Ms Murphy has more tattoos than Shane, and works in more secular space to end aggression and injustice against human beings, born or unborn, but they seem on the same page. She reminds me a bit of an edgy Dorothy Day.
Shane does, too, except he learned a lot about Jesus and discipleship from his Southern fundamentalist upbringing. He’s got a passion for revival and holiness, even if he defines that with the big picture values of the reign of God.
I think many of our customers will be glad for this “rethinking” opportunity, and even if one may not follow Shane on every detail, this is a book that I am sure will be worth reading, discussion, pioneering, and, in some small way, living out, day by day. We’re hoping many will order it.
Rethinking Life is an intervention. In a moment when the politics of life is leading to death, master storyteller and public theologian Shane Claiborne leads followers of Jesus on a brave pilgrimage through the meaning, ethics, and politics of life–and death–and love. This is one of those books you will cherish and quote for the rest of your life. — Lisa Sharon Harper, president and founder, Freedom Road; author, Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World and How to Repair It All
I resonate with this book in the marrow of my bones! In Rethinking Life, Shane Claiborne shows us what a genuine pro-life theology, ethic, and practice demands of us and looks like in practice. Authentic Christianity has always been robustly pro-life, but it must be more than a politicized slogan selectively and narrowly applied. In Rethinking Life, Claiborne’s thinking is as keen as his heart is compassionate. And best of all, Jesus shines through on every page. — Brian Zahnd, author, When Everything’s on Fire
Here is a book that courageously and effectively tackles several difficult issues around the ethics of life for those who wish to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Whether it is abortion, capital punishment, eugenics, war, or the historic culpability of the church, Shane Claiborne avoids oversimplification in any direction by focusing on the human element, offering provocative questions for both individuals and small groups to chew on. —The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; author, Love Is the Way and The Power of Love
What Makes You Come Alive: A Spiritual Walk with Howard Thurman Lerita Coleman Brown (Broadleaf Books) $26.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59
You may know the name Howard Thurman, a middle-of-the-20th-century black contemplative, and unsung influence on MLK. His Jesus and the Disinherited was an important book for King, and is a watershed volume in Biblical social ethics. Fewer know about Thurman’s many books of contemplative spirituality. We’ve got more than one major biography of him and several studies of his influence.
We love the look of this one, short and sweet, a considerable work in a small, chunky hardback, perfect for those being introduced to Thurman’s work. (And, we are told, it is great for those who know a lot about him, too; it’s that good!) It is said to be elegant and very well informed.
Thurman noted that we shouldn’t ask “what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.” That, after all, is what the world needs — you being alive and well, making a difference out of glad passion, not mere duty. I like that. Thurman was one of the great mystics of the recent past but he also had a trajectory away from the monasteries and towards the needy world. Yes!
Listen to what Barbara Brown Taylor, author of An Altar in the World and Holy Envy, has written about Lerita Coleman Brown’s insight:
If you have been searching for an engaging introduction to Howard Thurman, here it is… Lerita Coleman Brown has spent so much time learning about his life, absorbing his work, and trusting his guidance that she has made his wisdom her own.
This book makes good on its central promise: in her hands, it is not a book about Howard Thurman; it is a spiritual walk with him. Accept her invitation to take that walk, and the healing won’t stop with your spirit. Your body, mind, and heart will be restored as well.
Neo-Calvinism: A Theological Introduction Cory C. Brock & N. Gray Sutanto (Lexham Academic) $36.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $29.59
For some of us in some circles, this, truly, is a book we’ve been waiting for. Like, we’ve been waiting for decades. Never before has there been such an explicitly neo-Calvinist study of the leading theological voices of this Dutch tradition — namely Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck, among others. As the forward by George Harinck, formerly of Princeton, now in the Netherlands, suggests, there has been a renaissance of sorts in recent decades of the public theology or social policies of this tradition which emphasized the Lordship of Christ, embodied for cultural flourishing in a pluralistic culture. From the philosophers at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto to the civic-minded networkers at the Center for Public Justice (heck, in a way, to the campus ministers that run our beloved Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh each February) the living out of faith in action inspired by a Kuyperian worldview is increasingly known. How many books cite Kuyper’s “every square inch” line. How glad we are that even those not particularly taken with the details of the Calvinist doctrine are taking up what Niebuhr called the Reformed “Christ transforming culture” posture, and digging into the social philosophy outlined in brief in Al Wolters’ Creation Regained: The Biblical Basis of a Reformational Worldview.
Studies about this abound, and we have highlighted and promoted here Bartholomew’s Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction, his splendid book with Bob Goudzwaard, Beyond the Modern Age: An Archaeology of Contemporary Culture, the creative, global collection Reforming Public Theology: A Global Vision for Life in the World edited by Matt Kaemingk and, of course, the modern-day updating of and evaluation of Kuyper’s famous “Stone Lectures” the excellent Jessica & Rob Joustra-edited project Calvinism for a Secular Age: A Twenty-First-Century Reading of Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures. I never tire of saying how delighted I was to see our own bookstore positioned as part of this movement in the pages about us in Richard Mouw’s wonderful All That God Cares about: Common Grace and Divine Delight.
Yet, Kuyper and Bavinck, early 20th century social architects that they were (having started schools, a faith-based labor union, newspapers, the Free University of Amsterdam, a political party) were primarily theologians and pastors. What were the uniquely theological underpinnings of their broad social vision? New translations (sometimes first-time translations) of Kuyper and Bavinck and Klaas Schilder have come out in the last few years and for those who want primary source material, there is a wealth of words.
But no-one has systematically explained the doctrinal theology of these giants of Protestant faith, nor has anyone (short of obscure monographs and PhD dissertations) explored the ways in which their theological project bridged modernist impulses and more traditionalist Calvinistic perspectives. There is some debate about all that and Brock and Sutanto are well equipped to walk us through this remarkable blend of innovation and convention, Biblical fidelity and modernist relevance, a creative approach that seems to have breathed fresh life into the thinking and preaching of Kuyper and Bavinck. Their early 1900s “neo-Calvinism” was and is a social movement, to be sure, insisting that all of life is being redeemed and that we need cultural reformation, even the reformation of ideas, but it was and should also be seen as a theological tradition. Neo-Calvinism: A Theological Introduction is the book that gives voice to that tradition in a way that no other volume ever has. We might call it magesterial. It is important for anyone interested in historical theology and is a major contribution to evangelical theological studies.
Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation Collin Hansen (Zondervan) $26.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59 PRE ORDER – DUE FEBRUARY 7, 2023
One of the reasons, it seems to me, that Timothy Keller has become so famous and deeply respected around the world has been not only his sharp mind and deep commitments to historic Christian orthodoxy, but his generous interest in contemporary culture, modern philosophy, and a balanced sort of concern for the flourishing of the spaces we find ourselves in. For him, it has been “the city”, as some in New York call their megalopolis. He planted a church in Manhattan and got busy listening well to serious seekers in the arts community, in the theatre world, and of course on Wall Street.
He started doing Bible studies with skeptics, teaching about faith lived out in the work-world (which came to fruition in Every Good Endeavor, one of the best books on the subject and the Redeemer Center for Faith and Work.) He brought in world-class speakers like N.T. Wright and worked on questions of pluralism with John Inazu, author of Confident Pluralism. He did a dozen or more thoughtful, often concise books like Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters that called people to a countercultural posture, based on a gospel-centered awareness that our identity and purpose must be rooted in the grace of God, the cross of Christ, and the vision of the coming Kingdom. He wrote a serious book on marriage in part because many of his young, career-driven, upwardly mobile professionals seemed to have time for that.
Naturally, if you are aware of any of these theological themes, you will know that he was an early student of Kuyper and Bavinck (and, indeed, has a lovely endorsing blurb on the inside of the aforementioned book on neo-Calvinism.) This situates Keller, it seems to me, as somewhat other than his conservative mainstream evangelical colleagues in the Gospel Coalition; he created a culture at Redeemer that would host authors like public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson and the provocative Biblical scholar Richard Middleton. Women and men influenced by this culture have grown their marketplace endeavors under the leadership of Katheryn Leary Alsdorf and have development a helpful social service network, congregants working in health care reform for the poor, a robust counseling center and support groups for artists, musicians, writers, and performers.
So who is this guy? Born in Pennsylvania, he came to grapple with the truest truths of the gospel while a student at Bucknell University in central PA. His wife (who as a child wrote to C.S. Lewis and whose letter and repose is found in C.S. Lewis’s Letters to Children) lived in Western PA. We will have to read this new biography to learn more details. Keller has not been terribly autobiographical and has understandably not shared much with the general public about his severe cancer diagnosis in recent years. His latest book Forgive, is remarkable, a potent blend of gospel proclamation and practical, pastoral care, but he doesn’t say much about himself.
I am really looking forward to Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation and we are taking pre-orders now. It releases in a week, and we’re eager to see it. It’s a major, serious look at the formation of a significant leader. It is surely going to be worth reading and I’m very happy to recommend it.
Read these really nice endorsement. Each say something important:
Tim Keller’s sermons and books have influenced me greatly, but I believe his curiosity has influenced me most. To now have insight into the people and places that cultivated his brilliance–a dramatic yet suitable word–feels like a gift I didn’t know I needed. — Jackie Hill Perry, Bible teacher, author of Holier Than Thou
In our time, few Christian leaders have a vision of the faith that is as recognizable–and as globally influential–as Tim Keller. In this engaging book, Collin Hansen charts the fascinating range of figures whose writings and examples influenced that vision and guides the reader through a life spent exploring and distilling the best of the Christian tradition. By humanizing a towering figure, Hansen challenges his own audience to learn from the deliberateness that marks Keller’s own journey in the faith. Quite simply, I could not put this book down. — James Eglinton, Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology, New College, University of Edinburgh
I’m so grateful for this well-written and expertly researched work. Collin Hansen reveals things that many of us never knew about Keller. This is a book about Tim Keller of course, but in the end, it is a book about Jesus Christ. I’m fairly sure this was intentional, or at least instinctive, and as a result it is a delight. — Tim Farron, member of the British Parliament and former leader of the Liberal Democrats
Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church – Death, The End of History, and Beyond: Eschatology in the Bible Greg Carey (WJK) $45.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $36.00
This is brand new, officially not even out yet, so I’ve not looked at it at all but wanted to announce it here. Many of our mainline denominational friends (and others) know the useful commentaries in the Interpretation series. A few years ago they expanded this brand to include topical studies, designed to explore Biblical topics for Bible study leaders and preachers. We’ve got Brueggemann on wealth in the Bible, Patrick Miller on the Ten Commandos, Jaime Clark-Soles on women in the Bible, Jerome Creach on violence in Scripture, Richard Lischer on the parables, Clifton Black on the Lord’s Prayer and Robert Jenson did one called Canon and Creed. They are all thorough and quite useful.
This brand new one is by Dr. Greg Carey professor of New Testament at the UCC Lancaster Theological Seminary, near us here in central PA. Carey has a major work called Using our Outside Voice which explores Biblical interpretation for public theology, several scholarly monographs, and has useful smaller books on the parables, on apocalyptic literature, and a recent small group Bible study on Revelation. He is well loved there and serves local churches well.
In this fine volume, Greg Carey surveys the biblical canon with intelligence, honesty, and even wit. The results place before readers the diverse witness of the Bible to hope in God’s good future. An important, accessible read! — Beverly Roberts Gaventa, New Testament Professor Emerita, Princeton Theological Seminary
Scripture’s many and varied perspectives on eschatology require slow and careful analysis — especially for those of us who preach and teach. The proposals in this book are timely and crucial for those who want to reflect on the future that awaits us individually, collectively, and ecologically. — Donyelle C. McCray, professor of homiletics, Yale Divinity School
The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction Jamie Kreiner (Liveright) $30.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00
When I saw this fairly progressive, secular publisher doing a book on distraction, I almost skipped over it. There are a lot of books coming out on mental acuity, focus, flow, mindfulness and more these days; especially in January the self-help books, some influenced by brain studies or the science of behavior, are everywhere. I am glad I gave this a second look as I think it is going to be fantastic.
Brand new and newly received here at the shop, I can only say this is on my own stack over in our living room. I’m eager to see how this medievalist researches the writings of monks in those days long, long ago. As we have heard (but not deeply explored) these monks of the Middle Age complained about their busy lives and, yep, distraction. Ha.
As it says on the back cover, The Wandering Mind is “a revelatory account of how Christian monks identified distraction as a fundamental challenge — and how their efforts to defeat it can inform ours, more than a millennium later.” Wow.
Listen to Cal Newport, guru of “digital minimalism” who writes,
In elaborating the complicated, human battles that medieval monks waged for control over their own minds, Jamie Kreiner provides a compelling call to address our current distracted moment with both more seriousness and more humility.
Professor Kreiner teaches history at the University of Georgia. Her work on the early Middle Ages examines the politics, ethics, and scientific sensibilities of what she calls those “under-appreciated centuries.”
This is a serious read, perhaps what we might call a “deep dive.” There are rave reviews from historians from Yale and Princeton. I’m sure it is going to be offered with verve and wit, but be prepared. This really offers quite a lot, about, finally, “human fallibility and ingenuity.”
All My Knotted Up Life: A Memoir Beth Moore (Tyndale Momentum) $27.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $22.39 PRE ORDER – DUE FEBRUARY 21, 2023
This is the spiritual memoir that many have been waiting for, surely one of the most anticipated books in this genre in quite some time. We have just gotten an early version. It is really, really well-written, lovely, wry, even, with some great, great sentences. She is a very thoughtful, eloquent but plain-spoken and down-to-Earth speaker, teacher, and writer. I love the style. I started at the end, oddly, and found myself in tears, it was so beautiful. We have always appreciated her clear-headed, evangelical books and have been glad that one so rooted in the strict, conservative, Southern Baptist world was so gracious and good. We have carried many of her books over the years.
And then. Beth is exceptionally gracious on social media and those who have followed her on Twitter these last years have noticed her resolve to stand with those who have been harassed and even abused, usually by strongly-opinionated, theologically conservative men. Sometimes called theobros, these guys seem to make it a point to follow and critique, like trolls, women they disapprove of. Beth has been mocked and abused in the most vile ways by these guys who are supposed to be representing Christ. The mind staggers.
After the sexual abuse scandals hit the Southern Baptists, exposing leadership complicity, she renounced her membership in that denomination, the only one she knew, and started, eventually, attending a more liturgical, Anglican congregation.The chapters about that are breathtaking. She has bravely admitted that she had been sexually abused herself (and, believe it or not, the online harassment continued, with little sympathy.) She has born a good witness in reply, honest and gracious. And now she is telling her whole life story although I know she is being discreet at this point, not saying much about the contents of the book.
I suspect that the story of the online ugliness with her critics and those targeting her with threats and her leaving the SBC is only a small part of All My Knotted Up Life, if it is described at all. It is an autobiographical memoir, of course, and will tell of her Arkansas childhood and youth, her coming of age and her call into ministry, her marriage and its ups and downs, her rising to international fame as Bible teacher (in a denomination that does not ordain women.) There were family issues, we know that much and she now glories in being a grandparent. She’s led quite a life, in an ordinary sort of way.
Moore has written, “It’s a peculiar thing, this having lived long enough to take a good look back.” She is a very relational person, I gather, and I can assure you that this story is captivating, well told, honorable, funny, even, and at points vivid. It is said to be “a beautifully crafted portrait of resilience and survival, a poignant reminder of God’s enduring faithfulness.”
A bit of advance word we got notes her own sense — mirroring a line by C.S. Lewis perhaps — that “if we ever truly took the time to hear people’s full stories we’d all walk around slack-jawed.” All My Knotted Up Life is going to be quite a story and we’re happy to take pre-orders, sending them out a day or so before the official street date. You really should order it today — it is going to be one you will really want to read.
The Great Story and the Great Commission: Participating in the Biblical Drama of Mission Christopher J.H. Wright (Baker Academic) $23.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $19.19 PRE-ORDER – DUE FEBRUARY 28, 2023
It is difficult to say much, of course, about a book I have not yet seen, but I am confident that this is one that we have long needed. I admire this great Biblical scholar and missional thinker and keep many of his others on hand. (For instance, his Zondervan Academic paperback in their “Biblical Theology for Life” series, The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission, is outstanding and his award-winning The Mission of God is stellar. I love that he added to the reissued John Stott classic, Christian Mission in the Modern World, bring it a bit up to date.
Here he seems to be doing three things, all really, really important. Firstly, he is arguing that how we read the Bib le matters and that we are most consistent with Jesus’s own reading and Paul’s own telling, if we read it broadly, drawing on the trajectory of the big story, the grand meta-narrative as some put it. Simply put, the “creation-fall-redemption-restoration” story is especially helpful even if he, Older Testament scholar that he is, might flesh it out a bit more. Seeing the big picture matters. I think he is right about that.
Secondly, he seems to be connecting what some have called “the cultural mandate” with “the great commission.” Our divine calling and human task is to tend and keep the garden (what Andy Crouch called “culture-making.”) The command to make disciples among the peoples is merely a way to restore our foundational calling. I think, if this is what he says, that he would be right.
Thirdly, he is offering, as he has before, foregrounded a missional reading of the story and opened up a missional understanding of God’s redemptive work in the world.
As the publisher says, “Wright encourages us to explore the Bible’s grand narrative and to bring “the whole counsel of God in Scripture to our understanding of who we are and what we must do as God’s people on the earth. He helps us understand mission in its broadest sense, including our creational responsibilities.”
Woo-hoo, and praise the Lord. This is such good news, a great author piecing together so much that is truly essential. I suspect you have not heard this put so clearly before, and commend it to leaders, preachers, and anyone wanting to “seek first the Kingdom.” We are eagerly taking pre-orders now. Shipping in mid-February, we hope.
Saint Patrick the Forgiver retold and illustrated by Ned Bustard (IVP Kids) $18.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40
We were so happy to hear two years ago that IVP was starting a children’s line and what an honor it was for Ned’s bright and beautifully done Saint Nicholas the Gift Giver to be their inaugural release. This new one is similar, but, I think, even better. I love the bold printing, the bright, rich green, the Celtic-theme art. As before, Saint Patrick the Forgiver is a story told in almost musical rhyme. What a poem this is! The linocut illustrations, while artful (and more complex to make than many of us may realize) appear simple and clear. It’s a very nice blending of lots of content and eye-catching style.
The story teaches children that the famous Bishop of Ireland wasn’t Irish; I’m sure you know he was captured and enslaved. After his miraculous escape he returned to bring the gospel to the Irish. Naturally, it tells of Patrick teaching the “blessed mystery” of the Three-in-One by way of the shamrock, an admittedly inaccurate description. It shares more tales (including the baptism of the giant) and how the pagan Druid customs mostly faded away. The last page includes the line “Christ above me, Christ within” and nearly made me cry. The afterword includes some suggestions for further study. Great for wee ones (maybe ages 4 – 8) although adults will love it too.
While the source material is limited, what we do know of Patrick of Ireland is that he carried within himself a great passion for the good news of Jesus and a great love for the people of Ireland. Ned Bustard’s delightful children’s book Saint Patrick the Forgiver captures this gospel spirit of the Celtic missionary and, just for fun, weaves in a few of the charming legends connected to his amazing life. — Jeff Johnson, musician and composer
This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us Cole Arthur Riley (Convergent) $18.00 just out in paperback OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40
We have been delighted to exclaim about this back when we first heard it was coming out, then as a preorder, then when it released less than a year ago, and then named it as one of our Best Books of 2022. It is now, the first week of February 2023, coming out in paperback. Hooray.
You can see my comments HERE or HERE, although it has been reviewed in more notable circles, such as the New York Times and Library Review and The National Catholic Reporter. It’s a moving read, a memoir and broad-minded spiritual meditation by a young black writer increasingly aware of the power of her story.
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No, COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s still bad, and worsening (again.) With flu and new stuff spreading, many hospitals are overwhelmed. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.
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