We’re grateful for the Facebook “likes” and the kind words sent after my big review of the new Conrad Kanagy book The Prophetic Imagination of Walter Brueggemann. It is an amazing biography, so interesting and helpful to understand some of the quandaries and issues in contemporary Biblical scholarship (not to mention church life.) Brueggemann is an immeasurably important scholar and preacher and we are grateful for Conrad’s diligence in telling his story. I’m not going to lie: I wish more people had ordered it. Maybe you’re putting it on your Christmas list. Don’t forget to tell your loved ones, we have it at 20% off. Walter, with all his Biblically-driven anti-capitalism, wouldn’t want you going to Bezos.
Hope you also enjoyed the follow-up BookNotes, a summary of many of Brueggemann’s best. A serious Biblical scholar said it was the best such list he’s seen. Actually, I’m working on another (shorter) list like that, diving into the deeper Brueggemann backlist, the album cuts, as the late night FM DJs used to say. But that must wait because now, I’ve got the great privilege of telling you about some really important and truly wonderful books that are coming out soon. A few are coming very soon, a few in a few weeks, some later in November. We suspect we’ll have a few of them here in the Dallastown shop before the due date. You can pre-order them now — we will appreciate it if you do.
(If you are ordering more than one, be sure to tell us if you want us to send them as soon as they arrive or if we are to consolidate and send ‘em together. It’s up to you. Our order form page at the website is pretty easy to use and you can type in notes to us to clarify just how you want us to serve you.)
Please consider these coming down the pike: serious faith-based, nonfiction volumes that are worth knowing about. All 20% off. I won’t say too much, as this is urgent. Here ya go:
Into the Heart of Romans: A Deep Dive Into Paul’s Greatest Letter N.T. Wright (Zondervan Academic) $29.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99 // RELEASING OCTOBER 17, 2023
It has been several years since a new book by Tom Wright and many of his faithful fans and friends have been long awaiting this one. He said years ago that he has revised his own views (as portrayed in his Romans contribution to the respected New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary) and we can all now benefit from his years of grappling with this central bit of kerygma.
This is one of the biggest titles of the year in the field of Biblical studies and I am sure it will be brilliant and inspiring. Even if you disagree some, as you well might. (Between you and me, I’m eager, too, to see what great Romans commentators he cites. Michael Gorman? Douglas Moo? Beverly Gavanta? Frank Matera? Scot McKnight? NT wrote the forward to Conformed to the Image of His Son by Haley Grandson Jacob. How about the book by his former student Sylvia Keesmaat and her brilliant Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice, co-written by Brian Walsh, a very old pal of Tom’s)? I’m really looking forward to this and it will be hard to keep working here the day it comes. Ha.
You should know that, from what I can gather, it is not a full-on line-by-line study of the grand epistle but focuses on “the heart of Romans” in Romans 8. That makes sense, and there is so much packed in there that it will be a great way into the bigger picture of the way the book heralds God’s Kingdom coming.
Having spent his life studying and living the writings of Paul, N. T. Wright offers Into the Heart of Romans with his hallmark exultant themes and dense yet conversational prose. With this fresh foray, he teaches readers not only how to understand this chapter but how to read Paul. Excellent for personal study, group discussion, or congregational preaching, he allows those who might feel nervous around such a vital theological chapter to gain their bearings. This book offers not just a detailed map but a personal guide through the intricate pathways of Paul’s proclamation. I was led to gratitude for the clarity I gained, wonder at the brilliance of Paul, and praise for the grace of God in the victory of Jesus Christ. — Amy Peeler Professor of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College
In his engaging, inimitable style, Tom Wright leads us into a profound encounter with one of the most profound chapters of Scripture. Challenging typical interpretations and offering new ones, he helps us see Romans 8 as a call for the church to enter the world’s polyvalent pain in sync with the triune God. A much-needed challenge. — Michael J. Gorman, Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, St. Mary’s Seminary & University
N. T. Wright has long made it clear that Romans 8 is a text that is dear to his own heart and understanding of Paul. In this book, we encounter Wright as pastor, professor, and scholar. He teaches us how to read a text (as professor), what he discovers in the text (as scholar), and why Paul’s message in one of his most significant passages still matters for the church today (as pastor). It was also refreshing to witness Wright model the ability to grow as an exegete revising one’s opinion when better readings present themselves. This book is an exemplar of a pastorally and exegetically rich analysis of a dense but rewarding section of Paul’s most famous letter. — Esau McCaulley, Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
Lights a Lovely Mile: Collected Sermons of the Church Year Eugene H. Peterson (Waterbrook) $27.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60 // RELEASING OCTOBER 31, 2023
I have seen an advanced copy of this and am positive that it will be a lovely, handsome hardback, solid and helpful, full of previously unpublished sermons. I suppose you know that before his iconic Biblical paraphrase (The Message) he was a working pastor. He faithfully preached for decades to the small congregation of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, MD. We still have customers there and we are grateful for how his years there shaped them, and him.
There have been a few other collections of Eugene’s sermons from his early years — As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a must-have anthology for those who want solid messages and This Hallelujah Banquet actually offers a series of sermons he preached on the book of Revelation! This forthcoming one is arranged them from his messages during different seasons of the church year, so you’ll get several for Advent, one for Christmas, five for Epiphany (thank you!) a bunch for Lent, a bunch from his many Easter Sundays, a lot for the season of Pentecost, and, of course, many set in “Ordinary Time.”
There are 41 sermons here, in 300 pages. It’s going to be a great book.
Paul Pastor, a writer who helped compile these, says in the beautiful introduction, “Like any good writer, every good preacher is an artist who paints by means of words. But while the writer paints on the still surface of space (the page, kept blank), the preacher paints on the flowing surface of time.”
As editor, he continues:
Whether this historic seasonality is part of your faith tradition or not, it’s our hope that by encountering Eugene’s preaching in the season in which he delivered it, you’ll experience some of the “fit” his words were intended to encourage, as truth of Christ dovetails with some space you create for it in your daily life.
Epiphany: The Season of Glory Fleming Rutledge (IVP) $20.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00 // RELEASING NOVEMBER 14, 2023
Last year the first of these small sized hardbacks came out, introducing us to the meaning of a certain season of or event within the liturgical year. In a series edited by Esau McCauley called “The Fullness of Time” we saw McCauley’s Lent and, shortly thereafter, Pentecost by Emilio Alvarez.
A month ago we received the wonderful Advent: The Season of Hope by Tish Harrison Warren and Christmas: The Season of Life and Light by Emily Hunter McGowin. Maybe you got them alread — we’ve got plenty (for now, at least.)
Soon, we hope to receive the next in the set of “Fullness of Time” guidebooks, penned by one of the great theological writers of our time, the Rev. Dr. Fleming Rutledge. We have prayed for her as she was writing this succinct book and we cannot wait to see this little volume, which will surely be a treasure. All we know is that it will be, like the others, a small sized hardback, maybe about 175 pages. J. Todd Billings of Western Seminary says it is “written with joyful urgency yet patient wisdom.”
With palpable reverence and predictable erudition, Fleming Rutledge unearths the riches of the most overlooked season of the liturgical year. Epiphany is all about glory, chiefly the glory of the person of Christ revealed in majesty and power as the King of the Jews and Lord of the Gentiles in key moments of the biblical drama. In Epiphany and the season leading up to Lent, the church gathers a fresh chance to behold the glory of her Lord and to renew itself in the work of proclaiming his glory to the world. — Katelyn Beaty, journalist and author of Celebrities for Jesus
Watch this short video by Dr. Esau McCauley as he describes the “Fullness of Time” series:
We Become What We Normalize: What We Owe Each Other in Worlds That Demand Our Silence David Dark (Broadleaf) $26.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $21.59 // RELEASING NOVEMBER 14, 2023
I finished an early review galley of this late last night and I didn’t want it to end. I esteem David so much and while his prose can border on the eccentric and I sometimes have to read a sentence twice to conjure its meaning, I have to say that the experience of reading this was one of the most creative encounters I have had in a long while. David is a poet, a deep thinker, a usually plain speaker, and a genuinely gracious, good person; he is gentle, even, even as he calls for forthright rebuke of evil and invites us not to be complicit in the unrighteous stuff going down all around us. And you know, it’s going down all around you.
He knows what he’s talking about. He has shifted his views a million times — humans are “a process” he says — from being a passionate disciple of Rush Limbaugh to nurturing a lasting admiration of the blunt Godly witness of Daniel Berrigan and Dorothy Day. That he writes a bit like poet / resister Fr. Daniel is, perhaps, no accident. Yet, he was born and bred in the South and he has that going on, maybe a bit like a postmodern Will Campbell.
I have told some of his story before, and will return to this book again here at BookNotes, I am sure. Space does not permit me to hold forth now, but know that this is, in one way, a bit of an extension of his wonderful explorations of pop culture in his book Everyday Apocalypse and the yearning, prophetic reminder that we all live in stories and have agency of one sort of another to make a difference, as expressed in the must-read (newly edited, altered, and seriously expanded) Life’s Too Short To Pretend You Are Not Religious.
We Become What We Normalize is a reminder that we are shaped by the stuff we do, and the stuff we allow, and, as he puts it, we “become” the water we swim in. We are always becoming. Our choices reverberate, they make culture. Nobody is above the fray; life is political. God is not mocked, Empires are going to Empire, and, yet, we can take up “transformative justice.” We can bear witness. HIs stories are vivid, sometimes even embarrassing as he bears his soul and admits his struggles. Like from the first paragraph.
I gather that Dark thinks that we are always and everywhere either being reactive or reflective. We are too often driven by shame and fear. Yet, maybe some realization can break on through — if we receive the gifts of artists and poets and activists and children of all sorts — and repentance can lead us to refreshing ways of being alive, present, real, raw, agents of the day of the Lord. He explains all that in uplifting prose that just never gets tiresome, even if it is ponderous. Without a hint of condescension, he invites us in. Controversial as some of his views may be to some readers, his tone is utterly honest and utterly hospitable. His radical commitments to nonviolence just seep through into his writing style, generous and gracious even as he offers firm rebukes, mostly to himself.
As he asks, “Is this thing on?” Are we connecting? Is it working? He only does it a few times, but when he says “Reader, it gets worse” or calls to us with that personal line — “Reader” — he builds a bridge that movingly deepens our engagement. Yes, this is risky stuff. He invites us to perform exorcisms. Yes, David, it’s on. I hear ya.
I promise you that this remarkable book has some gonzo weirdness within and that it is not just bohemian hipster talk. He is playfully getting us to see, to play along, to own and manage our feelings — maybe with a little help from Mister Rogers. I bet you’ll love the chapter “What Does Apocalypse Wants from Me?” But, uh, when he gets to “Robot Soft Exorcism” and names the demons as “White Supremacist Antichrist Poltergeist” your head will be spinning. He does not beat around the bush. No worries. It’s just “observational candor.” You can do this. Tune in. Stay with him. This is a great, witty, honest, complex, and healing book, edifying and challenging, irritating and inspired..
He quotes so many artists and thinkers and writers and Tennessee activists, it’s a blast, really. Learn, here, from LeBron James and Octavia Butler, Lupe Fiasco and Wendell Berry, Greta Thunberg and Larycia Alain Hawkins.
Noting how our “presumed consent functions as a free pass for abuse” (and making the case that we ought not let “deferential fear do our thinking for us”) he offers a line from Thoreau, who, David says, once asked himself:
“What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”
He, too, in jail in the 1840s seemed to have known that “we are what we normalize.”
“In the land of the free, what do I owe people whose lives are endangered by my silence? We are not without resources. Courage, it often turns out, is contagious. Group courage is righteously intoxicating. Others have been here before. Come together. Education, the practice of freedom, is forever.”
Every Moment Holy, Volume III: The Work of the People edited by Douglas McKelvey, art edited by Ned Bustard (Rabbit Room Press) $35.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $28.00 // RELEASING NOVEMBER 10, 2023
If you know Every Moment Holy (Volume I) and Every Moment Holy: On Death, Grief and Hope (Volume II) then you know well the beauty of these classy, eloquent, modern prayers for ordinary life. You know the impeccable design, the linocuts by Ned Bustard, the hints of red ink on rich cream paper, the satin bookmarked. Mostly you know how these responsive readings and liturgies can bring you to tears or offer theologically-rich language for very human situations.
This forthcoming third volume, unlike the first two, offers prayers not only by Doug and offers art not only by Ned. A host of sharp folks are involved in helping us consecrate “every moment” and find words to pray in particular situations.
As the good folks at Rabbit Room put it, “Every Moment Holy: The Work of the People is a book of over 100 new liturgies (and lots of new art) for daily life, drawing on a range of writers, artists, poets, songwriters, pastors, and illustrators (with Douglas Kaine McKelvey both writing and editing). With prayers by Malcolm Guite, Ellie Holcomb, Philip Yancey, Ruth Chou Simons, Sho Baraka, Andrew Peterson and more, this collection represents a community of believers engaged in the work of reminding all of us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose and eternal hopes even in the midst of the everyday moments that make up our lives.”
C. S. Lewis in America: Readings and Reception, 1935-1947 Mark Noll (IVP Academic) $20.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00 // RELEASING NOVEMBER 14, 2023
I am sure you know that there is a virtual cottage industry of books about C.S. Lewis. We love them and stock bunches. From Pursuing an Earth Spirituality: C.S. Lewis and Incarnational Faith (a favorite done last year by Gary Selby) to A Compass for Deep Heaven: Navigating the C.S. Lewis Ransom Trilogy (edited by Diana Pavlac Glyer) to Dorothy and Jack: The Transforming Friendship of Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis (by the great Gina Alfonzo) to The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis: How Great Books Shaped a Great Mind (a must-read by Jason Baxter) — just to name a few recent ones that are excellent — our shelves are jammed. Not to mention many biographies and, of course. Jack’s own writings.
This one, though — whew! It ought to be a publishing-world event as it seems to be exploring new material, new content, new perspectives — just when you thought everything important that needed to be said about Lewis has been said. These were lectures given by a world-class historian, offering some great new insight on the post-war reception in the states of Lewis’s early work. Many may not know that Lewis was being read here in the US before the international sensation of The Chronicles of Narnia or the apologetics of Mere Christianity (which were, of course, first given as live lectures on the BBC in the 40s but not released in the US until 1952.) Mark Noll here explores (in what were the fabulous Wade Center’s Hansen Lectureship presentations last year) his research and assessment of who, really, was reading Lewis and how he influenced Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, and evangelicals (not to mention ostensibly secularist and elite journals and papers) in his early years of writing. Drawing on two seminal essays done in the popular Catholic America in 1944 (which are reprinted in an valuable appendix) Noll makes a remarkable case. We learn about Lewis, about why people took him seriously, and we learn, yes, a bit about American religiosity.
After each chapter there is a brief response from another religious scholar. It’s all so informative and helpful (to understand Lewis, to understand how to present the gospel in a winsome voice, and a bit about the US mid-20th century religious landscape.) Jerry Root eloquently compares this book to a brilliant painting summarizing, “What emerges is a masterpiece.”
From elite, secular newspapers to denominational magazines, C. S. Lewis’s writings commending the Christian faith had an enthusiastic reception in America. In this prophetic and timely book, preeminent historian Mark A. Noll has uncovered the secret of Lewis’s success: he was deeply learned, theologically focused, and unusually creative. Noll himself brilliantly models how to embody these traits today. — Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College and author of George MacDonald in the Age of Miracles
This is a deeply informed, fascinating account of the varying fortunes of C. S. Lewis’s writings in America. Initial misunderstanding and mistrust give way to respect, and then to reverence, and ultimately to something not far from idolatry. Noll tells the tale vividly, and the responses from Johnson, Farney, and Black point out some vital implications of this history for Christians today. A welcome addition both to Lewis scholarship and contemporary Christian self-reflection. — Alan Jacobs, distinguished professor of humanities at the Honors College, Baylor University, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind
Now I Lay Me Down to Fight: A Poet Writes Her Way Through Cancer Katy Bowser Hutson (IVP) $16.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.80 // RELEASING NOVEMBER 14, 2023
I cannot tell Katy’s story but should know that she is an artist and friend, a customer we admire very much. She and her musician husband (yes, he once played with VOL) have made their home in Tennessee and have used their creativity to raise kids and nurture friendships and serve churches and make goodness. Katy has played and sung on the excellent children’s albums (you should know Rain for Roots) and is a mom and working poet. Beth and I have followed her as a writer — she had a piece in the great Square Halo Book It Was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God and co-wrote the lovely books of children’s prayers with Tish Harrison Warren and Flo Paris Oakes Little Prayers for Ordinary Days. (In fact, for those who follow this stuff, you might want to know she has a piece in the volume about children’s literature edited by the late Leslie Bustard and others, Wild Things and Castles in the Sky.)
And then she got cancer. And has lived to tell about it, making poetic beauty out of the horrible. The publisher notes that she “writes in resistance to sickness, of wrestling toward beauty.” Word has gotten out about this forthcoming volume, so boldly written, and nicely accentuated by art of Jodi Hays, and we already have a waiting list. Why not join it now and send us a pre-order?
Our friend Margie Haack has been Katy’s friend and wrote this:
What do you do if you wake up one day to find your breasts are insanely on fire with a vicious invader who plans to kill you unless you take the chemo journey without so much as a promise of survival? Because you are young, a wife and a mother with hopes to live for other stories, you have no choice. You take the journey. And if you are a poet, you ‘walk this poisonous way’ hoping, praying, negotiating, and writing all the while. In this collection Katy moves through the halls of medicine and the corridors of pain to find she is only a ‘tiny speck of glory, barely sparking,’ but one carried in the arms of Jesus. Out of the crucible of cancer comes this rare collection of poems sure to be a comfort to any who have cussed, fought, and cried their way through an unwanted diagnosis or any of the heartaches and griefs common to humankind. — Margie Haack, author of The Exact Place and No Place and is co-director of Ransom Fellowship
Hear this, from the forward by Tish Harrison Warren, author of her own harrowing, hopeful exploration of prayer in hard times, Prayers in the Night,
The poems in Now I Lay Me Down to Fight are luminous, honest, heartbreaking, and at moments even funny. They are at once defiant yet surrendered, buoyant yet profound, faithful yet never trite. To read them is to encounter a beautiful and brave soul who invites us into her vulnerability, illness, and mortality through images and stories as human as they are hopeful. I cried reading these verses — no surprise given the subject and my love for the poet. What did surprise me was how much I smiled as well. Katy Hutson has descended into the darkness of cancer and there wrought beauty, goodness, wisdom, and even abundance.
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Sadly, as of October 2023 we are still closed for in-store browsing. 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 waste water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It is bad and now getting worse. It’s important to be aware of how risks we take might effect the public good — those at risk, while not dying from the virus, are experiencing long-term health consequences. (Just check the latest reports of the rise of heart attacks and diabetes among younger adults, caused by Covid.) It is complicated, but we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family who live here, our staff, and customers.) Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.
We will keep you posted about our future plans… we are eager to reopen.
We are doing our curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help, so if you are in the area, do stop by. We love to see friends and customers.
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