Category: Books

Podcast: A Flexible Faith: The Bonnie Kristian Interview

Dan interviews Bonnie Kristian on her new book: A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today 
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Dan: @thatdankent
Twitter: @reKnewOrg
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The post Podcast: A Flexible Faith: The Bonnie Kristian Interview appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew


Lessons in Ministry from Mother Teresa

I'm a long way from the streets of Calcutta where Mother Teresa focused her ministry, but as I reflect on her life, I'm struck by three key lessons for me and for anyone in Christian service: read more Lessons in Ministry from Mother Teresa
Syndicated from When You Work for the Church

Book Review: Denial is My Spiritual Practice

Denial is My Spiritual Practice. (And Other Failures of Faith) by Rachel G. Hackenberg and Martha Spong. Church Publishing, New York. I received my “advance reader’s copy” of Denial is My Spiritual Practice about a week after it was available for purchase. Which is bad in the sense that I couldn’t get this review done before…
Syndicated from Spacious Faith

Beyond Superficial Definitions of Self-Care

Is self-care different from being selfish or self-indulgent? Is it the same as caring for your soul? And what does self-care look like in light of following Jesus, who called his followers to deny themselves?read more Beyond Superficial Definitions of Self-Care
Syndicated from When You Work for the Church

A Perfect Cocktail of Disgusting Lies!: Matthew Distefano’s “Heretic!”

Attending a Conservative Christian university while visiting about hundred urban churches and growing up in the conservative Midwest, I have been well acquainted with the dominant manifestations of North American Evangelical Christianity. I have found it wanting.
My relationship with it still exists, largely due to my introvert personality and general lack of verbally sharing what I truly believe with my conservative peers which make up a significant portion of my circle. One must pick their battles.
That said, Matthew Distefano’s newest book, Heretic! An LGBTQ-Affirming, Diving-Violence Denying, Christian Universalist’s Response to Some of Evangelical Christianity’s Most Pressing Concerns, resonates with me, as I believe it does an ever-increasing number of, for lack of better term, Post-Evangelicals. As the mouthful-of-a-title makes clear, it tackles some of the most heated topics among Evangelical Christians in the North American context with some tongue-in-cheek humor and signature Distefano wit to boot. Also, take the Parental Advisory warning seriously – Distefano uses some, ahem, colorful language.
Now, if you’re an Evangelical Christian, you may be thinking, “Universalism?? LGBTQ?? God as totally and wholistically nonviolent? Are you on pot? (A topic which Distefano has covered elsewhere) Of course he’s a heretic!” Except you’d be wrong, at least according to Christian tradition. Distefano still adheres to the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds (which were largely influenced by theologians who believe a variety of things that Distefano proposes in his book). The term heretic, historically, is less referring to what someone believes within the Christian tradition, and more about being divisive – someone who tears a community apart, often intentionally so.
For example, when an Evangelical church shuns a practicing homosexual – that congregation is being heretical, according to historical definition. When churches separate over minute doctrinal differences such as full or partial immersive baptism. Protestantism is about the most heretical manifestation of Christianity in the 2,000 year history of the religion – it just can’t agree on anything.
What Distefano shares with us in his new book, out April 1, is not heretical – it is, on the contrary, welcoming. Welcoming to those Evangelical Christianity has often shunned: those who refuse to believe that God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ is an abusive father who wants to torment 99% of the human population forever, to those who don’t maintain heterosexual relations or feelings, to those who believe violence is a never-ending self-perpetuating cycle. It seeks to cultivate community, not divide it. As far as I can tell, Distefano is even inviting those whom disagree with him to participate – if they can do so without themselves being divisive.
If you’re interested, Distefano’s book officially releases April 1, 2018. For the entire month of April, the Kindle edition will be 99 cents and all proceeds will go to the Preemptive Love Coalition. Check it out!
Distefano was kind enough to send a signed copy of Heretic! to me himself. Of course, I gave a donation to him in return. Being a shunned theologian certainly does not pay the bills very well!
Visit Matthew Distefano’s website!


Syndicated from Interdependently Independent

Living Revision and Listening for the Heartbeat

If you write for your eyes only in a personal journal, if you’ve written books for publication or aspire to, if you blog or write poetry or short stories or sermons, if you write letters, or have put together your family history for your kids and grand-kids, if you write at all, you’ll appreciate Living … Continue reading Living Revision and Listening for the Heartbeat
Syndicated from April Yamasaki

Interview: Benjamin Corey, Unafraid

Fellow MennoNerd Benjamin Corey comes on the podcast to talk with Steve about his life, his work, and his newest book Unafraid. A description of the book via HarperCollins says this:

The creator of the popular Formerly Fundie blog on Patheos explains how the “American Christianity” we are currently taught is actually a fear-saturated distortion of biblical faith.
Benjamin L. Corey thought he was suffering a crisis of faith, but it turned out to be a spiritual awakening.
Corey became aware that the constant fear of hell and judgment that defined his Christian faith was out of sync with the idea that God acts from love, and promises to deliver us from fear. In the wake of this realization came newfound insights—from reading the Bible to re-examining American life and the church’s role in the wider world. Corey learned that what he had been taught was a distorted version of Christianity that was not only untrue but caused real spiritual harm.
He also discovered that he wasn’t alone. Many Christians are yearning to distinguish between the Christianity that has become a rigid American civil religion and the authentic Christian faith embodied in Jesus. As he recounts his own spiritual journey, Corey offers a powerful and inspiring message of hope for every Christian increasingly frustrated with the church today. Do not be discouraged, he assures them. You do not need to give up your faith; you can rediscover the reality of a vibrant Christianity that delivers us from fear and inspires and guides us all today. Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

Interview: Dominique Gilliard, Rethinking Incarceration

MennoNerds member Dominique Gilliard joins the podcast to discuss his new book, Rethinking Incarceration. The book description says this (via Publishers Weekly):
In his debut, Gilliard, an Evangelical Covenant Church pastor, builds on the work of Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy), and Christopher D. Marshall (Compassionate Justice) to create a readable narrative history of racialized incarceration in the U.S. Gilliard depicts the modern incarceration culture as being so painful and brutal that “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory/ When is it gonna get me?” He opens with the horrific murder of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in 2006 by Atlanta police officers who conspired to hide their crime, and then goes on to survey the history of mass incarceration, including “black codes” (restrictive laws passed in the late 19th century), convict leasing, and modern prison labor. First, he deconstructs American evangelicals’ fascination with “law and order” and theology of penal substitution. Second, building on fine biblical interpretation, he provides a theology that emphasizes restorative justice. He also takes the church to task for failing to “reckon with the reality that ever since black people were stolen from Africa and trafficked to this land, they have been dehumanized, abused, criminalized, incarcerated, exploited for profit, and governed in distinctively sinister ways.” This is an outstanding addition to this incredibly important conversation.
Some of the topics include:

Introducing Dominique (0:15)
How Rethinking Incarceration came about (3:07)
Impact on Dominique’s congregation as he pushed more into prison ministry (9:09)
Building off books like New Jim Crow to add a Scriptural approach to mass incarceration (11:50)
The church’s contribution to mass incarceration (18:21)
How penal substitution atonement theology encourages this punishment framework (23:03)
Getting stuck on talking about corporate sin without doing anything about it (30:09)
What restorative justice looks like and how churches can cast a greater vision of shalom (38:38)
How Jesus appears behind bars today (50:18)

Englewood Review of Books: 30 Books for Christian Readers to Watch for in 2018 (page 6)
Facebook: DominiqueDGilliard
Twitter: @DDGilliard
Instagram: dominiquedgilliard Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

How (Not) to Deconstruct Hell (and a quote from N.T. Wright)

As I often do, I find myself circling back to a subject that has been a matter of deconstruction in the past: HELL Yep, H-E-Double-Hockey… it is an an issue that many of us continue to wrestle with. Now, there are two approaches to deconstructing hell. 2 Approaches to Deconstructing Damnation First, you might find […]

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Syndicated from the Pangea Blog


I spent part of this morning taking a kind of personal inventory that often accompanies the beginning of a new calendar year. As is often the case, there was much to be grateful for and much that brought only sighing and sorrow. Progress, moral or otherwise, comes hard, it seems.
As I was thinking and praying on these things, I came across this quote from Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic that made my jaw drop and my soul heave with grief and gratitude. He’s talking about being seen—truly seen—by the living God. About being known as we are and loved even still. 

On one level I can feel that this is absolutely safe. A parent’s safe hold is nothing compared to this. I’m being carried on the universe’s shoulder. But on another level, it’s terrifying. Being screened off by my separateness is all I know in my dealings with somebodies who look like me. This is utterly exposed. And while it may be safe, it is not in one of the primary ways in which human beings set about being kind to each other.
It takes no account, at all, of my illusions about myself. It lays me out, roofless, wall-less, worse than naked. It knows where my kindness comes chequered with secret cruelties or mockeries. It knows where my love comes with reservations. It knows where I hate, and fear, and despise. It knows what I indulge in. It knows what parasitic colonies of habit I have allowed to form in me. It knows the best of me, which may well be not what I am proud of, and the worst of me, which is not what it has occurred to me to be ashamed of. It knows what I have forgotten.
It knows all this, and it shines at me. In fact, it never stops shining. It is continuous, this attention it pays. I cannot make it turn away. But I can turn from it, easily; all I have to do is stop listening to the gentle, unendingly patient call it stitches through the fabric of everything there is. It compels nothing, so all I have to do is stop paying attention. And I do, after not very long. I can’t bear, for ver long at once, to be seen like that. To be seen like that is judgment itself… it is terrible to fall into the hands of the living God.
Only, to be seen like that is forgiveness, too—or at any rate, the essential beginning of forgiveness; and when I come back from the place where the metaphors end, and the light behind light shines, and I open my eyes in the quiet church, for a little while everything I see glows as if it were lamplit from inside, and every flowing particle of the whole gleams in its separate grains; gleams as if it were treasured.

Syndicated from Rumblings

Book review: Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes

This is quite simply one of the best and most enlightening books I have read about Jesus and the Gospels. I have learnt so much that has helped me make better sense of the gospels and of my faith (although I am certainly not claiming to be like Maria in the Counting Crows song, Round … Continue reading Book review: Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes
Syndicated from the Way?

Walking Strong in the Spirit

Well before the start of 2018, I knew that my “one word” for this year would actually be five words that form one phrase: Walking Strong in the Spirit That’s the title of this striking new painting by Abbotsford artist Linda Klippenstein, which I received as a special gift this last year. Last January, the … Continue reading Walking Strong in the Spirit
Syndicated from April Yamasaki


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