Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation, by Jennifer Harvey. Harvey believes that reconciliation is so desirable that we must abandon the “reconciliation paradigm.” Why? Because it fails to diagnose the situation truthfully: it obscures history and occludes whiteness, and thus undermines our ability to work at real reconciliation.
Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology, by Jennifer R. Ayres. Ayres presents good food as divine bounty and moral challenge. She rotates her crops, deftly weaving statistical analysis and moral frameworks with stories of particular practices of food faithfulness, hopefulness, and goodness.
A Faith Not Worth Fighting For: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions about Christian Nonviolence, edited by Tripp York and Justin Bronson Barringer. Many people assume that Christian pacifists lack good or even coherent answers to hard questions: Shouldn’t you protect the innocent? Wouldn’t you fight for your loved ones? What about war in the Old Testament?
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, by Sherry Turkle (Basic Books, 384 pp., $28.95). Amidst the deluge of propaganda, technophilia and idolatry that masquerades as objective assessment of digital culture, Turkle offers us galoshes and a sump pump.
Christian Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, by D. Stephen Long. Beginning with the challenge pressed by atheist Christopher Hitchens and engaging Christianity's historic failures, Long brings elegant clarity to the project of Christian ethics.
typically think of name-calling as trash talk, violent speech, all harm and no
good. Often it is. In the aftermath of the midterm elections, I'm well past my
quota of derogation and defamation. But not all name-calling is violence.
There is an ongoing debate about the angels in Andrei Rublev's icon of the Trinity, painted around 1410, and about which one represents the Son and which the Holy Spirit. For the Word become flesh, my money is on the one wearing blue and brown, for those hues suggest one who comes from heaven to earth to reconcile both in his one person.
On a Sunday when John the Baptist's call
for repentance roars in our ears, we need reminders of the precedence of
gift, the prevenience of grace. For John's sermonic cry to "prepare the
way of the Lord" can seem all task and no gift. It calls out the Pelagian in all
of us, the voluntarist who wants to build the kingdom. Careless hearing leads
us to imagine that if we "make his paths straight," he will come.
On this second Sunday of Advent, perhaps the paraments should be red rather than blue or purple. Red has become our Holy Spirit hue, the liturgical color that accompanies occasions of heightened concentration on pneumatological presence and power. Hanging red isn't like firing a signal flare, as if the Spirit has suddenly been glimpsed after a long absence or concealment.
De La Torre writes “to assist the churchgoing layperson in understanding the complexity of the current immigration debate.” His book does far more than exhibit many of the complexities and calumnies of the politicized debate about immigration in the U.S.
For all the saints in your congregation, today is a crucial moment to
name both the importance of the saints--that great cloud of
witnesses--and the source of saintliness, our “one instructor, the
Messiah” (Matt. 23:10).
In many church traditions, this Sunday is Reformation Sunday—a time for
trumpets and triumphalism, for remembering where we Protestants got it
right and for justifying our salvation with a vigorous singing of
Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” We may even believe that it is
we who are the prophets like Moses, the ones whom God knows face to
Noting that Jesus’ interlocutors in today’s gospel reading were truly
amazed at his answer, Stanley Hauerwas comments that it’s too bad
Christians have not been equally amazed. Rather than being amazed that
Jesus has come to usher in God’s reign, we are preoccupied with the
politics and rulers of the world.
What a great party Aaron managed to throw while Moses was on
sabbatical! (Perhaps Exodus 32 is a caution for associate pastors
against starting new initiatives while the senior pastor is on
vacation—even if the people beg.) Jesus too offers a parable of a
party. Such festivity will likely be the last thing on most people's
minds this week, however.