America and Its Guns: A Theological Exposé, by James E. Atwood. In a year in which incidents of horrific gun violence have cascaded one after another, this is a timely and important book for clergy and churches.
Maybe it’s part of our “have a nice day,” smiley-face culture, but these days it seems that praise is tossed around as lavishly as dandelions in the spring grass. Words like “awesome,” “super” and “perfect” pepper our interactions. “You’re the best!” rolls off our tongues.
Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission, by Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl. This book is part of the Resources for Reconciliation series, which pairs field-based practitioners with academics. Together Heuertz and Pohl explore relationships between people in dire need and those who seek to serve them.
I’ve been an appreciative reader, even a fan, of Brian McLaren since reading his 1998 book, The Church on the Other Side. McLaren helped me understand the emerging postmodern world and its implications for the church.
At a church leadership retreat, a tall man with a mustache and red suspenders stands up and says, “Several of us here find ourselves wondering if our church is still God-centered. It seems to us something’s missing.” At another retreat, a woman blurts out, “But what do we believe?
A classic 1970s study on the demise of railroads concluded that they went out of business because they thought the business they were in was railroads. It wasn’t. The business they were in was transportation.
When delegates want to speak at a gathering of my denomination, it’s customary for them to stand up and give their name, next give the name of their church, and then say whatever it is they got up to say.
In the story of David and Goliath, Saul famously insisted that David be outfitted in his own kingly armor. While this was a generous gesture, David found that he could hardly move. Rejecting the clunky armor, David retrieved five smooth stones for his sling.
In Anger: Your Spiritual Ally, Andrew Lester, emeritus professor of pastoral theology and counseling at Brite Divinity School, tries to unhook us from a relationship to anger that is all too common and with which he grew up: “I was carefully taught to ‘be nice,’ and it was clear that