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.
"Come Out, My People!": God's Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, by Wes Howard-Brook. Howard-Brook creates a lively conversation between contemporary struggles over the demands of empire and biblical struggles with the various empires that sought to control Israel across its history.
I came away from Heaven Is for Real thinking that either Colton Burpo was carried in an out-of-body experience to a biblical wax museum or he's been channeling images from his father's sermons back to his credulous parents.
Faith of the Founders: Religion and the New Nation 1776–1826, by Edwin S. Gaustad. This is the best short, accessible, single-volume treatment of the religious lives, intellectual pathways and church-state politics of the preeminent founders of the United States—Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin.
The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries, by Rodney Stark. Joining sociology and history, Stark contributes much new insight to the amazing rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire—and he reaches some surprising conclusions.
Paul Dafydd Jones of the University of Virginia argues that patience should receive a starring role in theology—the patience of God, first of all. This move would help to dispel some negative images of God: God as a control freak, God as a puppeteer. It would help people see that God grants human beings time and space to make sense of themselves and to grow. It would encourage people to be patient with themselves and others. There is a place for impatience—the Hebrew prophets and Jesus demonstrated an impatience for injustice—but impatience must be marked by patience for people to live into the future that God hopes for them (Theology Today, April).