The Weekly Hit List: A regular round-up of all things Brazos from around the web - including reviews, interviews and other activity.

The Weekly Hit List: February 27, 2015

RELEVANT Magazine published “Are We Missing Something Important About Prayer?” by Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament.

“‘For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace’ (Psalm 102:3).

“When my lips cried these words in a public prayer service, it felt like I was exposing a wound. I had just been diagnosed with a lethal, incurable cancer. My expected lifespan had been chopped by decades. The cancer had already burned through the inside of my bones—like a furnace.

“Lament is bringing our grief and our protest before the Almighty when life doesn’t make sense.

“Praying this Psalm of lament felt a bit like speaking a foreign language. As a young Christian, I had been taught that prayer consisted of ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. I found that structure helpful, and I still do. But there’s something missing: lament. Lament is not confession, and it can’t be reduced to bringing our petitions and supplications before God. Lament is bringing our grief and our protest before the Almighty when life doesn’t make sense.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Today marks the end of a two-week blog tour for Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings. A complete list of posts, and the giveaway winners announcement, are on the blog tour web site.

Rejoicing in Lament was quoted on the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries blog: “Remedy for Control.”

Dillon Thorton recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

Jordan Mark Stone recommended Rejoicing in Lament

 

Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Scot McKnight spoke with a panel at Westminster Theological Centre about Kingdom Conspiracy.

Jon Beadle recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

Scott Lencke reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Scot McKnight wrote “A Robust Kingdom” on Jesus Creed.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, was interviewed by Warren Cole Smith for WORLD Magazine.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was reviewed on The Christian Humanist blog.

Miroslav Volf, author of A Public Faith, was quoted in USA Today.

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter, author of Generous Spaciousness, was interviewed on WikiGod Podcast.

Nicole Baker Fulgham, author of Educating All God’s Children, is speaking at Inhabit: Faithful Practice in the New Commons at the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.

The Weekly Hit List: February 20, 2015

This was the first week of a two-week blog tour for Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings.

Participating bloggers this week included:

  • Peter Leithart
  • April Fiet
  • Kyle Strobel
  • Jill Carattini
  • Nate Pyle
  • Mary Vanden Berg

Don’t miss our book giveaway on the blog tour web site! The grand prize is a five-book package valued at over $80.

 

This week Todd appeared on Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals’ podcast Mortification of Spin, lending insights on ways to encourage those suffering with serious illness.

 

Todd also wrote “Divine Providence: Occupying The Mysterious Middle” for Reformation 21.

 

Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Ben Witherington finished a series of posts on Kingdom Conspiracy, including a lengthy interview with McKnight. Parts: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10.

Kelly Foster reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Chris Altrock reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

 

 

Nonviolent Action Media:

Ronald Sider was interviewed on John Morehead’s podcast.

Nonviolent Action was reviewed on Theologues.

Ronald Sider wrote “Opinion: An army of peacemakers: Time is ripe for a massive expansion of nonviolent efforts to end injustice” for Mennonite World Review.

 

Quick Hits:

Marlena Graves, author of A Beautiful Disaster, wrote a guest post on Amy Julia Becker’s Christianity Today blog: “Does my Life as a Parent Count?”

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter, author of Generous Spaciousness, was interviewed on WikiGod Podcast.

The Weekly Hit List: February 13, 2015

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, wrote “Avoiding the Dead Ends of Providence: Monocausal Fatalism and Open Theism” for Reformation 21.

“It is not easy to leave suffering as an open question, particularly in the midst of crisis. At times, I’ve sensed that there must be a reason that this cancer has hit me.

“Perhaps God couldn’t do anything about it? Perhaps God is ‘relational’ in such a way that some things are truly ‘pointless’ even to God? There might be some reassurance in affirming such an ‘answer.’ Yet, this is not an answer that would keep cultivating Christian lament with the Psalmist. The Psalmists keep asking, questioning, and petitioning because they believe God is the almighty Lord.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Publishers Weekly named Rejoicing in Lament a “Spirituality & Religion Book of Note.”

Billings will appear for a book signing and interview with Neal Plantinga in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Baker Book House on Thursday, February 19.

Billings appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show.

 

Quick Hits:

Spiritual Friendship by Wesley Hill (April 2015) and Divine Sex by Jonathan Grant (July 2015) were mentioned in Publishers Weekly article “Sex and Religion: A Crop of Books Addresses a Fraught Relationship.”

Spirituality and the Awakening Self by David G. Benner was called a “treasure trove” by Lacy Clark Ellman.

Ben Witherington wrote a series of posts on Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy, including a lengthy interview with McKnight. Parts: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.

The Weekly Hit List: February 6, 2015

Jerry L. Walls, author of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, was interviewed by David Baggett for Moral Apologetics.

“Well, I was raised in Knockemstiff, Ohio, and ‘hellfire and damnation’ was often preached about in my little country church, especially during revivals. Listening to the sermons at Bethel Chapel, there was no doubt that issues of life and death were at stake in how one responded to the gospel.  I was converted at age 11 in response to a sermon on the text, ‘there is but one step between death and thee.’

“Several years later, I went to Princeton seminary, and many students as well as faculty were dubious about the idea of hell, and some rejected the afterlife altogether. The clash between my religious formation and my formal theological training was existentially riveting for me, and provoked me to think seriously about heaven and hell and whether there really are good reasons to believe in them or not. After graduating from Princeton, I went to Yale Divinity school, where I wrote a master’s thesis on hell, and I have been thinking and writing about these issues ever since!”

Read the entire interview here.

 

Rejoicing in Lament Media:

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, wrote “Lament: Self-Indulgent Whining, or Faithful Complaints?” for Reformation 21.

“As I spent more and more time in study and prayer with the Psalms I realized how often I had been ‘skipping over’ its sharp cries of grief, its protests to the Lord, its complaints about enemies. In a Christianity always seeking to be upbeat, centered on helping us to discover and fulfill our dreams, I had missed the centrality of lament: raw complaints and protests before the Lord.

“As a cancer patient whose life expectancy had likely been chopped off by decades, I felt grief and anger. But am I supposed to ‘bring those emotions to church,’ and risk being a complainer? The prayer of Psalm 102:23-24 was clear enough: ‘In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days. So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days.”‘

“Apparently, God can handle our complaints.”

Read the entire article here.

 

In a new video, Todd Billings reminisced reminisced on how the community at Western Theological Seminary supported him during some of his darkest days.

 

Quick Hits:

Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Christopher R. Seitz was reviewed by Steve Bishop.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was mentioned by Patheos blogger Keith Parsons.

 

The Weekly Hit List: January 30, 2015

Ronald J. Sider, author of Nonviolent Action (February 2015), was interviewed in Plough Quarterly.

“Leading Christians have lent moral backing to military action against the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), citing the Just War doctrine. Christian pacifists, meanwhile, have struggled to suggest convincing alternatives at a time when preaching nonviolence can seem naïve, even heartless. But does the Just War tradition give its adherents a blank check in such a situation?

“We turned to Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action and a dean among Christian pacifists, who lately has been talking about a truce with Just War Christians – while challenging all of us to go beyond easy answers.”

Read the rest of “Does ISIS Prove Nonviolence Wrong?: Making Peace with Just Warriors: An Interview with Ron Sider” here.

 

Ronald Sider also wrote “What Christian Ethics Demands, But Most Christians Have Yet to Seriously Try” for Sojourners.

 

Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Evangelicals for Social Action reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Midwest Book Review reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Richard Heyduck reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Scot McKnight wrote “Kingdom of God, Politics, and Romans 13.”

 

Quick Hits:

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was reviewed by Nick Peters.

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, was featured in a Calvin College Chimes article.

 

The Weekly Hit List: January 23, 2015

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

“An exploration of complex, age-old questions about suffering and God’s nature leads Billings to extol the beauty of mystery and the limits of human wisdom: ‘humans don’t have an answer to the problem of evil, and we shouldn’t claim that we have one.’

“Along with disclosing his wrenching questions, fears, and hopes, Billings explores ‘the ways in which God’s story intersects with the cancer story.’

“His poignant insight into the role of lament in faithful Christian living makes this a work of both astute scholarship and powerful testimony.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

The Justice Calling by Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson (July 2015) was recommended by Relevant Magazine as one of “12 Books We’re Excited About This Year.”

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Denver Journal.

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight was reviewed by Chris Hennessey and by Johnny Walker.

Scot McKnight was appointed by Bishop Todd Hunter as a Canon Theologian for the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others.

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, spoke at Calvin College’s January Series on “Apple, Google, and other ‘iGods’.”

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was recommended on Hearts & Minds Books and reviewed on Anabaptist Redux.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was recommended on Hearts & Minds Books.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was recommended by Eddie Olliffe.

A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf was reviewed on The Christian Mind.

The Weekly Hit List: January 16, 2015

Leadership Journal chose Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight as one of 2014’s best books for church leaders in “The Leader’s Outer Life” category.

“The implications of Kingdom Conspiracy will move you to practice what it teaches,” said Derwin Gray, the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church in South Carolina.

“This is essential reading for the church in a post-Christian America.”

Find the entire list of award-winning books here.

 

 

 

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings (February 2015) was chosen as a “New & Noteworthy Book” by The Aquila Report.

“Todd Billings is a young theologian who has written a number of very important books in recent years. At the age of 39, however, Billings was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer. With the kind of rich theological exposition that’s become his trademark, Billings puts his theology to work, asking the tough questions in the face of deep physical and spiritual trials. Avoiding the thin and saccharine theology that comes all too easily from evangelicals in times of difficulty, Billings gives us a heartfelt reflection that takes the depths of suffering seriously, but even more so, Rejoicing in Lament looks to the expansive comfort and peace that can only be found in the presence of the Suffering Saviour.”

 

Quick Hits:

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was chosen as “Best ‘Missions & Church Life’ Book” by Fundamentally Reformed.

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight was cited by Dr. Conrade Yap on Lord’s Peace Chapel blog.

 

The Weekly Hit List: January 9, 2015

Rejoicing in Lament (February 2015) by J. Todd Billings received a 5-star review from Christianity Today.

“Few words have the power to chill the soul as does cancer. Combined with terminal, the effect is both exponential and surreal.

“It is trite to say that a cancer diagnosis will change your life. Hearing these words from a doctor is profoundly disorienting, more like an out-of-body experience than a medical judgment. Once the sentence is pronounced over us, like some strange and terrifying sacrament uttered by a priest, we are never the same.

“At age 39, theologian J. Todd Billings was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. In his remarkable book Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ (Brazos Press), he presents an unflinching look at how life changes after a medical death sentence. In the same tradition as C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Rejoicing in Lament is brave, honest, and probing. But this book has one important difference. Most writers in this genre look at death and dying through the eyes of a family member who survives. Billings surveys the same terrain, but through the lens of someone who is dying, someone whose landscape includes both ‘a narrowed future’ and ‘a spacious place.’ It is territory marked by fog and light, sorrow and joy. Billings wrote the book during various stages of his treatment, and its contours reflect the shape of a journey that isn’t over.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Three forthcoming Brazos Press titles were included in The Englewood Review of Books‘ Top 50 Books For Christian Readers to Watch for in 2015“:

 

Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried by Ronald J. Sider (February 2015)

“Every once in a while a book substantially changes the conversation, and even the posture, of the church. What Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in An Age of Hunger did to change how Christians think about poverty, Nonviolent Action promises to do for how we think about war. This book is for every person who is appalled by evil but conflicted in how to respond to it in a way that honors Jesus, the Prince of Peace. It is not just for pacifists. It is for skeptics, war hawks, liberals, and conservatives—but is not for the faint of heart, for in the end it is a clarion call to take the cross as seriously as we have taken the sword.”
Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and founding partner of The Simple Way

 

Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian by Wesley Hill (April 2015)

“Wesley Hill captured my imagination by presenting a vision of friendship—spiritual friendship—that has been our Christian heritage. Each of us who make up the body of Christ will be enriched and our corporate witness to a broader culture enhanced if we can find a way to live into this vision.”
Mark A. Yarhouse, Rosemarie S. Hughes Endowed Chair and professor of psychology, Regent University

 

The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance by Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson (fall 2015)

Here two authors with firsthand experience in the justice movement encourage us to ground our call to justice in sound biblical and theological teaching as we engage with the most critical global needs of our time. The authors connect justice to Scripture, the character of God, and the long traditions of the church so that our passion meets perseverance and justice becomes an enduring and integrated part of our life and faith.

 

Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Books at a Glance reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

David Matthew reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Joshua Ryan Butler reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Scot McKnight wrote “On the term ‘Kingdom.'”

 

Quick Hits:

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings was reviewed by Reformation 21 in “New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.”

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, will present at Calvin College’s January Series on Monday, January 12, on  “iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives.”

Craig Detweiler discussed the positive and negative ways in which technology shapes our lives with the Centre for Public Christianity.

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was reviewed in Denver Journal.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed by Drew McIntyre.

Colossians (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Christopher Seitz was reviewed by Chris Woznicki.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was reviewed on Traces of Faith.

 

Ebook Specials:

Secret Faith in the Public Square: An Argument for the Concealment of Christian Identity by Jonathan Malesic is only $1.99 (93% off) from participating retailers through January 12.

The Weekly Hit List: December 19, 2014

Nonviolent Action (February 2015) by Ronald J. Sider received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

“In this persuasive book, Sider (Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger) argues that nonviolence is the best way to defeat the sword. Using case studies primarily from modern history, he asserts that nonviolence is not only more ethical and successful than warfare, but more practical: the nonviolent action that liberated India from Britain cost only 8,000 lives, whereas the violent revolution that freed Algeria cost a million.

“Even bloodthirsty regimes like Nazi Germany couldn’t suppress nonviolent protest: in Bulgaria, civil disobedience saved 50,000 Jews. More recently, nonviolent action has toppled oppressive governments in East Germany, Liberia, the Philippines, and Tunisia.

Sider recognizes that civil disobedience often functions as only one factor among many in ending oppression—but often the one that tips the balance. Nonviolent action will cost lives, Sider says, but it cannot be taken seriously until people are willing to die for its cause. Proponents of just war and pacifists need to recognize they are often on the same side and work together to make war a true last resort. History shows they can. (Feb.)”

 

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig L. Blomberg won Christianity Today‘s 2015 Book Awards Award of Merit in the Apologetics/Evangelism category.

“Although the title might lead one to think this is a beginner’s book, it is not. But neither is it a book only for seminary professors. It is for those who are ready to move on from the shelves full of introductory ‘case for’ books and want to see if the Bible (mainly the New Testament) can stand up to scrutiny from critical scholars. Blomberg answers the toughest challenges in an evenhanded and gracious manner.” —Craig Hazen, professor of apologetics, Biola University

 

Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

PARSE listed their interview with Scot McKnight as one of their “Top 14 of ’14.”

Dr. Conrade Yap reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

The Christian Humanist reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Timothy Hawk reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Kingdom Conspiracy was chosen as one of Joshua Reich’s “Favorite Books of 2014″ and one of Mechanic Hedge Preacher’s “7 Best Reads of 2014.”

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, appeared on Mornings with Katrina Roe on Hope 103.2.

Wesley Hill, author of Spiritual Friendship (April 2015), was mentioned in The Washington Post.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was discussed on Anabaptist Redux and chosen as one of Grace for Sinners’ “Staff Picks for Favorite Books of 2014.”

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was excerpted on Gifted for Leadership.

 

Ebook Specials:

Holy Teaching: Introducing the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas by Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt is only $2.99 (90% off) from participating retailers through December 22.

Every volume in the Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina series by Stephen J. Binz is only $0.99 (92% off) from participating retailers through December 31.

The Truth Shall Make You Odd: Speaking with Pastoral Integrity in Awkward Situations by Frank G. Honeycutt is only $1.99 (90% off) from participating retailers through December 31.

The Weekly Hit List: December 12, 2014

Presence and Encounter by Dr. David G. Benner was reviewed by Englewood Review of Books.

“For being a relatively short book, it is contains a deeply powerful message. Although at times what Benner writes is complicated because of some philosophical language, it is challenging nonetheless.

“Most are seeking life change, and most seek it by adding more to their lives. We are told that that if we only had this thing or went to this seminar, then we could be changed. The truth is, true transformation starts with being present and will lead us to encounter with the divine. . . .

“Presence is such a powerful idea, but most of us miss it everyday. David Benner’s book presents us with a message that we all need to hear.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, was quoted extensively in “The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill” in Leadership Journal.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed in Christian Courier and on Disembodied Beard.

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter spoke at Trinity Western University.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on One Theology.

 

Ebook Specials:

Creating a Spiritual Legacy: How to Share Your Stories, Values, and Wisdom by Daniel Taylor is only $1.99 (88% off) from participating retailers through December 13.

A Cross-Shattered Church: Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching by Stanley Hauerwas is only $2.99 (85% off) from participating retailers through December 15.

Every volume in the Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina series by Stephen J. Binz is only $0.99 (92% off) from participating retailers through December 31.

The Truth Shall Make You Odd: Speaking with Pastoral Integrity in Awkward Situations by Frank G. Honeycutt is only $1.99 (90% off) from participating retailers through December 31.