The Latest on You Are What You Love

Cover ArtYou Are What You Love released last week, and the reviews are already starting to come in. Check out some of the latest below.

“If you’ve already engaged Smith’s work as I have, I think you’ll find plenty that’s worth your time. If you’ve never read Smith’s work, this is probably the best place to start.”

“I will be recommending You Are What You Love widely and often.”

“What we love matters, and the habits we develop may yield more insight into what/who we’re loving than any amount of information and words might.”

“The part of the book I appreciate the most, Smith has an uncanny ability to culturally critique things that we have grown blind to.”

“I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”

“This important book challenges us to take a hard look at who and what and how we love.”

“The reading is very enjoyable and there are plenty of fascinating ideas to contemplate. If you are a note taker, keep a pen and highlighter handy.”

“I have looked forward to this book, more than any other, for many months.”

“Absolutely the most brilliant book I have read in years and years and I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

 

Jim Wallis on NPR

Cover ArtJim Wallis, author of the forthcoming America’s Original Sin, was recently interviewed on NPR by Michel Martin.

You can read an excerpt of the interview below, and find the full text and audio here: Parables For Understanding A Nation’s Racial ‘Sin’

WALLIS: When Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, I felt – you might call it the lament of a white father. I knew and the whole country knew that my son Luke – six-foot-tall baseball athlete, going to college next year – had been walking and doing the same thing, same time that Trayvon was doing in Sanford, Fla., everyone knows he would’ve come back. But Trayvon didn’t come back, and so it was a parable. Jesus talked about parables. They teach us things. Michael Brown – Ferguson – was a parable. Charleston was a parable. The parable about where we are as a nation – we have to see our original sin and how it still lingers in our criminal justice system.

MARTIN: And what is the original sin?

WALLIS: Well, the original sin is – I have this sentence in the book – the most controversial sentence I ever wrote – this nation was founded by the near genocide of one people and the kidnapping of another people to build this nation. So slavery and the indigenous destruction of those who were here – that was our original sin. And it still lingers in our criminal justice system – in most of our systems.

And so the book talks about how to go deeply into that to understand what’s happening here and then to see how these events – these shootings of young black men and women losing their lives in custody – are parables. They have to teach us what repentance doesn’t mean just saying you’re sorry. Or feeling guilty means turning and going in a whole different direction.

A Christianity Today Interview with the Authors of Free to Serve

Cover ArtStephen Monsma and Stanley Carlson-Thies, authors of the forthcoming Free to Serve, were interviewed by Matt Reynolds for the October issue of Christianity Today.

An excerpt is below, and you can read the full interview here.

In 2014, Hobby Lobby won a landmark Supreme Court decision that exempted the home-goods chain from providing certain forms of contraception to employees. The Court ruled that closely held for-profit companies whose owners have religious objections are protected under the First Amendment. But the 5–4 ruling left many in confused outrage: How can a for-profit company invoke a Christian identity? Shouldn’t a business operating in the secular sphere have to play by secular rules?

For Stephen Monsma and Stanley Carlson-Thies—two scholars with long experience tracking tensions around institutional religious freedom—such protests rely on cramped notions of what counts as “religious.” Their new book, Free to Serve: Protecting the Religious Freedom of Faith-Based Organizations (Brazos), assesses the dangers an uncomprehending secularism poses to religious businesses, colleges, social service agencies, and student groups. CT associate editor Matt Reynolds spoke with Monsma and Carlson-Thies (fellows with the Center for Public Justice) about the religious-liberty challenges facing faith-based organizations.

What is the basic problem your book addresses?

Monsma: The book grew out of our deep concern over challenges to faith-based organizations seeking to follow the religious commitments at the heart of who they are and what they do. You see this on many fronts. These challenges aren’t random; they reflect prevalent assumptions in our society. Until these assumptions are shown to be false, we’re afraid the religious freedom of faith-based organizations will remain under threat.

Carlson-Thies: We looked at a number of areas. Some issues are matters of internal operations: Can a faith-based organization hold employees to religious standards? Do their health plans have to include coverage for contraception or abortifacients?

Other questions concern how they serve the public, and whether they have to abide by secular protocols: Can religious adoption agencies receiving public money refuse to place children with same-sex couples? Can Catholic agencies serving refugees under a government grant refuse to refer clients to abortion providers? These are just some of the controversies we consider.

 

Upcoming Events for Rejoicing in Lament

Cover ArtJ. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, will be speaking at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on October 21. His message is titled Hope for Mortals: The Church’s Witness in the Midst of Dying and Death.

Often Christians inhabit a theological vision guided by instrumental outcomes – a growth in the evangelistic and social outreach of the church, a revitalization of community and discipleship. But what happens to the church’s witness when all of our grand plans and visions for change stop short against the brick wall of death? In this lecture, J. Todd Billings reflects upon the way in which death, although the last enemy to be destroyed through Christ, also has the possibility of exposing the nature of a Christian hope which goes beyond trusting in our own efforts and plans.

Also, Reformed Theological Seminary is featuring Rejoicing in Lament in their Current Read program, and Billings will be speaking at the RTS President’s Forum on November 4.

 

 

Now Available – the Fall 2015 Catalog

Academic Catalog

Our Fall 2015 Academic Catalog is now available online.

  • Bible & Interpretation (pages 1-15) PDF
  • Theological, Historical & Ethical Studies (pages 16-27) PDF
  • Intercultural Studies (pages 28-31), Practical Theology, Spirituality & Formation (pages 32-43) and Also of Interest (pages 44-50) PDF
  • Complete List, Indexes, Policies, and Order Form (pages 51-123) PDF

Click here to search by academic discipline.

 

“My Incurable Condition: How to pray for someone with a terminal diagnosis” – J. Todd Billings for Leadership Journal

How do you pray for someone with a condition that doctors call “incurable”? I had faced that question as a church member, as a church leader, and as a seminary professor. But when I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer at the age of 39, I faced the question in a new way.

On one hand, when we pray in such a situation, we should not be paralyzed by fear. Like the Psalmist, we can bring our whole range of emotions before the Lord: our anger and grief, frustration and fears, longings and dreams. Whatever we’re feeling, we can trust that God hears our cries, our groanings. Even the most desperate prayers are offered in hope in the Lord and his promises—promises fulfilled in Christ. I have been grateful for all of the prayers offered for my family and me, knowing that they are taken up and perfected in the intercessions of Jesus Christ himself.

On the other hand, when we pray with someone else, it makes an impact upon that person. I sometimes felt buoyed and my faith strengthened by the prayers of others. And while it’s not my job as a cancer patient to act as “prayer police,” at other times the prayers left me feeling alienated and manipulated.

Read the rest of “My Incurable Condition: How to pray for someone with a terminal diagnosis” by J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, at Leadership Journal.

Ebook Special for A Life Observed by Devin Brown

Now through April 26, the ebook for A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis by Devin Brown is only $2.99 (82% off) from the following participating retailers:

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“Lewis believed that Christianity was first and foremost about experiencing God in one’s life. . . . Quite appropriately then, Brown’s biography recounts events from Lewis’ life and quotes from his books, letters, and diary in order to tell the story of his spiritual journey. And it’s a fascinating tale, especially when one considers that Lewis was not always a Christian. . . . Fans of Lewis will find much here to savor. So, too, will those interested in a man’s lifelong attempt to live out his faith.”
Booklist

“[Brown] chronicles Lewis’s journey from atheist to Christian, tracing Lewis’s lifelong search for his mysterious object of desirejoy. He provides a close reading of Lewis’s writings and an examination of Lewis’s friendships with J. R. R. Tolkien and the rest of the literary circle known as the Inklings. . . . [This book] perform[s] the task that all critical books should and also plant[s] a desire in readers to pick up and read Lewis’s own work. . . . [It] illuminate[s] this gifted author, whose passion for good writing and deep desire to bring pleasure to readers make his work timeless.”
Publishers Weekly

 

C. S. Lewis is one of the most influential Christian writers of our time. The Chronicles of Narnia has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide and all Lewis’s works are estimated to sell 6 million copies annually. At the fiftieth anniversary of his death, Lewis expert Devin Brown brings the beloved author’s story to life in a fresh, accessible, and moving biography through focusing on Lewis’s spiritual journey.

Although it was clear from the start that Lewis would be a writer, it was not always clear he would become a Christian. Drawing on Lewis’s autobiographical works, books by those who knew him personally, and his apologetic and fictional writing, this book tells the inspiring story of Lewis’s journey from cynical atheist to joyous Christian and challenges readers to follow their own calling. The book allows Lewis to tell his own life story in a uniquely powerful manner while shedding light on his best-known works.

Devin Brown (PhD, University of South Carolina) is a Lilly scholar and professor of English at Asbury University. A C. S. Lewis aficionado, Brown has written, taught, and lectured on Lewis extensively for more than ten years. He has authored a number of books related to Lewis, including Inside Narnia and Inside Prince Caspian, and lives in Kentucky. In 2008 Brown was invited to serve as scholar-in-residence at the Kilns, Lewis’s home in Oxford.

Ebook Special for Good News for Anxious Christians by Phillip Cary

Now through March 31, the ebook for Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do by Phillip Cary is on sale for $1.99 (88% off) from the following participating retailers:

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“Addressed to shepherds and their flocks, Good News for Anxious Christians features the admonishing, teaching, and comforting voice of a Christ-haunted philosophy professor at Eastern University. Its timely message is timeless: Servants of Christ grow through repetition of the gospel (which turns the heart outward), not through experimentation with techniques (which turns the heart inward). . . . His quiver contains ten arrows, one for each of the practical things that we don’t have to do because they’re not in the Bible. . . . Cary submits that the Lutheran doctrine of sola fide (faith alone) offers a powerful corrective to the strangely Catholicized and psychologized evangelicalism that oppresses us. . . . The gospel, Cary argues, gives us permission to ignore anxiety-producing techniques because Christ is enough, period.”
Christianity Today 5-Star Review

 

Like a succession of failed diet regimens, the much-touted techniques that are supposed to bring us closer to God “in our hearts” can instead make us feel anxious, frustrated, and overwhelmed. How can we meet and know God with ongoing joy rather than experiencing the Christian life as a series of guilt-inducing disappointments?

Drawing on his work with college students, Phillip Cary shows Christians that discipleship is a gradual, long-term process that comes through the Bible experienced in Christian community, not a to-do list designed to help them live the Christian life “right.” This lucidly written book covers ten things Christians don’t have to do to be close to God, such as hear God’s voice in their hearts, find God’s will for their lives, and believe their intuitions are the Holy Spirit. Presenting a time-honored approach to the gospel that is beautiful and liberating, Cary skillfully unpacks the riches of traditional Christian spirituality to bring the real good news to Christians of all ages.

 

Phillip Cary (PhD, Yale University) is professor of philosophy at Eastern University in Pennsylvania as well as scholar-in-residence at the Templeton Honors College. He is the author of Jonah in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and of three critically acclaimed books on the life and thought of Augustine.

Ebook Special for The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns

Now through March 13, the ebook of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins by Peter Enns is only $2.99 (83% off) from the following participating retailers:

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2012 Book of the Year Award, Foreword Magazine

“On the basis of what is known about Genesis, its origins, and its subsequent interpretation, Enns argues in this sensitive and highly readable book that modern evolutionary science can coexist with the scriptural account of creation in Christian understanding. Writing with high respect for scripture, he cogently assembles information and perspectives to help Christians understand Genesis on its own terms and navigate the troubled passage between science and theology.”
Christian Century

 

Can Christianity and evolution coexist? Traditional Christian teaching presents Jesus as reversing the effects of the fall of Adam. However, an evolutionary view of beginnings doesn’t allow for a historical Adam, making evolution seem incompatible with what Genesis and the apostle Paul say about him. For Christians who accept evolution and want to take the Bible seriously, this presents a tension that endangers faith.

Peter Enns offers a way forward by explaining how this tension is caused not by the discoveries of science but by false expectations about the biblical texts. Focusing on key biblical passages in the discussion, Enns demonstrates that the author of Genesis and the apostle Paul wrote to ask and answer ancient questions for ancient people; the fact that they both speak of Adam does not determine whether Christians can accept evolution. This thought-provoking book reconciles the teachings of the Bible with the widely held evolutionary view of beginnings and will appeal to anyone interested in the Christianity-evolution debate, including college and seminary students in science and religion courses.

 

Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University) is the Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He was formerly senior fellow of biblical studies for The BioLogos Foundation, an organization that explores the integration of science and Christian faith, where he wrote a regular column for their Science and the Sacred blog. He has taught at several schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Temple University, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Enns has authored or edited numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So and The Evolution of Adam.

Ebook Special for Conversations with Poppi about God by Robert W. Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold

Now through March 11, the ebook of Conversations with Poppi about God: An Eight-Year-Old and Her Theologian Grandfather Trade Questions by Robert W. Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold is only $0.99 (84% off) from the following participating retailers:

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A Crossings Book Club Selection

“What a good premise for a book: an eight-year-old precocious child carrying on a theological conversation with her 73-year-old grandfather–not just any grandfather but a noted ‘Reverend Canon Professor . . .’ who has edited a volume on Christian dogmatics. . . . There is something here for all Christians–or skeptics–from adolescents to grandparents, who read for insight as well as whimsy.”
Evelyn Bence, FaithfulReader.com

Come and listen in as one of the world’s most respected theologians talks theology with his eight-year-old granddaughter. In Conversations with Poppi about God, Robert Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold share with us their unscripted, spontaneous talks about everything from the meaning of the Trinity to what God looks like. The result is a charming and enlightening book that reminds us all we have a lot to learn from theologians and from children. Now available in paper, Conversations with Poppi will appeal to parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and Christians looking for a refreshing perspective on the mysteries of Christianity.

Robert W. Jenson (DrTheol, University of Heidelberg) is former senior scholar for research at the Center of Theological Inquiry. He is the author of On Thinking the Human: Resolutions of Difficult Notions and coeditor (with Carl Braaten) of Christian Dogmatics. Jenson lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Solveig Lucia Gold attends elementary school in New York and enjoys visits to Poppi’s home in Princeton, New Jersey.