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.

The Weekly Hit List: December 5, 2014

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, answered readers’ questions on Rachel Held Evans’ blog.

“Let’s agree that evangelicalism is almost uncontainable in a definition. But we can give a ballpark generic-package, lump-into-one-ball idea: evangelicalism affirms the necessity of personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior; it affirms the primacy of Scripture in forming beliefs and convictions; it affirms the centrality of Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection and rule.

“Yet evangelicalism transcends its core beliefs and has a history of its people and that means there’s some sociology or social description in this term so that it refers to America’s Calvinist and revivalist and holiness and Anabaptist impulses. Some are very evangelical and some are barely.”

Read the entire post here.

 

Other Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Scot McKnight wrote “Kingdom: A Proposal,” “The Biggest Mistake in Kingdom Talk,” and “The Character of the King” on Jesus Creed.

Missio Alliance discussed and recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

Joshua Reich recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

 

 

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament (February 2015), wrote “Deadly Healing Medicine” for Christianity Today‘s The Behemoth.

“Incurable cancer.

“I could hardly believe it when I heard the diagnosis. My wife and I had just celebrated our tenth anniversary, and our lives were spinning in joyful commotion with one- and three- year-olds at home. Initial testing brought back some worrying results. I had researched the possibilities, and I didn’t sound like a likely prospect for this cancer.

“The average diagnosis age is about 70; I had just turned 39. But here it was: an active cancer that had already been eroding the bones in my skull, arm, and hip.”

Read the entire article here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Billings wrote “Undying Love” for the December 2014 issue of First Things.

Aimee Byrd recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

 

 

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Englewood Review of Books.

“[Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins] earns its spot as a highly useful tool for understanding sin in our own lives, and in our culture.  In a tone that is gentle but frank, it’s full of useful observations and counsel, from both the ancients and the moderns.

“Okholm delves into the monks’ focus on concepts such as the importance of habits – habits for good and habits that degenerate into sin, or, seeing sin in the context of community and its counterproductive privatizing impact. There’s a strong pastoral and devotional impact to this volume, and while it’s aimed at Christians who assume that sin is essential to address, a great deal will be useful to all students of the soul.”

Read the entire review here.

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins was also reviewed by Philip Zoutendam.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, was interviewed by WORLD magazine’s Warren Cole Smith for Listening In.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed by Evangelicals for Social Action.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner, PhD, was reviewed by Leader Kick.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on Wineskins.

Marlena Graves, author of A Beautiful Disaster, was interviewed on Inside Out.

A Beautiful Disaster was recommended by Suzanne BurdenDorothy Greco, and Mark Votava.

 

Ebook Specials:

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.

Ebook Specials for Ancient-Future Bible Study Series by Stephen J. Binz

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

Abraham: Father of All Believers
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Paul: Apostle to All the Nations
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / CBD
Peter: Fisherman and Shepherd of the Church
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / CBD
David: Shepherd and King of Israel
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / CBD
Women of the Torah
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / CBD
Women of the Gospels
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / CBD

 

Ancient-Future Bible Study incorporates contemporary study of the Bible with an experience of the church’s most ancient way of reading Scripture, lectio divina. This time-honored practice consists of five basic movements: biblical study (lectio), reflection (meditatio), prayer (oratio), discernment (contemplatio), and contemplative action (operatio). In these six clearly written volumes, bestselling author Stephen Binz helps readers study the Bible in a way that leads to spiritual transformation and brings them closer to God.

“A method of Bible study that has a long and celebrated history in the church is given renewed momentum with this series. The goal here is more than instruction. The five movements of lectio divina are an invitation to immerse oneself in the riches of our biblical tradition and to give flesh to that tradition in our daily lives. This series will be a wonderful aid for the development of one’s spiritual life.”
Dianne Bergant, CSA, professor of Old Testament studies, Catholic Theological Union

The Weekly Hit List: May 23, 2014

On Monday, President Barack Obama unexpectedly showed up at Jim Wallis’ son’s Little League game.

Jim Wallis, author of The (Un)Common Good, wrote in TIME:

“Some of my baseball parents know that the President has been a friend of mine for a long time. I was a member of his original faith council and have worked with him on issues like poverty and immigration. But I had no idea he was coming and he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him. ‘Wallis, what are you doing here!’ Obama yelled with a big smile as he walked onto Friendship Field. Like the best moments in sports—some things just happen.”

Read the rest of Jim’s article here.

 

Quick Hits:

Jim Wallis spoke on leadership for The Washington Post series “On Leadership.”

Craig Detweiler was interviewed about iGods on The Wednesday Bookmark on Family Radio (CHRI, 99.1).

Luke (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by David Lyle Jeffrey was reviewed by Stuart Dunn.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was mentioned by Englewood Review of Books as a new book release “worth checking out.”

 

Ebook Specials:

Today is the last day of our ebook special for every book in the Ancient-Future Bible Study series by Stephen J. Binz. Each volume is only $1.99 (83% off).

Click here for links to purchase each volume from participating retailers.

Ebook Specials for Ancient-Future Bible Study Series by Stephen J. Binz

The following volumes in the Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina series by Stephen J. Binz are each only $1.99 (83% off) through May 23 from participating retailers:

Abraham: Father of All Believers
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Paul: Apostle to All the Nations
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Peter: Fisherman and Shepherd of the Church
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
David: Shepherd and King of Israel
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Women of the Torah
Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Women of the Gospels
Amazon / Barnes & Noble

 

Ancient-Future Bible Study incorporates contemporary study of the Bible with an experience of the church’s most ancient way of reading Scripture, lectio divina. This time-honored practice consists of five basic movements: biblical study (lectio), reflection (meditatio), prayer (oratio), discernment (contemplatio), and contemplative action (operatio). In these six clearly written volumes, bestselling author Stephen Binz helps readers study the Bible in a way that leads to spiritual transformation and brings them closer to God.

“A method of Bible study that has a long and celebrated history in the church is given renewed momentum with this series. The goal here is more than instruction. The five movements of lectio divina are an invitation to immerse oneself in the riches of our biblical tradition and to give flesh to that tradition in our daily lives. This series will be a wonderful aid for the development of one’s spiritual life.”
Dianne Bergant, CSA, professor of Old Testament studies, Catholic Theological Union

The Weekly Hit List: February 1, 2013

Speaking of DyingSpeaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was chosen by the Academy of Parish Clergy as one of their Top 10 Books of the Year.

This book offers a critical analysis of the church’s failure to communicate constructively about dying, reminding the church of its considerable liturgical, scriptural, and pastoral resources when it ministers to the terminally ill. The authors, who have all been personally and professionally involved in end-of-life issues, suggest practical, theological bases for speaking about dying, communicating with those facing death, and preaching about dying.

They explore how dying–in baptism–begins and informs the Christian’s life story. They also emphasize that the narrative of faith embraces dying, and they remind readers of scriptural and christological resources that can lead toward a “good dying.” In addition, they present current best practices from health professionals for communication among caregivers and those facing death.

 

Quick Hits:

A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson was chosen as the “Most Timely Re-Issue” of 2012 by Hearts & Minds Books“What is so interesting about this is how seamlessly Dickerson weaves together contemporary social ethics — from justice issues to questions about the body — and the Tolkien narratives.”

Just Politics by Ronald J. Sider was chosen the “Most Needed Re-Issue” of 2012 by Hearts & Minds Books“I think everyone who votes should read this book! Just Politics is one of the year’s best.”

Soulful Spirituality by David Benner was recommended by Steve Saccone.

The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was recommended by Matthew Barrett on Credo.com.

 

February Ebook Specials:

During the month of February, several ebooks from Brazos Press & Baker Academic are on sale.

Click on book covers for more information on that title.

For a list of places to purchase the ebooks, visit www.brazospress.com/ebookspecials

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The Weekly Hit List: December 21, 2012

PeterStephen J. Binz, author of the Ancient-Future Bible Study series, was interviewed by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

Here is an excerpt:

“‘Ancient-Future’ expresses the connection between ancient wisdom and future possibilities that I want to create in this series. The term is used in the arts to emphasize a blending of tradition and innovation.

“Ancient-future music and dance fuses centuries-old traditions with contemporary genres and technology. By learning from the world’s great traditions and ancient practices, artists create cross-cultural expressions that are richly profound yet also widely appealing.

“In this series, I combine the ancient art of lectio divina with contemporary Bible study to produce work that is richly traditional and attractively engaging.”

Read the rest of the review and interview here.

 

Quick Hits:

Gary L. Colledge, author of God and Charles Dickens, was interviewed in a CBN News article, “God and Scrooge: Finding the Faith of Charles Dickens.” Video can be seen here, starting at 18:23.

Matthew Dickerson was interviewed on Faith Radio Mornings about A Hobbit Journey.

A Hobbit Journey was included in an article by Publishers Weekly: “The Souls of Hobbits: New Books Unearth Tolkien’s Christian Themes.”

A Hobbit Journey was also included in an article on Busted Halo: “Of God, Tolkien, and Hobbits.”

Darkness Is My Only Companion by Kathryn Greene-McCreight was recommended by Kyle Roberts on the Cultivare blog.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

December ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 60% off.

The Virtuous Reader by Richard S. Briggs
Healing in the Bible by Frederick J. Gaiser
1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart
Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen
Claiming Abraham by Michael Lodahl
Where Mortals Dwell by Craig G. Bartholomew
The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass
The Vampire Defanged by Susannah Clements
Adventures in Daily Prayer by Bert Ghezzi
Seven Deadly Spirits by T. Scott Daniels

Lenten Season Lectio Divina Series: Paul

This is the sixth and final entry in our Lenten series of posts taken from Stephen Binz’s Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina See our previous entries:

Week One: Abraham: “Ancestor of All”

Week Two:  David: “The Shepherd Who Is Also King”

Week Three:  Sarah: “Listen to Sarah, the Quarry of Encouragement”

Week Four: Peter: “From Crumbled Failure to Rock of Strength”

Week Five: Pilate’s Wife: “A Forgotten Advocate for Jesus”

Be sure to check out our videos that further explain this terrific series.

This week, we are posting a study from the introduction to Binz’s volume Paul: Apostle to All the Nations.

Crossing Boundaries and Removing Barriers

Lectio

Read this verse, which summarizes the heart of Paul’s teaching, as if he were addressing you directly. Expect these words to impact your mind and heart in a way that can transform your life.

2 Corinthians 5:17
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Continue listening to God’s Word as you also listen for the ways this Scripture passage has transformed God’s church.

The heart of Paul’s teaching is the experience of union with Christ. We live in Christ; Christ lives in us. We are united with Christ through faith in his saving cross and resurrection. Crucified with Christ, the old self dies, and in his resurrection, we live a new life.

This new life involves a new way of seeing, a new way of being, a new way of living—indeed a new identity. To be “in Christ” means to live as a “new creation.” As a new creation “in Christ,” we are incorporated into the saving community, the body of Christ. This is a community in which boundaries that divided people are broken down, in which distinctions among people no longer matter.

In Paul’s day, the world was divided between Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free people, women and men. But Paul envisioned a Christian community that not only included all of these but also brought them into interdependent relationships. Part of the dramatic witness the church offered to first-century society was this attractive, alternative community of dissimilar people called into a higher unity in Christ.

Paul was a boundary breaker, always seeking to remove the barriers that divided people from one another and from God. And Paul teaches us that the church must be a boundary breaker too. Today our culture continues to be divided along lines of ethnicity, race, class, and gender. Yet, when we listen to Paul, we discover possibilities that can transcend our differences and join us into a common unity. Life in Christ is liberated life. A believer is no longer imprisoned by the prejudices, resentments, and jealousy that so often dominate human life. As Paul speaks to us, he speaks a message of “grace and peace.” When we extend grace to and make peace with one another, we become boundary breakers, and, in so doing, we offer a powerful witness of Christ to our world.

Meditatio

Consider how this Scripture passage is challenging you as a member of Christ’s body today.

  • How can the church respect differences and diversity among people while seeking a higher unity?
  • How can I become a boundary breaker and thus witness to Christ today?

Oratio

After listening with the church to God’s Word, respond in prayer to God with the new understanding you have gained.

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you have promised to extend the blessings of your salvation to all the people of the earth. As you called Paul to proclaim your gospel to the world, you have called your church to make disciples of all the nations. Enlighten and encourage me as I read and contemplate your inspired Word in the life and letters of Paul.

Continue praying from your heart . . .

Contemplatio

Spend some moments in quiet, placing your life in the life of Christ. Trust that God is creating you anew as he works deep within you.

 

©2011 by Stephen J. Binz. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without expressed written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lenten Season Lectio Divina Series: Pilate’s Wife

This is the fifth entry in our Lenten series of posts taken from Stephen Binz’s Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina. See our previous entries:

Week One: Abraham: “Ancestor of All”

Week Two:  David: “The Shepherd Who Is Also King”

Week Three: Sarah: “Listen to Sarah, the Quarry of Encouragement”

Week Four: Peter: “From Crumbled Failure to Rock of Strength”

Be sure to check out our videos that further explain this terrific series.

This week, we are posting a study from the introduction to Binz’s volume Women of the Gospels: Friends and Disciples of Jesus.

A Forgotten Advocate for Jesus

Lectio

Carefully read these words from Matthew’s Gospel, asking God’s Spirit to open your heart.

Matthew 27:15–19

15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.”

Continue seeking the significance of this passage for Matthew’s passion account.

Pilate’s wife is another of those unnamed women of the Gospel accounts who plays a behind-the-scenes role in relationship to an influential man. She intervenes with her powerful husband to try to stop the condemnation of Jesus, an “innocent man.” She doesn’t even appear in the scene at Pilate’s judgment hall; her voice is heard only through a messenger. Only this single verse of Scripture mentions her, so we have no indication whether she had even seen Jesus or encountered him during his ministry in Jerusalem.

The Gospel of Matthew sets up a dramatic contrast between the religious leaders who plead for Jesus Barabbas and Pilate’s wife, who pleads for Jesus the Messiah. The leaders are motivated by “jealousy,” while Pilate’s wife seeks justice for Jesus because of the truth revealed to her in a dream. Both the Jews and Romans took dreams very seriously, and Matthew’s account of Jesus’s birth had already shown how the Gentile magi received God’s warning in a dream in order to save the newborn’s life (2:12). Now, in this account of Jesus’s death, this Gentile woman intercedes to try to save the life of the Jewish Messiah.

Her pleading is ultimately unsuccessful as her vacillating husband gives in to the pressure of the crowds. The Gospel doesn’t tell us what happened to Pilate’s wife, either immediately after the crucifixion of Jesus when she encountered her husband again, or the direction of her life from then on. However, the indication that she “suffered a great deal” for Jesus, a New Testament indicator of discipleship, may hint at the later tradition that she became a follower of Christ.

Meditatio

Imagine and consider the behind-the-scenes drama taking place in the heart of Pilate’s wife while her husband sits on the judgment seat.

What might be some of the motivations of Pilate’s wife in urging her husband to have nothing to do with the murder of this innocent man? What does it tell me about the importance of suffering for the truth?

After the death of Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” what might be some of the conversation between Pilate and his wife? What can I learn and imitate from her witness?

Oratio

Respond in prayer to God, who gives you new insights and hope through listening to his Word.

God of all creation, you created man and woman in your image and sent Jesus the Christ to teach us how to live together in your love. Jesus drew forth the courage and beauty of the women of the Gospels and brought restoration and hope to their lives. He wept with them in their pains, laughed with them in their joys, affirmed them in their resiliency, and empowered their lives with confident trust. Bless my life as I listen, reflect, and pray with the Gospel texts of these women. Transform my life as you did theirs with the power of your Word.

Continue to pray to God from your heart . . .

Contemplatio

Remain in peaceful quiet and place yourself in God’s loving embrace. Ask God to give you whatever gift he desires for you during these moments.

©2011 by Stephen J. Binz. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without expressed written permission is strictly prohibited.