Ebook special for One Step Closer by Christian Scharen

Now through September 7, the ebook for One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God by Christian Scharen is only $3.99—75% off! 

More information and a list of participating retailers is available here.

 

“Scharen organizes his book around scriptural and theological themes: prophecy, parables, apocalypse, faith, hope and love. In each case he offers an accessible description of the theological locus. . . . U2 in conversation with a professional theologian is rich fare indeed.”
—Jason Byassee, Christian Century

U2 is widely hailed as the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and lead singer Bono is often seen in the media touting humanitarian goals. Now Christian Scharen provides a thoughtful look at the driving force behind the band.

Bono and other band members are marked by the Christian faith of their Irish backgrounds. Scharen reflects on how U2 “fits within the longer Christian tradition of voices that point us to the cross, to Jesus, and to the power of God’s ways in the world” as he explores the music’s honest spiritual questioning.

Music lovers, pastors, and anyone on the path to God will value this book.

Christian Scharen (PhD, Emory University) is assistant professor of worship and theology and codirector of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has authored a number of books, including One Step Closer and Faith as a Way of Life. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Scharen has served congregations in California, Georgia, and Connecticut.

Free ebook for One Step Closer by Christian Scharen

Now through August 27, the ebook for One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God by Christian Scharen is free from participating retailers. 

More information and a list of participating retailers is available here.

 

“Scharen organizes his book around scriptural and theological themes: prophecy, parables, apocalypse, faith, hope and love. In each case he offers an accessible description of the theological locus. . . . U2 in conversation with a professional theologian is rich fare indeed.”
—Jason Byassee, Christian Century

U2 is widely hailed as the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and lead singer Bono is often seen in the media touting humanitarian goals. Now Christian Scharen provides a thoughtful look at the driving force behind the band.

Bono and other band members are marked by the Christian faith of their Irish backgrounds. Scharen reflects on how U2 “fits within the longer Christian tradition of voices that point us to the cross, to Jesus, and to the power of God’s ways in the world” as he explores the music’s honest spiritual questioning.

Music lovers, pastors, and anyone on the path to God will value this book.

Christian Scharen (PhD, Emory University) is assistant professor of worship and theology and codirector of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has authored a number of books, including One Step Closer and Faith as a Way of Life. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Scharen has served congregations in California, Georgia, and Connecticut.

The Weekly Hit List: May 3, 2013

Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen was reviewed in Themelios.

“Christian Scharen, echoing Andy Crouch, reminds us that “culture is not some distinct area from which we can remove ourselves” (p. 140). Fish, as the saying goes, don’t think much about their being wet.

And yet we sometimes approach the issue of engaging culture all too naively. Quite simply, we live in culture, and we are engaging it all the time.

“The question Scharen puts before us is this: How can we live in culture theologically?”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

 

On God’s Side media:

“To the Point” on Public Radio International

“Sojourners’ Jim Wallis Ponders Immigration, Guns at Washington National Cathedral” on Juicy Ecumenism

“Surprising Our ‘Enemies’: What If We Flipped the Script?” by Adam Ericksen for The Common Good Forum

“What Jim Wallis, Chicago, and Free-Market Economists Can Teach Us About the Common Good” by Tyler Castle on Values & Capitalism blog

“Creating a Culture of Unity Through Interfaith Cooperation” by Rachael McNeal on The Huffington Post

Georgetown University Common Good Forum video

“Forum” on KQED-FM NPR, San Francisco

LA Quaker review

 

Quick Hits:

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was cited by Morgan Guyton.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

May ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 52% off.

Searching for Home by Craig M. Barnes
Conversations with Poppi about God by Robert W. Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold
Everyday Apocalypse by David Dark
The Early Church on Killing edited by Ronald J. Sider
Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory by Markus Bockmuehl

The Weekly Hit List: April 26, 2013

Educating All God's ChildrenEducating All God’s Children by Nicole Baker Fulgham was reviewed by Teach For America’s Chief Knowledge Officer Steven Farr.

“Nicole’s book comes from a Christian perspective, but raises I think critical questions for all of us–of all faiths and lacks thereof–about WHY we are pursuing education equity. . . .

“Maybe (and I hope that) Nicole is right that Christians in this country are “uniquely situated to help solve the problem” of educational equity.  I am inspired by Nicole’s vision that the massive network of Christian churches in the US could–in the same way many were central in the Civil Rights movement–could be a key force in changing the education system.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Nicole Baker Fulgham also wrote for the Teach For America blog: “Don’t ‘Those Parents’ Know What’s Best For Their Kids?”

 

On God’s Side media:

“The Afternoon Shift” on Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ-FM

CultureCast on Patheos

Chicago Reader

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“Partisanship and the Common Good on Juicy Ecumenism

“Jim Wallis on Overcoming Terrorism by Brandan Robertson

 

Quick Hits:

Brian Larson of Trinity Lutheran Church was interviewed about how he built a congregational singing event around Psalms for All Seasons.

Of Games and God by Kevin Schut was recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books.

Of Games and God was also mentioned by The Cardus Daily.

Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen was recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books.

Eyes Wide Open by William D. Romanowski was recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

April ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 50% off.

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers
Living the Sabbath by Norman Wirzba
Psalms as Torah by Gordon J. Wenham
The Virtuous Reader by Richard S. Briggs

Christian Scharen on How to Approach Popular Culture

Today we feature an excerpt from Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen, on how Christians can approach popular culture.

——————————————————————————————

Broken HallelujahsWhat good is it if we love only those who are “good Christians,” as my grandma used to say? When she said that, she acted as if such a judgment was the litmus test for whether we ought to listen to what someone had to say. I want to argue, to the contrary, that even if something in pop culture is so twisted that its portrayal of horror only offers a broken cry, that cry is worth hearing. Why? Because Christ is in that cry, God listens to that cry, and we Christians as the body of Christ ought to hear it too.

The Saw films may not, in the end, be any good. They may not be redemptive in any way. Our family would never take our kids to see them, and I wouldn’t ever want to see them myself (as it turns out, I dislike the horror genre in general). It is worth saying, furthermore, that those who produce the films and those who see them likely don’t understand what they are making or consuming in this theological perspective.

Yet, if the theological framework I have developed thus far holds water, such cultural creations cannot be Godforsaken. More than that, we can’t know whether Saw VII or Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or any other cultural production is any good unless, following C. S. Lewis’s understanding of Christian discipleship, we have practiced surrender.

Christian Scharen

An obvious shorthand for this invitation to practice surrender is C. S. Lewis’s simple (but not simplistic) juxtaposition of looking “at” something with looking “with” it. Looking “with” something is, he agrees, not the easier of the two ways. We don’t have time enough for surrender to each cultural creation, and so we cannot always know whether what we see when looking “with” it is is any good, for us or for the world as God intends it.

That is why, after all, constricted imagination is such a common approach to pop culture. The constriction leads to a checklist that can be certain, clear, and easy. Accept this, reject that. Yes! Done!

I am sympathetic to the ease of this approach. I too want a way to make judgments about the music, film, games, and other popular arts I engage. Yet, if this book has done anything, I hope it has raised serious theological doubts about such an approach. God gets terribly small when we follow the trail of constricted imagination: God’s here (with me), God’s not there (with you).

No, I say! Just when we think we have got that one straight, Jesus gives us the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, and the sinner comes out looking the better (Luke 18:9-14).

——————————————————————————————

Christian Scharen (PhD, Emory University) is assistant professor of worship and theology and codirector of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has authored a number of books, including One Step Closer and Faith as a Way of Life.

For more information on Broken Hallelujahs, click here.

The Weekly Hit List: January 18, 2013

Broken HallelujahsBroken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen was reviewed by Homiletic Journal.

Broken Hallelujahs is another foray by Christian Scharen into the age-old question about the division between the sacred and the secular or, as the premise of the book might state, the divisions between culture and the cries of God.

Building upon his previous work, One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God, Scharen drills deeper into the connection between God’s cries through the culture and ways in which the church, particularly evangelical groups like Focus on the Family, have responded to the more difficult messages coming to us from and within the words, concepts, subjects, and visuals of popular culture.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Quick Hits:

A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf was included as one of Tim Høiland’s favorite books of 2012, saying, “I wish everyone would read this book.”

The Vampire Defanged by Susannah Clements was included in an post by Jess Peacock: “Religious Iconography and the Popular Vampire Narrative.”

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

January ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 40% off.

Commentary on the New Testament by Robert H. Gundry
The Character of Christian Scripture by Christopher R. Seitz
Creator Spirit by Steven R. Guthrie
Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics edited by Joel B. Green
Genesis (BTCB) by R. R. Reno
Flawed Families of the Bible by David E. Garland and Diana R. Garland
Cross-Shattered Christ by Stanley Hauerwas
The Forgotten Ways Handbook by Alan Hirsch with Darryn Altclass

The Weekly Hit List: December 14, 2012

A Hobbit JourneyMatthew Dickerson, author of A Hobbit Journey, wrote on “Seeing Christ in ‘The Hobbit‘” for The Huffington Post.

“Where is Christ in The Hobbit?

“This question might have caused author J. R. R. Tolkien to have fits, given his notorious distaste for allegory. Yet, some background on the celebrated creator of hobbits and the bestselling Middle-earth books suggests that there is at least some legitimacy in posing the question.

“Tolkien was a devout Catholic. While he eschewed allegory and sought to remove explicit religion from “The Lord of the Rings,” his personal letters and published essays show he considered his books to be deeply theistic, and he thought fantasy literature must convey religious truth. He was surprised that theistic aspects of his writing did not receive more notice, and he once commented that of the various biographical aspects of his life, his Christian faith was the only significant fact in understanding his works.

“So the broader question of whether Tolkien’s writings should be considered “Christian works” is complex. As I point out in “A Hobbit Journey,” there is no easy answer, and, depending on what one means by the question, there are some good reasons for answering yes and some for answering no.”

Read the rest of Seeing Christ in ‘The Hobbit‘” here.

 

Other Hits for A Hobbit Journey:

A Hobbit Journey was excerpted by Christianity Today.

A Hobbit Journey was reviewed by Englewood Review of Books.

A Hobbit Journey was mentioned in an article in Relevant Magazine.

 

Quick Hits:

Letters to a Young Calvinist by James K. A. Smith was reviewed by Areopagus.

Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen was reviewed by Thursday Theology.

Speaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was excerpted in pages 11-12 of L Magazine.

 

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

The Weekly Hit List: October 26, 2012

An article by Christian Scharen, author of Broken Hallelujahs, was featured in the latest issue of Immerse Journal.

“The Wisdom of Elders: Listening to Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas

“In just over a year, after playing his final show in December 2010, Cohen recorded and released one of the best albums of his career.

“Playfully called Old Ideas, the album represents both the ideas of an old man and at the same time a set of songs engaging old ideas, those deep and enduring concerns that remain after the fluff of life blows away in the wind.”

Read the rest of Scharen’s article here.

 

 

Quick Hits:

A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson was reviewed by Anne Brown on her blog, The Book Garden.

A Hobbit Journey was also reviewed by Velma Daniels for the News Chief.

Just Politics by Ronald J. Sider and A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson were included in a post by Patrick Floyd on The Methoblog.

Michael Gorman linked to Miroslav Volf’s values of A Public Faith and recommended Just Politics by Ronald J. Sider in a post on “Christians and Politics.”

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

October ebook specials are currently running for multiple Brazos Press and Baker Academic titles. All of these are at least 75% off.

Deconstructing Theodicy by David B. Burrell
Song of Songs (BTCB series) by Paul J. Griffiths
Under the Influence by Monica Ganas
The Mind and the Machine by Matthew Dickerson
John (Paideia series) by Jo-Ann A. Brant
The Fall of Interpretation by James K. A. Smith
Killing Enmity by Thomas R. Yoder Neufield
Finding Your Plot in a Plotless World by Daniel de Roulet
Second Corinthians (CCSS series) by Thomas D. Stegman, SJ
A Liturgy of Grief by Leslie C. Allen

The Weekly Hit List: August 17, 2012

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers was reviewed by Comment Magazine.

In his latest book, Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distraction, Arthur Boers (a colleague of mine at Tyndale Seminary) aims to be both prophetic and helpful to Christians in an age of increasing distraction provided by technology: prophetic, in alerting us to and warning us of our growing dependence on technology and the manner in which it has changed our world and patterns; helpful, in equipping people to be discerning as they engage with the fruit of technology.

To read the whole review, click here.

 

Quick Hits:

Kicking at the Darkness by Brian J. Walsh was reviewed by YouthWorker Journal.

Peter Enns responded to a Themelios review of The Evolution of Adam.

Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen was reviewed by YouthWorker Journal.

Letters to a Young Calvinist by James K. A. Smith was reviewed on Kyle McDanell’s blog.

The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith was reviewed on David D. Flower’s blog.

Englewood Review of Books featured Brian J. Walsh’s recent interview with Bruce Cockburn.

 

And in case you missed it:

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers was reviewed by Canadian Mennonite Magazine.

Phillip Cary was interviewed on ReformedCast about Good News for Anxious Christians.

Dale Goldsmith and Joy V. Goldsmith, co-authors of Speaking of Dying, appeared on Dr. Bill Maier Live.

 

Ebook Specials and Other Offers:

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

Proverbs and Ecclesiastes by Daniel J. Treier
Adventures in Daily Prayer by Bert Ghezzi
Letters to a Young Calvinist by James K. A. Smith
Seven Deadly Spirits by T. Scott Daniels
Be Not Afraid by Samuel Wells
Creating a Spiritual Legacy by Daniel Taylor
The Truth Shall Make You Odd by Frank G. Honeycutt

The Weekly Hit List: June 15, 2012

Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen
was reviewed on Jesus Creed.


“Scharen’s book is well-written, thoughtful, clear, and provocative. It offers a needed corrective. . . .

“The best part of Scharen’s book to me was his discussion of the theology of glory and the theology of the cross. He shows that brokenness can be ‘true.’

“Art must be listened to with the kind of heart that desires to know more of it. Scharen calls this ‘knowing with’ art and proposes that this kind of listening enables us to see things about ourselves that we didn’t know were there.”

 

Quick Hits:

Speaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey was reviewed on Mark Braye’s blog.

Psalms for All Seasons was reviewed on the iCrucified blog.

The Pangea Blog featured a video of Miroslav Volf speaking on “What Still Surprises Miroslav Volf about America.”

In case you missed it: Peter Enns was on The (Re)vangelical Podcast discussing The Evolution of Adam and how science and Christianity can relate.