The Weekly Hit List: August 21, 2015

Cover ArtLearning for the Love of God, by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby, was reviewed at Bob on Books.

“Having worked in the collegiate ministry world for many years, I welcome this book. It is too easy for our ministries to overlook the academic aspect of the discipleship of our students….A great gift to students headed off to college

 


Quick Hits:

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, asked Why do Cancer Patients Hide Side Effects?

Jonathan Storment, at Jesus Creed, wrestled with the question “Did Gandhi do Kingdom work?” in light of Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy.

The Weekly Hit List: May 22, 2015

Jonathan Merritt interviewed J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, for Religion News Service blog On Faith & Culture.

In a classroom in Holland, Michigan, a 39-year-old man in a bowtie stands to deliver a lecture. Peeking out from behind his glasses, he surveys the eager students who have come expecting a lecture on theology. Instead, he tells them that he has just been diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer.

J. Todd Billings is the Gordon H. Girod research professor of Reformed theology at Western Theological Seminary and author of several award-winning books such as The Word of God for The People of God and Union With Christ. After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2012, Billings and his wife decided to be open with others about his condition. But they didn’t know what they would learn through the process.

The knowledge that he faces a “narrowed future” has raised fresh theological questions about life, death, and faith for Billings and taught him how to rejoice in the face of possible death. He has recorded his thoughts in a critically-acclaimed book, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling With Incurable Cancer and Life With Christ. Here we discuss what he has learned and hopes to teach others in the time he has left.

Read all of “Prominent theologian finds joy amid incurable cancer diagnosis” here.

 

Spiritual Friendship (Wesley Hill) Media:

Wesley Hill’s interview with Peter Smith for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was picked up by LaCrosse Tribune and by My San Antonio.

James Matichuk reviewed Spiritual Friendship and gave it five stars.

 

Quick Hits:

On Word on Fire, Robert Barron announced his 2 Samuel contribution to the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series, and he shared the entire introduction to his commentary.

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, appeared on White Horse Inn.

Rejoicing in Lament was recommended by Liberti Church: “This book on lament, hope, and prayer is both deeply personal and profoundly theological.”

Dennis Okholm, author of Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins, was interviewed on Jesus Creed blog.

Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books.

Scot  McKnight began discussing Glittering Vices by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung on Jesus Creed.

The Weekly Hit List: August 15, 2014

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter, author of Generous Spaciousness, was interviewed by Jonathan Merritt on his Religion News Service blog.  

“RNS: Many have argued of late that there is no middle ground and no third way on the issue of sexuality for Christians. What say you?”

“WV: If middle ground is seen as some sort of wishy-washy compromise, it is rightly judged as neither upholding deeply held convictions nor working towards the undoing of injustice and oppression. However, if a posture like generous spaciousness is recognized as the narrow path of humbly humanizing the other through intentional listening, then it shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. In a perfect world, we would be free to hold our deepest beliefs and no one would experience marginalization. We should recall our interdependence and, as Desmond Tutu says, remember that if I diminish you – then I diminish myself.”

Read the rest of “A third way for Christians on the ‘gay issue’?” here.

 

Jim Wallis, author of The (Un)Common Good, spoke with Relevant Magazine about “8 Ways to Change the World.”

“If you want to make a difference in your own community or neighborhood or world, start by looking at what’s wrong and then figuring out how to make things right.

“In particular, what most breaks your heart or offends your sense of justice? Where do you feel the pain of the world most personally and passionately? Then find the other people who feel the same pain and passion around that reality and work with them to make a difference.

“But it has to take concrete shape in real contexts and situations, not just in our heads and rhetoric. What things have gotten your attention that you think are wrong? That is how every movement for justice starts, and changing the world through justice is as simple as that.”

Read the rest of “8 Ways to Change the World” here.

 

Quick Hits:

Daniel Carroll, author of Christians at the Border, will appear on Connecting Faith with Neil Stavem for a live interview on Tuesday, August 19, at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Jim Wallis, author of The (Un)Common Good, was quoted by The Christian Post.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed by The Orphan Age.

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was recommended by The Seedbed Blog.

The Student Creed in Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was recommended by The Emerging Scholars Blog.

 

The Weekly Hit List: June 6, 2014

We’re in the middle of the blog tour for A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves.

The following bloggers participated this week:

Caryn Rivadeneira shared an excerpt.

Ellen Painter Dollar interviewed Marlena.

Jen Pollock Michel reviewed the book.

Joel Willitts reviewed the book.

Megan Hill reviewed the book.

Micha Boyett shared an excerpt and is giving away three copies of Marlena’s book.

Michelle Van Loon interviewed Marlena.

Sharon Hodde Miller shared an excerpt and is giving away two copies of Marlena’s book.

Don’t miss our five-book giveaway grand prize on the blog tour web site!

 

Quick Hits:

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter, author of Generous Spaciousness, wrote “I Beg to Differ: With the Right and the Left” on the New Direction Ministries of Canada blog.

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was reviewed by John Shaffet on Modern-day Pilgrim.

Jim Wallis, author of The (Un)Common Good, wrote “Moment of Truth on Immigration Reform Is Now” for National Journal.

Good News for Anxious Christians by Phillip Cary was reviewed on Books at a Glance.

Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was reviewed on Conversation in Faith.

Crosslight wrote on Miroslav Volf, author of A Public Faith.

Miroslav Volf was interviewed for Engage.Mail.

The Liberating Image by J. Richard Middleton was discussed by Scot McKnight on Jesus Creed.

 

Ebook Specials:

Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible by John Polkinghorne is only $2.99 (83% off) through June 10.

The Weekly Hit List: May 16, 2014

Wendy VanderWal-Gritter, author of Generous Spaciousness, wrote
“Gay Christians Go to Your Church. How Should the Church Engage Them?” for OnFaith.

“‘Gay Christian’ is not an oxymoron. Many gay women and men hold on to a resilient faith despite hostile religious environments and culture war complexities. It isn’t easy to be a Christian in the gay community; it isn’t easy to be gay in the Christian community.

“Among gay Christians there can be a fair bit of diversity. Some experience God’s grace in a mixed-orientation marriage (that is, they are married to an opposite gender spouse, despite being same-sex oriented). Others have committed to a celibate life. Many are searching and struggling and unsure of what to believe about the potential of a committed same-sex relationship. Yet others have promised to be faithful to one life-partner in whatever civil capacity is available to them.

“Regardless of how they are navigating their life of discipleship, these men and women and fellow-followers of Jesus need the fellowship of a hospitable church community as much as any other Christians do.”

Read the rest of the article here.

 

Quick Hits:

Miroslav Volf, author of A Public Faith, was interviewed by the Centre for Public Christianity.

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was recommended by Dr. Jimmy Latimer.

Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was recommended by Hearts & Minds Books.

The Weekly Hit List: April 11, 2014

Two Brazos Press titles were selected as finalists in the 2014 Christian Retailing‘s Best Awards.

iGods by Craig Detweiler was nominated in the Church and Culture category.

 

 

On God’s Side by Jim Wallis was nominated in the Social Issues category.

 

 

The complete list of finalists is available here. Winners will be announced in June.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Detweiler, author of iGods, appeared with Edward Blum on Religions & Ethics Newsweekly on PBS.

Nicole Baker Fulgham, author of Educating All God’s Children, wrote “School Equality as a Matter of Faith” with Aria Kirkland-Harris for PRISM Magazine.

Craig Blomberg, author of Can We Still Believe the Bible?, was interviewed by Margaret Feinberg: “The Most Misinterpreted Verse in The Bible Uncoded”

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was recommended by Nate Claiborne.

Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books.

Generous Spaciousness (May 2014) by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was mentioned by Publishers Weekly.

The Weekly Hit List: March 14, 2014

Can We Still Believe the Bible? by Craig Blomberg was reviewed by Christianity Today.

“Over decades toiling away in the weeds of biblical scholarship, Denver Seminary’s Blomberg has seen fashionable theories and methodologies come and go. None of them has dented his confidence that Scripture is the revealed Word of God. In fact, that confidence has been fortified.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

Margaret Feinberg published the first of several weekly interviews with Craig Blomberg. She also recommended Can We Still Believe the Bible? as one of her “Best resources for this week’s reading.”

Can We Still Believe the Bible? was reviewed and recommended by Dr. David B. Capes.

 

Quick Hits:

Daniel Taylor, author of Creating a Spiritual Legacy, appear on My Faith Radio program Connecting Faith.

Glittering Vices by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung was reviewed by John Frye on Jesus Creed: part 1 and part 2.

A Public Faith by Miroslav Volf was reviewed by Ethos.

Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was reviewed by Dr. Conrade Yap.

Behind the Book: Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby on Learning for the Love of God

Today Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby share why they wrote Learning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness.

 

Why Are We Students?

We study in order to
understand God’s good creation
and the ways sin has distorted it,
so that, in Christ’s Power, we may
bring healing to persons and the created order.

As God’s image-bearers we are preparing
to exercise responsible authority
in our task of cultivating the creation
to the end that all people and all things may
joyfully acknowledge and serve
their Creator and true King.

We have enjoyed fabulous fellowship on a number of different college campuses since the release of the first edition of this book. Both of us have had the opportunity to visit with students, staff, and faculty at many colleges and universities, and we connected with students from all over the place at the Coalition for Christian Outreach’s annual Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh. Most of the students whom we’ve talked with are Christian students, and here is what we’ve been noticing:

1. While church involvement does not appear to be a high priority, these students do gather to sing, worship, and learn about their faith in other venues. Many have no strong commitment to a particular Christian tradition but rather are “generically” Christian and are earnest about their faith.

2. Few of these students have been discipled in any vigorous or consistent way. Their youth groups were lots of fun but without much substance. The vast majority of these students have not read a substantive book about Jesus, theology, or the Christian life in the past year, if at all. Nevertheless, many of these students yearn to go deeper, if only they could find a mentor (one of their favorite words) who would help them.

3. Almost none of the students that we’ve encountered can articulate a clear connection between their faith and their academic discipline, unless of course the student is a Bible or ministry major, and they are pursuing that calling precisely because they discern the obvious connection.

4. Most of the students whom we’ve talked to don’t just want to get a job to get by. They want to find meaningful work, ideally work that will enable them to connect their faith to their investment in their jobs.

 

We could add a few more observations to our list, but this is a good start. And we think this short list helps to explain why students have responded with curiosity and hope when we have presented the brief motto or mission for the Christian student above. Students are unfamiliar with church creeds, but having some kind of statement is appealing to them. They haven’t read much theology, but this sounds biblical and comprehensive and world-engaging. They can’t articulate the link between faith and field, but they sense that that is exactly what they need to do in order to integrate their often fragmented lives. These students want to live with purpose, and they know that the purpose has to be big and that it has to be pursued for the well-being of others.

We encourage you to begin to frame your life as a student according to the themes of this motto—creation, fall, redemption, image of God, responsibility, healing, culture—so that you will be equipped to frame your entire lives by these themes. It won’t make your life easy, but it will make it rich and challenging and ultimately fulfilling. We think that is what students are really looking for.

—————————————————————

Donald Opitz (PhD, Boston University) is professor of sociology and higher education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he also directs the Geneva Master of Arts in Higher Education program. He is the author of numerous articles and has worked as a pastor as well as a campus minister.

Derek Melleby (MA, Geneva College) is the director of the College Transition Initiative for the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. He is also an associate staff member of the Coalition for Christian Outreach and has worked with students in a variety of settings. He lives in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.

For more information on Learning for the Love of God, click here.

The Weekly Hit List: February 28, 2014

Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby was reviewed and recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books

Learning for the Love of God fleshes out the vision, explains the challenge and offers essential guidance to all that we mean by ‘developing the Christian mind’ in just the right way and a cheerful, intermediate level. It is easy to read and yet challenging, thoughtful but not arcane.

Learning for the Love of God is ideal for students, offering insight about the nature of learning, the ways to think faithfully in college, and how to discern God’s fingerprints (and the smear of idolatry and ideology) all over the subjects they are studying.”

Read the rest of the review here.

 

 

Quick Hits:

A Life Observed by Devin Brown was reviewed by Kristen Hannum.

iGods by Craig Detweiler was reviewed by Stephen Hiemstra.

Living into Focus by Arthur Boers was quoted by Ben Ditzel.

 

Ebook Specials:

Why You Should Care about the Person Who Made Your Cell Phone by Jim Wallis is FREE until March 5.

This Just In: Learning for the Love of God by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby

Learning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness

by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby

Most Christian college students separate their academic life from church attendance, Bible study, and prayer. Too often discipleship of the mind is overlooked if not ignored altogether. In this lively and enlightening book, two authors who are experienced in college youth ministry show students how to be faithful in their studies, approaching education as their vocation.

This revised edition of the well-received The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness includes updates throughout, two new substantive appendixes, personal stories from students, a new preface, and a fresh interior design. Chapters conclude with thought-provoking discussion questions.

 

Donald Opitz (PhD, Boston University) is professor of sociology and higher education at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he also directs the Geneva Master of Arts in Higher Education program. He is the author of numerous articles and has worked as a pastor as well as a campus minister.

Derek Melleby (MA, Geneva College) is the director of the College Transition Initiative for the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding. He is also an associate staff member of the Coalition for Christian Outreach and has worked with students in a variety of settings. He lives in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.

 

Praise for Learning for the Love of God:

“What does discipleship have to do with learning? How do I follow Jesus as a student? What does the Lord require of me at university? This marvelous book answers just these sorts of questions. It’s one of a kind, an expansive vision of Christian learning written not for professors but for students. Best of all, this is a book that can profit students in any educational context, secular or religious. Buy a box of these and give them to every high school senior you know.”
—James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy, Calvin College; author of Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

 

Praise for the first edition of Learning for the Love of God:

“We couldn’t be more impressed. [This book] is serious, well-written, charming and challenging. It does this job–explaining the contours and the importance of a Christian vision of life and learning–as well as any book in print. . . . This book deserves to be acclaimed as it will change the lives of those who take it seriously, and could revolutionize . . . young adult ministry, campus work, and even high school fellowship groups. . . . This little book is unlike any other, and will make a difference, underscoring a movement of thoughtful Christians relating vocation and calling, work and career, God’s ways in the real world. It may be outrageous to say this, but this thin, fun book, may be one of the most important books of the decade.”
Byron Borgerheartsandmindsbooks.com