The Weekly Hit List: May 29, 2015

“Bigger than Cancer: In the Darkness, a Theologian Meets God in a New Way” by J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, appeared on RCA.org.

Right now, our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). We shouldn’t expect our lives right now to look like a seamless story of victory and success. We may die a death that looks senseless. For our true lives are hidden from sight, for now.

But “when Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). In the meantime, we are freed to wrestle with God in our suffering and also rejoice in his unshakeable love in Christ, for this is our most basic identity: that we belong in body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful savior, Jesus Christ.

Read the rest of “Bigger than Cancer” here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

WORLD Magazine recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

California Bookwatch reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Julie Golden reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Matthew Manry quoted and recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

Chris Ho reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

 

 

Conciliar Post interviewed Wesley Hill: “The Positive Vocation of Celibacy: An Interview with Dr. Wesley Hill”

George Aldhizer: Your first book, Washed and Waiting, emphasized your struggle of living a celibate life. Spiritual Friendship emphasizes your hope and calling in living a celibate life. Does this contrast reflect an evolution in your thinking on your own sexual identity?

Wesley Hill: I think it does, yes. Washed and Waiting was more focused on what those of us who are gay are called to abstain from and how painful that can be. Spiritual Friendship is more focused on the “yes” of Christian discipleship for gay believers—what we called to pursue, positively.

The earlier book was more interested in painting a picture of the challenges and difficulties of being gay and Christian, while the latter is more interested in the question of vocation and calling. As Paul Evdokimov has put it, “[I]n all the cases of deprivation Scripture speaks of, grace offers a gift; out of a negative renunciation it creates a positive vocation. To renounce one thing means to be totally consecrated to another that this very renunciation allows us to realize.”

It’s the consecration that I’m more interested in now.

Read the entire interview here.

 

Other Spiritual Friendship Media:

Wesley Hill’s interview with Peter Smith for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was picked up by Salina Journal and Valley News.

Seth Crocker recommended Spiritual Friendship.

Elliot Ritzema reviewed Spiritual Friendship

 

Quick Hits:

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, was interviewed by Jonathan Merritt for Religion News Service: “Who are ‘the least of these’? Scholars say they may not be the poor.” The article was picked up by The Salt Lake Tribune and The Washington Post.

Traces of the Trinity by Peter J. Leithart was recommended and excerpted by Books at a Glance and reviewed by Nick Norelli.

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

Marlena Graves, author of A Beautiful Disaster, wrote  “Remembering the Gospel with Alzheimer’s” for Her.meneutics.

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

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: 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 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 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.

The Weekly Hit List: October 24, 2014

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight was reviewed by David Fitch.

“In Scot McKnight’s latest book, Kingdom Conspiracy,he has an axe to grind. He’s doing some honest complaining.

“The way he sees it, the word ‘Kingdom’ has become muddled. The phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ has lost its moorings. It has come to mean many different things to different people within the Christian world.

“As a result, the word ‘Kingdom’ has lost its impact. And McKnight thinks this word is too important to the Christian mission to get sloppy with.

“I think he has a righteous complaint.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Other Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Englewood Review of Books included Kingdom Conspiracy as one their recommended new releases.

Ryan Dueck reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Justin Hiebert reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Jay Guin reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Scott of The Prodigal Thought recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

 

Quick Hits:

Craig Blomberg, author of Can We Still Believe the Bible?, was interviewed by Ben Witherington.

Ben Witherington also reviewed Can We Still Believe the Bible?.

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter was reviewed by Philip Zoutendam.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was mentioned by Byron Borger on Hearts & Minds Books.

The Weekly Hit List: October 10, 2014

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, was interviewed by Paul Pastor for PARSE: Ministry and Culture from Leadership Journal.

“Kingdom is misused because we all assume we know what it means. Like the word ‘gospel,’ which I examined in King Jesus Gospel, which constantly is used for ‘how to get saved’ or the ‘message that can be shaped into the plan of salvation.’ This is not how ‘gospel’ was used in the New Testament. So with the word ‘kingdom,’ which has become nearly synonymous with two different standard uses.

“For some ‘kingdom’ means acting in the public sector for the common good in order to create a world with better conditions, and for others it has come to mean little more than salvation, or what I often call ‘redemptive moments.’ If we care to shape our theology and our use of terms like “kingdom” on the basis of what the Bible says, then those two definitions are gross reductions of what the Bible says.

“Yes, of course, kingdom includes ethics (though they are not to be secularized as progressives sometimes do) and it brings redemption (as many Christians are prone to say), but those are only two aspects of a much fuller story about kingdom in the Bible. Until we get each of the elements into play we are not looking at what the Bible is saying.”

Read the entire interview here.

 

Other Kingdom Conspiracy Media:

Publishers Weekly included Kingdom Conspiracy as one of their October 2014 Religion Books of Note: “Over the past decade, McKnight has emerged as America’s theologian . . . . This is must reading for church leaders today.”

Hearts & Minds Books reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Alvin Rapien reviewed Kingdom Conspiracy.

Claude Mariottini recommended Kingdom Conspiracy.

Chris Woznicki quoted Kingdom Conspiracy.

 

Quick Hits:

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins by Dennis Okholm was reviewed by Dr. Conrade Yap.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was reviewed by Aleah Marsden.

Letters to a Young Calvinist by James K. A. Smith was reviewed on Bookwi.se.

Nonviolent Action by Ronald Sider (February 2015) was mentioned by Preston Sprinkle.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was quoted on Stilling Learning.

 

Ebook Specials:

Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters Most in an Age of Distraction by Arthur Boers is only $2.99 (85% off) from participating retailers through October 15.

The Weekly Hit List: October 3, 2014

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight was reviewed by Michael Bird on Euangelion.

“In a nutshell, McKnight argues that there are two predominant views of ‘kingdom’ operating in and around evangelicalism. First, the skinny jeans view, which equates kingdom with social justice. Second, the pleated pants view, where kingdom equates to God’s redemptive work.

“McKnight wants to affirm the good of social justice work and the necessity of proclaiming salvation to the lost, but he wants to bring kingdom in closer proximity to church. . . . 

“This is a tremendously useful book. He forces people to think and re-think what kingdom is how it applies to the local church. It also dispels the view that non-Christians do ‘kingdom work’ by their philanthropic works.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Chapters 1 and 2 of Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight were reviewed by Josh Graves.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was quoted as a daily meditation on Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral‘s blog.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was recommended by Best Books First.

 

Ebook Specials:

Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture, Revised and Expanded Edition by William D. Romanowski is only $2.99 (87% off) from participating retailers through October 9.

The Weekly Hit List: September 26, 2014

Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight (October 2014) was summarized and reviewed by Trevin Wax for The Gospel Coalition.

Kingdom Conspiracy is a book that challenges some commonly held beliefs and assumptions among evangelicals. Scot McKnight will rile up people on both the left and the right, as brilliant Anabaptists always do. I’m a Baptist with a strong affinity for the Kuyperian vision, and so there were aspects of this book that resonated with me and aspects that frustrated me.

“Overall, however, Kingdom Conspiracy‘s primary goal is one that I appreciate. It offers an ecclesio-centric view of the kingdom that refocuses our attention back on the church as the centerpoint of God’s plan in our world today.”

Read the entire review here.

Read the entire summary here.

 

 

The Drama of Living by David F. Ford (October 2014) was reviewed on The Christian Century.

“A sequel to Ford’s The Shape of Living, The Drama of Living could be characterized as sapiential theology—reflection on theology that draws out its wisdom for daily living.

“Ford weaves together a mélange of sources, especially the Gospel of John and the poetry of his friend Michael O’Siadhail. A corollary to the theme of Jesus coming into the world is John’s theology of the Spirit who comes and invites us into the ongoing, improvisational drama of following Jesus and living out the love of Jesus in our lives.”

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Scot McKnight was interviewed about Kingdom Conspiracy on the Newsworthy with Norsworthy podcast.

Kingdom Conspiracy was recommended by Jason Micheli.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was recommended by Byron Bolger on Hearts & Minds Books.

A Beautiful Disaster by Marlena Graves was reviewed by Dr. Conrade Yap

Educating All God’s Children by Nicole Baker Fulgham was reviewed by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson for Urban Faith.