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.

 

 

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: July 31, 2015

Cover ArtJ. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, was interviewed on the Compassion Radio Podcast. You can listen to part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Todd Billings was living his dream. As a professor, husband and father, all of his ambitions in life were lining up. Then enters a word incongruent with his dreams – CANCER. Most men would buckle down and focus on nothing else than fighting the disease. Todd is not most men. He’s finding grace and hope in ever-increasing measure and paying it forward. In the process, he’s bringing hope and even joy to thousands. You’ll find out how, today and tomorrow.”


Quick Hits:

Kuyperian Commentary shared an excerpt from Peter Leithart’s Traces of the Trinity.

Wesley Hill’s Spiritual Friendship was reviewed at The Republic.

The Weekly Hit List: July 10, 2015

Cover ArtCraig Blomberg’s Can We Still Believe the Bible? was a featured reviewed at The Englewood Review of Books.

Readers who seriously engage the arguments contained in this book will discover a reflective, reasonable, and rich Christianity that does not shy away from tough questions or hard facts.

In light of the recent supreme court ruling, Comment Magazine shared an excerpt from the forthcoming Free to Serve by Stephen Monsma and Stanley Carlson-Thies.

Principled pluralism seeks public policies that are even-handed not only among the faith-based organizations of various religious traditions but also between faith-based organizations and secular organizations. Neither should be favored over the other.


Quick Hits:

Rejoicing in Lament, by J. Todd Billings, was named one of the best books of the year by Words of Grace.

Stephen Monsma, co-author of Free to Serve, discussed the Obergefell v. Hodges decision at Christianity Today.

And finally, congrats to Dr. David G. Benner whose Presence and Encounter received the silver award in the Body, Mind & Spirit category of the 2014 Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.

 

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: 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: May 15, 2015

Desiring God featured “God Is Bigger Than My Cancer” by J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament.

PrintCancer changes your perception of life. Each day comes to us as a gift from the gracious hand of God — whether it is the last day of a short life or the first day of a long and healthy life. But living into the reality that each day is a gift also involves coming to recognize a stark, biblical truth that is deeply countercultural: God is not our debtor.

Surely God is not capricious or untrustworthy. God has disclosed himself as gracious in his dealings with creation, with Israel, and most fully, in Jesus Christ. The Triune God binds himself to covenant promises that include, envelop, and hold us in a communion that sin and death cannot break. God is faithful to these promises, fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

But this does not mean life is “fair,” or that we are shielded from all of the present consequences of sin and death. God is not our debtor. He does not “owe” us a certain number of requisite years of life.

Read the entire article here.

 

 

Wesley Hill, author of Spiritual Friendship, was interviewed by Peter Smith for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Wesley Hill is convinced that taking a road less traveled doesn’t have to be a lonely journey.

Mr. Hill, a professor at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, and a small corps of other writers around the country have churned out a small library of books and blog posts, united in a single premise.

They believe gay Christians can and should affirm their sexual orientation — but should also commit to celibacy.

Read all of “Gay and celibate: Some Christians affirming their homosexuality but pledging to forgo sex” here.

Toledo’s The Blade also ran this interview: “Reviving tradition of spiritual friendship”

 

 

Foreword Reviews reviewed Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider.

Nonviolent ActionSider boldly states that nonviolence can work and work very well. But his vision is not some idealistic dream. Study, training, and organization are needed to fully execute this vision, he says. And it is not the easy or safe route—that’s why faith is critical; as with Christ, modern-day nonviolence may be met with violence and death. This sober reality showcases the gravity of people’s often-glib aversion to violence. But this approach is urgently needed: “The twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history.” Sider also highlights the opportunities of the present time—like the role of social media during the Arab Spring—but focuses primarily on the most timeless of assets, like prayer, persistence, and community.

While his approach is academic and well researched, it’s also intensely readable. He summarizes events and ideas well without oversimplifying. While the task at hand is daunting, his voice is friendly and optimistic.

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Traces of the Trinity by Peter J. Leithart was reviewed  by Michael Hansen for Torrey Gazette.

Peter Enns discussed his book The Evolution of Adam in “11 recurring mistakes in the debate over the ‘historical Adam’.”

The Weekly Hit List: May 8, 2015

Eve Tushnet reviewed Wesley Hill’s Spiritual Friendship for The American Conservative.

Part of what makes my friend Wesley Hill’s slender new book so intriguing is that it is an attempt to give an account of friendship that is grounded in history, theology, and literature—yet forward-looking.

Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Gay Christian is an essayistic collection of provocations, not a tome intended to be “the last word” on friendship or its relationship to Christian community.

It’s a book about hope and hope’s uncertainty, about trust and taking chances; it’s not a look back at a friendship well-lived. It’s an unfinished story.

Read “Friendship with a Future Tense” here.

 

Other Spiritual Friendship Media:

Wesley Hill will appear live in-studio with The Ride Home with John & Kathy on May 12 at 5:10 p.m. ET.

Eve Tushnet mentioned Spiritual Friendship in “Detachment in Friendship.”

Matthew Loftus mentioned Spiritual Friendship.

Michael Spalione reviewed  Spiritual Friendship.

Sam Heath wrote some discussion questions for Spiritual Friendship.

 

 

Christianity Today reviewed Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider.

G. K. Chesterton famously said that the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting, but instead been found difficult and left untried. If you read most proponents of Christian nonviolence, you’ll find that they generally feel the same way about pacifism.

This is why Ron Sider’s latest book is so helpful. In Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried, Sider, a Mennonite ethicist who teaches at Palmer Theological Seminary, demonstrates that nonviolence has been far more effective than most people realize. . . .

Nonviolent Action is a welcome addition to discussions of just war and nonviolence, particularly for how it opens our imaginations to the moral and spiritual dimensions of decisions on war and peace. Sider forces us to recognize the imago dei in our enemies.

No matter your theological tradition, this is an essential discipline to cultivate.

Read the entire review here.

 

Quick Hits:

Jonathan Grant, author of Divine Sex, will speak at a plenary, a forum, and a workshop att Missio Alliance’s Being Truly Human conference today (May 8). Live video stream is available to subscribers here.

Nonviolent Action was reviewed by Matthew Forrest Lowe.

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings was reviewed by Matthew Forrest Lowe and Jordan Mark Stone , and recommended by Grace Bible Chapel blog.

M. Daniel Carroll R., author of Christians at the Border, wrote “Evangelicals Are Hungry for Leadership, Teaching on Immigration” for The Christian Post.

Scot McKnight discussed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

“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.

The Weekly Hit List: May 1, 2015

The Englewood Review of Books reviewed Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider.

Sider’s latest work is not a book to be read quickly. Rather, the reader is best served by engaging each story slowly and letting the lessons it contains sink in over time.

Present here are not only additional stories of successful nonviolent action, but also useful current statistics from scholars such as Gene Sharp, Erica Chenoweth, and Maria J. Stephan. The fruits of their labor are intelligently deployed by Sider to prove that even without many resources, there is no denying the success nonviolent approaches have had in the last 100 years.

Sider uses the proof of these successes to question why our society has never systematically put resources to exploring nonviolent action in any sustained or serious way.

Read the entire review here.

 

Rejoicing in Lament (by J. Todd Billings) Media:

First Things shared video of the discussion between Todd Billings and R. R. Reno from Billings’ NYC lecture and book signing event in early April.

Todd wrote “Praying in the Dark: Lament, Providence and Protest” for Perspectives Journal.

Todd appeared on Morning Express with Brock Tozer (Family Radio CHRI 99.1FM – Ontario).

 

Spiritual Friendship (by Wesley Hill) Media:

Dan Brennan reviewed Spiritual Friendship.

YALT (the CRC’s Young Adult Leadership Initiative) interviewed Wesley Hill about Spiritual Friendship.

Chris Woznicki reivewed Spiritual Friendship.

 

Quick Hits:

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was reviewed by Paul A. Nierengarten.

Scot McKnight discussed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

Traces of the Trinity by Peter J. Leithart was reviewed by Patrick Schreiner.

Scot McKnight, author of Kingdom Conspiracy, appeared at Lipscomb University April 22-23, and wrote about it here. Lipscomb University wrote about it here.

Presence and Encounter by David G. Benner was quoted by The Mennonite.