The Weekly Hit List: June 26, 2015

Traces of the TrinityCover Art, by Peter Leithart, was reviewed by Andrew Stout at The Englewood Review of Books.

The theological propositions here are bold, far-reaching, and endlessly suggestive. Leithart creatively and entertainingly illuminates the traditional concept of perichoresis at the same time that he extends the scope of its application. He deftly intertwines, philosophical, theological, and literary allusions as he articulates a vision of the world that is given shape by Scripture.

At Jesus Creed, John Frye discussed the vice of Lust, as part of his series on Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung’s Glittering Vices.

Our culture expects lust to deliver only what love can deliver. Thus, more sexual encounters build up and the more empty men and women feel. Physical pleasure, whether eating and drinking or sexual intercourse, cannot in themselves meet our spiritual needs..


Quick Hits:

Matthew H. Young, at First Things, read James K. A. Smith’s Letters to a Young Calvinist.

Jonathan Grant’s Divine Sex was reviewed by Conrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

Stephen J. Bedard reviewed Nonviolent Action by Ron Sider.

The Weekly Hit List: June 12, 2015

Cover ArtScot McKnight, at Jesus Creed, continued his series on Wesley Hill’s Spiritual Friendship.

One of the marks of “friendship” in our world is that they are the “freest, the least constrained, the least fixed and determined, of all human loves.” This from Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship, xiii, and a theme throughout his book.

A theme, in fact, that is seriously challenged by a proposal that Wes Hill offers, namely, that friendships ought perhaps to be more formally framed.

Other Spiritual Friendship Media:

Tim Challies reviewed Spiritual Friendship.

Spiritual Friendship was reviewed at Bob on Books.


Quick Hits:

Nonviolent Action by Ron Sider was reviewed at Panorama of a Book Saint.

A Vice Worth Pondering?” John Frye discusses avarice after reading Glittering Vices by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung.

 

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.

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.

The Weekly Hit List: April 24, 2015

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

Hill explores how our cultural expectations affect people who, for whatever reason, don’t expect to marry or have kids. How do we give and receive love? How do we lead lives which are fruitful and not just lonely expanses of time-before-death?

So often gay people in the “traditional” (for lack of a better word) churches receive no hint that we, too, have vocations—that we, too, are called to love specific other people. So Hill is trying to restore “spiritual friendship”—intimate, lasting friendship which draws the friends closer to God—as a vocation for gay or same-sex attracted Christians.

Read the rest of “No Marriage Is an Island” here.

 

Other Spiritual Friendship Media:

Stephen Shaffer reviewed Spiritual Friendship.

Patrick Schreiner reviewed Spiritual Friendship.

Adam Shields reviewed Spiritual Friendship.

 

 

The Drama of Living by David F. Ford was recommended and reviewed by D. Brent Laytham for The Christian Century:

This rich, relevant volume, a sequel to Ford’s stunning The Shape of Living, is an author’s report on his past books, a participant’s report on Scriptural Reasoning meetings, an annotated anthology of the poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail, and a dramatic reading of the Gospel of John.

The surprising thing about the book is its wholeness, as Ford seeks to draw readers (and rereaders) to wiser living.

 

Quick Hits:

Traces of the Trinity by Peter J. Leithart was reviewed by James Matichuk.

Evangelicals for Social Action shared an excerpt from Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider.

Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider was reviewed by Bob Trube.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was reviewed by David Baggett.

Scot McKnight discussed Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

 

Ebook Specials:

A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis by Devin Brown is on sale for $2.99 (82% off) from participating retailers through April  26.

The Power of Nonviolent Action (an excerpt from Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider)

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 11 of Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands but Most Christians Have Never Really Tried by Ronald J. Sider.

——————————————————

Too often, power is understood only in terms of lethal coercion. Mao Zedong said that power is what comes from the barrel of a gun. Certainly power includes the ability to control people’s actions by the threat or use of lethal violence; however, the people also possess nonviolent collective power because they can choose to withdraw their support from rulers.

Nonviolent activists possess strong moral power. Praying, reconciling teams of Christian peacemakers risking their lives for others would share something of the moral power that Jesus exercised in the temple. He was able singlehandedly to drive the crowds of angry, oppressive moneychangers out of the temple, not because he was stronger or his disciples were more numerous. It was because deep in their hearts they knew that he was right.

International public opinion would also be influential. The daring of the teams of Christian peacemakers would sometimes make headline news around the world. Any group or nation that battered or killed prominent, internationally famous Christian leaders or even ordinary peacemakers would suffer substantial international disapproval.

A mandate also provides authority and therefore power. A mandate to intervene internationally, if issued by an organization such as the Organization of African States or the United Nations, could legitimize nonviolent teams of peacemakers. So too—at least to a certain, if lesser, degree—would an invitation by prominent Christian leaders and established churches, as well as recognized leaders of other religious groups.

Self-sacrificial love has innate power. It often weakens even vicious opponents—though not always, of course. People ready to suffer for others sometimes get crucified. But often, too, they evoke a more human, loving response, even from brutal foes.

The discipline, training, and coordination of an organized body with visible symbols of identity and cohesion are also powerful. Part of the power of a large group of police or soldiers lies in their uniforms, careful coordination, and ability to act quickly, decisively, and collectively. Highly trained and disciplined peacemaker teams would possess some of this same power.

Finally, there is the divine power of the Lord of history. What the Almighty will do if thousands of praying, loving Christians nonviolently face death in the search for peace and justice will remain shrouded in mystery—at least until we have the courage to try it. But what believer will doubt that there may be surprises ahead?

Death will be tragically intertwined with any serious test of the effectiveness of nonviolent action. But that will not prove that the effort has failed; it will only underline the depth of human sin, and also the fact that Christians are willing to imitate the One they worship. Nor is that all. The death of courageous nonviolent activists will also lead to the birth of a more powerful belief in and practice of successful nonviolent movements for peace and justice.

 

©2015 by Ronald J. Sider. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Weekly Hit List: April 10, 2015

Wesley Hill, author of Spiritual Friendship, was interviewed by Jonathan Merritt for his Religion News Service blog.

RNS: How do you hope reimagining friendship will help shape the debate over same-sex erotic behavior?

WH: My sense of the debate in the Christian churches is that many people think there are two options: Be gay and celibate and therefore lonely, or be gay and partnered and therefore not alone. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think those are the only two options. I’m trying to live in a different place: openly acknowledging that I’m gay, pursuing a life of sexual abstinence in obedience to what the Bible teaches, and seeking to fill that life full of friendship and community.

How would our debates about how to love gay and lesbian people in our churches look different if celibacy seemed like a viable option, because deep friendships were a normal part of the Christian life, rather than the bleak occasion for marginalization that it so often appears to be now?

Read the entire article, “Celibate gay Christian leader urges faithful to ‘normalize’ committed friendships,” here.

 

Quick Hits:

Wesley Hill was mentioned by Ross Douthat in The New York Times.

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls was reviewed by Dr. Conrade Yap and discussed by Scot McKnight.

Nonviolent Action by Ronald J. Sider was reviewed by Elliot Ritzema and Andrew Spencer.

Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings was quoted by Together for Adoption.

The Weekly Hit List: April 3, 2015

Wiman_blog_web

J. Todd Billings (author of Rejoicing in Lament) appeared with Christian Wiman (author of My Bright Abyss) at Western Theological Seminary on March 31. 

View the video of their conversation about being diagnosed with incurable cancer in the prime of life here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

One Billings’s articles was translated into Portugese for Reforma21.

Matthew Forrest Lowe reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Rejoicing in Lament was mentioned by Dr. Adam DeVille.

 

Christianity Today featured Ronald Sider and his new book, Nonviolent Action, in their April 2015 issue: “My Top 5 Books on Nonviolence.”

Ron Sider’s many books—about poverty, politics, and global justice—emphasize some of the most difficult and easily overlooked ethical obligations of following Christ.

In Nonviolent Action: What Christian Ethics Demands But Most Christians Have Never Really Tried (Brazos Press), the author of the now-classic Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger makes the biblical case for pursuing peaceful alternatives to conflict.

Here, Sider chooses 5 books on how nonviolence really works.

Read the entire article here.

 

Christianity Today included Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory by Jerry L. Walls as one of their April 2015 “New & Noteworthy Books.”

Walls, who teaches philosophy at Houston Baptist University, has written a trio of scholarly books defending the doctrines of heaven, hell, and—more controversially among Protestants—purgatory. Here, he packages those arguments into a single volume pitched at ordinary readers, delivered at a moment when debates about the hereafter have picked up steam.

“The Christian story is extraordinary, to be sure,” Walls maintains, “but it is radically incomplete and ultimately unsatisfying without a robust doctrine of the afterlife, and one simply cannot seriously affirm Trinity, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection without going on to heartily affirm ‘the life everlasting.’ ”

 

Quick Hits:

Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory was reviewed by John Mark N. Reynolds and discussed by Scot McKnight.

Traces of the Trinity by Peter J. Leithart was recommended on Faithlife.

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

The Weekly Hit List: March 27, 2015

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, wrote “Why Doesn’t God Always Heal? Prayer and Incurable Cancer” for Huffington Post Religion.

“If God desires our well-being, why doesn’t he always grant prayers for healing?

“‘There’s no doubt about your diagnosis,’ the doctor told me.

“I squirmed in my chair as I heard the numbers: according to the calculus of medical predications, my young children would most likely lose their dad in their childhood. It’s an incurable, lethal cancer.

“But as a Christian, I wondered – should ‘incurable’ really be part of my vocabulary? What about God’s power and prayer?”

Read the entire article here.

 

Other Rejoicing in Lament Media:

Billings is appearing with poet Christian Wiman at Western Theological Seminary on Tuesday, March 31. The Holland Sentinel wrote about it here.

First Things is hosting a lecture and book signing event with Billings in New York City on April 7. Be sure to RSVP if you plan to attend.

Western Theological Seminary wrote about Rejoicing in Lament.

Hearts & Minds Books reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Billings was mentioned by Her.meneutics.

Ron Holdeman recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

Carl Wilton recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

Don Haflich reviewed Rejoicing in Lament.

Jordan Stone recommended Rejoicing in Lament.

 

Quick Hits:

Wesley Hill, author of Spiritual Friendship, preached at Cathedral Church of the Advent and was interviewed by AL.com.

Wesley Hill was interviewed and lectured at Moore College.

Nonviolent Action by Ronald Sider was reviewed by Jerry M. Ireland.

Jerry L. Walls, author of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, was interviewed on Deeper Waters podcast.

 

Ebook Specials:

Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do by Phillip Cary is on sale for $1.99 (88% off) from participating retailers through March 31.