This Just in: The Future of Our Faith

Cover ArtYounger Christians are leaving the church in droves, frustrated and disillusioned by the track record of American Christianity. Older Christians, who still lead most churches, are concerned about this trend. But the generations don’t see eye to eye on many things. There is a lot of talking and writing about the other instead of working to build bridges between generations so they can learn from each other.

In The Future of Our Faith, two evangelical leaders forty years apart in age discuss some of the biggest issues challenging Christianity today and into the future. The authors model and cultivate an intentional, charitable, and much-needed intergenerational dialogue as they discuss key issues that will define the church’s faithfulness in the next generation. Each chapter includes sidebar reflections from notable Christian leaders, including Christena Cleveland, Jim Daly, Jason Fileta, Christopher A. Hall, Jo Anne Lyon, Gabriel Salguero, Carol and Peter Schreck, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Jenny Yang. The book also includes individual and small group study questions.

Christians who care about the future of American Christianity will value this work, as will pastors, chaplains, and youth ministers who work with college and young adult ministries. It will also be useful in practical ministry classes.

 

Ronald J. SiderRonald J. Sider (PhD, Yale University) is the founder and president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action and senior distinguished professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern University in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

Ben LoweBen Lowe is actively engaged on a number of justice issues and is the founding spokesperson of Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. A graduate of Wheaton College, he has spoken on over fifty college campuses and is the author of Green Revolution and Doing Good without Giving Up. Visit his website at benlowe.net.

 

 

Praise for: The Future of Our Faith

The Future of Our Faith is simultaneously an invitation to accept the church as it is and to dream of the church as it could be.”—Shane Claiborne, author and activist

“I have long looked to Ron Sider for his wise counsel, and I increasingly look to Ben Lowe for his leadership on issues of faith and justice. At this critical time in the church’s history, I am grateful for their new book….An invitation and a challenge for us to partner across generations for the sake of the kingdom.”—Noel Castellanos, CEO and president, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

“A blessing to the church today and a model for the church to come.”—Karen Swallow Prior, author of Booked and Fierce Convictions

“If you care about the future of Christian witness in a post-Christian America, you’ll read The Future of Our Faith.”—Katelyn Beaty, managing editor, Christianity Today

The Future of Our Faith is a multifaceted examination of the hazards and hopes of our time across generational lines. Ron Sider and Ben Lowe are two of the best Christian thinkers I know. I can’t imagine a more dynamic duo to write a book like this.”—Jonathan Merritt, author of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined

“While I don’t agree with everything in this book, the conversation here is thought-provoking and a great help for Christians seeking to analyze the world around us. The discussion between Ron Sider and Ben Lowe ought to remind us of what we are often sadly lacking in the evangelical church—cross-generational connection. I pray this book sparks many more conversations between older and younger Christians about the future of our faith.”—Russell Moore, president, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

 

 

The Weekly Hit List: September 18, 2015

Christians at the BorderCover Art, by M. Daniel Carroll R., was recommended at Prayerful Philosopher.

In the midst of unprecedented waves of migrants pouring into Europe from war-torn Syria and increasingly hostile political tirades about Hispanic immigration to the United States, there is no better time for Christians to pause and ponder the biblical perspective on the matter of immigration.

“Look at Jesus”: Ron Sider on the Biblically Balanced Life – An Interview with Evangelicals for Social Action.

I continue with a lot of writing. In addition to some shorter pieces, I published Nonviolent Action this year. Ben Lowe and I will release an intergenerational dialogue book called The Future of Our Faith early next year.

 

 

 

The Weekly Hit List: August 14, 2015

Cover ArtScot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy was reviewed by Steve McAlpine at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

“If one line sums up Scot McKnight’s latest, and by some accounts most controversial, book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church, it would be this:

Everything can be kingdom. And when everything is kingdom, nothing will be. (cue outraged cries)

I warmed to this book quickly. McKnight rides to the rescue of that once-incredible damsel in distress, the western church, riven as she is by assaults from without and doubts from within and gives her credibility back.”


Quick Hits:

Wesley Hill, author of Spiritual Friendship, was interviewed at Key Life.

 At Theologues, Alvin Rapien discussed politics and religion, and drew from Paul’s New Moment by John Milbank, Slavoj Zizek, and Creston Davis.

Chuck McKnight recommended Ron Sider’s Nonviolent Action in his post How Should Christians Respond to Violence? at the Faithlife Blog.

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: 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: March 21, 2014

Five Brazos Press titles were selected as finalists in the ForeWord Reviews 2013 Book of the Year Awards.

A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis by Devin Brown in the Biography category
Drawing on Lewis’s autobiographical works, books by those who knew him personally, and his apologetic and fictional writing, this book tells the inspiring story of Lewis’s journey from cynical atheist to joyous Christian and challenges readers to follow their own calling. The book allows Lewis to tell his own life story in a uniquely powerful manner while shedding light on his best-known works.

 

 

Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can—and Should—Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids by Nicole Baker Fulgham in the Education category
Education expert explores what Christians can—and should—do to champion urgently needed reform and help improve our public schools. The book provides concrete action steps for working to ensure that all of God’s children get the quality public education they deserve.

 

 

iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives by Craig Detweiler in the Popular Culture category
Provides needed Christian perspective on navigating today’s social media culture. Detweiler interacts with major symbols, or “iGods,” of our distracted age—Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Pixar, YouTube, and Twitter—to investigate the impact of the technologies and cultural phenomena that drive us. Detweiler offers a historic look at where we’ve been and a prophetic look at where we’re headed, helping us sort out the immediate from the eternal, the digital from the divine.

 

Of Games and God: A Christian Exploration of Video Games by Kevin Schut in the Popular Culture category
Kevin Schut, a communications expert and an enthusiastic gamer himself, offers a lively, balanced, and informed Christian evaluation of video games and video game culture. He expertly engages a variety of issues, encouraging readers to consider both the perils and the promise of this major cultural phenomenon.

 

 

On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good by Jim Wallis in the Religion category
Wallis explores how Jesus’s agenda can serve the common good, what it takes to sustain a lifelong commitment to social justice, and how reading the Bible as well as the culture can shape our lives for genuine transformation.

 

 

 

The complete list of the ForeWord Reviews’ 2013 Book of the Year Award Finalists is available here.

The full press release from Brazos Press is available here.

 

Can We Still Believe the Bible? Media:

Margaret Feinberg published the second of several weekly interviews with Craig Blomberg.

This week for the Can We Still Believe the Bible? blog tour, Ken Schenck responded to chapter 1, Joel L. Watts and Lee Martin McDonald responded to chapter 2, and Phillip J. Long responded to chapter 3. The remaining blog tour posts will appear next week.

Don’t miss our five-book package giveaway (worth $180), which ends next Thursday, March 27.

 

Quick Hits:

Miroslav Volf, author of A Public Faith, wrote “Exclusion or Saturation? Rethinking the Place of Religion in Public Life” for ABC Religion and Ethics.

iGods by Craig Detweiler was reviewed by Jim Kane.

Just Politics by Ronald J. Sider was recommended by Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Books.

 

Ebook Specials:

Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition by James K. A. Smith is only $2.99 (80%) off through March 27.

The Weekly Hit List: February 1, 2013

Speaking of DyingSpeaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy V. Goldsmith was chosen by the Academy of Parish Clergy as one of their Top 10 Books of the Year.

This book offers a critical analysis of the church’s failure to communicate constructively about dying, reminding the church of its considerable liturgical, scriptural, and pastoral resources when it ministers to the terminally ill. The authors, who have all been personally and professionally involved in end-of-life issues, suggest practical, theological bases for speaking about dying, communicating with those facing death, and preaching about dying.

They explore how dying–in baptism–begins and informs the Christian’s life story. They also emphasize that the narrative of faith embraces dying, and they remind readers of scriptural and christological resources that can lead toward a “good dying.” In addition, they present current best practices from health professionals for communication among caregivers and those facing death.

 

Quick Hits:

A Hobbit Journey by Matthew Dickerson was chosen as the “Most Timely Re-Issue” of 2012 by Hearts & Minds Books“What is so interesting about this is how seamlessly Dickerson weaves together contemporary social ethics — from justice issues to questions about the body — and the Tolkien narratives.”

Just Politics by Ronald J. Sider was chosen the “Most Needed Re-Issue” of 2012 by Hearts & Minds Books“I think everyone who votes should read this book! Just Politics is one of the year’s best.”

Soulful Spirituality by David Benner was recommended by Steve Saccone.

The Evolution of Adam by Peter Enns was recommended by Matthew Barrett on Credo.com.

 

February Ebook Specials:

During the month of February, several ebooks from Brazos Press & Baker Academic are on sale.

Click on book covers for more information on that title.

For a list of places to purchase the ebooks, visit www.brazospress.com/ebookspecials

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Ron Sider on the Importance of Voting and Political Engagment

On the eve of the 2012 election, we thought we would share from Ronald Sider’s recent Brazos book Just Politics: A Guide for Christian Engagement. The following excerpt is taken from the first chapter of Just Politics where Sider explains why faithful Christians should be active in politics and voting.

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It is a simple historical fact that political decisions have a huge impact—good or bad—on the lives of literally billions of people. Think of the devastation and death the world might have avoided if German voters had not elected Hitler to public office. Think of the freedom, goodness, and joy that followed for tens of millions from the fact that evangelical member of Parliament William Wilberforce labored for more than thirty years and eventually persuaded his colleagues in the British Parliament to outlaw first the slave trade and then slavery itself in the British Empire.

It is through politics that country after country has come to enjoy democracy. It is through politics that nation after nation has stopped jailing and killing “heretics”—thousands of my ancestors in the sixteenth century were burned at the stake or drowned in the rivers by fellow Protestants who disagreed with our belief that the church should be separate from the state. It took centuries, but eventually more and more politicians in more and more countries decided that religious freedom for everyone is a necessary mark of a just political order. It is through politics that Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism first conquered and developed and then waned and disappeared in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. It is through politics that we develop laws that either restrict or permit abortion, allow or forbid “gay marriage,” protect or destroy the environment. Politics is simply too important to ignore.

The theological reason for political engagement is even more compelling. The central Christian confession is that Jesus is now Lord—Lord of the entire universe. The New Testament explicitly teaches that he is now “ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5). “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to the risen Jesus (Matt. 28:18). Christians who know that must submit every corner of their lives to their wonderful Lord.

Since we live in democratic societies where we have the freedom to vote, our votes—or even our failure to vote—shape what happens in important areas of politics. If Christ is my Lord, if Christ desires the well-being of all, and if my vote has the potential to encourage political decisions that will promote the well-being of my neighbors, then the obligation to vote responsibly follows necessarily from my confession that Christ my Lord calls me to love my neighbor. One way Christians must live out our belief that Christ is Lord, even of political life, is to think and pray for wisdom to act politically in ways that best reflect Christ our Lord.

©2012 by Ronald J. Sider. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Ronald J. Sider (PhD, Yale University) is president of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.

For more information about Just Politics, click here.
To read a longer excerpt, click here.

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