Archives For *Conversations*



Really enjoyed the Neighborhood Economics conference in Cincinnati this week, and left with much to think about!

What is Neighborhood Economics?  Peter Block has described it this way:

“Neighborhood Economics is an idea committed to accelerating the flow of capital into resident driven entrepreneurial enterprise. It calls us to shift how we think about ending poverty. It brings the world of social investors, community builders, community philanthropists, residents and local neighborhood leaders into the same conversations. This is what a systems approach to economic and racial justice is going to require.”

I came away from the conference with a hefty list of books that I hope to read (or re-read). 

Here are some highlights from that list:

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JesusInTheNameOfTheGunI’ve been traveling a lot over the last few weeks, so am still processing the entries in our Worst Christian Book Covers of 2015 contest.  I hope to post this list next week.

But in the meantime, I discovered this (comic book) cover this week that should have been a contender in last year’s competition…

For a taste of these comics, watch the video below…
(WARNING: Not for the faint of heart or the easily offended!)

Seems to me that these comics strike some deeper and uncomfortable truths about who Americans think (or hope) Jesus is…

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This week marked the death of one of the most important social and theological thinkers of the last century, Rene Girard.

Receiving his PhD in history, Girard began his academic career by teaching French literature, and it was his work in literary theory that would guide him into the study of scripture, theology and society.

At the core of Girard’s work is the concept of mimetic theory, i.e., that our human desires take shape by imitation, by desiring things that others desire. But these desires lead us into conflict and violence because there is a scarcity of the thing desired.

In remembrance of Girard, we offer the following introductory guide to his work (which focuses particularly on his theological work).


Introduction to Mimetic Theory:

This is a great, half-hour video in which Girard lays out the basic components of his mimetic theory. It is a good place to start engaging Girard’s work, as it is clear and relatively concise…

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Today marks the anniversary of the death of Clarence Jordan.

This brief video with Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a good intro to his life…

The Cotton Patch Gospel: Complete Collection
By Clarence Jordan

Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Cotton Patch Rebel: The Story of Clarence Jordan
By Ann Trousdale

Read an excerpt on Google Books
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

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The most popular posts on our website in recent years (by far), have been our lists of the Worst Christian Book Covers:
[ 2012 ] [ 2013 ] [ 2014 ]

So, we are planning to run a list again this year, but we need your help to make this year’s list better and even funnier!


We will pick three winners from your submissions:

1st Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card +
2 Year Subscription to our Print Magazine ($35 value)

2nd Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card +
2 Year Subscription to our Print Magazine ($35 value)

3rd Prize:  2 Year Subscription to our Print Magazine
($35 value)

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Scot McKnight has a new book out on the topic of Heaven…


The Heaven Promise:
Engaging The Bible’s Truth About Life to Come

Scot McKnight

Hardback: WaterBrook, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Last week, Scot did a webcast in which he introduced the book and took live questions from listeners about heaven.
You can watch the recording of that webcast here…
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Yesterday, Pew Research Center released a new study on current American reading habits.

This video offers a very brief summary of their findings…


Other findings:

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One of the best books of next year will undoubtedly be:

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America
Jim Wallis

Hardback: Brazos Press, 2016
Pre-order now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
I have read and reviewed this book for Relevant magazine (coming in the Jan / Feb 2016 issue)
Wallis was on NPR this week giving a preview of the book.  

Listen now:

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Here are the Finalists in the Running for 2015 National Book Awards, as announced this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition…

How many of these have you read?

Who would you pick as the winner in each category?
(We’ve marked our guess with *** )

[ Fiction ] [ NonFiction ]  [ Poetry ] [ Young People ]




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This is an extraordinary book about the wonders of our human bodies!

“A sober and beautiful book about the landscape of the human body: thought-provoking and eloquent.”
—Hilary Mantel

Adventures in Human Being: A Grand Tour from the Cranium to the Calcaneum
Gavin Francis

Hardback: Basic Books, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

This delightful TEDx talk will give you a tiny taste of the magic of this book…
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