Archives For *Conversations*



Today is the birthday of novelist Graham Greene, born 1904.

“Graham Greene is perhaps the most perplexing of all the literary converts whose works animated the Catholic literary revival in the 20th century. His visions of angst and guilt, informed and sometimes deformed by a deeply felt religious sensibility, make his novels, and the characters that adorn them, both fascinating and unforgettable.

His fiction is gripping because it grapples with faith and disillusionment on the shifting sands of uncertainty in a relativistic age. His tormented characters are the products of Greene’s own tortured soul, and one suspects that he was more baffled than anyone else at the contradictions at the core of his own character and, in consequence, at the heart of the characters that his fertile and fetid imagination had created.”

– Joseph Pearce, “Graham Greene: Doubter Par Excellence

*** Books by Graham Greene ***

Here is a British documentary “England Made Me” (in four parts) that serves as a wonderful intro to Greene’s life and work:

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I recently began reading this timely new book…

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates

Hardback: Spiegel and Grau, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

This book is a deep lament, a unflinching account of the Black experience in the United States, an account of all the ways that Black lives and Black bodies have not mattered throughout American history. Watch for my review (a joint review with Soong Chan Rah’s new book Prophetic Lament) in our next print issue.

I’ve been listening to the audiobook edition, which is read by the author.  I highly recommend listening to it in his voice.
*** Get the audiobook for FREE
(with a free 30-day trial of )

Here is a brief video with the author discussing the book…

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This is a wonderful book trailer for one of this week’s best new book releases


The Wake: A Novel
Paul Kingsnorth

Paperback: Graywolf Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Paul Kingsnorth is a writer who founded the Dark Mountain Project by accident one day in the pub and is still dealing with the consequences. The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers who have stopped believing the stories that civilization tells itself. Seeing that the world is entering an age of ecological collapse, material contraction and social and political unravelling, Dark Mountain Project wants our cultural responses to reflect this reality rather than denying it. [ Read a NY Times article on DMP ]

As well as being the Project’s editorial director, he is also the author of two books of non-fiction and a collection of poetry, and a new novel.
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Our book trailer of the week… 
For one of this week’s best new book releases:

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People
Nadia Bolz-Weber

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

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This wonderful recording surfaced online this week…

Stephen Colbert reading Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Enduring Chill”

This story can be found in:

The Complete Stories
Flannery O’Connor

Paperback: FSG Books, 1971
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]


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Next Tuesday willl see the release of Brené Brown’s latest book Rising Strong!

In honor of the occasion, we offer an introductory reading guide to Brown’s previous work to get you up to speed…
Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Don’t miss our essay The Vulnerable Faith of Brené Brown
by Jamie Arpin-Ricci.

For the quickest immersion into Brown’s work, here are the videos of her immensely popular TED Talks:

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Becoming a Healing Community
An Interview with Jen Hatmaker

By C. Christopher Smith

ERB editor Chris Smith recently had the opportunity to chat on the phone with Jen Hatmaker about her new book, which arrives in bookstores next Tuesday:

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards

Nelson Books, 2015. Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]


ERB: I read your book last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was particularly intrigued by the central theme of grace. Why is the message of grace so important and so timely today? Why is it worth, as you say, fighting for?

JH: I just turned 41, and am likely halfway done with my life, more or less. What I see at this point is that everyone is doing their best. When I was in my twenties, I knew everything. I had all the right answers. Now I see that we are all trying hard. We are doing the best that we can. We are loving our people, and trying to use our gifts.
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With the release of Stanley Hauerwas’ newest book this week, we thought it would be a good time to offer an introductory guide to the work of “America’s Best Theologian” (TIME magazine, 2001).

We’ve ordered this list in the order that we think the books should be read, and we offer a brief explanation of why each book was included. We’ve included excerpts of most the books via Google Books.

*** Don’t miss some of our favorite online Hauerwas videos


1) Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir


This late-in-life memoir is a great place to start as it offers a biographical context for understanding Hauerwas’s theology.




NEXT BOOK >>>>>>



Image Credit: From the cover to Hauerwas’s memoir Hannah’s Child… (Buy it now!)

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Learning to Tell Stories
An Interview with Walter Wangerin, Jr.

By Joe Krall

ERB intern Joe Krall recently had the opportunity to chat on the phone with Walter about his new memoir:

Everlasting is the Past

Rabbit Room Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

An extended version of this interview will appear in our Fall print issue.
(Are you a subscriber?)


ERB: You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction that has impacted many, many people. In Everlasting is the Past, you chose to tell three inter-connected stories – your story of doubt and finding faith, your story of call, and the story of Grace Lutheran Church. What motivated this memoir, and why did you structure the memoir as you did?

WWJ: Well, I suppose this is something I’ve thought about for a long time, especially the depression that I felt in graduate school, and then that whole episode with the sheep. It seemed to me, by now, a natural thing to present that story, and to make it a kind of a hinge, between what goes before it and the events that follow – parts two and three. But there was not a time when I suddenly said, “Oh! Let me write this.” I think it was always just somewhere in the back of my mind.

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CA Tim Otto-1

Becoming a Reconciled Community
An Interview with Tim Otto

By Joe Krall

Tim Otto’s book Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict over Gay Relationships was one of our Best Books of 2014.

ERB intern Joe Krall recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tim and talk about the significance of his book in the wake of the recent Supreme Court case upholding same-sex marriage.

Editor’s note: Oriented to Faith is one of our Books of the Month for August. Join us in our forums for conversation on the book, starting Sat. Aug 1…


ERB:  After last month’s Supreme Court Decision, we saw a lot of polarization, especially in the church. In your book, you call Christians to resist pulling away from each other. How can the church create space to not diverge?
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