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Lent is almost upon us again …

(Ash Wednesday is Feb 18…)

I’ve been asked a few times recently to recommend some books on Lenten themes that churches might read and discuss this year during Lent. And since, I think reading and discussing books together is an important practice for the health and well-being of churches, here are 10 new-ish books that would be appropriate for reading and discussion during Lent.  I offer each one with a brief explanation of why I have included it.

NOTE: I’m not recommending that any church or individual should read ALL of these books during Lent, but wanted to offer a range of options so that churches might have some flexibility in picking a book to read and discuss during Lent.

Lent 2015

Meeting God in Mark: Reflections for the Season of Lent


By Rowan Williams

I’ll start with the only traditional collection of Lenten reflections on this list.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of this sort of devotional-type books, but Rowan Williams is always thoughtful (and sometimes provocative), and this book’s focus on Mark’s Gospel challenges us to stay focused on Jesus, which is an important reminder in our age of ideology.

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[ This list as a 1-Page Printable PDF ]

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Ken WytsmaOur Book Trailer video of the week…

 

The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, The Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith
Ken Wytsma

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2015
(Book releases January 27th)
 
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
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Ernesto Cardenal

Today marks the 90th birthday of Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal…

Reviewing Pluriverse, the most through collection of his poems in English translation, Brent Aldrich described Cardenal as “[A] man who has been, at various times, a Catholic priest, a Sandinista revolutionary, Minister of Culture, and a contemplative after living as a novitiate under Thomas Merton.” [ This review is a great intro to Cardenal’s work! ]

In honor of Cardenal’s 90th birthday, we offer three videos that together offer a nice introduction to his poetry. The first video is a PBS interview, the second two videos are of him reading poems.

 

PBS Interview:




 

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Martin Luther King Jr

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday today…

Watch these brief clips of Dr. King speaking, which show a much fuller picture than the standard depiction of him as a leader in the civil rights movement.

If you benefit from these videos, I recommend checking out this audio collection of King’s sermons and speeches:

Martin Luther King: The Essential Box Set:
Landmark Speeches and Sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The Most Segregated Hour:



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Paul MuldoonFound this brief clip of Irish poet Paul Muldoon talking about why we have such a difficult time with poetry.

 

Paul Muldoon’s new collection of poems is:

One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Poems

Hardback: FSG, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

*** One of our New Book Releases to Watch for this week!
 

“The fact of the matter is that most of us have a really bad time with poetry. For most of us, it begins in high school, if not earlier. “

 
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Top 50 Books

Here are the top 50 books that are slated for release in 2015 and that we think will be beneficial for Christians.  Our focus is the life, health and flourishing of God’s people and we especially focus on the themes of Community, Mission, Imagination and Reconciliation.

Also note that there are many more books here from the first half of the year than from the second half, as many publishers have not released their full summer and fall catalogs yet.

We’ve broken this list up into the Top 10 books and the remaining 40, which are sorted into four categories: Christian, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Fiction…

What books are you most looking forward to in 2015?

Now Available:
[ Two-Page Printable Guide ]

[ Top 10 ]   [ Christian ]  [ Non-Fiction ]  [ Poetry ]  [ Fiction ]

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John the Revelator

Today is the Feast day of St. John the Apostle, the presumed author not only of the Gospel of John, but also of the epistles of 1, 2 and 3 John and Revelation.  In addition to inspiring the work of many an end-times fanatic, the last of these books also was the inspiration for Blind Willie Johnson’s song “John the Revelator,” which in turn inspired a multitude of covers.

In honor of St. John the Revelator, we feature the original song and three covers of it here…

 

Which version of the song is your favorite? 

(Mine is Son House’s cover)

[ Blind Willie Johnson ] [ Son House
[ Phil Keaggy ]  [ Nick Cave ]

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Gary HaugenVideo of a talk that Gary Haugen gave about his excellent new book:
 

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence
Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros

Hardback:  Oxford UP, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
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Scot McKnightScot McKnight’s latest book is a provocative exploration of the relationship of church and kingdom.

Watch for our review by ERB Editor Chris Smith in our soon-to-be-released Advent print issue. (Not a subscriber?  Subscribe now…)

Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church
Scot McKnight

Hardback:  Brazos Press, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
 
Watch the Book trailer video…

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Thomas TurnerEncountering the Mystery of the Incarnation

 

An Essay on the O Antiphons

by Thomas Turner,
author of
O Antiphons: Prayers for the Advent Season

 
[ Download a FREE copy of this ebook from NoiseTrade ]

 

I love baking bread.

 

I love the messy hands, the flour on your shirt, the kneading and scraping and careful watching so that you get the crust and the crumb just perfect. I have this great recipe that makes bread that is warm and crackly goodness. It gets rave reviews. Yet it takes a lot of time. Over 24 hours!
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