Archives For *Excerpts*


Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh

The friendship between Trappist monk Thomas Merton and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, short-lived as it was (lasting only about two years until Merton’s death in 1968), was a robust example of interfaith conversation.  In honor of Thich Nhat Hanh’s birthday tomorrow (Oct 11), we offer this brief essay by Merton.

Thich Nhat Hanh is My Brother

Thomas Merton

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Chanequa Walker-BarnesOne of the most popular books at the recent Christian Community Development Association conference was:

Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength

Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  Kindle ]

I knew this book was going to be popular at CCDA, and I had included it on our list of books to watch for at CCDA, but we still really underestimated the number of copies that we should stock, and sold it of it rapidly and had a continuous stream of people asking for the book for the rest of the conference!

[ Read an interview that the author did with Rachel Held Evans ]

If you don’t have a copy of Chanequa Walker-Barnes’s new book, you should get one now…

Read an excerpt of the book:

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Tim SuttleToday is Tim Suttle’s birthday and an opportune time to recommend his excellent new book:

Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture.
Tim Suttle

Paperback: Zondervan, 2014.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Watch the book’s trailer here

Here is the blurb that I was honored to write for the book:

In the tradition of the biblical prophets, Tim Suttle boldly but gently calls us out of our American obsession with bigness and greatness and toward a vision of church life rooted in faithfulness. Shrink is one of the wisest and most significant evangelical books that I’ve read in the last decade; it is essential reading for every pastor and church leader!

-C. Christopher Smith, co-author Slow Church and Founding Editor of The Englewood Review of Books

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Marilynne Robinson

For many of our readers, the most anticipated book of 2014 is Marilynne Robinson’s new novel LILA, the third in her series set in Gilead, Iowa.

“This third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, is a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson’s work . . . Lila is a superb creation.”  – Publishers Weekly

[ Top 10 Online Recordings of Marilynne Robinson ]

*** Books by Marilynne Robinson

You can now get a sneak peek of LILA! 
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FootballA new book, out tomorrow, makes a broad case against football.

Publishers Weekly’s review notes:

Almond makes a convincing case for the theory that Americans have turned to football in order to meet spiritual needs that arose as a result of industrial and social progress.

Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto
Steve Almond

Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Read an excerpt from the book, and tell us what you think…

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Molly WorthenThis is an important book about Evangelical culture, that I’m just starting to dig into…

Apostles of Reason:
The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism

Molly Worthen

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2013
Buy now:   [ Amazon  ]   [ Kindle ]
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Walter WinkTomorrow marks the 2nd anniversary of the death of theologian Walter Wink.

This new posthumous book was released earlier this year.  Read an excerpt below…

Just Jesus: My Struggle to Become Human
Walter Wink

Paperback:  Image, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

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Inside this PlaceI am a big fan of the “Voices of Witness” series, and this volume is essential reading for Women’s History Month…

Inside this Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons

Ayelet Waldman and Robin Levi, Editors

Paperback: McSweeney’s, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Inside This Place, Not of It is essential reading for anyone interested in the stories of women who compel us to see their humanity, tenacity, and value as people.  That the woman who share their stories here have lived within the vast U.S. criminal justice system reveals a hidden and heart-wrenching reality. Their voices insist that the civil and human rights abuses that take place daily behind the walls of our prisons and jails must be out in the open to be recognized and remedied.”
–Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black


Here’s one story from this important book:


Irma Rodriquez

 45, currently imprisoned

 Excerpted from Inside this Place, Not of It edited by Ayelet Waldman and Robin Levi. Published by Voice of Witness Books.

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The New ParishOne of my most anticipated books of 2014 is:

The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community
Dwight Friesen, Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks

Paperback: IVP Books, May 2014
Pre-order Now:   [ Amazon ]
Here’s a blurb that I wrote for this book:
In The New Parish, Paul, Tim and Dwight offer a theologically rich vision of church life intertwined with the places we inhabit.  In stark contrast to the displacement and fragmentation that dominates our age, this important book calls us to slow down, become rooted, and experience a taste of the abundance and healing that God intends for all creation.  Church leaders take heed, the New Parish is, without question, the church of the future!
- C. Christopher Smith co-author,  SLOW CHURCH: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus
Editor, The Englewood Review of Books
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Brandon McKoyAn excerpt from the recent book…

Youth Ministry From the Inside Out: How Relationships And Stories Shape Identity

Brandon McKoy

Paperback: IVP / Praxis, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Bestselling Youth Ministry Books

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