Archives For VOLUME 6

 

Rosario PicardoThe Cultivation of New Churches

A Review of

Embrace: A Church Plant that Broke All the Rules

Rosario Picardo

Paperback:  Resource Pubs., 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Christopher Brown
 
Rosario Picardo’s thin book Embrace tells the story of his call to ministry and the planting of Embrace Church in Lexington, KY. With refreshing honesty and candor, Picardo gives an account of his church’s life which should embolden other leaders of new worshiping communities both to venture into uncharted territory and to persevere when they encounter unexpected challenges.

 

The beauty of Picardo’s story in Embrace lies in its messiness, which in turn reveals the wisdom which can be gained from Picardo’s example. To write a book which so openly shares not the successes but the apparent missteps of a new church requires a level of humility that is rare among church planters.

Continue Reading…

 

Jeffrey GallagherSojourning Through the Storm.

A Review of

Wilderness Blessings:
How Down Syndrome Reconstructed our Life and Faith

Jeffrey Gallagher

Paperback: Chalice Press, 2013
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Chad Abbott

 
There is not one human being on the planet whose life could not identify with that of a stretch of road or a path in the woods. Having grown up in the flatlands of Illinois and now living in the beautiful rolling hills of Kentucky, the extremes of these roads seem to remind us that life can be a journey of all different pathways and in all kinds of weather. They can be long flat and enjoyable journeys. Life can be filled with sharp turns and rocky roads. Life can be walks up winding hills and long stretches of uphill. A quick hike in the woods reminds us that the terrain presents itself as extremely beautiful, but we always have to be careful of the roots of the trees popping out on the path, the rocks that are uneven, or the stick in the middle of the path that is filled with mud after a good rain. We can also find ourselves sojourning on such paths in the midst of a storm that we didn’t see coming. We know these things because life is an ongoing encounter with all of these varied terrains. Life is filled with a series of moments and interconnected realities that shape our lives into the kind of people we are going to be. What defines us is our response to and our living in light of the terrain we must face on the road that is our journey in life.  When a rough and edgy uphill terrain or a dark and stormy day is something we must face in life, we can either see that experience as an opportunity to experience blessing or we can wallow in self pity, anger, and fear.

Continue Reading…

What is Slow Reading?

December 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

 

Our 2013 Book of the Year is Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics.

(It was not the only book on Slow Reading released this year, I reviewed another one here.)

[ Our Full List of 2013's Best Books ]

At the heart of this book, lie 14 rules that define the practice of Slow Reading. We offer these rules here, with brief elaborations from Mikics’s book.

(Presenting these rules in this slideshow format seems to go against the grain of Slow Reading. We do so only with the hope that this representation will entice you to immerse yourself in a slow and careful reading of the full book!)

Continue Reading…

 

Debbie BlueWay More Than is Promised

A Feature Review of

Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible

Debbie Blue

Paperback: Abingdon, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Helen Lee

 

Four years ago, our family hung its first bird feeder, which wasn’t even a real feeder at all. It actually was an empty two-liter soda bottle filled with seeds, onto which I’d attached the simple $5 accessories needed to transform it into a feeder. And I tried to imagine what, if any, actual birds would be drawn to this clunky contraption. But as it’s been said, “if you feed them, they will come.” And did they ever.

 

Black-capped chickadees, to start, but then all manner of sparrows, songbirds, and finches followed, an overflowing of unexpected feathered friends who transformed our drab backyard into an constant source of delight and discovery. And it all began with a humble recycled soda bottle.

Continue Reading…

 

Jhumpa LahiriComing to Terms with our Alienation

 A Feature Review of

The Lowland: A Novel

Jhumpa Lahiri

Hardback: Knopf, 2013
Buy now:   [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by D.L. Mayfield

 

Remember that the revolution is the important thing, and that each one of us alone is worth nothing—Che Guevara, in a last letter to his children

 

Lahiri quotes Che near the end of her book, the long and quiet and powerful novel The Lowland. It is a shocking sentence, written by severe and resolute revolutionary, and the reader feels the sorrow of the intended recipients, the children of the soon-to-be-lost-forever father. By this time, at the end of the story of two brothers and the women in their lives, we are apt to spot the sorrow lurking everywhere. As the novel elegantly slides back and forth between perspectives, time marching on and then doubling back on itself, we slowly start to understand these basic ideologies that drive and fail the characters. Revolutionary actions are born out of the pain of inequality; duty and obligation are seen as a means to transcend the chaos of life; people become inward and closed-off, unable to count their blessing still they are almost all gone. It is a novel about separate lives, coming together and crashing apart.

Continue Reading…

 

Wendell BerryOne of the Best Books of 2013 is…

This Day: New and Collected Sabbath Poems: 1979-2012

Wendell Berry

Hardback: Counterpoint Press, 2013
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]

[ Our full list of 2013's Best Books ]

Read excerpts from ERB editor Chris Smith’s review of Wendell Berry’s THIS DAY.
 
Earlier this month, Wendell Berry gave the Chubb Lecture at Yale University.  While the whole lecture and the conversation following it is well-worth your time, the session closes with Wendell Berry reading three new poems from THIS DAY.  We have cued the video below to start at the beginning of this reading.
 
The poems read here are: “Times Will Come As They Must” (2013, starts at 1:13:35), “After the Long Weeks” (2012, 1:17:45) and “As A Child, the Mad Farmer Saw Easily” (2012, 1:18:45).
Continue Reading…

 

Paraclete Press is now offering their 2013 Kindle Ebooks for $2.99. each..

This sale will run through at least Jan 1, and prices on these ebooks should not change before then,
but refresh the Amazon page before ordering, just to make sure the prices haven’t changed.

Paraclete Press

Francis of Assisi – in His Own Words: The Essential Writings

By Jon M. Sweeney – $2.99

Biographies of St. Francis will only take you so far. It’s impossible to truly understand him without reading his writings. Sweeney has compiled all of the ones that we are most certain come from Francis himself, including his first Rule of life, the Rule he wrote for the Third Order, letters to friends, letters to people in power, messages to all Franciscans, songs, praises, canticles, and his final spiritual Testament. An introduction and explanatory notes throughout the book help to put the writings into historical and theological context.

 

The Rule of Taizé: Bilingual Edition

 $2.99

[ Read our review... ]

Now, you can draw spiritual sustenance from the Taizé Community wherever you are. After Brother Roger’s untimely death in August 2005 – when he was attacked and killed while praying with more than 2,000 young people in the Church of Reconciliation – the Community republished The Rule of their community in French and prepared a fresh translation into English. This work of deep insight and broad vision is a mine of wisdom for all those seeking to live in harmony with others and with God.

 

99 Psalms

By SAID – $2.99

SAID’s 99 Psalms are poems of praise and lament, of questioning and wondering. In the tradition of the Hebrew psalmist, they find their voice in exile, in this case one that is both existential and geographical. His decision to include 99 in this collection recalls the ancient Muslim tradition that ascribes 99 names to Allah, though the “lord” whom this psalmist addresses is not bounded by this or any other religious tradition. As psalms that turn to the “lord” with a lover’s vulnerability, they avoid every trace of sentimentality. Rather, they seek to open us to the mystery of human life, warning us of the difficulties we face in our attempts to live peaceably together in the midst of our differences.

Continue Reading…

 

It Was GoodExalting the Giver of Music

A Review of

It was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God
Ned Bustard ed.

Paperback: Square Halo Books, 2013.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Erin M. Stephens

 

If the Church is the Body of Christ, then music is its heartbeat. Music reverberates in the spirit, draws individuals together into community, and guides them in the common desire to exalt their Savior. Through music, Christians experience an inexplicable link to their Creator. Though mysterious, this interaction is a central facet of Christianity that intimately informs your relationship with God. Each follower of Christ, regardless of personal musical ability, should cultivate a God-centered understanding of music. For such an endeavor, It was Good: Making Music to the Glory of God edited by Ned Bustard is an ideal resource. In its engaging pages, thirty devout music-professionals offer their unique perspectives on music-making. Its content is accessible, its contributors authoritative, and its captivating insights universally applicable, making this book a necessary pleasure for worship leader and worshiper alike.

Continue Reading…

 

Here is our list of 2013′s Englewood Honor Books, the Best Books of the year for the life and flourishing of the Church.

 
Our criterion both for selecting books to review and for honoring the year’s best books is to choose books that are “for the life and flourishing of the Church” – i.e., books that energize us to be the local community of God’s people that God has called us to be and that nurture our mission of following in the way of God’s reconciliation of all things (in all its broadness!)
 
This list originally appeared in our Advent 2013 print issue.  For this issue, our Art Editor, Brent Aldrich depicted the covers of the year’s very best books as Christmas cookies. We are delighted to share pictures of those cookies here.

2013 Book of the Year:

Continue Reading…

 

David Bentley Hart

 

We are Meant to Play and Create

An Interview with David Bentley Hart,
Author of The Experience of God
(Yale UP, 2013)

by Todd Edmondson

 
Since his first book-length publication, 2003’s The Beauty of the Infinite, David Bentley Hart has established himself as one of the most exciting and eloquent voices in Christian thought. His subsequent books have explored a diverse set of concerns, and each new, eagerly anticipated release invites readers to engage more deeply with matters of faith as well as the cultural streams in which we live and move. Following the publication of his most recent work, The Experience of God, Mr. Hart was gracious enough to participate in a conversation, via email, about his work. What follows is a transcription of that conversation.

Continue Reading…