Our Great Big American God by Matthew Paul Turner

Culture critic Matthew Paul Turner dares to ask: Does God control the future of America-or is it the other way around? In Our Great Big American God, which is available in bookstores everywhere, Turner examines how American history and ideals transformed our perception of God. “To some extent, we are all ‘growing’ God, stuffing his mouth full with ideas, themes, and theologies, fattening him up with a story line we believe to be true. For good or bad, we are all molding God to reflect our own personal, American interpretation of Christian faith,” he said. Fearless and funny, this is the definitive guide Keep Reading

Defining PostChristian with Christian Piatt

postCHRISTIAN by Christian Piatt releases to bookstores everywhere today! To celebrate, we're sharing an excerpt from Chapter One called "Lions and Lambs." Find out more about the book and buy your copy now! "Post-Christianity” is an often-misunderstood term. It means that today we live in a culture where Christianity is no longer the baseline for cultural identity and discourse. We are witnessing the end of Christendom in the West as many have come to understand it: the dissolution of Christian hegemony. Some who value freedom of religion in a broader sense—or even freedom from it—view this favorably because it suggests Keep Reading

Jericho Authors at Wild Goose Festival 2014

We couldn’t be anymore excited about this year's jubilee of authors, activists and musicians at the 2014 Wild Goose Festival. Whether standing in front of a stage or around the campfires, we look forward to discussing justice, spirituality, music and art. Our own list of Jericho Book authors will be joining in the festivities as well, so make sure you stop by and introduce yourself…maybe we can even roast a marshmallow together! Wild Goose kicks off today and goes through Sunday. For a full schedule of events, visit: http://wildgoosefestival.org/schedule.   Brian McLaren, author of We Make the Road by Walking, Why Did Jesus, Moses, The Keep Reading

Searching for the Masculine Heart with John Sowers

The Heroic Path was born in the hospital, the night my twin daughters were born. I was thrilled but afraid. Exposed. That night, I wrote my thoughts down in a journal. And in the coming weeks, I searched for models - for man guides - for help and guidance. As I looked, I realized we have rare few elders, no rites of passage for manhood and no framework for masculine initiation. We don't even have language for it. So most men gravitate towards or away from the stereotypes: Huge Pickup Truck Guy. Gym Guy. Fantasy Football Guy. Video-Game Guy. MotherBoy. Keep Reading

Exclusive Excerpt from WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING: The Spirit is Moving! (Pentecost Sunday)

Pentecost is this Sunday, June 8. To celebrate, we're sharing Brian McLaren's incredible chapter on Pentecost in this exclusive excerpt from WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING. We hope you (and your friends) will use these powerful reflections and engaging discussion questions to make this year's Pentecost meaningful, soul-igniting, and transformative. Don't miss WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING on June 10! +++++ CHAPTER FORTY THE SPIRIT IS MOVING! (PENTECOST SUNDAY)   John 3:1–21 Acts 2:1–41 Romans 6:1–14 Following Jesus today has much in common with the original disciples’ experience. We are welcomed as disciples by God’s grace, not by earning or status. We learn and practice Christ’s Keep Reading

Our Great Big American God by Matthew Paul Turner

by Katie Connors 1 Comment Uncategorized

Culture critic Matthew Paul Turner dares to ask: Does God control the future of America-or is it the other way around? In Our Great Big American God, which is available in bookstores everywhere, Turner examines how American history and ideals transformed our perception of God.

“To some extent, we are all ‘growing’ God, stuffing his mouth full with ideas, themes, and theologies, fattening him up with a story line we believe to be true. For good or bad, we are all molding God to reflect our own personal, American interpretation of Christian faith,” he said.

Fearless and funny, this is the definitive guide to the American experience of the Almighty—a story so bizarre, incredible, and entertaining that it could only be made in the U.S.A.

For more information about the book, visit MatthewPaulTurner.com.

Available at Barnes & Noble| Amazon | Books-A-Million | Indiebound.org | ChristianBook.com | Walmart

Keep Reading

Defining PostChristian with Christian Piatt

by Katie Connors 1 Comment Uncategorized

postCHRISTIAN by Christian Piatt releases to bookstores everywhere today! To celebrate, we’re sharing an excerpt from Chapter One called “Lions and Lambs.” Find out more about the book and buy your copy now!

postChristian

“Post-Christianity” is an often-misunderstood term. It means that today we live in a culture where Christianity is no longer the baseline for cultural identity and discourse. We are witnessing the end of Christendom in the West as many have come to understand it: the dissolution of Christian hegemony. Some who value freedom of religion in a broader sense—or even freedom from it—view this favorably because it suggests that the stigmas and pressures against non-Christians are giving way to greater pluralism and tolerance, if not affirmation. Others who tend to view the United States as an essentially Christian nation point to a postChristian society as the beginning of the end of Western civilization.

Secularists often cheer the decades of decline in mainline churches. Now, even evangelical Christian churches are experiencing similar declines; the retraction has reached all corners of Western Christianity.

On the other side, Christians are admonished to hold fast to their convictions, to defend God in our culture at all times and at all costs against the pervasive influence of mainstream postChristian media in our lives. The waning power of organized religion offers a clarion call to arms in the culture wars. Every slip in Christianity’s status as cultural standard-bearer is viewed as dire news.

Frankly, both sides are out of line. Christianity can hardly be contained by religion, and in some cases, freeing it from the doctrinal limitations and economic encumbrances of the institution allows the faith to be more nimble, adaptable, and virally embedded in the culture in new ways. Yes, the Church has done damage, and yes, it is paying dearly for its own transgressions in the form of declining numbers and eroding credibility. But the heart and soul of Christ’s message to the world was never bound to the institutional Church.

Jesus spoke of liberation from bondage, justice for the oppressed, and sustenance for those in need. And yet too often, Christianity—and religion as a whole, really—falls well short of that ideal.

Explore the meaning of postCHRISTIAN further and read the rest of Chapter One.

+++++

Copyright © by Christian Piatt

All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at permissions@hbgusa.com. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights. 

 

Keep Reading

Jericho Authors at Wild Goose Festival 2014

by Katie Connors Leave a comment Wild Goose Festival

We couldn’t be anymore excited about this year’s jubilee of authors, activists and musicians at the 2014 Wild Goose Festival. Whether standing in front of a stage or around the campfires, we look forward to discussing justice, spirituality, music and art.

Our own list of Jericho Book authors will be joining in the festivities as well, so make sure you stop by and introduce yourself…maybe we can even roast a marshmallow together!

Wild Goose kicks off today and goes through Sunday. For a full schedule of events, visit: http://wildgoosefestival.org/schedule.

 

McLaren-Briancrop-280x140Brian McLaren, author of We Make the Road by Walking, Why Did Jesus, Moses, The Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. After teaching college English, McLaren pastored Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington DC area. Brian has been active in networking and mentoring church planters and pastors for over 20 years. Read more…

 

 

 

phil-maderia-on-heather-koppHeather Kopp, author of Sober Mercies

Heather Kopp is an author, editor and blogger. Among her books are a critically acclaimed memoir, I Went to the Animal Fair and The Dieter’s Prayer Book. With her husband, David, she wrote Roar! A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia, the Praying the Bible series, and other books. Heather blogs about addiction, grace and recovery at HeatherKopp.com. Read more…

 

 

 

JonMichal-crop-NEW-280x140Jon Sweeney, author of Inventing Hell and Mixed-Up Love

Jon M. Sweeney is an independent scholar, culture critic, and popular speaker with 25 years of experience in spirituality trade publishing. He’s the author of many books including The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, recently optioned by HBO, Inc. Read more…

 

 

 

ChristianPiatt-crop-280x140Christian Piatt, author of postChristian

Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004. Christian is the creator and editor of the Banned Questions book series, which include Banned Questions About the Bible and Banned Questions About Jesus. Read more…

 

 

 

LeroyBarber-crop-280x140Leroy Barber, author of Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White—Who’s More Precious in God’s Sight?

Leroy Barber is the President of Mission Year and FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta. Barber has been working cross-culturally in urban missions setting for 23 years. He founded and is on the pastoral team of Community Life Church, and he also founded Restoration Ministries in Philadelphia and Atlanta Youth Academies. Read more…

 

 

 

SarahThebarge-crop-280x140Sarah Thebarge, author of The Invisible Girls

Sarah Thebarge grew up as a pastor’s kid in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned a masters degree in Medical Science from Yale School of Medicine and was studying Journalism at Columbia University when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. Read more…

 

 

 

Sara Miles, author of City of GodSara Miles, author of Take This Bread, Jesus Freak, and City of God

Sara Miles is the founder and director of The Food Pantry, and serves as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. She is a former restaurant cook, war correspondent and journalist, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Salon, and on National Public Radio. Read more…

Keep Reading

Searching for the Masculine Heart with John Sowers

by John Sowers Leave a comment Books, Christianity, Identity, Our Authors Blog, Uncategorized
FAMILY

The Heroic Path was born in the hospital, the night my twin daughters were born. I was thrilled but afraid. Exposed. That night, I wrote my thoughts down in a journal. And in the coming weeks, I searched for models – for man guides – for help and guidance. As I looked, I realized we have rare few elders, no rites of passage for manhood and no framework for masculine initiation. We don’t even have language for it.

So most men gravitate towards or away from the stereotypes: Huge Pickup Truck Guy. Gym Guy. Fantasy Football Guy. Video-Game Guy. MotherBoy. We know what a man is not, and it is easy to laugh at them, but in our culture with few elders, the stereotypes are all we have.

I am intimidated by most “Man Books.” Most of them point us to bravado – the tough guy that beats his chest, grunts and eats red meat. Bravado is enthusiasm on testosterone. Bravado is not all bad – but it’s not the core. It is important for men to be resilient and “buck up” sometimes, but when a book or even a manhood movement is built on bravado – it is only surface-level, lacking depth for sustainable transformation.

It’s interesting, because most of the questions I get are people assuming this is another bravado book. I hope people don’t lump my book into that category just because there is a bear on the cover.

HEROIC COVERThe main content of The Heroic Path is my learning journey and it hinges on a conversation I had with elders of the past – the then-atheist CS Lewis and the catholic Tolkien, as they argued about myth. They helped show me the mythic path towards manhood. This path points us to what Tolkien calls, the One, True Myth – where history and legend have fused.

My hope for the book is to create a framework for masculine initiation, looking at the steps Jesus took from the ages of 30-33, from carpenter to Messiah, from village under water, into wilderness and back to the village to save it. When Jesus returned to the village – he was no longer the carpenter from Nazareth. This was his kairos time – his steps were intentional. These were his mythic steps into Messianic purpose. These steps inform our masculine steps as well.

Keep Reading

Exclusive Excerpt from WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING: The Spirit is Moving! (Pentecost Sunday)

by Chelsea Apple 1 Comment Book Excerpt, Books, Christianity, Current Events, Healing, Identity, Spirituality, Uncategorized
We-Make-the-Road-by-Walking

Pentecost is this Sunday, June 8. To celebrate, we’re sharing Brian McLaren‘s incredible chapter on Pentecost in this exclusive excerpt from WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING. We hope you (and your friends) will use these powerful reflections and engaging discussion questions to make this year’s Pentecost meaningful, soul-igniting, and transformative.

Don’t miss WE MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING on June 10!

We-Make-the-Road-by-Walking

+++++

CHAPTER FORTY

THE SPIRIT IS MOVING! (PENTECOST SUNDAY)

 

John 3:1–21

Acts 2:1–41

Romans 6:1–14

Following Jesus today has much in common with the original disciples’ experience. We are welcomed as disciples by God’s grace, not by earning or status. We learn and practice Christ’s teaching in the company of fellow learners. We seek to understand and imitate his example, and we commune with him around a table. But there is an obvious and major difference between our experience and theirs: they could see Jesus and we can’t. Surprisingly, according to John’s gospel, that gives us an advantage. “It’s better that I go away so the Spirit can come,” Jesus said. If he were physically present and visible, our focus would be on Christ over there, right there, out there . . . but because of his absence, we discover the Spirit of Christ right here, in here, within.

Jesus describes the Spirit as another comforter, another teacher, another guide—just like him, but available to everyone, everywhere, always. The same Spirit who had descended like a dove upon him will descend upon us, he promises. The same Spirit who filled him will fill all who open their hearts.

Take Paul, for example. He never saw Jesus in the flesh, but he did experience the Spirit of Christ. That was enough to transform him from a proud and violent agitator of hostility to a tireless activist for reconciliation. Through this experience of the Spirit, he seemed to live inside of Christ and look out through Christ’s eyes upon the world. And the opposite was equally true: through the Spirit, Christ lived inside of Paul and looked through Paul’s eyes upon the world. “I in Christ” and “Christ in me”— that captures so much of Paul’s vision of life.

For Paul, life in the Spirit means a threefold sharing in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. First, as we turn from old habits and patterns, our “old self ” with all its pride, greed, lust, anger, prejudice, and hostility dies with Christ. That former identity with all its hostilities is nailed to the cross and left behind. In this way, life in the Spirit involves a profound experience of letting go of what has been so far.

Then, Paul says, we join Jesus in the powerlessness and defeat of burial, symbolized by baptism. We experience that burial as a surrender to silence, stillness, powerlessness, emptiness, and rest, a letting be.

Then we join Jesus in the dynamic, surprising uprising of resurrection. The surrender, silence, emptiness, and rest of letting go and letting be make us receptive to something new. Like a vacuum, that receptivity welcomes infilling and activation . . . and so we experience a letting come of the Spirit of God.

The Bible describes the Spirit with beautiful and vivid imagery: Wind. Breath. Fire. Cloud. Water. Wine. A dove. These dynamic word pictures contrast starkly with the heavy, fixed imagery provided by, say, stone idols, imposing temples, or thick theological tomes. Through this vivid imagery, the biblical writers tell us that the Spirit invigorates, animates, purifies, holds mystery, moves and flows, foments joy, and spreads peace.

For example, in the first chapter of Genesis, God’s Spirit hovers over the primal waters like wind, creating beauty and novelty out of chaos. The Spirit then animates living creatures like breath. Then, in Exodus, God’s Spirit appears as fire in the burning bush, beckoning Moses, and then as a pillar of cloud and fire moving across the wilderness, cooling by day and warming by night, and leading the way to freedom. Centuries later, when John the Baptist comes on the scene, he says that just as he immerses and marks people with water, his successor will immerse and mark people with the Spirit. When John baptizes Jesus, bystanders see the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus dramatizes his mission by turning water, which is kept in stone containers used for religious ceremonies, into a huge quantity of wine to infuse joy at a wedding banquet. Later, he promises people that if they trust him, they will experience rivers of living water springing up from within.

At the core of Jesus’ life and message, then, was this good news: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of aliveness, the Wind-breath-fire-cloud-water-wine-dove Spirit who filled Jesus is on the move in our world. And that gives us a choice: do we dig in our heels, clench our fists, and live for our own agenda, or do we let go, let be, and let come . . . and so be taken up into the Spirit’s movement.

That was what the disciples experienced on the day of Pentecost, according to Luke, when the Spirit manifested as wind and fire. Suddenly, the Spirit-filled disciples began speaking in languages they had never learned. This strange sign is full of significance. The Spirit of God, it tells us, is multilingual. The Spirit isn’t restricted to one elite language or one superior culture, as almost everyone had assumed. Instead, the Spirit speaks to everyone everywhere in his or her native tongue.

What happened at Pentecost reverses the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, when ambitious Babylonians grasped at godlike power by unifying everyone under one imperial language and culture. At Babel, God opposed that imperial uniformity and voted for diversity by multiplying languages. Now, in the Pentecost story, we discover a third option: not unity without diversity, and not diversity without unity, but unity and diversity in harmony.

In the millennia since Christ walked with us on this Earth, we’ve often tried to box up the “wind” in manageable doctrines. We’ve exchanged the fire of the Spirit for the ice of religious pride. We’ve turned the wine back into water, and then let the water go stagnant and lukewarm. We’ve traded the gentle dove of peace for the predatory hawk or eagle of empire. When we have done so, we have ended up with just another religious system, as problematic as any other: too often petty, argumentative, judgmental, cold, hostile, bureaucratic, self-seeking, an enemy of aliveness.

In a world full of big challenges, in a time like ours, we can’t settle for a heavy and fixed religion. We can’t try to contain the Spirit in a box. We need to experience the mighty rushing wind of Pentecost. We need our hearts to be made incandescent by the Spirit’s fire. We need the living water and new wine Jesus promised, so our hearts can become the home of dovelike peace.

Wind. Breath. Fire. Cloud. Water. Wine. A dove. When we open up space for the Spirit and let the Spirit fill that space within us, we begin to change, and we become agents of change. That’s why we pause in our journey to gather together around a table of fellowship and communion. Like the disciples in the upper room at Pentecost, we present ourselves to God.

We become receptive for the fullness of the Spirit to fall upon us and well up within us, to blow like wind, glow like fire, flow like a river, fill like a cloud, and descend like a dove in and among us. So let us open our hearts. Let us dare believe that the Spirit that we read about in the Scriptures can move among us today, empowering us in our times so we can become agents in a global spiritual movement of justice, peace, and joy.

So, are we ready? Are we willing to die with Christ? Are we willing to let go?

And are we willing to be buried with Christ? Are we willing to let be?

And are we willing to rise with Christ? Can we inhale, open our emptiness, unlock that inner vacuum, for the Spirit to enter and fill—like wind, breath, fire, cloud, water, wine, and a dove? Are we willing to let come?

Let it be so. Let it be now. Amen.

 

Engage:

1. What one thought or idea from today’s lesson especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, warmed, warned, helped, or surprised you?

2. Share a story about a time you experienced the Holy Spirit in a special way.

3. How do you respond to the imagery of death, burial, and resurrection with Christ?

4. For children: What do you think it means for a person to be filled with God?

5. Activate: Make it a habit in the coming days to take a deep breath and then exhale to express letting go. Then remain breathless for a moment—to express letting be. Then inhale to express letting the Spirit come to fill you.

6. Meditate: In silence, hold the word “open” in God’s presence. Let images of openness come to you. Direct this openness to God’s Spirit as a desire to be filled.

+++++

Copyright © by Brian D. McLaren 

All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at permissions@hbgusa.com. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights. 

Keep Reading
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 29 30   Next »