Dianna Anderson On Writing Damaged Goods

Nearly three years ago, when I began working with my agent (Hannah Bowman) to put this book together, I didn’t know if I’d ever make it to this point. I wasn’t sure if the book would make it to the press, make it through the editing process and actually end up on the shelf. Even when I held it in my hands, it still felt deeply surreal. But here we are, and here it is, being shipped out to bookstores and landing on doorsteps across the nation. Depending on who asks, my answer on what this book is about changes. Keep Reading

DISQUIET TIME: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book

Let’s face it—the Bible is full of not-so-precious moments, from murder and mayhem, to sex and slavery. Instead of ignoring the difficult (yet entertaining) passages of Scripture, editors Jennifer Grant and Cathleen Falsani take them head-on in their new book, Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels. “Most of us are well acquainted with the itchy, out-of-place feelings wrought by the spiritual subcultures in which we have sometimes found ourselves,” Falsani and Grant write. Disquiet Time gives readers “permission and a safe space” to engage the Bible deeply and Keep Reading

Leroy Barber's New Book Calls for Diversity in Christian Missions

Longtime missions worker and ministry leader Leroy Barber challenges the tenet in practice in one of the church’s best-loved children’s songs in his new book Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White—Who’s More Precious In God’s Sight: A Call for Diversity in Christian Missions and Ministry. Exposing a huge racial divide within mission staff and leadership, Barber says this separation prevents church outreach teams from being able to relate, and thus minister effectively, in inner-city and urban communities nationwide. Addressing a taboo topic with grace and tough-love, Barber highlights the historical patterns that created racial discrepancies within ministry and reveals what diversity is Keep Reading

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

Searching for the Masculine Heart with John Sowers

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

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.

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It’s About Love, Bozos!: a post from Heather Kopp

by Heather Kopp 62 Comments Our Authors Blog

Last week, a friend told me about her plan to reveal her battle with alcoholism to her family. But she was feeling afraid, ready to bolt. “They’re a pretty judgmental bunch,” she said.

“I bet they’re Christians,” I said without thinking.

She looked surprised, but acknowledged that I was right.

Which was when I noticed the judgmentalism in my own remark. I mean, how does assuming the worst about fellow believers promote the kind of love and tolerance that I’m so worried they lack?

I trace my attitude back to my years of drinking. When my Christian faith couldn’t seem to save me from alcoholism, I grew cynical and disillusioned about it. I especially resented church-goers who seemed to promote a legalistic, “just-try- harder” approach.

If I’m honest, sometimes I still want to cast them into outer darkness.

But just this morning I ran across Jesus’ last prayer in the gospel of John. As you may know, it’s a long, passionate plea for love and unity among his followers. “I pray that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

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Justin Lee: ‘Gay Christian’ is not an oxymoron

by Justin Lee Leave a comment Our Authors Blog

Justin Lee is the author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, out tomorrow, May 14, in trade paperback.

An excerpt from from Justin Lee’s latest blog at the CNN Belief Blog.
Torn, Justin Lee

In high school, I was a Christian know-it-all.

My nickname was “God boy,” and I was known for regularly preaching at my friends about social issues of the day. I dismissed their objections – and accusations of homophobia – as intolerance for my faith.

“I’m just telling you what God’s Word says,” I’d argue.

Years later I realized my mistake. What my peers most objected to wasn’t my beliefs – it was my condescending attitude. I debated and preached when I should have listened. I thought that stating my position loudly and unyieldingly was a sign of strength. In the process, I alienated my friends.

I’m still an evangelical Christian, but one thing is now crystal clear to me. American evangelicals’ bad reputation isn’t just because of what we believe. It’s mostly because of how we behave.

Read the rest of Justin Lee’s incredible blog at CNN’s Belief Blog.

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Video: Justin Lee’s Tips for Talking to Your Gay Friends

by Jericho Books Leave a comment Videos

From Justin Lee:

Christians ask me all the time about improving their conversations with the gay community. I’ve started including some simple tips when I speak to churches and student groups, and they always get a big response from Christians who tell me they never knew, for instance, that certain words could be offensive. I thought this video might be a fun way to spread the word and give people a taste of what they can learn in my book TORN.

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On Advent

by Wendy Grisham 2 Comments General

By Wendy Grisham

God is our refuge and strength

I was not raised in a Christian tradition that observed holy days, recognized the saints or learned the Liturgy. When I came back to my faith in my 30s, it was to an Anglican church that was pretty casual on these traditions as well. They were appreciated and honored, just not prioritized.
Advent Wreath, by benedeki on sxc.hu
So I never really understood Advent. Apart from one of these posters with perforated little doors behind which you found really dodgy chocolates, I figured out that it was a count down to Christmas but that was about it for me.

I always, well not always, but for the last few years, knew it meant the lighting of candles at church and that it started four Sundays out from Christmas so you’d get one candle a Sunday. I also always checked to make sure the previous Sunday’s candle was lit. (There are certain little lists that I like to keep checked off in my head just to make sure everything is going according to plan.) Deeper than this very shallow level of understanding, I never really bothered to check.

It was about this time of year two years ago, when I was ill and thus found a lot of time on my hands, that I decided to dig a little deeper. Firstly, I learned that it is the beginning of the church year for most churches. But what really drew me in was this incredibly beautiful tradition, full of power and meaning and appreciation. The significance I came to apply to it is not just in the tradition of Advent and what it represents but also valuing the idea of the many generations of followers who have come before and concept that I join in their path and observe what they found so important.

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