Book Recommendations – September 2017

There are so many great new books, and all of us have only limited time for reading.  This summer I have shared a monthly list of the top ten books I have read: June July August The final post in the summer series follows.  All books mentioned were published in 2017, and are rated on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5.0) Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson (Macmillan, 2017) (4.5) Of Read More …

Book Recommendations – August 2017

After sharing book recommendations rather irregularly for some time, I offered 10 recommendations in June, 10 in July, and now offer another 10 this month. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. They are rated on a 1-5 scale.  The rare exceptional book warrants a 5+. (5+) The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider (Princeton University Press, 2017) (5.0) Why God?: Explaining Religious Read More …

Book Recommendations – July 2017

After sharing book recommendations rather irregularly for some time, I offered 10 recommendations last month and now offer another 10 this month. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. I have rated them on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5+) The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halke (Princeton University Press, 2017) (5.0) Why I  Left, Why I Stayed: Conversations Read More …

Book Recommendations – June 2017

As we move toward mid-June many people are creating or actively revising their summer reading lists.  Wherever you may be in your planning (even if your plan is not to plan at all), I encourage you to consider picking up some of my recent reads. The following ten books have all been published in 2017. I have rated them on a 1-5 scale allowing for the top of the scale to be extended to a 5+ for the best of the best. (5+) The Witness of Religion in an Age of Fear by Michael Kinnamon Read More …

Review: Days of Awe and Wonder

Marcus Borg (1942-2015) was one of the wisest sages and clearest voices in progressive Christianity. His work has greatly influenced my understanding of the Way of Jesus. Since I have been publishing an annual list of the top ten books published each year, only a handful of authors have appeared on the list more than once. Marcus Borg is the only author to appear four times 2010 – Putting Away Childish Things, 2011 – Speaking Christian, 2012 – Evolution of the Word, and 2014 – Read More …

Top 10 Books of 2016

There are so many good books published every year.  The best of the best among those I read this year follow in my seventh annual listing of my top ten books of the year. Top 10 Books of 2016 Author Title Lillian Daniel Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To Robert P. Jones The End of White Christian America Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Brian McLaren The Great Spiritual Read More …

Shaping the Future of Christianity

Dying Some say Christianity is dying.  I won't argue with them.  If Christianity is defined narrowly and if it should be replicated in every time and place in identical ways then we can rest assured Christianity is dying and will soon be dead. Living Christianity, inasmuch as I understand what the Way of Jesus is about, is living.  The only way any person or group of people can authentically live as followers of Jesus is to do so within their time and place. Thriving Sociologists Read More …

Summer Reading: Changes Ahead

In recent days I have heard the three words "back to school" enough times to know that summer is drawing to a close for many of my readers.  With the change of seasons in mind, I offer the ten best books I read this summer: (5+) The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones (Simon & Schuster, 2016) (5) Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream by Andy Stern (Public Affairs, 2016) (5) Vital Vintage Church: How Read More …

Farewell to White Protestant America

Last week I noted how old Mainline Protestantism has become here in America.  Back in 2011 I reflected on a group of pastors from one Mainline denomination that labeled their own tradition "deathly ill."  Today, I recognize that death has come not only for that denomination or Mainline Protestantism but also for the Protestantism I have known and lived that is broader yet: White Christian America. Obituary  Robert P. Jones', CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, new book "The End of Read More …

Recent Reading: Politics & Bible

Politics are everywhere; I have yet to spend more than a few seconds scanning my social media feeds before encountering a political remark. Political experts are everywhere; 99% of the political remarks I read and hear are communicated as though the communicator is a subject matter expert.  In reality, of course, most are simply people who have strong feelings about their particular perspectives. Political writing is particularly popular.  As a non-expert, I have read three books this year Read More …