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 …

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 …

Top 10 Books of 2013

Each year (see 2010, 2011, 2012) I share a list of my top ten books published that year.  Creating this year's list was both a challenge and a joy. Rob Bell What We Talk About When We Talk About God Wendy Cadge Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine  Lillian Daniel When Spiritual but Not Religious is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church Meredith Gould The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways Galen Guengerich God Read More …

Review of The Fourth Gospel

Meet the Author John Shelby Spong was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2000. Since that time he has taught at Harvard University, the University of the Pacific, and Drew University.  Additionally, he delivers more than 200 public lectures each year as a visiting lecturer at churches and universities.  Bishop Spong’s books have sold over one million copies, including Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (2011 - one of my top books of Read More …

Review of Living the Questions

Meet the Authors David M. Felten (pictured at right in a black shirt) and Jeff Procter-Murphy (pictured at right holding a tablet) are United Methodist pastors who serve theologically progressive congregations.  Together they created a video resource that brought together some of the "most provocative and authoritative voices" (p.xiii).  Known as Living the Questions, this resource seeks to "help people wrestle with the questions they hear asked in their congregations - questions for which Read More …

Spong on Seminaries

John Shelby Spong served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001.  In retirement, he has been a prolific writer and speaker.   After teaching a weeklong intensive course at the Pacific School of Theology, he reflected on how that school has changed to more effectively meet the demands of preparing people for ministry in the early twenty-first century.  He is hopeful that this institution's current intentions will serve its students well and may Read More …

Episcopalian Praise for the UCC

John Shelby Spong served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001.  In retirement, he has been a prolific writer and speaker.   His latest essay, "A Salute to the United Church of Christ," portrays the United Church of Christ (UCC) as a denomination with the potential to "inspire, bring about and participate in the necessary reformation required to break the Christian faith out of its dying patterns."  While Spong has had numerous interactions with Read More …

Spong on Building the Church

Bishop John "Jack" Shelby Spong was a recent guest on Chris Yaw's ChurchNext.  In this one hour interview, Spong shares how humility and acceptance are key foundations for building the church.  Since "the mainline churches are in a statistical free-fall" continuing on the same course is not a realistic option.  Going forward, church leaders must repackage the faith in ways that make sense for their context.  More specifically, Spong says Part of our job in the 21st century is to transform the Read More …

Top 11 Books Published in 2011

For the second year (last year's list is available here) I offer my list of the "top 10 books published this year."  Since this is 2011, I have expanded the list to include eleven titles. Aboujaoude, Elias Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality Borg, Marcus Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power – And How They Can Be Restored Chaves, Mark American Religion: Contemporary Trends Chittister, Joan Happiness Kinnaman, Read More …

Review of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Meet the Author John Shelby Spong was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2000. Since that time he has taught at Harvard University, the University of the Pacific, and Drew University.  Additionally, he delivers more than 200 public lectures each year as a visiting lecturer at churches and universities.  Bishop Spong's books have sold over one million copies, including Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (2011), Eternal Life: A New Read More …