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 …

Sermon: A Sin Problem?

Sermon Text: Mark 2:16-17 Sermon Excerpt A few years ago Stephen Prothero, a bestselling author and professor of religion at Boston University, wrote a fascinating book titled God is Not One. In this text he explores the eight world religions he thinks are currently the most important. For each religion he presents the problem that religion is trying to solve, the solution to that problem, and techniques that can be used to move toward the solution. Professor Prothero proposes that Read More …

Sermon: That’s the Book for Me

Sermon Text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (The Message) Sermon Excerpt The B-I-B-L-E yes, that’s the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God. What a song! I know many of you sung it years ago, but I don’t even know how to begin to respond. Huh?  What?  How?  Stand alone? Word of God? The Bible may be the best-selling book of all time, but it is certainly not a book in the traditional sense.  It is a collection of 66 “books.” It is a sacred text for those of us who seek to follow the Read More …

Sermon: Personal Transformation +

Sermon Text: Acts 16:25-34 Sermon Excerpt Are you saved? Maybe that is a question you have not heard in a long time.  Maybe it is one you have heard far too often. Are you saved? Earlier this week when a group gathered for a Topical Tuesday conversation about salvation we had more stories to tell than time allowed.  One participant remembered a time when as a young mother she had allowed a stranger into her home simply because she craved interaction and conversation with another Read More …

Sermon: Courageous Compassion

Sermon Text: Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) Sermon Excerpt Marcus Borg, a progressive Christian scholar who has shaped my thinking about what it means to live as a follower of the Way of Jesus, taught that “compassion is the central virtue of a life centered in God as known in Jesus.”  Further, he suggests that although Luke 6:36 is typically translated “be merciful as God is merciful,” a better translation given the meaning we assign to words in our contemporary culture would be “be compassionate Read More …

A “So What” Faith

We are blessed to live in the Information Age – an era when any one can access an incredible amount of information.  We are also stressed by this abundance knowing that simple Google searches yield millions of results, televisions feature hundreds of channels, phones and tablets often have dozens of apps, and previously one-way media communications have now branched out in every direction imaginable through something we call social media. Everything is the same; everything is changing.  Read More …

Remembering Marcus Borg

I knew Marcus Borg primarily through his writings.  He is the only person to be featured on my top ten books of the year list four times (the following links are to the annual listings and to my specific book reviews when available) 2010 - Putting Away Childish Things, 2011 - Speaking Christian, 2012 - Evolution of the Word, and 2014 - Convictions. Patheos has created a page featuring remembrances of Marcus Borg by a long and diverse list of folks including Brian McLaren, Jenny Read More …

Christmas Story: Fact or Fable?

Over the years I have encountered many passionate people who were not only certain they held the only proper perspective about the Christmas story, but were equally committed to converting others to share such a view.  Interestingly, I have been involved in numerous one-on-one and group conversations with those who were certain the Christmas story is a fact as it is recorded in the Gospels and also with those who are certain the story is just a fable. Marcus Borg, a progressive Christian Read More …

Top 10 Books of 2014

Since 2010, I have published an annual list of my top ten books published that year (each list contains a link to a book review for each book mentioned): 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.   My top ten books for 2014 (in alphabetical order by author’s last name) are   Marcus Borg Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most Walter Brueggemann Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now Amy-Jill Levine Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Read More …