When a major cultural event, such as George Floyd's murder, shifts the focus of a country, it is easy to assume that critiques of the American church and racism are a recent phenomenon. Oftentimes we are simply unaware of prophetic voices from the the past such as Howard Thurman and his quintessential Jesus and the Disinherited. Penned in 1949, Thurman critiques the church and its seduction with power while detailing the psyche and motivation of the oppressed. His ultimate conclusion is that belief in Jesus, in conjunction with community, can empower the disinherited.
Despite Christ's birth being foretold and chronicled in the Bible, it is sometimes difficult to accept that Jesus came to Earth as a baby. Thousands of years have separated us from the birth of Christ, making it is easy to begin questioning the legitimacy of the Biblical account. That is where author Rebecca McLaughlin's Is Christmas Unbelievable? comes into play.
A beautiful book full of liturgies for individuals, couples, families, and congregations for any occasion including the mundane (the washing of windows) to the celebratory (leaving on a holiday) to the sorrowful (insoluble homesickness ) and everything in between (sleeping in tents). Douglas Kaine McKelvey has a knack for the right words for any situation.
Context is something that is hard to maintain when looking at history. The social norms, smells, colors, family dynamics and politics, especially if the event took place in a region or country where you do not live, are lost, or at the very least dimmed, through the lens of time, but that is where author Daniel Darling's The Characters of Christmas strength lies.
A guileless book consisting of 40 short, beautiful prayers and accompanying artwork that is meant to be pondered. Author Justin McRoberts and illustrator Scott Erickson crafted Prayer, with minimal words, but an affluence of knowledge on prayer, liturgy, and prayer practices.
Short, sweet and packed full of wisdom, What If Jesus Was Serious? is a 72 chapter devotional (with doodles!) that takes aim at Christians who don't think what Jesus instructs during the Sermon on the Mount is practical or achievable. As a result, author Skye Jethani postulates that our rejection of the commands in the Sermon of the Mount may be part of the reason why the American church lacks credibility with our culture.
Heroes. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Freedom fighters. Most Americans hold the Pilgrims in high regard, but unfortunately, many of these beliefs would be rejected by Pilgrims today- not the least a scheduled day of Thanksgiving. Why does it matter?
Most Americans have learned about Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims at the center of the story. A story about a people fleeing religious persecution and landing on the shore of a wild, uncivilized country where they are befriended and saved by kind natives. They celebrate Thanksgiving and live happily ever after. It is a deeply ingrained origin story about the beginning of the United States. Not surprisingly, much of the Thanksgiving story is a myth.
White men have had a monopoly on Biblical interpretation in the west and the United States for hundreds of years. The voices of women and minorities have not been allowed to bring their valuable insight into Biblical analysis. Dr. Esau McCaulley's Reading While Black is his attempt to add to the cannon of Black Biblical interpretation in the steps of James Cone, Dr. Martin Luther King, W.E.B Duboise and countless others.
There seems to be a common assumption that if we just pick up the Bible and read it then it will make sense. And while we want to acknowledge that God can choose to reveal insights to individuals we also want to highlight that God also provides us with resources, such as historical documents and books, to enhance our understanding of the Bible. With honesty and humility How (Not) to Read the Bible provides indispensable reading tips while tackling some of the seemingly anti-women, pro-violence, and pro-slavery texts.