Right Behind, newest book, is out now!

Working on a couple of other books to be published soon (second edition of Shout It from the Rooftops and its follow-up on Individualism within Evangelicalism), but want to give you an opportunity to see this book, a barnstormer I wrote after my wife, Susanna Krizo, as we were coming back from a long walk and Thai restauranting, asked what would happen if Christians discovered they were following the antiChrist of the Left Behind series all along?

It’s called Right Behind: A Left Behind Parody for the Trump Times, and it’s available now for Kindle at $2.99 (or Kindle Unlimited for free) and on paperback (Amazon and CreateSpace) for $6.90. It’s a funny and breezy read (or at least I think so), and hopefully as fun to read as it was to write.

right_behind_cover_for_kindle

 

Shout It from the Rooftops in Print!

In honor of the print edition of Shout It from the Rooftops (along with an even more handsome cover because it doesn’t feature my scrawling on a tablet over a distorted image of an unshaven moi looking straight ahead), I thought I should re-print some of the promotional interview I did for the book here. I was interviewed, btw, by the very capable me. Quite captivatingly, I must add.


What was the impetus for this tome?

It originated with an ongoing series of articles I was doing on my blog, Left Cheek, on American Evangelicals, what they believe and how that affects their view of the world and how that affects those around them.

And it affects….?

Pretty negatively. I’ve come to believe that the bible – if we read it as God’s word to us – is, to cop from Donald Miller, story. And if it is, it moves in certain order. I don’t want to fit this whole Ancient Near East text written over a several hundred year span and tackling many different eras and from the perspective of many different authors and superimpose a modern and Western meta or mode of talking about narrative over it, but to me it seems to be talking about relationship, loss, and then redemption. I don’t know how universal that is, though…

Is this gonna be a long answer?

Don’t interrupt me.

Sorry.

As I was saying… One thing I’ve come to find while working and developing the blog, from reading biblical scholars and reading about early Christian history is that American Evangelical Christians tend to have an outlook on society that contradicts what Jesus, the prophets and the early Christians had. And that this contradiction is actually very harmful to the Christian witness, to the name of Jesus, and to society at large.

When you say “harmful”…

I mean actually, physically, spiritually, and violently harmful to other people also made in God’s own image. Sometimes those other people live next door, sometimes they live remotely, sometimes our own family – but always our neighbors. Like stuff you don’t expect the Good Samaritan to do. Stuff that’s hurtful, that may or may not be intentional. I actually don’t think it is intentional. But I believe that Christians need to be above the defense of, “But I meant well.”
**********

The book is $5.50 print and roughly $2.99 for an e-book. Also, check out the author page on Amazon for other titles.

Pedestrian Parenting, the book, now available!

Note: There have been some big and stupid formatting issues with the book that have made it impossible to read on various devices. That issue has been cleared up, I believe. So please, if you bought the book already, please get the new, revised version as it is available for free until Thursday, June 14th.

—-

My newest book, Pedestrian Parenting, is finally available for download onto your Kindle or Kindle app accessible device. It is free this Wednesday and Thursday the 13th and 14th of June. If you have Amazon Prime, you can use that to purchase the book for free (though you only get one book a month. Fair warning that this book is only $2.99 starting Friday. But if you don’t want to get The Hunger Games or 50 Shades to Lose Your Lover this month…). At under three bucks, I think you’ll really enjoy it. Maximum valuety, and all that.

The recurrent theme in both this book about being a dad and in my book about being a teacher is this constant worry that I don’t quite measure up, that I’m not just learning on the job, but on the ropes. It may be an inadequacy complex that I should really get looked at, but I also have a nagging feeling that it’s very universally shared. If so, this book is dedicated to you.

I started the germs of this latest book a few years ago, blogging various stories, collecting others, tweeting and facebooking several other little interactions. Through it all, I don’t think a single sentence survived the knife, no piece looks like it did a couple months ago, no joke has quite the same set-up or take-down.

But the skeleton was there, and is there. Every piece is still meandering, every story not quite complete – partially because life isn’t complete and I never feel a burden to make everything have closure. Maybe that will irk some people, but I’ve always enjoyed the traveling as much as if not more than the destination itself. And maybe that’s what this book is really about – the paths of parenting. Meandering and detouring and finding your way while purposefully getting lost.

And since we’re meandering anyway, here’s a short selection.

When We Bring in the Big Dogs
Parenting media is a funny business. Magazines, television episodes, and blogs shouldn’t be a go-to place for new parents to learn how to prepare for or raise children any more than WebMD should be a place to learn that one has congenital herpes. Television and reality meet to show us how boring the Kardashians are, or how many hot dogs a one hundred and fifty pound man can stuff down his pharynx – not to lecture us. It’s where we observe, point out, and ridicule how horrible other parents are, not where we come to feel remorse for our own failures and shortcomings. I do not come to this beacon of soft, beautiful light to feel any sympathy for the Basketball Wives or for Snookie’s pa. That defeats the whole purpose.
But there you have it. Since most of the West no longer lives in multigenerational community, even diaper changing can be learned through such educational fare as “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
That’s not how I learned to change a diaper by the way.


Primarily, I hope you get a chance to enjoy and dig this book. And if you do, I would like to hear back from you. Perhaps you can even submit a review for Amazon. And if you don’t, well, I’d still like to hear some feedback.

Self-imposed interview for Shout It from the Rooftops

In recognition of Left Cheek’s first e-book, Shout It from the Rooftops (now on sale from Amazon for $1.99 until Good Friday), we decided to do an impromptu guerilla-style interview with ourself. Enjoy. We hope you find it illuminating.

First off, I’d like to thank you for being so gracious to allow me to interview me.

I’m welcome.

You’re even more hot in person – and remarkably taller than I was led to believe.

Well, I’m 6′ 3″ (ed. not, that’s less than two metres for those unfamiliar with Americanese), and I’m not sure, you being me, who told you otherwise.

(Silence. Nodding. Followed by more silence.)

But I do have a remarkable amount of animal magnetism.

Meeow.

Yes.

Down to the book. You have a new e-book out called Shout It from the Rooftops: Finding the Message of the Bible in a New Era . What was the impetus for this tome?

It originated with an ongoing series of articles I was doing on my blog, Left Cheek, on American Evangelicals, what they believe and how that affects their view of the world and how that affects those around them.

And it affects….?

Pretty negatively. I’ve come to believe that the bible – if we read it as God’s word to us – is, to cop from Donald Miller, story. And if it is, it moves in certain order. I don’t want to fit this whole Ancient Near East text written over a several hundred year span and tackling many different eras and from the perspective of many different authors and superimpose a modern and Western meta or mode of talking about narrative over it, but to me it seems to be talking about relationship, loss, and then redemption. I don’t know how universal that is, though…

Is this gonna be a long answer?

Don’t interrupt me.

Sorry.

As I was saying… One thing I’ve come to find while working and developing the blog, from reading biblical scholars and reading about early Christian history is that American Evangelical Christians tend to have an outlook on society that contradicts what Jesus, the prophets and the early Christians had. And that this contradiction is actually very harmful to the Christian witness, to the name of Jesus, and to society at large.

When you say “harmful”…

I mean actually, physically, spiritually, and violently harmful to other people also made in God’s own image. Sometimes those other people live next door, sometimes they live remotely, sometimes our own family – but always our neighbors. Like stuff you don’t expect the Good Samaritan to do. Stuff that’s hurtful, that may or may not be intentional. I actually don’t think it is intentional. But I believe that Christians need to be above the defense of, “But I meant well.”

So, this is part of a series, then?

Right. This book is the first volume of what I see now as being perhaps three or maybe more. I also see this as being a type of progression – I want my brothers and sisters to see that what we are doing to our neighbors is harmful and anti-Christ. But in order to do that, in order to actually become involved in a discussion of “What happens next?” we have to get rid of the elephant in the room. And in order to do that, we have to recognize that we just may be in the wrong room.

You like mixing metaphors, don’t you?

I do. It adds to the disorienting effect that I think is essential to the work of an artist.

But you’re an educator. How does disorienting help to disseminate information when you want to be as clear as possible?

Kafka talked about the necessity of art being like a pick-axe, breaking through the ice of our hearts and intellect. There are studies out there showing that the more educated one is, the less likely she or he will see a need to change his or her opinions – no matter how wrong we are. So just presenting facts doesn’t work for most people; and in fact, it may present more damage over the long-run. It can give scientific garb to the most ridiculous and obscene untruths.

For instance?

Remember when they “disproved” man-made global warming as some sort of “hoax”? People who don’t know how to read scientifically were convinced that scientists were trying to cover up their “lies” when in fact they were discussing hoe to best graph their findings. This was the result of the work of people who are not experts in climatology or related sciences who had much to gain or lose trying to convince the world that the actual experts in the field – who didn’t have much to gain or lose and who obviously were not being bribed because there’s no real money in environmental regulation (it just mean we consume much less) – are not trustworthy. THAT was the big scam. In this case those with much to gain and lose (industrialists, oil companies, refineries, etc.) were buying off those who did know better to present as “plain facts” that which was neither plain nor facts.

Are you mixing metaphors?

Horribly, I am.

In all, though, you’re suggesting that we are looking to highly compromised non-experts to answer questions that are best left to the experts?

Yes. And, ironically, I’m no expert.

I caught that. But you’re a bit of an artist.

I’m also arguing in the book and here that we need a foundational way of reading the Bible in a take-away approach that we can use some two thousand years, several languages, multitudes of scientific discoveries, reigns of empires, and thousands upon thousands of miles removed from the text itself.

That is the way of finding the message of the Bible in this new era?

Yes, that is love. Love as both the means and the end of our biblical exegesis so to say.

This Is My First Book

For roughly four years, I’ve been working on much of These Mornings Are Rough on Many a Night: A Hazy Memoir of an Urban Teacher – my oh-so-hahalarious memoirs as a failed teacher in Chicago. Some parts for even longer. I had been holding out for that elusive book deal for so long that I never actually got it published. But I bit in when I noticed that the technology is ripe for self-publishing. Particularly e-publishing.

It’s $2.99. It helps out a worthy cause (me not starving) and allows me the opportunity to kick-start a second career.

So, please, pick up a copy. It’ll work in your Kindle or Kindle app (mine looks nice on my Asus Transformer Droid tablet. Which I wish I never bought and got a laptop instead. But that’s a different story…). If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow it for free. If you’re not, you can preview the first few pages for free as well.

I’d appreciate any feedback (and, yeah, that cover has to go. I know. Was working on it at 4 am).

I’d like to release a second e-book in the middle of next month, that one more closely associated with this blog.

Lazy Sunday Reading: Love Wins Introduction

After all the controversy, and after so many posts, I finally went ahead and bought the new Rob Bell book. I decided to transcribe some of the introduction yesterday while reading it and being struck by how prescient it all is. How I’ve been saying all of this for the last few weeks, but Rob had said it much sooner – and in his own unique way. So, without further adieu, Rob Bell’s Love Wins:

First, I believe that Jesus’ story is first and foremost about the love of God for every one of us. It is a stunning, beautiful, expansive love, and it is for everybody, everywhere.

That’s the story.
“For God so loved the world…”
That’s why Jesus came.
That’s his message.
That’s where the life is found.
There are a growing number of us what have become acutely aware that Jesus’s story has been hijacked by a number of other stories, stories Jesus isn’t interested in telling, because they have nothing to do with what he came to do. The plot has been lost, and it’s time to reclaim it.
I’ve written this book for all those, everywhere, who have heard some version of the Jesus story that caused their pulse rate to rise, their stomach to churn, and their heart to utter those resolute words, “I would never be a part of that.”
You are not alone.
There are millions of us.
This love compels us to question some of the dominant stories that are being told as the Jesus story. A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend
forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this truth is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear…
Second, I’ve written this book because the kind of faith Jesus invites us into doesn’t skirt the big questions about topics like God and Jesus and salvation and judgment and heaven and hell, but takes us deep into the heart of them.
Many have these questions.
Christians,
people who aren’t Christians,
people who were Christians,
but can’t do it anymore because of question about these very topics,

*
Some communities don’t permit open, honest inquiry about the things that matter most. Lots of people have voiced a concern, expressed a doubt, or raised a question, only to be told by their family, church, friends, or tribe: “We don’t discuss those things here.”
I believe the discussion itself is divine. Abraham does his best to bargain with God, most of the book of Job consists of arguments by Job and his friends about the deepest questions of human suffering, God is practically on trial in the poems of Lamentations, and Jesus responds to almost every question he’s asked with… a question.
“What do you think? how do you read it?”
he asks, again and again and again.
The ancient sages said the words of the sacred text were black letters on a white page–there’s all that white space, waiting to be filled with our responses and discussions and debates and opinions and longings and desires and wisdom and insights. We read the words, and then enter into the discussion that has been going on for thousands of years across cultures and continents.

Lazy Sunday Reading: The Divine Commodity

Pastor Skye Jathani, in his book, The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumerist Christianity, argues that the Western church’s meta-problem is that it is trapped up in the consumerist environment that surrounds it. And it fails to transcend that consumerist culture because it fails to apply a healthy amount of imagination. From the first chapter:
In July 2003, ten thousand Christian retailers gathered for the fifty-fourth annual Christian Booksellers Association convention. The CBA represents the $4.2 billion industry that sells Bibles, books, bubblegum, and bracelets to Christian consumers. The economic power wielded by the CBA has grown so rapidly that President George W. Bush has even taken notice.
Bush, whose ascent to the presidency would not have been possible without conservative evangelicals, addressed the 2003 CBA convention via video. “You know as I do the power of faith can transform lives,” he said. “You bring the Good News to a world hungry for hope and comfort and encouragement.” Interestingly, Bush was praising Christian retailers, not churches, for spreading the light of Christ. The fact that the president of the United States, the most powerful political figure on the planet, would address the merchants of Christian books and baubles reveals the economic and political influence Christian consumers have attained.
The other memorable appearance at the 2003 CBA convention was actor/director Mel Gibson. The Hollywood hero and devout Roman Catholic gave a preview of his upcoming film The Passion of the Christ. Gibson’s movie was promoted as a way for Christian retailers to leverage the Easter holiday. The CBA’s president said, “We want to play a role in reclaiming the holiday for Christ. We want to draw people into our stores and drive seekers into the church.” Of course, TPotC became one of the most profitable films in history…
The presence of both political and pop-culture royalty at the CBA convention would have been unimaginable just a few years earlier. In the mid-twentieth century some feared America would follow the path of Europe, where the church atrophied to become and emaciated shell of its former glory. That fear drove evangelical Christians to seek cultural, political, and economic influence as a way of ensuring survival. The 2003 CBA convention represented the culmination of their cultural revolution…
Christian researcher George Barna concludes, “American Christianity has largely failed since the middle of the twentieth century because Jesus’ modern-day disciples do not act like Jesus.” During the same half century that evangelicals were climbing to the pinnacle of cultural influence, the church has largely lost its ability to transform lives and teach people to practice the values championed by Christ. Research conducted by sociologists and pollsters show that “evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.” Despite the influence of Jesus Christ over Washington, Hollywood, and Wall Street, his power over the hearts and minds of people in America is far less evident… Although megachurches have multiplied across the fruited plains, the numbers show that Christianity in America has been consolidating and not expanding.
Journey Community Churchphoto © 2007 Allan Ferguson | more info (via: Wylio)
The challenge facing Christianity today is not a lack of motivation or resources, but a failure of imagination.
Walt Disney’s successors wanted to honor their founder’s dream. That laudable motivation is what kept the Epcot [Walt’s original dream of a planned urban living environment – an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow – after he died, the plan went on, but as a severely dated amusement park attraction. A very cold and unfulfilling one, as the Simpson’s Principal Skinner would remind us] project alive. The problem was not their motivation; it was their lack of imagination. They did not possess Disney’s ability to see beyond what was conventionally possible. They simply could not see the city he wanted to build in their mind’s eye. As a result they reinterpreted Epcot through the only framework they could comprehend – pragmatics, economics, and market potential.

Likewise, the paradoxical rise of Christian political/economic influence and decline of Christian moral influence is not the product of devious or ignoble motivation. Christian leaders in America are largely admirable men and women who passionately love God and genuinely desire to honor Christ. Many sacrifice time, income, and emotional energy giving themselves to what they believe matters most: Christ and his kingdom. And we certainly do not lack resources…
Our deficiency is not motivation or money, but imagination. Our ability to live Christianly and be the church corporately has failed because we do not believe it is possible… Wanting to obey Christ but lacking his imagination, we reinterpret the mission of the church through the only framework comprehensible to us – the one we’ve inherited from our consumer culture
How can a prisoner plot his escape if he doesn’t believe a world exists outside the prison walls? The prisoner’s imagination must be free before his body can follow. As Albert Einstein observed, “Problems cannot be solved with the same consciousness that created them.” And Walter Brueggemann declares, “Questions of implementation are of no consequence until the vision can be imagined. The imagination must come before implementation. Our culture is competent to implement almost anything and to imagine almost nothing.”…
We manage our churches with repackaged secular business principles and methodologies pioneered by marketers. A prominent pastor was asked what was distinctly spiritual about his leadership. The pastor responded, “There’s nothing distinctually spiritual… One of the criticisms I get is ‘Your church is so corporate…’ And I say, ‘OK, you’re right. Now why is that a bad model?'”…
In his defense, for decades ministers have been conditioned by books, conferences, and seminars to revere how secular corporations accomplish their work. It is assumed that the way Home Depot or Starbucks reacts to consumers’ desires is how the church ought to react as well. Whether one is selling Chryslers, Coca-Cola, or Christ is irrelevant, the principles of marketing and persuasion apply equally to all. So, why not learn from the biggest and best? Lyle Schaller, one of the most popular church consultants, has said, “The big issue… is not whether one applauds of disapproves of the growth of consumerism. The central issue is that consumerism is now a fact of life.” In his book, The Very Large Church, Schaller goes on to coach pastors on how to appeal to spiritual consumers, but he never expects the church to transcend or transform these cultural values. This posture of resignation to consumer culture reveals the utter captivity of our imaginations.

5 Lessons Learned from Continuously Reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar

1) Caterpillars are very hungry.

2) Fruit, no matter how much is eaten, does not fill you.
3) Leaves make for a good elixir if overeating is what ails you.
4) When you get too heavy, you should build a house of shame around yourself for three weeks.
5) Excessive junk food leads to you being a beautiful butterfly.

Top Shelvers of the Allright Aughts – So Far

Posted by Picasa

Second in a series of pre-emptive favorites (really, most influential). The official lists should be up in Jan/Feb, but this is my way of thinking about the lists beforehand and just having fun with it.

I try to limit these lists to one work per artist/author (though for movies, two of my definite favorites are from the same director. Since movies are more collaborative, I may have to break my own rule on that one. Not sure yet.) and to works released in this decade. Which, in the case of books, gives me a bit more leeway than the typical year list, as I rarely read a work in the year it was written…

In no particular order:

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church
– N. T. Wright
Overview of the crusader’s singular work against Gnosticism and escapism which has pervaded the Protestant churches (especially American Evangelical churches), especially in regards to heaven, the Resurrection and all that.

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Hilarious and poignant young adult novel about a high school freshman who decides to attend an all white school that’s literally and figuratively miles and miles removed from his reservation.

What’s So Amazing About Grace – Philip Yancey
(I can’t tell when this book was first published based on the Amazon reads, so it may be disqualified…)
What sets apart Christianity from any other philosophy or religion in the world? I’ll give you a clue – it’s in the title of this great set of meditations from my favority Evangelical writer.

Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay
– Michael Chabon
Ooh, comic books! A novel! Amazing and epic!

When You Are Engulfed in Flames
– David Sedaris
-or- Me Talk Pretty One Day
Ok, so this is a cheat, but I’ve got a couple months to make up my mind. Contrary to popular belief, I truly believe that Flames is Sedaris’ strongest work yet. The Smoking Diaries at the end alone are worth the price of admission. However, Me Talk is one of the most influential books I’ve ever had the privilege to crib.

Jesus Wants to Save Christians
– Rob Bell and Dan Golden
I can’t decide if this book or Velvet Elvis is more important to me. I actually think Elvis in that it helped me work through some transitional things and definitely provided a juncture for me. But if Elvis is the bridge, Save is a road map to the destination: Liberty for all, in the name of Jesus.

Searching for God Knows What – Donald Miller
As of print, I don’t have his latest book, but I still think that Searching is miles ahead of his breakthrough Blue Like Jazz.

Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity
– Lauren Winner
In a world where Christians rarely talk maturely about sex (if at all), this book really helped me to look at sex as an issue of love and openness springing from the bedroom, through the home and then outwards.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation
– Jeff Chang
A social history of oppressed people framed by their music. There’s nothing new there, but the first half of this massive book is so intriguing and yet comprehensive that much else fails by comparison – including its own second half.

What’s on the ol’ nightstand

Funny title because I have no books on my nightstand, and it’s not near my bed. A more accurate title would read: What I’m not reading right now because I’m reading this.

The Field Guide to Parenting: A Comprehensive Handbook of Great Ideas, Advice, Tips and Solutions for Parenting Children Ages One to Five – Shelley Butler and Deb Kratz
This book is amazing for clueless newbies like me. In short it is a comprehensive handbook of great ideas, advice, tips and solutions for parenting children ages one to five and I’m wondering if I’ll ever give this loaner back…

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianSherman Alexie
Dang it!! Fifty pages into this beautiful and hilarious young adult novel and I’m sure that I won’t be able to create the YAL to define a generation Catcher in the Rye-style. Alexie’s beaten me to it. That is, if Neil Gaiman already didn’t… (other must-read: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, a collection of short stories.)

The Prophetic Imagination (1st Edition) – Walter Brueggemann
Few pages into it and not really sure it’s my cup o’ tea. Unfortunately, don’t think I’ll get to chance to figure it out just yet. However, an excerpt:

The hypothesis I will explore here is this: The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us… The alternative consciousness to be nurtured, on the one hand, serves to criticize in dismantling the dominant consciousness. To that extent, it attempts to… engage in a rejection and delegitmatizing of the present ordering of things. On the other hand, that alternative consciousness to be nurtured serves to energize persons and communities by its promise of another time and situation toward which the community of faith may move. To that extent it attempts… to live in fervent anticipation of the newness that God has promised and will surely give.


A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
– ed. Clayborne Carson and Kris Shepard.
It’s pretty much what it says it is. Also overdue. I’ll see how much of it I can finish tomorrow. Also, apparently it’s out in audiobook. Wonder who gets to be vocally compared/contrasted to King there.

Prophetic Deliverance: The Missing Ministry of Jesus in the Church – T. C. Mather
Amazing. That is, if you like me are not used to words like ‘deliverance’ and ‘prophetic’ being used in a toned-down Charismatic/Pentecostal-style. It’s self-published, so I’d like to know if this could be made available via PDF or somehow easily accessible. Also, one of those rare books that I actually finished.

Team of rivals : the political genius of Abraham Lincoln
– Doris Kearns Goodwill
Okay, my subdued man-crush on Honest Abe may force me to read this eventually. But probably not this one.

Jesus and Nonviolence – Walter Wink
Snap! I finally got this book (which I want to quote at length, alas…) and love it so much that I lose it on the very same day.

There are good reasons for reluctance to champion nonviolence. The term itself is negative… “Nonviolence” is identified by many as the injunction to be submissive before the authorities. Romans 13:1-7 has been interpreted as an absolute command to obey the government whatever it does. “Turn the other cheek” became a divine ultimatum to slaves and servants to accept flogging and blows obsequiously. “Love of enemies” was twisted to render the oppressed compliant for the very heart, forgiving every injustice with no thought of changing the system. Nonviolence meant, in the context of this perverse inversion of the gospel, passivity…

When church leaders preach reconciliation without having unequivocally committed themselves to struggle on the side of the oppressed for justice, they are caught straddling a pseudo-neutrality made of nothing but thin air. Neutrality in a situation of oppression always supports the status quo…

A proper translation of Jesus’ teaching [in Matthew 5:38-41] would then be, “Don’t strike back at evil (or, one who has done you evil) in kind.” “Do not retaliate against violence with violence.” The Scholars Version is brilliant: “Don’t react violently against the one who is evil.” Jesus was no less committed to opposing evil than the anti-Roman resistance fighters. The only difference was the means to be used…

Now we are in a better position to see why King James’ faithful scholars translated antistenai as “resist not.” The king would not want people concluding that they had any recourse against his or any other sovereign’s unjust policies…

TGIfor Google Reader.

This Land Is Their Land : Reports from a Divided Nation – Barbara Ehrenreich
Really, really looking forward to reading Nickel and Dimed. But this was a good satiating of the ol’ progressive appetite.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Barbara Ehrenreich
www.colbertnation.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:174872
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care Protests

You can view the interview for this book on the Colbert Report here (hopefully).


Psalms
– Various
I hear a lot of evangelicals (good people, good friends) say that they read the Proverbs on a daily basis. Doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me, to be honest. It’s like reading an advice column and thinking that since it’s the Bible, it’s all applicable. But if you’re going to read some ancient Hebrew poetry, I can’t think of a better place to start than these honest (too honest, at times) prayers. Well, maybe the first couple of chapters of Genesis and latter Isaiah…

Miscellaneous:
These are books that I’ve put on hold. They’re wonderful and very consuming of attention. Digestive and challenging. Which is probably why I’ve put them on hold for this time.
Surprised by Hope – NT Wright (short excerpt)
Jesus Wants to Save Christians – Rob Bell
Prayer – Philip Yancey

Books I’m Crazy to Give Away for Sooo Free

Books are categorized as Christian, Education, YAL or whatever. Trying to get as rid of as many of these as soon as humanly possible. If you’re interested in one or several, leave a comment on the blog, at my fb, twitter, email, wherever. If you can pick it up, awesomest! If I need to send it to you, could you please send a couple bucks for S&H (especially for the whole H thing). just trying to keep it as free for all as humanly possible. Allright? ttyl.

Christian: theology/practice/inspiration:
Adams, Jay E: Ready to Restore: The Layman’s Guide to Christian Counseling
Augustine, St: Teaching Christianity
Campbell, Ernest T: Christian Manifesto
Green, Melody & David Hazard: No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
McBride, Neal F: How to Lead Small Groups
McLean, Gordon: Cities of Lonesome Fear: God Among the Gangs
Johnson, Phillip E: Darwin on Trial
Piper, John: Future Grace
ibid: Taste & See
Schaeffer, Francis A: A Christian Manifesto
Sinsabaugh, Ginger: Help! I’m an Urban Youth Worker!
Strauch, Alexander: Biblical Eldership
Warren, Rick: The Purpose-Driven Life

Education:
Atwell, Nancy: In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning
Charles, CM: Building Classroom Discipline
Clancy, Tom: Tom Clancy’s Net Force: The Ultimate Escape
Cushman, Kathleen: Fires in the Bathroom
Eagleton, Terry: Literary Theory: An Introduction
Heward, William L: Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education
Holden, James & John S Schmit, eds.: Inquiry & the Literary Text: Constructing Discussions in the English Classroom
Morenberg, Max: Doing Grammar (2nd Ed)
Rosenblatt, Louise M: Literature as Exploration
Selden, Raman & Peter Widdowson: Contemporary Literary Theory
Weaver, Constance: Teaching Grammar in Context
Wilson, Dr Eboni: Breaking the Cycle: From Special Ed to Ph D
Wong, Harry K & Rosemary T Wong: The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher

Young Adult/Children’s Literature
Babbit, Natalie: Tuck Everlasting
Bligh, William: Mutiny on the HMS Bounty
Burroughs, Augusten: Running with Scissors
Howe, James: Bunnicula Strikes Again!
L’Amour Louis: The Burning Hills
Lee, Harper: To Kill a Mockingbird
Myracle, Lauren: ttyl
Myers, Walter Dean: Monster (several copies)
Myers, Walter Dean & Christopher Myers: A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament
Paulsen, Gary: The Crossing
Petry, Ann: Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
Stroker, Bram: Dracula
Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Verne, Jules: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Great Illustrated Classics)
Wolfe, Tom: The Right Stuff (poor)

ETC
Lansky, Bruce: The Very Best Baby Name Book
Ellis, Jack C: A History of Film
Noriega, Chon A: Shot in American: Television, the State and the Rise of Chicano Cinema
Cicero: On Oratory and Orators
Wood, William: Elizabethean Sea-Dogs
Reader’s Digest, compiler, edit: Today’s Best Nonfiction:

  • Ambrose, Stephen E: Undaunted Courage: Merriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
  • Simon, Neil: Neil Simon Rewrites: A Memoir
  • Nesaule, Agate: A Woman in Amber: Healing the Trauma of War and Exile
  • Yates, Brock: The Critical Path: Inventing an Automobile and Reinventing a Corporation

Weekly Links We Like to Link to: OK, you can call this a comeback.

And yes, these articles are at least a month old! Got a lot of catching up to, kids.


I want me some bookshelves like these! And then maybe I can get me some readin’!

Tips on why Obama is not a socialist. “Obama properly belongs in a specific anti-socialist movement on the left, Social Democracy, which accepts a capitalist economy but demands a state strong enough to moderate its failures and excesses.

Why newspapers can’t be saved but the news can.”

When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.

Christianity had taken root in some non-European locales that we don’t tend to associate with Christianity at all. Philip Jenkins (not the Left Behind guy, but an author who studies the movement of Christianity in non-Western world – lastly looking at the astronomic rise of conservative churches in the Global South) is interviewed about why these ancient churches died out. The answer may surprise you (well, maybe not. But it did take me under):

PJ: Churches die by force. They are killed.

CT: But what about the old saying, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”?

PJ: That was said by Tertullian, who came from the church in North Africa, where the church vanished. If you were to look at the healthiest part of Christianity right around the year 400 or 500, you might well look at North Africa… It was the land of Augustine. Then the Arabs, the Muslims, arrive. They conquer Carthage in a.d. 698, and 100 years later—I don’t say there were no Christians there, but there certainly was only a tiny, tiny number. That church dies.