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Beyond Church Walls

Cultivating a Culture of Care

by Rick Rouse

Pastoral care has been traditionally understood as pastoral acts administered to individuals or small groups by an ordained or lay religious practitioner. As congregations in the twenty-first century begin to reclaim the missional nature of church, this view must be broadened to include care and concern for the needs of the larger community. A missional perspective of pastoral care embraces the notion that all of God's people—not just trained professionals—are called to partner in the healing and redemption of the world.

In Beyond Church Walls, Rick Rouse sets out to articulate precisely what such an approach to pastoral care looks like—and the substantial impact it can have on congregations and communities. A skilled teacher and pastor with deep experience in real communities, Rouse leads readers through the changing realities of the twenty-first century and to new ways for missional churches to succeed in offering pastoral care for the whole community.

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The Bible in Human Transformation

Toward a New Paradigm in Bible Studies

By Walter Wink

"Historical biblical criticism is bankrupt." That startling affirmation began The Bible in Human Transformation when it first appeared in 1975. Wink asserts that despite the valuable contributions of the historical-critical method, we have reached the point where this method is incapable of allowing Scripture to evoke personal and social transformation today. More than thirty years later, Wink now looks back in a new preface over the more and less humanizing developments in New Testament studies of the last few decades and renews his call for a transforming approach to biblical interpretation.

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Bipolar Faith

A Black Woman's Journey with Depressioni and Faith

by Monica A. Coleman

Monica A. Coleman’s great-grandfather asked his two young sons to lift him up and pull out the chair when he hanged himself, and that noose stayed in the family shed for years. The rope was the violent instrument, but it was mental anguish that killed him. Now, in gripping fashion, Coleman examines the ways that the legacies of slavery, war, sharecropping, poverty, and alcoholism mask a family history of mental illness. Those same forces accompanied her into the black religious traditions and Christian ministry. All the while, she wrestled with her own bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Faith is both a spiritual autobiography and a memoir of mental illness. In this powerful book, Monica Coleman shares her life-long dance with trauma, depression, and the threat of death. Citing serendipitous encounters with black intellectuals like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Angela Davis, and Renita Weems, Coleman offers a rare account of how the modulated highs of bipolar II can lead to professional success, while hiding a depression that even her doctors rarely believed. Only as she was able to face her illness was she able to live faithfully with bipolar.

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Blessed Are the Consumers

Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint

by Sallie McFague

In this timely book, Sallie McFague recalls her readers to the practices of restraint. In a world bent on consumption it is imperative that people of religious faith realize the significant role they play in advocating for the earth, and a more humane life for all.

The root of restraint, she argues, rests in the ancient Christian notion of Kenosis, or self-emptying.

By introducing Kenosis through the life stories of John Woolman, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day, McFague brings a powerful theological concept to bear in a winsome and readable way.

For decades, Sallie McFague has lent her voice and her theological imagination to addressing and advocating for the most important issues of our time. In doing so, she has influenced an entire generation, and empowered countless people in their efforts to put religion in the service of meeting human needs in difficult times.

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Bodies of Peace

Ecclesiology, Nonviolence, and Witness

by Myles Werntz

This book argues that Christian nonviolence is both formed by and forms ecclesial life, creating an inextricable relationship between church commitment and resistance to war. Examining the work of John Howard Yoder, Dorothy Day, William Stringfellow, and Robert McAfee Brown, this book explores how each thinker’s advocacy for nonviolent resistance depends deeply upon the ecclesiology out of which it comes. These forms comprise four strands of a comprehensive Christian approach to a nonviolent witness rooted in ecclesial life. Because each of these figures’ ecclesiology implicates a different mode of resistance to war and a different relation between ecclesiology and resistance to war, the volume argues that any account of an ecclesially-informed resistance to war must be open to a multitude of approaches, not as pragmatic concessions, but as a foretaste of ecumenical unity. Insofar as the pursuit of peace in the world can be seen as a church bearing out the work of the Spirit, the approach of other ecclesial traditions can be seen not as competitors but as common works of the Spirit, which other traditions may learn from and be challenged by.

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The Bonhoeffer Reader

Edited by Clifford J. Green and Michael DeJonge

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the essential theological writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer have been drawn together in a helpful one-volume format. The Bonhoeffer Reader brings the best English translation to students, and provides a ready-made introduction to the thought of this essential thinker.

Drawn from decades of classroom teaching experience, the readings selected ensure that this volume provides everything necessary to introduce Bonhoeffer’s thought to the student of theology.

Every reading has been skillfully introduced and placed in the larger context of Bonhoeffer’s life and work by two respected Bonhoeffer scholars, Clifford J. Green and Michael DeJonge. Footnotes and textual apparatus have been carefully edited with the theology student in mind. The readings have been selected by a renowned group of teachers, scholars, and Bonhoeffer experts. Newly written introductions frame each reading in a concise, helpful way. This book is an essential resource for all those who study the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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The Book That Breathes New Life

Scriptural Authority and Biblical Theology

By Walter Brueggemann

The purpose of this collection of Brueggemann's essays is to bring to the fore a much more extensive critical engagement on his part with the current discussion about the Old Testament, its character, its authority, its theology, and especially its God.... Readers of these essays who think they may have grasped what Brueggemann has to say about the theology of the Old Testament from reading his magnum opus will find that he is still thinking, still listening, and still helping us understand the scriptures of Israel and the church at an ever deeper level.

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Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats

Churches and Hip-Hop—A Basic Guide to Key Issues

byThe CERCL Writing Collective

What is Hip-Hop, and how does it impact the Black Church? How do Black Churches think about Hip-Hop? How does it integrate Hip-Hop? How do these different, yet deeply interrelated communities think about the key topics of modern life—be it gender, sex, race, or globalization?

These questions and more are the concern of the CERCL Writing Collective, under the mentorship of Anthony Pinn. In this innovative project, ten individuals write as one voice to illuminate the ways that Hip-Hop and the Black Church agree, disagree, and inform each other on key topics.

This book grows out of the popular religion and Hip-Hop course, soon to be offered as an open enrollment online course, offered at Rice University by Anthony Pinn and Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman. Like the course, the book offers engaging insights into one of today’s most important musical genres and reflects on its broad cultural impact.

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By Bread Alone

The Bible through the Eyes of the Hungry

edited by Sheila E. McGinn, Lai Ling Elizabeth Ngan, and Ahida Calderon Pilarski

Important ecclesiastical documents have stressed the urgency of world hunger and put in the foreground its natural and historical causes, from famine to global austerity measures and welfare. These concerns have not always affected the way the biblical texts themselves have been read, however. Here, inspired by calls, from Dorothee Sölle and Kathleen O’Connor, biblical scholars apply a “hermeneutics of hunger” to the Bible, taking readings of texts from the Old and New Testaments alike on the premise that human hunger and want are urgent concerns that rightly shape the work of interpretation. Too often, however, as the authors show, biblical texts—like Jesus’ well known words that humans do not live “by bread alone”—have been used to marginalize such concerns within religious communities. Their essays here explore the dynamics of hunger and its causation in ancient Israel and the Greco-Roman world and challenge readers to take seriously the centrality of hunger concerns in the Bible.

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By the Rivers of Babylon

Blueprint for a Church in Exile

By Robert P. Hoch

The language of exile, focused with theological and biblical narratives and coupled with depictions of real-life exilic communities, can equip church leaders as agents in the creation of new communities.

It is commonplace today to hear Christians say we are a “church in exile” or a church in a “post-Christendom” society. But what does this really mean? In order for the church to make sense of this claim, we need some concrete descriptions of exilic life so that, in our reflections on congregational formation, we can begin to develop a more substantive language for our exilic experience.

In By the Rivers of Babylon, Robert Hoch reads the larger North American tradition of Christian worship and mission through the prism of visibly marginalized communities, communities that know the power of Babylon concretely. That is, they know displacement through some combination of physical dislocation, ethnicity, economic marginality, and political stigma. This readable and practical book is an essential resource for pastors and church leaders in these communities.

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