Finding God in the Waves: A Book Review

I hated listening to people talk on the radio or recordings for a very long time.
I blame my Mother’s love of listening to talk radio when I was a child.
(Can’t we just listen to music please???)

My husband, Ben, on the other hand, puts on a podcast whenever he’s doing any sort of menial task. Dishes, folding laundry, driving home from work, waiting for the microwave popcorn to pop.

About a year ago he finally convinced me that podcasts were a great way to learn things or be entertained, that they really weren’t all about sports or economics and that I could definitely find some that focused on theology or art or storytelling.

It didn’t take very long before I had a steady rotation of 6-10 podcasts I would listen to each morning while running.

One of the podcasts that quickly made its way into my rotation was The Liturgists. 

I had followed Michael Gungor’s work as a musician for years, but the other co-host – Science Mike – was new to me.

Like Science Mike, I also grew up in the south and the lions share of my church experience had been spent in the Southern Baptist Convention. I too had undergone a sizable shift in my faith in recent years.

Unlike Science Mike I have never considered myself an atheist and I can’t talk about quantum physics in casual conversation.

I was intrigued by the way science seemed to make Mike’s faith richer and more nuanced, and soon his other podcast Ask Science Mike was in steady rotation during my morning runs as well.

I’ve always enjoyed science, even though it didn’t fit with my conservative, evangelical upbringing. I never bothered to try to reconcile faith and science though. For a long time, I just accepted that science made fact claims that contradicted what the Bible said, and I was okay living with the knowledge of the mystery and tension. It was the elephant in the room of my consciousness, but I just moved a big armoire in front of the tension and called it a day.  Science Mike helped me unpack some of those unreconciled pieces of faith and science and  bring a whole new level of richness to my faith.

I’d believed in a Creator God for most of my life, but learning to see the science of life not as a contradiction but the means in which God was at work took my vision of Creator from one who colored-by-number to one more along the lines of Picasso.

“The heavens declare the glory of God”
….and the neuroscience proclaims God’s handiwork.

So when Mike announced he was writing a book, I knew it would be at the top of my never-ending list.  As expected, Finding God in the Waves combines vivid, compelling narrative with deep-dives into scientific facts in a way only Science Mike could combine them.

It’s irresistibly fresh and comfortingly familiar, kind of like when salted caramel burst on to the flavor scene. Your pallet for ways we talk about the spiritual will never be the same again.

For those unfamiliar with Mike and his podcast, the first half of the book is memoir. Mike recounts his story of growing up in the church, coming to faith, and then of losing his faith in God and becoming an “undercover atheist” while still attending (and teaching Sunday School) at his Southern Baptist church.

In the second half of the book, Mike dives deep and unpacks the science behind what he calls his “Axioms About Christian Faith.”

Science Mike borrow the term “axiom” from philosophy. In brief, his axioms are “ideas that can be accepted without further inquiry” about the Christian faith. He has axioms for major tenants of the Christian such as  God, prayer, Jesus, sin, the Church, and the Bible – among others.

During the last five chapters of the book, Science Mike walks the reader through the question and the science behind the formation of each of these axioms.  The result is a whirlwind trip through the basics of cosmology, neuroscience, and anthropology with splashes of fine art tossed in for good measure.

Mike describes his axioms as “woefully short” of Christian orthodoxy, but he’s okay with that. Instead of seeking to home in on or prove orthodoxy, he says his axioms are “a life raft for people who can’t get on board with the supernatural claims about God yet still want to be close to God.”

I’ve never been quite in need of a life raft personally, but there have been significant seasons in which I’ve felt as though my boat were dead in the water. Science Mike’s axioms are more like fresh wind in my sails, pushing the bounds on the ways I think about, talk about and view God.

___

If you grew up with a faith in God that now seems too small or out of touch with the world you find yourself in now – this book is for you.

If you believed in God at one point, but have long since stopped believing – this book is for you.

If you’ve never believed, but you’re curious about why someone would believe in God – this book is for you.

…Or if you’d just like to know the neuroscience behind why prayer makes you feel more at peace.

I cannot recommend Finding God in the Waves highly enough.

You can find a copy of your own on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.

 

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Searching for Sunday: Confession

My footsteps echoed loudly against the hard wood floor, stained deeply like burnt sienna. The sounds from my high heels against wooden planks bounced from the floor to the rafters to the vast painted dome above and finally back into mine and a dozen other sets of ears around me. I felt like I was invading.  I’ve never been in a Catholic church before, much less a basilica.

I made my way cautiously along the aisle by the confessional booths, equally confounded by their need for existence, ashamed of their abuses and desperately wanting to fling myself inside and break my heart open.

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. 

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Confession is unmistakably absent from much of my personal church history.  I got off pretty easy when I repeated the sinners prayer that night after AWANA. I silently repeated the words of the teacher up front. “I confess my sin” I prayed within myself.   No need to be specific about what those sins were. After all, Jesus died to take on all of my sin anyway, so why name them?

Confession lacked by omission, “I have an unspoken prayer request.”
Confession lacked by volition, “You don’t want to hurt our witness, don’t let them see you struggle.”

Confession just…lacked.

I spent many years of faith claiming a rejected, murdered Messiah who routinely welcomed those who were openly hurting and broken, all the while trying to present an polished and perfect appearance to the world around me.

Like so many others, I failed to value confession as a discipline of the faith.  Awkward and painful and time consuming as it is though, confession is vital. When we lose confession as a discipline, we immediately buy into the lie that has pulled humanity away from God since the very beginning: Do this, and you’ll be like God.

Don’t let them see you sweat, and you’ll be like God.
Save face, and you’ll be like God.
Hide your struggles, and you’ll be like God.
Overcommit your wallet…
Over work your life…
Over simplify your arguments…
Over look the faults of your ancestors…

…And you will be like God.

Except, God isn’t looking for people to hide and cover and stitch together facades of life so that they might be “like” God.

“We could not become like God, so God became like us. God showed us how to heal instead of kill, how to mend instead of destroy, how to love instead of hate, how to live instead of long for more. When we nailed God to a tree, God forgave. And when we buried God in the ground, God got up.” (Searching for Sunday)
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I had dinner with a friend last week.

Actually, I had vegan desserts in the middle of the afternoon, but we called it dinner so it was.

“What’s your story?” He asked, and I shimmied around the joys and broken bits of my life like a flamenco dancer.

“How about you?” I ended my dance with a flourish.

Shaking his head, he spun me back to the first bit I had skirted past and asked me to unpack the baggage I had tried hide amidst swirling skirts and flashing lights.

Step, ball change.

And I finally let it pour out in it’s entirety.
The pouring out of hurt and angry and broken matched by the rushing in of grace like salve on my soul.

“‘I’m a Christian,” Rachel writes, “‘because Christianity names and addresses sin. It acknowledges the reality that the evil we observe in the world is also present within ourselves. It tells the truth about the human condition—that we’re not okay.’”

We’re not okay.
I’m not okay.
And I’m even worse when I refuse to let anyone past the facade of “I’m good, how are you?”

I need to come to that place, daily, of not just walking past a monument of confession or muttering prayers written hundreds of years ago (Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you…) I need to allow those words to take root and open up in my soul.

The things I have done.
The things I have left undone.

Just because I can portray my life as perfect doesn’t mean I should.

“Imagine,” Rachel writes, “if every church became a place where everyone is safe, but no one is comfortable.”

Everyone is safe, no one is comfortable, and maybe we all could find the bravery within ourselves to step out from behind the bushes and walk confidently with God and one another in the garden once more.

#Justice: A Peek into Urban Violence w/ Megan Westra

“Do you feel safe?”

Well, not always.
I’m getting used to it now. The wide eyes and once-in-awhile gaping mouth. “Where do you live?”
I live in the inner city. On purpose. And I have no plans of leaving.

I have been robbed five times. I have witnessed a drug deal while sitting on my front porch. My block has been taped off with police line while the cops hunted down an armed assailant.

This is the inner city people think of when I talk about where I live, and they’re right. That is part of it.

There is violence and corruption in the inner city, but that’s not all there is…

Read the rest at A Sista’s Journey. 

Heartbroken, Yet Still in Pursuit of Justice

I am an eternal optimist.

I look for the best in people. Always.

My greatest bent in life is to look for the ways in which things and people, systems and structures may be restored.

I just see hope and potential everywhere.  Brokenhearted people, antique furniture, neighborhoods crumbling under the foreclosure crisis, students who have fallen through the gaps in the education system.

It is through these rose-tinted lenses that I encountered Gary Haugen’s new book The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. 

In The Locust Effect Haugen paints a sobering picture of the effects of violence on the world’s poorest residents.  As the former director of the United Nations Special Investigations Unit on the Rwandan Genocides and current president of International Justice Mission, Haugen is confronted with heartbreaking stories and harrowing realities as often as I am confronted with the challenge of navigating a two-year-old melting down in the grocery store.

The Locust Effect digs in to the nitty gritty of global development, the decidedly unsexy side of addressing poverty.  There are no no quick fixes or easy answers to be found.

“Indeed, for the global poor in this century, there is no higher-priority need with deeper and broader implications than the provision of basic justice systems that can protect them from the devastating ruin of common violence.  Because as anyone who has tasted it knows, if you’re not safe, nothing else matters.” 

I’ve heard campaigns and bought t-shirts, music albums, pairs of shoes and coffee served in red-colored cups all in the name of doing justice in the developing world.

Buy this shirt and help build a school!

Buy this brand of water and help dig a well!

Your paper-bead necklace supports a small business owned by this widow in Kenya!

This red-colored coffee cup will help cure HIV/AIDS!

It all fit so well in my rose-colored, hope-in-any-circumstance, glass-half-full kind of world.

But then I read about the village of La Union in Peru, where in just one week a medical examiner may see as many as 50 rape victims between the ages of 10-13.

I read about the 27 million slaves kept in bondage in the world today, and how their owners are not lurking in dark alleys.  They are announcing their fierceness and violence toward their slaves unabashedly in the streets.

I read that the most common crime committed against children in South Africa is rape.

I read that, horrifically, schools in the developing world are often places of sexual violence toward the girls who attend them in hopes of gaining an education.

As I read, my half-full-glass began to crack and seep.  A slow, sorrowful trickling from the glass and from the corners of my eyes alike.

I had all but convinced myself that magic bullets exist.

I moved into the inner city of Milwaukee four years ago, and fully believed that if we only moved closer to the pain and suffering of others that our proximity would bring restoration.

I read Half the Sky and believed if we could only educate children – boys and girls equally – around the globe, then our communities would be stronger and our hope for the future would be realized.

But there are no magic bullets.

There are no quick fixes.

Our t-shirts, bottled water choices, paper bead necklaces and red-colored cups of coffee cannot ultimately change the world.

They can help.

But as Haugen points out, unless there is a functioning justice system in place in communities in the developing world, any efforts to improve education or access to water, to jumpstart small businesses for single mothers or address health concerns like HIV/AIDS will ultimately be consumed by violence, like locusts bringing havoc on a field ripe for harvest.

“We need to fundamentally change the conversation.  Whenever we speak of global poverty, we must speak of the violence imbedded in that poverty…
In every forum, conference, classroom, policy discussion, think tank, blog, or dinner table conversation where global poverty is center stage, the problem of violence deserves equal time with hunger, dirty water, disease, illiteracy, unemployment, gender discrimination, housing, or sanitation because for the poor, violence is every bit as devastating and is frequently the hidden force undermining solutions to these other needs.”

WIth such overwhelming statistics and gut-wrenching stories The Locust Effect left me wondering a bit about what I could practically do to engage – and hopefully change – such dire circumstances for people around the world.

I’m all for starting conversations and raising awareness, but what more can I do?
(Since, let’s be real, I’m not going back to law school and moving to Peru anytime soon.)

I was encouraged, though, to hear in an interview discussing The Locust Effect Gary Haugen sighting the influence and importance of Millennials in the fight against injustice.

“I think this actually can be the generation that eliminates this epidemic of slavery that we have in the world. This could be the generation, but that will require their capacity – our capacity – to be committed to the stretch of our lives to see that this problem is dealt with.”

The step right now in the journey toward justice?  Adovocate.  Tell the stories. Make the conversations happen.
This may not seem like much sometimes, but this is our role at this moment and we must be faithful to it.
The journey we’re embarking on is a long one.  Slavery and oppression and the stripping of human dignity have been around for centuries.  But rather than be discouraged by the magnitude of the problem, let us be encouraged in the steps we personally can take today.  To open our eyes, to lean in, to let our hearts ache, to tell our circles of influence what we have seen.
The path to freedom and wholeness for humanity is a marathon, not a sprint.  I’m training for a half-marathon right now, and some days all I can focus on is putting one foot in front of the other mile after tediously long mile.

This is our call, generation.  My millennials, in the house.  That we would be faithful, step after step, mile after mile of this journey.  That we would not grow tired of running the race.  That the stories of the victims and the freed would ever be on our lips.  That we would be “committed to the stretch of our lives.”  Every last breath given in some way to seeing dignity and wholeness granted to each person on earth.

Your turn.

You can start to make an impact on the epidemic of violence against the poor today.  How?
1) Read The Locust Effect and get informed.  If you purchase a copy of the book by tomorrow, February 15th, a partner of IJM will donate $20 to help fight violence against the poor.
2) Spread the word.  Link to this blog and to http://www.thelocusteffect.com to help get the word out and inform other people.
3) Stay engaged.  Let your heart break for this daily.  Do not grow tired of speaking up and getting the word out.  We need you in this for the long haul.

I’m giving away one free copy of The Locust Effect to a reader, just follow the instructions below for your chance to win this paradigm shifting book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weekend Reading

The Reads:

Humboldt Park Woman, sick of ‘dibs,’ Shovels Entire Block  
“‘Forget about dibs, and I’ll just do it for you. I just think it’s a better way for us to live as a community: as people who look out for each other instead of fighting for spots.'”

Tell Your Daughters They’re Beautiful
“80% of 10-year-old American girls say they have been on a diet. The number one magic wish for young girls age 11-17 is to be thinner.

The last thing girls need is their own mothers reaffirming the cultural and societal myths and unrealistic expectations (even the models don’t really look the way they are digitally presented) about the way girls and women should look. Mom should be a safe place; the one person who loves us just the way we are, regardless of the things we perceive to be our own shortcomings”

Baptism, Righteousness, and the War on Poverty: A 2014 Epiphany (Matthew 3:13-17)
“In this sense, Matthew 3:13-17 calls us to live out righteousness in a much more integrative way than arbitrary handouts or following the tweets of OXFAM. We are to prepare and eat every meal in righteousness. We add righteousness to the mundane questions of budget, cost and delivery for every purchase and investment. Considerations of righteousness transform our uncomfortable confrontations with homeless individuals to divine encounters with fellow humans created in the image of God.”

The Polar Vortex provided ample family snuggle time!

The Polar Vortex provided ample family snuggle time!

6 Words You Should Say Today
When simply watching someone makes your heart feel as if it could explode right out of your chest, you really should let that person know.

It is as simple and lovely as that.”

Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture at a Time
“Public shaming is awful and is nothing less than societally sanctioned parental bullying. Especially harmful to the young people against whom it is used as a weapon, the ramifications will resonate throughout their lives. They aren’t as tough as we pretend we are.”

Strong & Weak Are Not Opposites; Strong & Fake Are Opposites
“If you feel weak and you are honest about that weakness even in the face of criticism – that’s strength to me. If you refuse to hide who you are by lashing out at others, by snarking all the time, by deflecting and judging and knocking others down to mask your own insecurity – if you just come out and say, ‘You know what? I’m weak a lot. I’m a little lost and confused and sensitive and insecure sometimes and that’s all right with me because I’m pretty sure that’s just what it means to be HUMAN.’ That’s my kind of STRONG. None of this fake bravado, please. Be real. You don’t need to be SuperHuman – Just Be human.”

A Secret to Handeling Conflicts With Your Kids (from Toddlers to Teens)
“Rise above your triggers, wounds and patterns from the past and be the parent, rather than getting caught up in your child’s behaviors, taking them personally and engaging in conflicts at his or her level. This is the key to breaking negative cycles.”

the joy that is almond butter and grandma's homemade grape jelly (and super-staticy winter hair).

the joy that is almond butter and grandma’s homemade grape jelly
(and super-staticy winter hair).

I Hope We Never Become a ‘Christian Nation’ Again
“The problem with evaluating Christianity based on numbers is that it simply doesn’t work — it doesn’t reflect the true essence of Christ. When people claim we were once a great Christian nation, they’re using a revisionist history and glossing over the notorious corporate sins of our past. Arguably, America today might be more Christ-like than at any other point in our history.”

What Counts? with Jen Hatmaker
“This is going to require more from us. We are going to have to live prophetic lives in our communities, not relegate the heavy spiritual lifting to the pastors on Sunday mornings. People will not be brought in through Christian rhetoric, which has become white noise in our post-Christian society. We must reach out with the values the de-churched and un-churched have expressed: authenticity, justice, flexibility, kindness and grace, simplicity, and community. These are obviously much more costly than a 25-minute sermon once a week.”

 

From My January Books:
“Evangelical Christians often champion the ‘sanctity of life.’ This phrase typically refers only to abortion. Many Evangelicals argue that a culture that allows legal abortion does not truly value human life. While many Evangelicals have fought against abortion for decades, we have yet to see a movement that expands the idea of ‘sanctity of life’ to fighting for the ‘quality of life.’ If we truly believe that all life is sacred, then the logical conclusion is that once a life is born we continue to fight for that life to have equal opportunities to live up to its potential.”

– From Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can – and Should – Do to Improve Education for Low Income Kids
(Nicole Baker Fulgham)

On my “You can totally run a half marathon by June” playlist:
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – Shakira
Getting Nowhere – Magnetic Man featuring John Legend
Summer Girls – LFO
Let it Rock – Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne
God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion) – Newsboys
Shine On – Blitzen Trapper

In my coffee mug:
2 pump caramel flan latte from Starbucks
(fancy pants this weekend)

Weekend Reading

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my “coffee” drinking buddy.
really, i just put her milk in a mug. she can dig it.


The Reads:

Sexism is Daily Reality for Girls, says Girlguiding
“Most of the 13-year-olds questioned said they had experienced sexual harassment, rising to 80% of 19 to 21-year-olds…

The report also talks of bias in the way women are portrayed in the media, with girls and women facing “unprecedented levels of personal and public scrutiny” over body shape”.

Of the 11 to 21-year-olds questioned, 75% agreed boys expected girls to look like images they saw in the media, while 71% said they would like to lose weight.”

Why I Finally Wear TOMS Shoes
“Simply stated, handouts tend to create dependency in the long term and can actually undermine a local economy…But now, TOMS Shoes is changing their approach. And I’m dancing in my new shoes.TOMS Shoes will open a shoe-manufacturing business in Haiti this January. 100 Haitians will be on the payroll. It’s a small step. Yet it’s a huge change in the company’s approach.”

A New Anointing for a New Year
“Hope in us needs breath. If we’ve buried our dreams over time in the valley of the dry bones, we need to be willing to see them there. But first, we need to be willing to even just lift up our heads. And remember. The hope that was once so alive in us.”

The True Cost of Stuff
“The cost of purchasing an item just scratches the surface. When we buy something, we are taking it into our homes, our lives, and we are taking on the life of another object in this world.”

Rich Catholics vs. The Pope
“What all this adds up to is hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable compensation for financial cronies, but not a dime more for low-income workers. It is exactly the kind of skewed outcome Francis means when he speaks about today’s capitalists, ‘the powerful feeding upon the powerless,’ and the need for renewed state regulation to bring their burgeoning tyranny under control.”

Scripture as Witness to the Word of God
“The Bible is the word of God that bears witness to the Word of God — Jesus Christ.

The Logos-Word became flesh — not a book.

Jesus is God. The Bible is not.

The Bible did not create the Heavens and Earth — the Word (Christ) did.

We worship Jesus; we do not worship the Bible.

The Bible is not a member of the Trinity.

The Bible is not God. Jesus is God.”

Pope Francis Leaves Nuns A Voicemail That You Have to Hear
“What are the nuns doing that they can’t answer the phone?”

 

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Homemade play-doh for the win this week!

From my January books:
“‘In twenty years of working in the Bronx, the neighborhood churches have have only reached out to me two times. One time they came to lobby for prayer in public schools. The other time they protested a new science curriculum that included evolution. Twice they contacted me in twenty years – and they wanted to talk about school prayer and evolution. But you know what? For twenty years I’ve had kids that cannot read or do basic math. My students struggle to make it through school. We don’t have enough books, supplies, or resources for them. Our school building is literally crumbling around us. The kids have life-threatening, urgent needs. They’re hungry; they’re homeless. But in all these years, you’ve only criticized. You’ve never helped. Taking evolution out of my textbooks won’t change a thing for my kids. They’ll still be poor, uneducated, and stuck in the cycle of poverty. But not one church person has ever asked me about any of those things’… [he said] he wouldn’t welcome the church in his school because , as far as he could see, they couldn’t care less about what kids in poverty really need to succeed in school.”

– From Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can – and Should – Do to Improve Education for Low Income Kids
(Nicole Baker Fulgham)

“Violence is as much a part of what it means to be poor as being hungry, sick, homeless or jobless. In fact, as we shall see, violence is frequently the problem that poor people are most concerned about.”
– From The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence
(Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros)

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NYE poutine with the husband man.

On my “you can totally run a half marathon by June” playlist:
Royals – Lorde
God is Enough – Lecrae
Applause – Lady Gaga
Try – P!nk
Gold on the Ceiling – The Black Keys
A Long Way Off – Gungor

In my coffee mug:
the remnants of my pound of Starry Night holiday blend from Collectivo

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NYE polaroids!

What about you?  What are you reading, running to or sipping this weekend?

The Equally Audacious but Hopefully More Successful 2014 Reading List

So last year I read a decent amount, just not what I planned to read necessarily.

Here’s to sticking to the plan this year!

Credit: uitdragerij via Flickr

Credit: uitdragerij via Flickr

January

The Locust Effect: Why The End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence
(Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros)

Educating All God’s Children: What Christians Can – and Should – Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids

(Nicole Baker Fulgham)

February

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women
(Sarah Bessey)

Growing Strong Daughters: Encouraging Girls to Become All They’re Meant to Be
(Lisa Graham McMinn)

March

Beauty will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity
(Brian Zahnd)

The Crowd the Critic and the Muse: A Book for Creators
(Michael Gungor)

The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity
(Soong-Chan Rah)

April

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel
(Barbara Kingsolver)

Red Moon Rising: How 24-7 Prayer is Awakening a Generation
(Pete Greig, Dave Roberts, and Peter Greig)

How Shall We Worship?
(Marva J. Dawn)

May

Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation  
(Miroslav Volf)

Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart
(Christena Cleveland)

June

The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See
(Richard Rohr)

Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline
(Lauren F. Winter)

A Royal ‘Waste’ of Time: The Splendor of Worshipping God and Being Church for the World
(Marva J. Dawn)

July

Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity
(J.R. Daniel Kirk)

Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions: Engaging the Mystery of Friendship Between Men and Women
(Dan J. Brennan)

August

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

1984
(George Orwell)

September

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith
(Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson and Soong-Chan Rah)

The Color Purple
(Alice Walker)

October

Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus
(Kathy Escobar)

Hope Abundant: Third World and Indigenous Women’s Theology
(Kwok Pui-lan)

November

Their Eyes Were Watching God
(Zora Neale Hurston)

Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision
(Randy Woodley)

December

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess
(Jen Hatmaker)

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
(Anne Lamott)