Amusing and entertaining, thought-provoking and sympathetically controversial
JESUS: DAS INTERVIEW
(Jesus: The Interview)
by Detlev F. Neufert
Gütersloher Verlagshaus, January 2015
As is the case with a lot of people, Detlev F. Neufert is often plagued by myriad questions and doubts. And so he sought a conversation with the Son of God.
In a profound, honest and sometimes feisty exchange of words, Jesus discloses a lot to stimulate further thought. In the course of the unconventional and refreshing answers several things becomes clear: only with faith and reason is insight possible; pleasure and reason are not necessarily contrary to each other; trust is the indispensable basis of everything; and coincidence is part of the life matrix of creation.
Detlev F. Neufert, born in 1948, works as a documentary filmmaker, journalist and author and has to date made over 40 films for television. Neufert contributes to several national newspapers.
A popular introduction to Christianity
Das Christentum in 100 Fragen und Antworten
(Christianity in 100 Questions and Answers)
by Christoph Störmer
Gütersloher Verlagshaus, January 2015
Are the Ten Commandments still in keeping with today? What qualities are typical of Christians? What is the point of praying? Why do Christians make the sign of the cross? What is Pentecost, or Whitsun as it is also called, all about?
Christoph Störmer uses simple words to answer 100 questions about Christianity, giving readers an easily accessible introduction to a complex range of topics. References to the present day go to make a vivid picture of this faith.
Christoph Störmer, born in 1950, is a theologian and trained teacher. He has worked in London and New York and has been the senior pastor in Hamburg’s oldest church, St. Peter’s, since 2002.
What if that person you’ve been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today? And what if that’s the point?
In ACCIDENTAL SAINTS, New York Times best-selling author Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA.
As she lives and worships alongside these “accidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand encounters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are transformed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own.
In a time when many have rightly become disillusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints demonstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike.
Told in Nadia’s trademark confessional style, ACCIDENTAL SAINTS is the stunning next work from one of today’s most important religious voices.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She is author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Pastrix. Her writings can be found in the Christian Century, The Lutheran Magazine and Patheos.com. Nadia has been featured in The Washington Post, Bitch Magazine, NPR’s Morning Edition, More Magazine, The Daily Beast and on CNN.
Heaven isn’t just a dream; it’s a promise
Are the Ten Commandments still in keeping with today? What qualities are typical of Christians? What is the point of praying? Why do Christians make tHow can we know for sure what heaven will be like?
Well, according to New Testament scholar and popular author Scot McKnight, all we need to do is to turn to Scripture to answer our questions.
Separating fact from fiction, McKnight helps the reader examine the witness of God’s Word in order to discover what awaits us on the other side of the grave.
Using the Bible, McKnight answers the most-frequently-asked questions regarding heaven, including:
1. What about Near-Death Experiences?
2. What about Rewards in Heaven?
3. Who Will Be Allowed in Heaven?
4. Is God Fair?
5. Will There Be Families in Heaven?
6. What about Children Who Die?
7. What about Cremation?
8. What about Purgatory?
9. Will There be Pets in Heaven?
10. Why Believe in Heaven?
Heaven isn’t the construction of a fairytale or some mythical narrative. It’s very real; it’s very good; and it’s very much the fulfillment of God’s promise to us.
The bestselling author Brant Pitre poses the question: Are the Gospels historically accurate, and can they be trusted? The answer he provides will shock readers and undermine more than 100 years of biblical scholarship
THE CASE FOR JESUS
by Brant Pitre
Image, February 2016
Over the past five decades, scholars have attacked the historical truth of the Gospels and argued that they were originally anonymous and filled with contradictions. Brant taps into the wells of Christian scripture, history, and tradition to ask and answer a number of different questions, including: If we don’t know who wrote the Gospels, how can we trust them? How are the four Gospels different from other Gospels, such as the lost Gospel of « Q » and the Gospel of Thomas? How can the four Gospels be historically true when there are differences between them? How much faith should be put into these writings?
As THE CASE FOR JESUS will show, recent discoveries in New Testament scholarship, as well as neglected evidence from ancient manuscripts and the early Church fathers, together have the potential to pull the rug out from under a century of skepticism toward the apostolic authorship and historical truth of the traditional Gospels.
Brant Pitre is a professor of Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the author of the bestselling book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper (2011). Dr. Pitre is an extremely enthusiastic and highly sought after speaker and has produced dozens of Bible studies on both CD and DVD, in which he explores the biblical roots of the Catholic faith.
In BROKEN GODS, a work that is both practical and inspirational, Dr. Greg explores what our deepest desires–and even our darkest desires– tell us about our ultimate destiny and reveals a commonsense approach to fulfilling our true purpose in life
Blasphemy? No, those mysterious words, spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of John and alluded to in Psalm 82, point to a holy longing deep in our hearts that tells each of us that we were created for more.
“Imagine that you were to wake up tomorrow to discover that, by some miracle, you had become a god overnight,” writes Dr. Gregory Popcak. “Not THE God—omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful—but a god in the classic sense. That is to say, you woke to find that you were perfect, immortal, utterly confident in who you are, where you were going in life, and how you were going to get there. It might seem ridiculous to consider at first, but allow yourself to imagine this truly miraculous transformation. What would it be like to live without fear? How would it feel to be completely at peace with yourself and the people in your life? Imagine what it would be like to be able to resolve—once and for all—the tension that currently exists between all your competing feelings, impulses, desires, and demands. What would change in your life as a result of your having become that sort of divinely actualized person?”
Dr. Gregory Popcak is a nationally recognized expert in Catholic pastoral counseling, especially in the areas of affective disorders (depression, anxiety) and marriage and family problems. He has degrees in psychology and theology, as well as a master’s degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. in human services, with a specialization in pastoral counseling. He is the host of a radio program, which can be heard nationally. Dr. Popcak’s articles and columns can regularly be found in such publications as Catholic Parent, Family Foundations, Faith and Family, Our Sunday Visitor, and others.
“Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, was a man whose life was the expression of a richly textured and multidimensional soul. The many layers of that soul took on their first, mature form in Kraków.” – George Weigel
In this beautifully illustrated spiritual travelogue, New York Times bestselling author George Weigel leads readers through the historic streets of Kraków, Poland, introducing one of the world’s great cities through the life of one of the most influential Catholic leaders of all time.
“To follow Karol Wojtyła through Kraków is to follow an itinerary of sanctity while learning the story of a city.” Weigel writes. “Thus, in what follows, the story of Karol Wojtyła, St. John Paul II, and the story of Kraków are interwoven in a chronological pilgrimage through the life of a saint that reveals, at the same time, the dramatic history and majestic culture of a city where a boy grew into a man, priest, a bishop—and an apostle to the world.”
With stunning photographs by Stephen Weigel and notes on the city’s remarkable fabric by Carrie Gress, City of Saints offers an in-depth look at a man and a city that made an indelible impression on the life and thought of the Catholic Church and the 21st century world.
George Weigel is a Catholic theologian and a foremost commentator on issues of religion and public life. A Vatican analyst for NBC News, Weigel is the author of fifteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, Evangelical Catholicism and Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism, and The End and the Beginning. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Theologian Gary Black Jr., Dallas Willard’s friend and apprentice, integrates the revered teacher’s final conversations about death and the afterlife with his profound teachings on spiritual life, offering a unique and astonishing look at heaven and what it holds for us
In the year before his death, Dallas Willard shared moving and insightful conversations about the afterlife with Gary Black Jr, informal dialogues steeped in theology yet grounded in the here and now. Dallas believed that our mortal lives are preparation for what comes next. He maintained that death is not the end of one life and the beginning of another, but rather a transition during which we continue the spiritual work begun in this incarnation.
In his acclaimed books, Dallas explored the Christian life in the earthly kingdom. Yet one topic remained untouched: his vision of heaven. For the first time, Preparing for Heaven illuminates Dallas’s most intimately held views, including the few mystical occurrences he experienced while dying. Informative and moving, Dallas’s final insights challenge us to reconsider our beliefs—that perhaps the line separating the afterlife from this life is not as absolute as we think, and that there is work we must do both now and after our own deaths. And that perhaps our faith is more vibrant—and eternal—than we dare to imagine.
A leading trend spotter in contemporary Christianity examines how people are undergoing a new spiritual awakening—discovering God in new ways as well as shifting the way they understand and practice their faith
In CHRISTIANITY AFTER RELIGION, Diana Butler Bass revealed how the “spiritual but not religious movement” is transforming the way individuals engage with God. In Grounded, she further explores our post-religion age, revealing how traditional notions of a top-down, heaven-oriented, distant God are being supplanted by an embodied theology that offers a new vision of God with us. God is active in every aspect of our lives—embodied in the physical world around us, our loved ones, our history, our culture and food, and in our greatest yearnings.
Analyzing current trends, news, data, literature, and pop culture, Bass shows how the world of church and spiritual practice are changing, moving outside the walls of the church and into the world around us, and cites spiritual texts, ancient traditions, theologists, teachers, and anecdotes from her own religious journey to explore the evolving life of faith. As she reports on the changes happening in the church and in religious communities across the country, she offers advice and insight to help readers join this emerging movement and become grounded in their own spiritual journey.
Diana Butler Bass is a regular commentator on religion, politics, and culture for media outlets nationwide. The author of Christianity for the Rest of Us, A People’s History of Christianity, and Christianity After Religion, she holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is a popular speaker at churches, retreats and workshops across the country.
Renowned religion expert and Harvard Divinity School professor Harvey Cox deepens our experience of the Bible, revealing the three primary ways we read it, why each is important, and how we can integrate these approaches for a richer understanding and appreciation of key texts throughout the Old and New Testaments
HOW TO READ THE BIBLE
by Harvey Cox
HarperOne, April 2014
The Bible is the heart of devotional practice, a source of guidance and inspiration rich with insightful life lessons. On the other side of the spectrum, academics have studied the Bible using scientific analysis to examine its historical significance and meaning. The gap between these readings has resulted in a schism with far-reaching implications: Without historical context, ordinary people are left to interpret the Bible literally, while academic readings overlook the deeply personal connections established in church pews, choir benches, and backyard study groups.
In HOW TO READ THE BIBLE, Cox explores three different lenses commonly used to bring the Bible into focus:
Literary—as narrative stories of family conflict, stirring heroism, and moral dilemmas;
History—as classic texts with academic and theological applications;
Activism—as a source of dialogue and engagement to be shared and applied to our lives.
By bringing these together, Cox shows the Bible in all its rich diversity and meaning and offers us a contemporary activist version that wrestles with issues of feminism, war, homosexuality, and race. The result is a living resource that is perpetually evolving as our understanding changes and deepens from generation to generation.
Bestselling and controversial bishop and teacher Spong (Why Christianity Must Change or Die, Eternal Life: A New Vision) reveals how the church’s literal reading of the Gospels is heretical compared to what the original Jewish authors meant to convey
BIBLICAL LITERALISM: A GENTILE HERESY
A Journey into a New Christianity Through the Doorway of Matthew’s Gospel
by John Shelby Spong
HarperOne, March 2016
John Shelby Spong is the bestselling author of over 20 books such as The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic, Jesus for the Non-Religious, Christianity Must Change or Die, and Eternal Life: A New Vision, where he explores commonly held Christian beliefs and shows us how we can understand them in new and better ways. In his new book, Biblical Literalism-A Gentile’s Heresy, Spong does just the opposite: He shows why the church’s literal reading of the Gospels is actually heretical and why we must return to the what the original Jewish authors meant to convey. Looking through the lens of the Gospel of Matthew, he explores the literary and liturgical roots of this Jewish gospel and how the original reading provides a better blueprint for the future than where the church’s leaden and heretical reading of the story of Jesus has led us.
John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000. As a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches throughout North America and the English-speaking world, he is one of the leading spokespersons for liberal Christianity. His books include The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic, Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World; Eternal Life: A New Vision; Jesus for the Non Religious; Sins of Scripture; A New Christianity for a New World; Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism; Resurrection: Myth or Reality?; Why Christianity Must Change or Die; and his autobiography, Here I Stand. He has initiated landmark discussions of controversies within the church and has become an outspoken advocate for change.
The popular Patheos blogger wants to restore the cross as primarily a symbol of God’s overwhelming love for us and to rescue Christians from the shame and guilt from seeing our situation as “sinners in the hands of an angry God,” which was an invention of the medieval church and became enshrined as orthodox Christianity
DID GOD KILL JESUS?
Searching for Love in History’s Most Famous Execution
by Tony Jones
HarperOne, March 2015
Many Christians believe that God the Father demanded his only Son die a cruel, gruesome death to appease His wrath, since humanity is so irredeemably sinful and therefore repugnant to God. Tony Jones, popular progressive Christian blogger, author, and scholar, argues that this understanding is actually a medieval invention and not what the Bible really teaches. He looks beyond medieval convictions and liberates how we see Jesus’s death on the cross from this restrictive paradigm. Christians today must transcend the shame and guilt that have shaped conceptions of the human soul and made us fearful of God, and replace them with love, grace, and joyfulness, which better expresses what the cross is really about.
How we understand the cross reflects directly what kind of God we worship. By letting go of the wrathful God who cannot stand to be in our presence unless he pretends to see Jesus in our place, we discover the biblical God who reaches out to love and embrace us while “we were yet sinners.” Jones offers a positive, loving, inclusive interpretation of the faith that is both challenging and inspiring. Did God Kill Jesus? is essential reading for modern Christians.
Tony Jones, Ph.D. (Princeton Theological Seminary), M.Div. (Fuller Theological Seminary), is the theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch, an innovative emerging church in Minneapolis, and the author of twelve books, including The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life, and The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. Tony is a popular blogger on Patheos, with over 340,000 unique visitors and 1.14 million pageviews per year.