Reading – February 2020

Reading – February 2020

Christianity in a Post-Atheist Age, Clive Marsh (2002) A lot of books written about contemporary faith have a difficult time contending with post-modernism because it seems like they rely on the modernity constructs for survival, and while this book flirts with that same tendency its approach is a little more novel for introducing questions that arise from a today (even if it was printed 18 years ago).  Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age,

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My Last Pilgrimage

My Last Pilgrimage

When I first met Archives Books, it was a brick building nestled at the base of the foothills of Pasadena. As an undergrad student in Biblical Studies, it provided a breadth and depth unmatched by any other brick-and-mortar bookstore (this was 2005) and it was exhilarating to see spines that matched footnotes, bibliographies, and articles that I was reading. It was about an hour from campus, which made for a perfect road trip and set

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Reading – January 2020

Reading – January 2020

The Christian World: A Global History, Martin Marty (2007) Marty provides a sufficient overview about the global development of Christianity by focusing geographically on specific areas within specific eras. Because he is trying to cover so much material though, there is much that is either glossed over or presented very simplistically. However, this will provide an excellent introduction to seeing Christian history as a global series of events rather than along a westernized trajectory that

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Review: The #MeToo Reckoning

Review: The #MeToo Reckoning

The #MeToo Reckoning: Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct (IVP, 2020) responds to the rising awareness of sexual misconduct and a paradigm shift in regards to patriarchy and the silencing of victims (#metoo). Ruth Everhart’s book is not a knee-jerk reaction to this social event but a timely confrontation for the Church to address its own behavior.  The book is structured so that each chapter develops a particular theme, which Everhart intertwines

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An Active Pursuit of Pacifism

An Active Pursuit of Pacifism

Often when I hear about pacifism, it is defined in opposition to certain acts. A pacifist does not enlist in the military or support military engagement. A pacifist does not engage in violence. A pacifist will not retaliate if harmed. There is an urban legend of a certain Christian ethicist who has claimed that he would not intervene if someone was sexually assaulting his wife. The image of a pacifist is well caricatured by a

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Review: Paul the Progressive?

Review: Paul the Progressive?

The recent book Paul the Progressive? by Eric Smith is an attempt to rehabilitate the image of Paul and his outsized influence on the New Testament and Christianity. Within the introduction, Smith writes, “This book is an attempt to convince you think about Paul differently. I hope that I can convince you that Paul was not a misogynist, a homophobe, an anti-Semite, a prude, an apologist for slavery, a defender of arbitrary government power, a

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Exploring Our Life Together: Benediction and Conclusion

Exploring Our Life Together: Benediction and Conclusion

The final part of our liturgy is known as the Benediction, which comes from a Latin term meaning “to speak well-being”. Typically, a benediction at FCCF will reiterate the themes from the morning in a concise blessing given to the people. It connects our past hour with the life we have ahead of us. The benediction provides a moment to pivot between what has been and what will be, changed as a result of the

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Review: Jesus Undefeated

Review: Jesus Undefeated

Jesus Undefeated is the fourth volume in a series of books from author Keith Giles where he attempts to develop a christocentric view in contrast to views that are assumed to be dominant or traditional views on politics, the bible, church, and hell (Jesus Untangled, Jesus Unbound, Jesus Unveiled, and Jesus Undefeated, respectively). Jesus Undefeated is an accessible, approachable book on the views of hell and, more specifically, what the Bible says (and doesn’t say)

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Exploring Our Life Together: Worship and Service

Exploring Our Life Together: Worship and Service

A part of our liturgy with “less than ancient” origins is a phrase that we use to conclude the lay leaders’ announcements: “Worship is over; let the service begin”.  This component reminds us how experimental liturgy can be. Some borrowed words become sacred over time because of how they shape a community’s identity and inspire faithfulness. Even though we have only used it for a few years, this phrase has become so familiar that many

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Exploring Our Life Together: Invitation

Exploring Our Life Together: Invitation

While each component of our liturgy has different participatory activities (singing, walking, holding, speaking, tasting, listening, reflecting), the Invitation to Discipleship is the most explicit call to action. Based on everything that we have shared together, we have a way to respond. This deliberate decision to move forward in our journey of faith is what we call discipleship.  Sometimes this manifests itself as an “altar call” or a call to join the church, but discipleship

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