Reading Romans Backwards

This week I began reading Scot McKnight’s new work, Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire.

Why might this book be a helpful voice on studies in Romans? McKnight offers a different angle on the intent behind Paul’s most well-known, most taught and preached letter in all of the New Testament. As he notes in a recent interview:

“So we read the book of Romans as if it were an evangelistic tract to get people saved. No. The people to whom Paul is writing this letter are saved. He is not sketching how to get saved. He is sketching the foundation of reconciliation…” Continue reading

How the Body of Christ Talks

how the body of christ talksI was first introduced to Chris Smith’s work back in 2013 when he released his little ebook, The Virtue of Dialogue. I immediately held an appreciation for his work and perspective of the Christian life.

I continued to follow his work with Slow Church in 2014, noting it was one of the top books I had read in my Christian life. Lastly, I enjoyed his Reading for the Common Good back in 2016. So, one can imagine that I was looking forward to the release of his newest work this April, How the Body of Christ Talks. Continue reading

The Sacred Enneagram

There is a huge craze today around a particular personality typing system. It’s known as the Enneagram.

Many are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type IndicatorStrengthsFinder, DiSC profile and others. Needless to say, there are quite a few personal and professional typing systems out there to help people learn about themselves, as well as how to relate to others.

If you don’t know the Enneagram, I would at least encourage you to check out the Enneagram Institute’s website or listen to this Liturgist’s podcast episode as a thorough introduction.

I have been personally studying about the Enneagram for the past seven or eight months, through some introductory teaching at our college, the Enneagram website, the Liturgist podcast, the Road Back to You podcast, and now through Christopher Heuertz’s book, The Sacred Enneagram. Continue reading

Friend of the Soul

friend of the soulJust this week I finished reading Friend of the Soul: A Benedictine Spirituality of Work by Norvene Vest. Vest is a spiritual director and author who focuses much of her work on Benedictine spirituality. I was looking for some more resources around vocation and calling as I develop a new course called The Religious Dimension of Work, so this work was recommended to me by Chris Smith of the Englewood Review of Books.

Who is this friend referred to in the book’s title? It is work. Through the Rule of St. Benedict, Vest offers that work is to be our friend, a friend of the soul. For me, this was a beautiful, fresh insight!

Not that I don’t already know that work is good and all work of all types can be done to the glory of God. But seeing work as our friend calls us to see it as something very personal, very intimate. Even more, rather than seeing work as something we simply deal with or, worse yet, despise, I have come to better appreciate work as our companion of the soul. Continue reading