Loneliness touches everyone, old or young, rich or poor. It can be one of the most painful experiences of life.
You may be surprised to learn that God actually longs to be friends with you. In Beyond Loneliness, Hudson guides you to discover how to build or deepen your friendship with God. Each chapter includes friendship exercises and reflection questions, making this book a perfect resource for individual or small-group study.
Do you struggle to relate to the Bible?
In One Day I Wrote Back, Herring leads you to talk back to those scripture passages you don’t understand. Ask questions, explore your life, plead, praise, and ponder.
Timeless Wisdom on Prayer
In this expanded and updated version of evangelist E. Stanley Jones’s best seller, you will find:
- • What prayer really is
- • How to create an environment for prayer
- • 9 steps of prayer
- • 11 prayers E. Stanley Jones prayed
- • A brief biography of Jones
- • Tips for keeping a spiritual journal
“A treasure trove of personal stories, fresh ideas, good theology in everyday language, and prayers for all occasions. I am so inspired by Jenny’s desire to grow praying kids who believe with all their hearts that God hears and answers.”
—Andi Ashworth, author of Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring
Editor-in-chief of the Art House America blog
A valuable resource to help parents and grandparents nurture children’s faith
“Whatever your family looks like, Passing It On makes room for you to foster and record your shared wisdom intergenerationally. As a practical theologian, I thank Oliver for this invitation into practicing the formation that is already happening with more engagement, encouragement, and delight.”
—Melinda McGarrah Sharp, PhD
Author of Misunderstanding Stories: Toward a Postcolonial Pastoral Theology
In this collection of 20 heartfelt meditations, Missy Buchanan provides compassionate insight into two generations — adult children and their aging parents — as they struggle with the fears and frustrations of aging.
Encouraging devotions that will help grieving women find strength, comfort, and healing
Drawing from scripture, a wide range of literature, and her own experience, Nell Noonan has created a wonderful collection of devotions
that are sure to be a comfort to those in the midst of grief.
—Rev. Carol Gregg
Pastor, The Congregation at Duke University Chapel
Durham, North Carolina
Another Bead, Another Prayer is the second in Vincent’s series for Protestants about prayer beads and their role in spiritual formation and religious devotion. Even the complete novice will find here not only the prayers appointed to each set of beads but also, and blessedly, easy-to-follow, deeply pastoral guidance into both the practice and the prayers. —Phyllis Tickle
See the first book in the series, A Bead and a Prayer.
This article was originally posted at radicaldiscipleship.net and is used by permission.
The Bible comes to us out of a patriarchal culture. At the same time, I believe firmly that the hand of the Spirit of God shaped what was recorded, however troubling or puzzling; however, these recordings may reflect the dynamics of oppression in this world rather than the creative liberation I feel is core to the reign of God. I hold these two realities in tension.
Because of this conviction, I pay constant attention to the stories of women who do break into scripture. Most of them are, predictably, relegated to the margins. They can appear sidekicks to the “real” stories of the (male) prophets, kings, patriarchs, warriors, and holy men. Yet hidden precisely within these “narratives of the margins” are the rankling questions that upset the power structures and interrogate our assumptions about God.
For more than ten years, I have been working with the story of the Shunammite woman of 2 Kings 4:8-37. You may remember this woman—she offers to build an upper room for the prophet Elisha to stay in when he comes to town. In return (and unasked), Elisha tells her she will have a son. (She does.) When the boy is twelve, he is struck down with sudden illness while working in the field and he dies. She lays his body in the holy room, the room she built for the prophet to stay in, and goes, unaccompanied by her husband, to find the prophet. Ultimately, the prophet himself comes, though he does send some intermediaries, and after some fits and starts, the child comes back to life.
Thus goes the narrative. Yet read more closely. Buried in the text are some astonishing holy insurrections. Like the following:
- The holy man asks her what she would like in return for her generosity (while making it clear that he has the ear of powerful other men, kings and generals.) She looks at him and says, simply: “I live among my own people.” She refuses the game of paybacks. I love this boldness, and I have spent a lot of time asking myself who my own people are. Which is a way of asking myself about identity as well as remembering what grounds me. These are rich, holy questions to ask ourselves.
- This woman does not fall for the culture of favors. She does not ask for a son. Since she doesn’t play the game, Elisha and his servant, Gehazi, decide that she could use a son to which she has a cheeky and amazing response: “Don’t lie to me.” (Really, you have to go read this story! It is peppered with feisty surprises.)
- When the child dies, she boldly lays the dead body on the bed in the room of the holy prophet. Not telling her husband any of her plans, she sets off to find Elisha on her own. She won’t deal with his intermediaries. She insists that he himself come. When she finally does reach him, she repeats one, haunting line: “I told you not to lie to me.” (Twelve years later, she remembers that first interchange. She wants him to understand her pain, and she will not be silenced. Often the women whose stories make it into scripture are “those women”—the ones who will not shut up, who do not follow convention, who positively insert themselves into the text.)
- Elisha, holy man who had asked for a double portion of his mentor Elijah’s power, has to work hard to bring this child back. He tries three different things. The final step is to lay himself out on the child’s body. Scripture tells us that he does this “eye to eye, mouth to mouth.” It is powerfully, creepily intimate. The story is in scripture because Elisha succeeds, but the hidden narrative is how closely he flirts with failure. This is important, because this is much more our human experience—not the grand, triumphant successful gesture, but the stumbling persistence and the experience of failure.
As a longtime follower of Jesus, I know this failure, and I want to be as honest and bold as this woman is in this text. I want to talk back with God, ask God why the gifts God put in my path die, and find spiritual understandings that include failures, with all their hidden powers and gifts.
If we cannot deal with failure, if we do not know how to put our deepest losses in our holy room, and if we do not know who our people are, we can never fully join the joy and power of God’s story. Many of my Christian mentors did not teach me to navigate these waters with more than simple truisms about God working in mysterious ways and having a plan that I didn’t grasp. I don’t disagree with either of those, but they are simplistic ways to shorten a spiritual journey that could be much deeper and more complete.
For the last few years, I have been working on these themes and this upstart woman whom I love. The fruit of this working is my first book, The Soulmaking Room, published, appropriately, by Upper Room Books. It is an exploration of becoming authentic. I love that a woman thousands of years ago who decided to build a holy room is still such a powerful teacher.
Dee Dee Risher’s book, The Soulmaking Room, further develops this story as a way of talking about radical hospitality and living out justice over the long haul. Dee Dee edited The Other Side magazine, and CONSPIRE magazine, published by the Simple Way and a larger group of Christian communities. At present, she is doing property rehab with the Vine and Fig Tree community, an intentional community in Philadelphia.
Dee Dee Risher writes for those who have had big dreams but find themselves mired in the ordinary business of living https://t.co/9T6zgT5rP2 - about 2 hours ago