Articles by David Crumm
BOOK REVIEW: Greg Garrett amplifies James Baldwin’s prophetic call from ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’ to ‘The Welcome Table’
Tuesday January 23, 2024
“This collection at the Schomburg is incredible!” Greg said in our interview about his Baldwin book. “I want to keep learning about—and from—James Baldwin for the rest of my life. So, looking at these manuscripts—especially those about the play, The Welcome Table, that he was working on at the end of his life—allowed me to see how...
Thursday June 23, 2022
Brian McLaren’s new book, "Do I Stay Christian?" instantly has become one of my own first-choice recommendations to men and women who tell me they feel abandoned by—or disgusted with—their once-trusted religious brand of Christianity.
Friday February 18, 2022
In his heyday, Jones was a global Christian teacher who most Americans considered as important as Billy Graham in spreading the message of Jesus around the world. He was a prophetic voice against racism within Christianity and also had an enormous impact in worldwide interfaith relationships.
David Crumm: In ‘From Dry Bones to Living Hope,’ Missy Buchanan brings spiritual solace to families as we age
Tuesday December 14, 2021
Missy Buchanan knows that many of the people who purchase her books aren’t the ones who ultimately read them. Frequently, men and women buy her books for older friends and loved ones—often because those older folks already love Missy’s writing and are eager to get her latest book.
Thursday August 12, 2021
We are daring to reach out in a turbulent world to foster meaningful, hospitable, uplifting relationships with other people—daring to accept all of the risks and responsibilities of that messy and unpredictable process. Why do we take that risk? Why are we willing to become dangerous?
David Crumm: In ‘Healing a Shattered Soul,’ Mindy Corporon invites us to join her tribe of peacemakers
Tuesday April 13, 2021
Healing a Shattered Soul begins with a news story—like so many others we read these days with heart-breaking regularity: Three Killed in Shootings at Kansas City-Area Jewish Centers. We all have seen far too many of those headlines, haven’t we? Usually, these stories fade as they are eclipsed by the next mass shooting—or they become the fuel of true-crime dramas that take us into the killers’ worlds.
Friday February 26, 2021
May this celebration of the art of preaching inspire men and women everywhere to continue their commitments to their own congregations in whatever forms those ministries may take in sharing this timeless Good News.
David Crumm: Ken Whitt reminds our troubled world, ‘God Is Just Love,’ then gives us 100 ways to find hope and be love
Thursday February 04, 2021
“What can I do right now?” That’s a question we’ve heard from countless readers and writers since the first days of 2021 as we all seek ways to rebuild America’s shattered community. Having seen this turbulence coming for a long time, the prophetic author Ken Whitt answers with the title affirmation, spread across the front cover of his book: God Is Just Love—Building Spiritual Resilience and Sustainable Communities for the Sake of Our Children and Creation.
David Crumm: ‘Love, Loss and Endurance’ shows how 9/11 extremism evolved to 1/6 storming of the Capitol—and how we can ‘unplug extremism’
Tuesday January 19, 2021
There is a bright red line in journalist Bill Tammeus’s new book, Love, Loss and Endurance that runs from 9/11/2001 through 1/6/2021—as deadly extremism has continued to spread around the world and across the United States.
Tuesday December 01, 2020
“I’ll pray for you.” How many times have you said those words in this turbulent pandemic year? How many times will you be saying this as winter sets in and the year-end holidays loom? Pew Research says most Americans pray. But how do we pray? What do we say? Beyond frequency of prayer, Pew research tells us little about the details. That’s where Cara Gilger and her friends lend a hand.
David Crumm: ‘For All Who Hunger’—Emily Scott tells how she began uniting a diverse community, one dinner at a time
Tuesday November 17, 2020
As wise prophets have done for thousands of years, Emily Scott could foresee where American forces of isolation and exclusion were headed. She saw this as far back as 2008. Facing these crises, her pastoral inspiration drew from the ancient Christian church that understood the best way to bridge the chasms of race, ethnicity and culture was to start by breaking bread together.
David Crumm: Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil on ‘Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now’
Thursday July 02, 2020
The dramatic wave of support for the Black Lives Matter campaign shows an astonishing change in American awareness of systemic racism. So—now is the time to channel that tidal wave toward change, says the Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil.
Tuesday June 16, 2020
Why is Hollywood such a vital part of the Black Lives Matter effort to open up discussions of systemic racism? In his new book "A Long, Long Time," Baylor University scholar Greg Garrett says that it’s because movies are such a deeply embedded part of our own self image as Americans.
David Crumm: David Finnegan-Hovey Invites Congregations to Help with a Major Health-Care Concern for Millions
Wednesday May 20, 2020
David Finnegan-Hosey’s new book, Grace Is a Pre-Existing Condition—Faith, Systems, and Mental Healthcare—should be in the hands of clergy and small-group leaders in congregations nationwide, right now. There is not a more timely—and uniquely focused—book for congregations this spring.
David Crumm: Need to smile again? Get a free Bob Alper book and you’ll say: ‘Thanks. I Needed That.’
Tuesday March 31, 2020
In a global crisis, we all need hope—so, we’re giving It to you. In fact, that’s why rabbi and stand-up comedian Bob Alper—famous as a master of clean comedy—has written a book. You can get it for free.
David Crumm: ‘Another Way’: Ancient wisdom for rethinking leadership in our congregations and communities
Wednesday February 26, 2020
The most important thing you need to know about *Another Way: Living & Leading Change on Purpose,* and the book’s three authors, is that you will find their book dramatically different than many of the other leadership books on your shelf. Unlike most authors on leadership, this trio of ministers, activists and scholars is preaching a revolutionary message. That’s revolutionary as in turning popular assumptions upside down.
Tuesday December 03, 2019
ReadtheSpirit.com editor David Crumm interviews Day1 host Peter Wallace about the new book he edited, "Heart and Soul: The Emotions of Jesus," by Robert Law. Plus Duncan Newcomer offers his insight on the book and its provocative topic.
Thursday November 14, 2019
Got a book lover on your holiday shopping list? Inspirational writer Greg Garrett has two wonderful books of interest to a wide range of readers interested in spirituality.
Thursday October 31, 2019
What’s so important about this world-changing book? After circling the globe and talking with families both in the U.S. and abroad, Gushee says the answer is very, very simple. “The most important thing about this book is that it helps parents love their children more,” he said in our interview this week about the release of the book’s hardback edition.
Friday October 25, 2019
Now you can join in this call to spiritually reunite our nation by becoming part of the first wave of readers of 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln—Quiet Fire. This inspirational book collects 30 stories along with links to listen to the original broadcast of each daily story as well.
David Crumm: C.S. Lewis Is Alive and Well! Why an Oxford-Cambridge Professor who Died 55 Years Ago Remains a Best-Selling Author
Friday September 28, 2018
Clive Staples Lewis is back! HarperOne has just released two new C.S. Lewis books that fans of the prolific Christian author should regard as magical wardrobes””literary doorways that open into the world of Lewis’s creative mind and heart.
David Crumm: The Original ”˜Outlaw Christian,’ Jacqueline Bussie Leaps from Despair to ”˜Love Without Limits’
Tuesday September 04, 2018
Based on the success of her first book, What Jacqueline Bussie did not realize is that her 'outlaw' idea was edgy and popular with her evangelical editors””until she revealed the next steps she wanted to take in her spiritual journey. In writing this new book, Bussie simply assumed that her editors would follow her lead in calling for loving relationships with actual 'outsiders'””including Muslim and LGBTQ friends.
David Crumm: Reviving Our Soulforce: Reesheda Graham-Washington and Shawn Casselberry Distill Dr. King’s Wisdom into Seven Pivots for Courageous Communities
Monday August 27, 2018
“Soul force is where the Spirit of God and our human resilience meet. The Spirit doesn’t override our will, nor does it bypass our humanity. The Spirit works in concert and collaboration with our ingenuity gifts and grit,” Reesheda and Shawn write in the introduction to their new book, Soul Force: Seven Pivots toward Courage, Community and Change.
David Crumm: Solus Jesus: Emily Swan and Ken Wilson are following Jesus into a world where everyone feels safe
Monday August 20, 2018
Just imagine: A world where everyone feels safe. Everyone is loved. That alone is an astonishing vision in this era when each morning’s front-page headlines chronicle yet another crushing confrontation between our nation’s leaders. And then imagine: In this world shaped by Jesus’s vision of compassion and justice, everyone is invited to explore God’s goodness””because everyone recognizes that a loving God continues to remains active in our world.
Wednesday May 30, 2018
To borrow a couple of Marcus’s own earlier titles, this newbook could have been appropriately titled: "Meeting Marcus Borg Again for the First Time””Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary."
David Crumm: Matthew Kaemingk invites Christians and Muslims to envision a table as the core of healthy community
Monday May 14, 2018
Humility is the first value trampled into the dust of America’s stormy political conflicts these days. So, we start our coverage of Christian ethicist Matthew Kaemingk’s thought-provoking new book by pointing out that Matthew identifies true humility as a foundation for healthy interfaith relationships. If you are among our readers interested in the promising new findings emerging in humility research””then this is a a book you need to add to your bookshelf.
Monday May 07, 2018
“Let me tell you a story.” Those are the first words in the Rev. David Finnegan-Hosey’s memoir, Christ on the Psych Ward, an inspiring book that should be read by anyone who cares about the future of congregational life in America. The personal narrative is David’s struggle to overcome his crisis with mental health. Along the way, he invites us to look at how churches can respond more appropriately to the millions of families facing these issues every year.
Tuesday May 01, 2018
Nearly everyone feels grateful””or so we’re told in a national study by Pew researchers that Diana Butler Bass describes in the opening pages of her new book, 'Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.' So, if you don’t feel grateful most of the time””do you find yourself feeling like a failure? Diana admits that’s how she feels sometimes””like 'a gratitude klutz.'
Tuesday April 24, 2018
Meet John Bellaimey””a veteran educator at the prestigious Breck School, an independent preK-12 college preparatory school in Minnesota. Breck is known for producing more than its share of Merit Scholars and sending students to Ivy League schools. Bellaimey developed The Tree of World Religions to help students understand the religious foundations of our world’s diverse cultures and nations.
Tuesday April 17, 2018
Jon Sweeney’s fascinating new biography of Phyllis devotes two pages to a list of her books, but admits to readers that this is 'not a complete bibliography.' If someone eventually lists all of her publications, including manuscripts she edited plus her own ever-flowing river of journalism””the result would fill another book!
Monday April 09, 2018
Would you invite Stanley Hauerwas””the famously 'angry' theologian””to become your child’s godparent and agree to write a series of letters to your son or daughter? That is what the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells and his wife did two decades ago, fully aware of the famous theologian’s 'happy anger,' as Wells describes it.
David Crumm: Jana Riess on re-discovery of the Christian Prayer Wheel after it was lost for centuries
Wednesday April 04, 2018
Do you remember the headlines about this discovery? Sara Griffiths of The Daily Mail in the UK was among many journalists around the world who reported in 2015 on the mysterious chart, which turned up when a medieval illuminated book of Gospels was placed on the auction block. In the front of that set of Gospels was a strange chart for a kind of spiritual discipline no one could decipher.
David Crumm: John Dominic Crossan on ”˜Resurrecting Easter’ and re-envisioning our relationship to Jesus
Monday March 19, 2018
How do you envision the Resurrection? It’s a timely question as 2 billion Christians around the world soon will mark the most important global holiday in this 2,000-year-old religion: Easter. (April 1 for Western Christians and April 8 for Eastern Christians in 2018.)
Monday March 05, 2018
The publication of Bart’s latest book, 'Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World,' certainly is notable because it is unlikely to spark controversy. In fact, from the perspective of many traditional churchgoers who have shunned Ehrman””this new book is likely to be very popular for some its basic conclusions...
Monday February 26, 2018
As a journalist, specializing in religion and diversity for more than 40 years, I’ve reported my share of stories about the Graham family. Since his death at age 99 on February 21, I have mourned Billy’s passing. As I read the coverage of his life by my colleagues nationwide, I was struck by one thought: Billy’s legacy would look a brighter if his son Franklin Graham hadn’t doubled-down on the family’s earliest bigotry.
Monday February 19, 2018
Why do we need this wisdom from former Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold right now? Because, at the heart of this little book is an invitation from a survivor of conflict to walk along with him through various dramatic encounters and discover, in the end, that Spirit can guide us not only to our own individual solace””but toward re-establishing ties in a deeply divided community.
Monday February 12, 2018
The global trend may be toward secularization in many regions, but certain populations are drawn toward some of the spiritual disciplines, Peter argues. 'Some of the mysterious, powerful, spiritual practices that the churches observed for centuries are being rediscovered particularly by young adults who are seeking a depth to their lives that they are not experiencing in today’s culture.'
Wednesday November 29, 2017
We are recommending an intriguing new book on this often-ignored topic. And, we admit this may seem like an eccentric idea. After all, when was the last time you spontaneously started discussing 'liturgy' with your friends? Perhaps … never?
Friday October 27, 2017
'Embracing Compassion and Hope in a Troubled World' is Wicks' subtitle for this new book””no surprise to his regular readers. He’s been writing about resilience from this perspective for years.
Friday August 04, 2017
Justin Dillon practices precisely what he is preaching. His 'riot' was a gut-level passion for combatting human trafficking””and he launched a simple, global challenge that has made a huge impact on the darkly shrouded infrastructure of modern-day slavery.
Saturday July 22, 2017
Enter the master translator Willis Barnstone, now 89 (and we may all pray for his good health to continue his work for many more years). Granted, he’s not a household name among American readers like J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, but the world’s literary treasures are grander and richer because of Barnstone’s work over many decades.
Wednesday June 14, 2017
A June 1, 2017, report in The New York Times on the 'Scope of Hate' explored the collective impact of nearly 2,000 incidents of hate and bias in the U.S. in recent months. The next day, the Times reported again on the rise of roving groups of angry right-wing protesters that 'recruit battalions of mainly young white men for one-off confrontations.' While much of this fury swirls around President Trump’s actions toward Muslim and Latino minorities, millions of LGBTQ allies are on alert as well.
Wednesday May 24, 2017
This year, the CDC reports that more than 2.6 million men, women and children will die in the U.S.””leaving tens of millions of family members grieving the loss. Year after year, this is a sad truth about life in America that most of us tend to overlook.
Wednesday May 10, 2017
This is a memoir spanning many years of maternal experiences by Barbara Mahany, perhaps best known from her earlier life as a beloved Chicago Tribune columnist. Even if you don’t live in the Chicago area, you may have enjoyed her columns via wire services or the Internet.
Friday April 07, 2017
What if we’ve been getting the story wrong? That’s the most provocative question historian, author and educator Diana Butler Bass asked a crowd at the First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, across the street from the University of Michigan’s main campus.
Wednesday March 22, 2017
Depression affects millions of men and women each year. While it is a psychiatric disorder that needs treatment, as Greg Garrett points out in Crossing Myself, depression also can be intertwined with spiritual crisis. In addition to therapy and medication, recovery can often draw on religious disciplines””and the embrace of religious communities””in restoring one’s balance.
Thursday March 16, 2017
Five hundred years ago, Reformer Martin Luther nailed a manifesto for religious freedom on a church door in Germany and touched off a worldwide revolution in faith. In 2017, as we have reported, Germany is drawing pilgrims from around the world who are celebrating that anniversary. This is a timely moment for a new network of American men and women to follow Luther’s example””by publishing a manifesto calling for an end to barriers in religious life. That’s the hope of Dave Schmelzer and leaders in growing congregations from New England to southern California.
Saturday February 04, 2017
To this day, the two largest religious denominations in the U.S. bar women from full ordination: the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. But that stained-glass ceiling obscures a deeper truth: Women have always been the backbone of American religious life.
Saturday December 17, 2016
As an author, Kent Nerburn’s fingertips have been on the pulse of Indian country for three decades. Now, he has just published with New World Library, Voices in the Stone: Life Lessons in the Native Way.
Wednesday November 23, 2016
Rising from the heart of our nation, central Indiana, comes the voice of Quaker singer-writer Carrie Newcomer in the form of a new album and a book of essays and poetry, collectively called: The Beautiful Not Yet.
Tuesday November 22, 2016
Father James Martin, SJ, is one of America’s most famous Catholic priests””known for such a hearty sense of humor that he wrote an entire book about holy mirth and appeared several times on The Colbert Report. But in late 2016, Martin is deadly serious about one thing: the need to restore civility and balance to our public discourse.
Wednesday October 12, 2016
A startling Pew Research Center report arrives just as thousands of congregations nationwide are gearing up for the busy autumn season.
David Crumm: Get ”˜Grounded,’ part 4: Can we see the forest for our trees? - Diana Butler Bass - Day1.org
Tuesday August 16, 2016
This summer, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Christian educator Debbie Houghton invite readers to get a copy of Diana Butler Bass’s new “Grounded: Finding God in the World” and read along with us. For five weeks, David and Debbie will offer five reflections on Bass’s book with questions to consider. This week, David offers Part 4, looking at the sections of Diana’s book on Neighbors and Commons …
Saturday August 13, 2016
Not everyone has dismissed what Richard Beck describes as “Old Scratch” in his new book, Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted. Beck is not alone in talking seriously about Lucifer.
Tuesday August 02, 2016
This summer, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Christian educator Debbie Houghton invite readers to get a copy of Diana Butler Bass’s new Grounded: Finding God in the World and read along with us. For five weeks, David and Debbie will offer five reflections on Bass’s book with questions to consider. This week, Debbie offers Part 2, looking at the sections of Diana’s book on Dirt, Water and Sky...
Tuesday July 26, 2016
This summer, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and Christian educator Debbie Houghton invite readers to get a copy of Diana Butler Bass’s new Grounded: Finding God in the World and read along with us. For five weeks, David and Debbie will offer five reflections on Bass’s book with questions to consider. Here is Part 1 …
Sunday July 24, 2016
Can you find your house of worship in Wikimedia Commons? If not, you could upload one or more photos and make your community more notable to the rest of the world.
Friday July 15, 2016
Peter Enns is content, much like the late Marcus Borg, in affirming the value of Christianity””while focusing on changing traditionalist concepts about how to read the Bible within the church.
Tuesday June 21, 2016
After the Orlando shootings, Gushee says, he feels compelled to remind Americans that people of faith bear a collective responsibility to speak out””because religious traditions themselves are at the core of anti-LGBT attitudes.
Thursday June 02, 2016
'Third way'””the phrase is buzzing through religious groups where members are searching desperately for some graceful and faithful way to welcome gay and lesbian members after a long history of condemning them. The Rev. Ken Wilson is widely regarded as the man who turned the 'third way' idea into a national movement.
Friday April 29, 2016
Spring is the perfect season to explore John Shelby Spong’s new book, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy. First, look past the book’s title””those words are a publisher’s way of reminding readers of the controversy retired Bishop 'Jack' Spong has sparked throughout most of his career. Yes, this new book is a provocative re-interpretation of gospel stories and some Christians will disagree with Spong, as usual. But, there’s so much more than mere 'controversy' in this book!
Thursday April 07, 2016
Our memories of our greatest heroes change all the time. Whether Jesus as divine has ever changed is a question for Christian theologians. But the truth is””our human memory of Jesus has changed a lot through the last 2,000 years.
Wednesday February 17, 2016
If you are familiar with Bass’s long and distinguished career as a historian, then you know that she has been a specialist in the history of Christianity and has adapted those insights into consulting with congregations. Compared with her past volumes, this book unfolds in a powerful new blend of prose and personal reflection. She moves seamlessly from scholarly observation””to active participation in finding spiritual awakenings in everyday life.
Tuesday February 09, 2016
After publishing many very popular, longer-format inspirational books, James Martin is publishing a short, small volume for Lent 2016: Seven Last Words””An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus.
Tuesday December 15, 2015
For years, millions of Christians have opened their thick “study Bibles” for personal inspiration and for discussion in the millions of Sunday School classes and small Bible-study groups nationwide. Now, an equally substantial Muslim volume, The Study Quran, joins the groaning shelves of “study Bibles” as a resource for Muslims””and for Christians who want to learn more about this closely related sister faith.
Saturday November 28, 2015
ONLY ONE FIGURE rivals Sherlock Holmes and Santa Claus as the longest-running characters in world cinema. As veteran-faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty points out in his new book, that unique, history-spanning figure is Jesus Christ, Movie Star.
Tuesday November 17, 2015
The joke in this new book’s title is funny. But, the point of the book is earnestly serious: This is a historic moment when Pope Francis and Protestant leaders might finally complete the mission of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and link hands as Christians. The new book says: If our leaders aren’t ready to do that, then we as ordinary men and women can start the process of making friends across the great divide of the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.
Saturday November 07, 2015
Dan sometimes describes himself as a 'peace warrior.' One meaning of that phrase is Dan’s ongoing struggle with perceptions of global threats and violence from Hollywood, TV networks, newspapers and magazines. He’s not a media basher, but he says, 'So much of what we see and hear and read, these days, is governed by fear and is trying to set people up in adversarial situations.'
Friday October 16, 2015
One year ago, Dr. David Gushee’s life changed””and so did thousands of lives he began to touch all around the world with the publication of his startling book Changing Our Mind.
Friday October 09, 2015
Announcing an important new book, We Will SEEK PEACE and Pursue It, edited by Iona’s Neil Paynter and featuring contributions from authors around the world, including our own Benjamin Pratt.
Wednesday June 24, 2015
An encyclical is the highest level of teaching any pope can hope to issue from his own pen. It’s a book””in this case more than 180 pages. Today we are publishing some highlights of this enormous letter to the world””with the hope that Pope Francis’s spirit will touch you and encourage further dialogue.
Saturday May 23, 2015
What’s so delightful about Martha Spong’s new book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, is that she lets a little girl make the case in the book’s opening chapter written by the Rev. Ruth Everhart. Indignant at the injustice of her family’s church leadership refusing to ordain her mother””or any woman””young Hannah Everhart declared to her mother: "Even a first grader knows you’re a good minister. Stupid-heads!"
Sunday May 10, 2015
An early sign of spring’s renewing power is the rise of common violets, pushing heart-shaped green leaves through even the thickest thatch of winter-mottled lawns and fields. And just in time for spring, Quaker writer and activist Eileen Flanagan sends us all Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope.
Wednesday April 22, 2015
Much like today, the mid 1700s was 'a perfect seedbed for the revival in which [John] Wesley would play so prominent a part,' Hamilton writes in his new book, Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It. Wesley’s life parallels many religious trends today...
Friday April 10, 2015
A new book by best-selling author Rachel Held Evans is a clarion call to Christians to reclaim the great treasures within their tradition. In our new interview with Rachel, she says that too many “Christians” seem to have forgotten about the core of their faith, especially those conservatives pushing for legalized bias against LGBT men and women. The truth is: Christianity is a spiritual treasure trove, if only Christians would remember and reclaim the best of their tradition. Rachel’s interview is both provocative and filled with hope!
Thursday April 02, 2015
Every day in America, someone chuckles at Bob Alper. Sometimes, hundreds laugh at him. On purpose. Alper is the world’s only practicing rabbi who also is a full-time standup comedian. Alper also is a wise teacher, a sought-after rabbi, and this is the time of the year when the vast majority of Americans””millions of Christians and Jews””are marking treasured holidays.
Sunday March 22, 2015
ASHAMED of your body? Overweight? (Millions of us are.) Not attractive? Not athletic? Addicted to chocolate or cigarettes or worse? Are you wondering: Who could love such a body””including you yourself? If so””then here’s good news. Ragan Sutterfield has written a book just for us: This Is My Body””From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit, and Deeper Faith.
Friday March 20, 2015
Doug Pagitt's new book is called 'Flipped: The Provocative Truth That Changes Everything We Know About God.' In 200 pages, Pagitt lays out his vision of a religious community that focuses far more on the way God unites us””than on our own individual claims about the little pieces of God we may own.
Friday March 06, 2015
"You hold in your hands a human heart," writes Day1 radio host Peter Wallace in the preface to Benjamin Pratt’s new book, Short Stuff from a Tall Guy: Wisdom Gleaned from Life’s Daily Journey. "It is the heart of a minister. A caregiver. A storyteller. It is the heart of a fellow sojourner on the path to a richer, fuller, more meaningful life."
Sunday March 01, 2015
An intrepid explorer of the connections between popular culture and the spiritual realms invites us to travel with him as Dante did with his guide Virgil 700 years ago into Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso””a classic tale that we know as The Divine Comedy. Our guide is Greg Garrett, a noted scholar at Baylor University and author of 20 previous books. He calls his book, Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination.
Tuesday February 24, 2015
After decades of writing for the Chicago Tribune, Barbara Mahany now is sharing her wonderfully engaging insights with the rest of us in Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door. As we have often found, veteran journalists understand their relationship with readers and have polish their craft until their writing feels like a conversation with a good friend.
Sunday February 01, 2015
Whatever we thought our relationships were as we first nurtured them as children, they might someday surprise us in wondrous ways. That’s the magic of 'Love Will Steer Me True,' which Jane and Ellen Knuth have subtitled, 'A Mother and Daughter’s Conversations on Life, Love and God.'
Tuesday January 27, 2015
ReadTheSpirit.com's David Crumm writes a personal reflection on the death of America’s sometimes beloved (and sometimes controversial) Bible scholar, Marcus Borg.
Friday January 09, 2015
ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm interviewed Rob and Kristen Bell about their new book on marriage, The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage.
Wednesday January 07, 2015
From childhood, Christians grow up hearing the parables (the stories told by Jesus) so frequently that mentioning 'the Good Samaritan' or 'the Prodigal Son' is more likely to prompt a yawn than an inspiring reflection. But today, we promise you this: If you read this new book about Jesus’s parables, you will close the back cover with far more questions than you dreamed possible.
Tuesday November 11, 2014
News already is spreading that America’s leading evangelical Christian ethicist, Dr. David P. Gushee, has reversed his traditional opposition to LGBT relationships in a landmark book called, 'Changing Our Mind.' ReadTheSpirit.com editor David Crumm interviewed Dr. Gushee about his new book.
Friday September 26, 2014
Whatever your faith and whatever the season, Marcia Falk has blessings, poems and spiritual guidance to help you through a time of reflection and renewal. Her new book is called 'The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season.' It's a series of reflections, readings, blessings and prayers appropriate to each day from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. But this book also is full of timeless spiritual wisdom.
Tuesday September 16, 2014
Journalist and scholar Phyllis Tickle has written a fascinating history of how Christians have come to understand the movement of God’s Holy Spirit. Her new book (written with Jon M. Sweeney) is called 'The Age of the Spirit: How the Ghost of an Ancient Controversy Is Shaping the Church.'
Tuesday September 09, 2014
Anxious Christians, watching young adults slip away from congregations by the millions, have built an entire industry around “church growth.” So, this new book by journalist Naomi Schaefer Riley is both eagerly awaited news””and a startling surprise. What's the big surprise in 'Got Religion? How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back'? Riley's extensive research, backed by the Templeton Press, shows that the advice hawked by a lot of would-be church-growth experts simply isn’t worth the money.
Sunday September 07, 2014
Wake up your spiritual life with best-selling author, theologian and educator Matthew Fox. In his newest book, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, Fox inspires us by connecting dots between the medieval German mystic Meister Eckhart””and the lives of visionary men and women in our times who we, at ReadTheSpirit, would call Interfaith Peacemakers.
Thursday August 21, 2014
BUD HECKMAN is an interfaith Frank Lloyd Wright. This pastor, scholar and author is a global architect designing the structures we all will need””if we are to transform religious conflict into interfaith cooperation that can benefit communities worldwide. You may be meeting him for the first time because the majority of Heckman’s work takes place behind the scenes.
Tuesday August 12, 2014
Millions of American children are heading back to school””and many of them are dreading that first day, wondering: Will I be bullied? Do you know one of these kids? Be honest: Were you once one of these kids?
Sunday August 10, 2014
ReadTheSpirit online magazine recommends Charles Marsh’s new biography, 'Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer' published by Knopf. Marsh compellingly tells the story of Bonhoeffer’s deep Christian faith, but he also more clearly describes Bonhoeffer’s life-changing experiences while studying for a year in the U.S.
Tuesday August 05, 2014
Think of Matthew Vines as a young Gen. George S. Patton. At 24, Matthew Vines is organizing a tough, smart, highly trained force of young evangelicals who are prepared to go toe-to-toe with traditionalist Christians on the issue of whether the Bible allows LGBT inclusion.
Tuesday July 22, 2014
Psychologist Dr. Robert J. Wicks is known around the world for helping to restore lives traumatized by such conflicts. He has served in the wake of massive tragedies, such as conflicts that swept across Rwanda and Cambodia. He regularly helps aid workers, medical professionals as well as men and women serving in the U.S. military.
Tuesday July 08, 2014
While a year-long Bible study may seem like a heavy-duty return to Brian McLaren’s evangelical roots, readers quickly discover that he remains steadfastly committed to his original message all those years ago: The Christian journey is always about change.
Friday June 20, 2014
Marcus Borg is back with a new book that feels like a follow up to 'The Heart of Christianity.' It’s called 'Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most' and, in this case, although the book rests on Marcus’s considerable scholarship, this book mainly explores the roles of 'experience and memory' in our spiritual journeys.
Tuesday June 17, 2014
Restless this summer? Eager to roam? Hoping to discover something that will energize and motivate you all year long? Then, don’t wait: Get Carrie Newcomer’s latest collection, A Permeable Life, and start singing along. Here is my interview with her.
Tuesday June 03, 2014
That idea of Jerusalem as a life-changing destination runs through the popular Jesuit author James Martin’s latest book, 'Jesus: A Pilgrimage.' Read our interview with Father Martin.
Friday May 30, 2014
In his new book, "How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee," Bart Ehrman asks provocative questions--the fresh approach that has made him a best-selling author.
Saturday May 10, 2014
But when a new Barbara Brown Taylor book arrives, this is an occasion for individual reading, small group discussion, quoting from Barbara in Sunday sermons and homilies. And for the editors at TIME: It’s a national news event.
Tuesday April 29, 2014
Adam Hamilton wants to help congregations grow. Within his United Methodist denomination, he already has proven himself a master of church growth. Now, he is breaking out to a wider audience in his first book for HarperOne. And he wants to show congregations nationwide how to fuel revival and outreach””by starting with the Bible.
Saturday April 19, 2014
If you take 1 thing away from this profile of Kay Lindahl, it should be this: She’s the woman behind The Sacred Art of Listening. As Editor of ReadTheSpirit, a well-thumbed copy of Kay’s book has been a part of my own collection of essential reading for more than a decade.
Saturday December 21, 2013
BRENNAN MANNING is the reason we’re talking with Greg Garrett this week. Since ReadTheSpirit online magazine was founded in 2007, Greg Garrett has been a frequent guest. But, The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story is unique among Greg’s long list of titles. In the months before Brennan Manning’s death on April 27, 2013, Greg collaborated with Brennan to fulfill a final wish: to write a novel embodying Brennan’s central theme about Grace.
Tuesday December 10, 2013
N.T. Wright is writing like a man on a mission, now that he has left his role as bishop to devote his remaining years to producing books that he hopes will inspire individuals and strengthen congregations. At the moment, he is publishing his longest book (1,700 pages bound into two volumes weighing in at 5 pounds) and one of his smallest books (a mere 200 pages, less than 10 ounces and small enough to tuck into a coat pocket).
David Crumm: The Jane Wells interview: How a Hunger Games Bible study can fire up your congregation””and help others
Saturday November 16, 2013
In Jane Wells’ new book””a Bible study for congregations, called Bird on Fire””Jane explains why The Hunger Games is such a hit with readers and moviegoers. Themes in this series of novels and movies tap deep into biblical history, including the lives of Esther, Gideon and David. The main symbols in Hunger Games echo powerful images established hundreds of years ago when mainline congregations first were sweeping across the American landscape.
Thursday October 31, 2013
ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm interviewed Senior Vice President and Publisher of HarperOne Mark Tauber about all of this news””and C.S. Lewis’s enduring popularity.
Wednesday October 09, 2013
Every American knows something about the Amish. However, few Americans know much about the Mennonites, a major branch of the centuries-old Anabaptist movement that today is known for its courage and generosity in peacemaking and community building. 'Blush' is a welcoming doorway into that world””a world that Shirley Showalter herself still proudly represents.
Thursday September 19, 2013
Hospitality is all the rage in communities coast to coast this year, in part because we are approaching the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s declaration of a national Thanksgiving. But what is hospitality? Emily Post? Serving tea? A suite at a convention with mixed drinks? Where do we turn to rediscover the spiritual core of hospitality?
Tuesday September 10, 2013
Do not dismiss the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber and her book’s quirky title, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, when you encounter them this week. And, you will encounter her, most likely in multiple sightings. Nadia is debuting as a major Christian author, this week, thanks to Jericho Books””an imprint of the world’s second largest publisher, Hachette.
Thursday September 05, 2013
Seamus Heaney’s death at age 74 leaves the world with one less spiritual hero in tangible form and a fresh new voice in the chorus of saints all around us. His voice is rising already in the current celebration of his life on front pages and TV broadcasts around the world. Rather than echo the familiar themes we see in news media, ReadTheSpirit is bringing readers some treasures from Heaney’s work that you may have overlooked.
Wednesday August 14, 2013
TWO HEADLINES compelled us to help readers sort fact from fiction concerning the popular myth that church growth depends on widespread use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the like). The myth of explosive growth is perpetuated, we both agree, by a new report in the online Christian Post, headlined: Top 5 Churches That Use Social Media Best. Some truths, we think, come from a second new headline out of the Pew Research Center. Here is our report …
Friday June 28, 2013
Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong certainly is one of the world’s best known religious leaders. Now, in his 24th book, Jack Spong tackles his namesake book in the Bible””hoping to guide his readers in thousands of congregations to a greater appreciation of this sacred text while avoiding its lethal dangers.
Thursday March 07, 2013
THE BIBLE””As Seen on TV. Those six words capture what faith-and-film writer Edward McNulty describes as a “spectacular new series”””great for individual viewing and small-group discussion””if we watch with a bit of skepticism.
Thursday February 28, 2013
For years, ReadTheSpirit has recommended both Peter’s work and the Day1 network. Currently, our websites share a popular columnist, the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Pratt. This mutual encouragement includes our recommendation of Peter’s newest book, The Passionate Jesus: What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, Grief, Joy and Living Authentically.
Friday February 15, 2013
Movies are a global language that speaks to the head, the heart””and the spirit. Today, faith-and-film author Edward McNulty shares his own list of Best Pictures””focusing on films with spiritual themes.
Monday February 04, 2013
RICHARD ROHR inspires you””even if you don’t recognize his name. From his base in the American Southwest, this Franciscan priest has become a master teacher of other famous teachers. Richard wants to reach ordinary men and women like you and me. Ask your friends to list writers who have moved them and you’re likely to hear Richard’s name.
Monday January 28, 2013
WHAT IS THE U.S. CONGREGATIONAL LIFE SURVEY? The largest and most representative profile of worshipers and their congregations ever developed in the U.S. Here's what it reveals.
Monday January 21, 2013
No one expected that March 4, 1865, would become a memorable occasion for its inspiring vision of healing across a tragically wounded America.
Monday December 17, 2012
THIS WEEK, AS AMERICANS HEAD toward the biggest religious celebration of the year, we are featuring insights from columnist and author Henry G. Brinton on hospitality in churches.
Friday December 14, 2012
The nation’s biggest religious celebration of the year is coming soon: Are you ready? More importantly for millions of American Christians: Is your chuch ready?
Saturday November 03, 2012
Marcus Borg's newest book is unusual: It’s not so much a book about the Bible as it is an actual Bible as reorganized by Borg to present the New Testament books in the order that the ancient world first received them. Here's David Crumm's interview with the renowned scholar.
Tuesday September 18, 2012
In his 19th book, the prophetic evangelical author Brian McLaren is publishing his first interfaith book. As you will read in our interview, the best-selling writer argues that this new book is far from the typical appeal for interfaith understanding that other writers are producing these days.
Wednesday July 04, 2012
For July 4, we celebrate Americans who are devoting their lives to strengthening our communities in creative ways. CLICK THE LINKS in each of these 13 mini-profiles to read a wide range of creative, inspiring stories. Enjoy!
Monday June 11, 2012
He expanded our dreams by expanding the possibilities in our own back yards. He was an artist as much as a technician and, wielding that great talent, he reminded us of the sacred value of the word. David Crumm assembles some of the best remembrances of his life and work.
Sunday May 20, 2012
Thanks to Times columnist Tom Friedman and famous Harvard scholar Michael Sandel, here’s a message that I know leaders in congregations will say: “That’ll preach!”
Monday April 23, 2012
Read the Spirit editor David Crumm reviews and interviews Bart Ehrman, the controversial Bible scholar who's written a compelling new book: "Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth."
Sunday April 15, 2012
Read the Spirit editor David Crumm interviews John Ramsey, father of Jon Benet and the author of the new book The Other Side of Suffering about his experiences in the aftermath of personal tragedy.
Friday April 06, 2012
ReadtheSpirit.com editor David Crumm interviews noted author Diana Butler Bass on her new book "Christianity After Religion," and explores how to grow healthier churches.
Tuesday April 03, 2012
David Crumm of ReadtheSpirit.com interviews the popular Bible scholar N.T. “Tom” Wright on his latest book, "How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels." Tom himself refers to the message of this book as “explosive.”
Tuesday March 27, 2012
ReadtheSpirit.com's David Crumm interviews noted biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan on his new book, "The Power of Parable."
Tuesday March 20, 2012
The Bible is full of violence from bloody battles in the opening books of the Bible through Jesus’ own death at the hands of the Roman empire, yet former President Jimmy Carter opens this book and finds great insight shaping his own worldwide work as a peacemaker. In the third and final part of our interview with Carter, David Crumm asks about these connections Carter sees in scripture.
Sunday March 18, 2012
Jimmy Carter’s publication of his own Bible study reflections and prayers is a treasure trove of inspiration and wisdom about the challenges we face in the world today. One theme that runs through Carter’s writing is: caregiving. In Part 2 of our interview with the former president, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm asks about caregiving.
Thursday March 15, 2012
President Jimmy Carter is releasing a new devotional edition of the Bible packed with hundreds of excerpts from his own writings about inspiring and challenging passages of scripture. David Crumm interviewed the former president last week--here is part one of their conversation.
Tuesday February 28, 2012
Church leaders nationwide should consider a New York Times front-page report about unwed mothers a wakeup call to rethink so-called church-growth strategies.
Tuesday January 31, 2012
David Crumm, editor of ReadtheSpirit.com, interviews John Bell, who is personally responsible for a long list of hymns and anthems sung in churches around the world, and is a popular teacher on Iona-Celtic-Christian approaches to prayer, worship and work with the world’s most needy communities.
Sunday January 22, 2012
In an interview with ReadtheSpirit.com's David Crumm, controversial retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong discusses his new book, "Reclaiming the Bible for a Nonreligious World."
Saturday January 14, 2012
In 2012, Parker Palmer is using the considerable authority of his voice and pen to push us toward a whole new perspective on what we typically call “politics.” Instead of polling and political horse races, he is pushing us to focus on “the heart of democracy.” David Crumm interviews.
Monday November 28, 2011
Former Bishop N.T. “Tom” Wright is a best-selling Bible scholar and one of the most popular figures to appear on ReadTheSpirit over the years. Today we recommended his two new books and also highlighte a special Christmas passage that Wright doesn’t want Bible readers to miss.
Tuesday November 15, 2011
David Crumm of ReadtheSpirit.com interviews Sarah Arthur, author of "At the Still Point: A Literary Guide to Prayer."
Friday November 11, 2011
Here is the prayer John Philip Newell is sharing across the Internet, inviting like-minded men and women to pray in solidarity with this movement on 11-11-11.
Friday November 04, 2011
Caregiver duties and responsibilities dragging you down? Keeping your spirit healthy begins with simple steps. David Crumm talks with Dr. Benjamin Pratt about his new guide for caregivers.
Monday October 31, 2011
David Crumm interviews Jana Riess””the well-known journalist and author””who spent a year discovering and now is sharing the experience for the rest of us in a delightful new memoir "Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor."
Saturday September 24, 2011
ReadtheSpirit.com editor David Crumm talks with Paul Franklyn about the new Bible translation pitched toward mainline Christians: The Contemporary English Bible (CEB).
Sunday September 18, 2011
ReadtheSpirit.com's David Crumm talks with theologian John Dominic Crosson about his new curriculum, "The Challenge of Jesus."
Sunday August 28, 2011
Journalist David Crumm of ReadtheSpirit.com talks with author and Celtic spiritual leader John Philip Newell about his new book, "A New Harmony."
Tuesday July 26, 2011
Norway's worst armed attack since World War II is grim news in the week before Ramadan, which starts August 1 for more than 1 billion Muslims around the world.
Saturday July 16, 2011
Marcus Borg’s latest book ranks with his earlier volumes, The Heart of Christianity and Embracing an Adult Faith, as inspirational efforts to renew and rebuild Christianity by healing long-standing wounds and welcoming millions of alienated men and women. David Crumm of ReadtheSpirit.com interviews Borg.
Thursday June 16, 2011
In an unusual author interview today, we’re welcoming both Brian McLaren and Richard Rohr to talk with us about Richard’s new book, "Falling Upward: Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life."
Wednesday June 01, 2011
Matthew Fox prefers to be called just “Matt”””perhaps because his full name in news media usually comes with “Provocative” or “Controversial” attached like it’s his first name. There is some truth to those labels: Matt doesn’t suffer fools lightly and throughout his career in preaching and teaching, his activism has stirred fiery reactions.
Friday May 27, 2011
David Crumm, editor/reporter for ReadtheSpirit.com, takes a unique position regarding the controversial new film by director Terence Malick: It's about prayer.