Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review :: Englewood Review of Books' Quarterly Print Edition, Vol. 01, Num. 01

In my family, Christmas extends all the way to Epiphany. My wife and I open our gifts to one another on January 6, remembering the gifts the astrologers brought Jesus in Bethlehem. So, Mom and Dad (if you do in fact read this blog), it’s not too late to slip a subscription to Englewood Review of Books’ Quarterly Print Edition in the mail (hint hint).

Joking aside, I highly recommend ERB’s new Quarterly Print Edition, whether as a Christmas gift or as a worthwhile addition to your own reading list.

A wise professor once told me that the first step in writing a good book review is to “read, read, read lots of reviews.” I took his words to heart. I began reading nearly every book review I could lay my hands on--Commonweal, The New York Review of Books, reviews in various academic journals. I like books, and I like even better discovering new, worthwhile books to be reading. This is what good book reviews do, so I found myself enraptured in reviews. (I sound a bit like a librarian mystic.)

Over the past year and a half, I’ve found myself eagerly looking forward to ERB’s weekly email update. It features a number of homegrown reviews, links to books reviewed well elsewhere, and always a bit of poetry. I’ve added any number of books to my Amazon wish list after discovering them as I scrolled through the electronic version.

But a good book review is so much more than marketing and promotion. In fact, it’s much more than even directed reading. I realized this more and more as paged through ERB’s Print Edition, Vol. 01, Num. 01. A good review is in itself literary in some sense; it is itself a contribution to the dialogue.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The November 8s :: Blogs

The November 8s :: Blogs :: The most thought-provoking and world-opening blog posts I've stumbled on in the month of November

Monday, December 20, 2010

The October 8s :: Blogs

The October 8s :: Blogs :: The most thought-provoking and world-opening blog posts I've stumbled on in the month of October

Friday, December 17, 2010

Update :: "Early Christian Ecclesiology and 'The Property Question' [part 3]" up!

In the September 8s :: Blogs, I posted the first two installations of Andy Alexis-Baker's series "Early Christian Ecclesiology and 'The Property Question.'" Today the third installment is up!

"Early Christian Ecclesiology and 'The Property Question' [part 3]" (Andy Alexis-Baker, Jesus Radicals / October 11, 2010)
For, once there were no church buildings. People normally worshiped out doors. In the Hebrew Scriptures, for example, Abraham met God under an oak tree, and most early Hebrew worship occurred outside of human built structures. And while Jesus certainly visited the temple and synagogues, many of his most memorable stories come from encounters in nature: the temptations in the wilderness, the sermon on the mount, the transfiguration, walking on water, etc. Paul, speaking to those in Athens with their grand temples said, “The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:24–25). While in biblical times encountering God in nature was normal, in the modern western world, such things are extremely rare: we worship in enclosed spaces of our own making. Our buildings reinforce notions that God, Christianity, and holiness are not only compartmentalized from nature but quite possibly contrary to one another.
Alexis-Baker goes on to cite examples from the early Christian movement, including the accounts of The Acts of Judas Thomas the Apostle in India to the archaeological evidence of early Celtic Christian practice.

This is well worth reading, as are the early installments, part 1 and part 2.
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