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Wonder and Whiskey is Available for Pre-Order

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Friends, things are getting close.

They're so close, in fact, that I can share that Wonder and Whiskey is available for pre-order and will officially release on August 19th!

This book certainly has been a different kind of experience. First off, as I've mentioned before, I didn't even expect that I'd get to write it. I thought the idea was dead not too long after I pitched it. So I'm amazed and thankful that I was wrong about that.

But now I'm a few months away from holding a book in my hands that I wrote, based on the music of one of my all-time favorite bands. It's incredible, and I hope I did both the art and theology justice.

At this point I get to sit back and wait.

Except, hold on, I have work to do on a third book already.

But more about that some other time.

Wonder and Whiskey: Insights on Faith from the Music of Dave Matthews Band is coming from Wipf and Stock on August 19th.

(Woohoo!)

Summer Reading

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Now that we are nearing the warmest part of the year and thoughts turn to vacations and relaxed schedules, I've been compiling a new reading list. I finished my winter/spring list with ease, and have been making plans for the next leg of the year.

Here's what I have planned:
I'm Still Here by Austin Channing BrownWildwood Emperium by Colin MeloyCold Steel by Kate ElliotGoliath by Scott WesterfieldStuff I've Been Feeling Lately by Alicia CookHammer is the Prayer by Christian WimanNatural Enemies by John KrykChrist on the Psych Ward by David Finnegan-HoseyDenial is My Spiritual Practice by Martha Spong and Rachel HackenbergFurnishing Eternity by David Giffels A few regular novels, a couple memoirs, some poetry, a sports book, and a few churchy books. A pretty diverse list, which is always my goal.
What are you reading this summer?
Here's one you could add to your list.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

What is Confession?

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Previously: What is the Examen?, What is Lectio Divina?, What is Fasting?, What is the Labyrinth?, What is the Liturgical Calendar?, What are Prayer Beads?, What is Body Prayer?

The concept of confession has fallen out of style in certain strands of Christianity. Some of this is more to do with church tradition: some decry it as "too Catholic," as if that's enough of a reason to avoid doing anything facing that charge. Others would rather the church experience, particularly on Sunday morning, focus more on what lifts people up and improves their sense of self-worth. Many have had negative--perhaps too mild a term--experiences with Christians who have weaponized this practice in some way.
Whether confession may be redeemed in the eyes of some is an open question. Nevertheless, we take time to understand what it means context-free, with the hope that it may be used faithfully rather than abusively.
To talk about confession, we should talk about sin. This word has plenty of…

Book Review: Inspired by Rachel Held Evans

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A book about the Bible by a memoirist may seem like an odd undertaking, but anyone who has loved the Bible as much as I, and who has lost it and found it again, knows how a relationship with the Bible can be as real and as complicated as a relationship with a family member or close friend. For better or worse, my story is inextricably tethered to the stories of Scripture, right down to my first name. Rather than attempting to rend the threads of my life from those of the sacred text, I hope to better understand their interconnectedness, and perhaps, to step back far enough to see a tapestry emerge. - Rachel Held Evans, Inspired

I clearly remember the time--the first time, that is--when my faith began to fall apart. I was in my second semester of college as a Religion major and was enrolled in several Biblical Studies courses that spring, including one that dealt heavily with the concept of the "historical Jesus," a scholarly attempt to get behind the faith claims of the Gosp…