June 27, 2011
Practicing the Way of Jesus in the Messy Details of our Lives
Thanks to Mark Scandrette, author of Practicing the Way of Jesus, for this inside look at how he strives to integrate the teachings of Jesus into the details of his life.
So many people feel a pull toward a more embodied path for spiritual formation. But as one leader recently observed, "There is a lot of radical noise in the church today with little radical action." I wrote my latest book, Practicing the Way Of Jesus, to help address this gap between how we want to live and how we actually live. In the book, I suggest that followers of Jesus have always been formed best by taking tangible steps in solidarity with others, to live into a vision of life in the kingdom of God. I like to call these risks of obedience, "experiments," because we learn to integrate the teachings of Jesus into the details of our lives through creative trial and error. An easy way to get momentum is by inviting a friend into a short-term shared experiment.
Over the phone last week my friend Nate made an offhand comment about how his electronic communication devices were crowding out his awareness of God and attention to people. He said, "Its gotten out of hand when I reach for my device before kissing my wife good morning." Nate and I both spend a lot of time using communication technology in our work (smart phones, email, etc). These are compelling and useful devices for getting things done and staying connected; however, we've both noticed a tendency to be compulsive, jumping up to check email before having a few moments of prayer in the morning or replying to email or status updates at the breakfast table when we should be giving our full attention to those we love. We asked each other, "Why do we do struggle with this?" Partly its the little 'hit' you get when email arrives in the inbox. But we surmised that on a deeper level, it's because we have a fear of missing out or worrying that if we unplug we might lose some of our power to control what happens in the world.
How do the teachings of Jesus speak to these issues? He invites us to trust and not worry, to "welcome children" and to pay loving attention to the people nearest us. Nate and I decided to do a a seven-day experiment together to pursue these things, using principles of abstinence and engagement. We made a commitment to do the following each day: (1) engage face to face with another person and read something on paper before turning to our devices; (2) limit checking email to twice a day-- once in the morning and once in the late afternoon); (3) When going through text messages and emails, pause momentarily to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done..." for each person represented before hitting "reply" or "delete."
Nate and I both experienced dramatic shifts during the week. Clarifying boundaries between work and rest made us more available to our families. Pausing to pray for each person we messaged elevated the task of correspondence to a sacred appointment. And by adopting voluntary limits, we both felt less stressed and hurried. During the week, I struggled to pray mindfully before hitting "send," and once or twice Nate checked his email an extra time. But in general, we found it easy to keep these commitments because we were doing it together. We learned something tangible about what it looks like for us to practice the way of Jesus in the messy details of our lives.
For more on Mark and his other experiments in the way of Jesus, visit www.jesusdojo.com.
Posted by Leah Kiple at 8:08 AM
June 17, 2011
Reflections on Father's Day
This weekend is a time of joy and celebration for some, but for others, Father’s Day can be a reminder of painful memories and disappointments.
Whether you have a significant relationship with your father or not, the Heavenly Father has already given his life out of love for you. In the book, The Girl in the Orange Dress, author Margot Starbuck recounts her search for a father who does not fail. What she finds is a vastly loving God who says, “I am for you.”
Now, two years after the book’s publication, Margot reflects on her life and the redemption she’s now found through her Father God. Read “Searching for Abba on Father’s Day” on Christianity Today’s blog her.meneutics. Margot’s words are a reminder that the God of the Universe is also the Father who never fails.
Posted by Leah Kiple at 12:04 PM
June 10, 2011
An eBook Update
Since our last post about IVP’s work on eBooks back in February (eBooks Are Here!), we’ve made progress on several fronts. Here is the latest news for all of you who are eBook fans:
We have just received our first batch of ePub and Mobi files for 10 titles that we had converted by Aptara and eBook Architects. Several of us have been poring over them and testing them out on a variety of ereading software and devices. Our vendors did great work, and we are learning a lot from this first batch about how best to handle fonts, style sidebars or callouts, and link endnotes—among other things. We’ve got a few corrections to make, and then we’ll release these titles to Amazon, Google, Christian Book Distributors AND two new resellers we just signed up with, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
So, by early July, look for these titles available in ePub or Mobi format from this growing group of resellers:
We also plan to make these titles available for sale ourselves. Whether through our partner resellers or our own webstore, complete details on all our eBook titles will be posted as they become available at Ye Olde eBook Shoppe.
—The Behind the Books Team