IVP - Behind the Books - January 2012 Archives

January 18, 2012

Seeing, Tasting, Smelling, Hearing and Touching the Wonders of God

Thank you to Jeff Crosby, Associate Publisher and Director of Sales & Marketing for this post.

The Advent season we have just journeyed through is one in which our senses are often heightened beyond the norm: The fragrance of lit candles and the sound of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite; the taste of eggnog and the brilliance of multi-colored lights trimming homes and trees; the warm touch of friends and family who have gathered with us.

In spite of the oft-times hectic pace of the cultural trappings of the Advent season, it is one in which we are often more aware of the senses, more in tune with the wonder of Immanuel, God with us.

But what about the rest of the year?


If I'm honest, I realize that I'm very much like the people my friends Beth A. Booram and J. Brent Bill are writing to in their just-released book Awaken Your Senses when they say:

"Since we live so much out of our thinking, we often become divorced from our souls and our bodies. We lose a sense of place, of rootedness in life. Using our senses helps us live in present time." (emphasis added)

And we need to live in that present time. After all, it's the only time that we have. But how do we cultivate the disciplined use of our senses in seasons, unlike Advent, during which the world is experienced in gray rather than vivid color? When we hear the cacophony of suburban traffic more often and more loudly than the beautiful sound of the Wood Thrush? When friends and family are not near, but quite far from us and distant from our physical touch?

In a recent conversation about his reason for writing Awaken Your Senses, Brent Bill, whom I first met nearly a quarter century ago and whose written work I've followed and appreciated throughout the intervening years, explained it this way:

One reason the senses are so important is because we neglect to use them. Even though St. Paul tells us to 'present your bodies as a living sacrifice' to God, we rarely do so. We offer our minds and souls, but rarely think of how our bodies were also God-made and can be God-honoring. Our bodies open us in fresh ways -- through sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound -- to experiencing God present with us in tangible ways.

And that is exactly what Awaken Your Senses does: Open readers up to experiencing God present with us. Immanuel, throughout the year.

I've known Beth Booram, the book's co-author, for a much shorter period of time than Brent. But she, too, has become a friend and a trusted guide. We share a love of classical music, the outdoors, and family. We also share an appreciation for well-crafted - and kindly-spoken - words.

Taste image from AYS.JPG

In a section of the book titled "Tasting Words," Beth writes powerfully and metaphorically about the ability to "taste" words, whether those that are life-affirming, sweet and appetizing (words like loving, kind, honest, beautiful, sincere, valiant) or words that are bitter and distasteful (cruel, vile, worthless, ugly, ungrateful). She leads readers through a very poignant spiritual exercise she calls "tasting forgiveness" (see video link below) that is one we all should be mindful of in any season. But as the calendar turns from Advent and Christmastide to Lent and Eastertide in the weeks ahead, her message on the taste of forgiveness is all the more penetrating, and all the more timely. (Drawing on the right by Marcy Jean Stacey; one of several "sense" pictures in the book)

Awaken Your Senses was written for people like me - and, maybe, like you - who need wise and helpful guides on the journey of exploring the wonder of God in any and all seasons: Advent and Christmastide; Lent and Eastertide. And beyond.

Immanuel, God with us.
Throughout the year. Throughout the seasons.
Joy to the world.
Thanks be to God.

More information can be found at the book's Facebook page. Check there on Monday, February 6 to enter a contest based on each of the five senses. Win a gift certificate or a free copy of Awaken Your Senses.
Posted by Leah Kiple at 1:15 PM

January 5, 2012

IVP's Top Ten of 2011

Before 2011 becomes too distant of a memory, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the most memorable IVP happenings of 2011. All in all it was an eventful year, and we look forward with anticipation to what 2012 has in store.

1) Snowpocalypse!


We started out the year with over two feet of snow falling in the Chicago area on February 1. IVP's offices were closed for a day while we let the snow plows dig us out. It wasn't fun to drive in, but when the sun finally came out it sure was pretty. Check out some other pictures of Chicago during the blizzard.

2) WildGoose Festival


In June IVP's Likewise Books sponsored the first Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hills, NC. Likewise authors like Shane Claiborne, Mark Scandrette, Julie Clawson, Sean Gladding and Margot Starbuck were on hand for a festival of justice, spirituality, music and art. Missed it this year? Check out the video for some highlights, and don't forget to register for Wild Goose 2012 today to save your spot!

3) Release of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture


In July we released the highly anticipated new series, the Reformation Commentary on Scripture to critical acclaim. Mark Noll called it a "major publishing event" and Richard Mouw said it was "a godsend." Find out more about the series and learn how you can save 40% when you sign up today!

4) Remembering John Stott


On July 27, 2011 the world lost a true saint when John Stott passed into the presence of the Lord at the age of 90. His life and legacy were remembered at services around the world. He will be greatly missed.

5) Richard Foster eBook Sales Take Off

One week in August the ebook edition of Richard Foster's new Sanctuary of the Soul sold more copies on Amazon.com than the print edition! It's the first time an IVP ebook overtook the print edition, and we believe it's an exciting indication of things to come in 2012.

6) Andy Root's Popular Post


In September professor and author Andy Root wrote a post on our Online Pulpit blog postulating that "all pastoral ministry has gone the way of youth ministry." The post generated multiple thoughtful and enthusiastic comments on the importance of bringing theology back into ministry. We hope you will continue this conversation in 2012.

7) Award-Winning Covers


In October the 60th Annual Chicago Book Clinic Book and Media Show presented InterVarsity Press with four book design awards. Congratulations to our stellar designer Cindy Kiple for her beautiful cover and interior designs and to Jim Erhart for excellence in the manufacturing process. Covers honored included Clouds of Witnesses, Opening to God, Contemplative Vision and Defending Constantine.

8) Anti-Trafficking Tour with Daniel Walker

In October Daniel Walker, author of God in Brothel, partnered with Compassion International and Hagar International to tour the country and shed new light on the grim realities of enforced prostitution and the status of rescue efforts around the globe. Sharing from his own experience as an undercover investigator who has rescued hundreds of women and children from the sex industry, Daniel touched the hearts and opened the eyes of hundreds of attendees.

As a result of the tour:

  • Nearly 100 vulnerable children were sponsored through Compassion to prevent future human trafficking
  • Hagar collected hundreds of emails from attendees who were interested in joining the fight against human trafficking
  • Daniel received important media coverage to advance the awareness of this grave worldwide injustice

9) IVP Wins Recycling Award


In November IVP received the Commercial Recycling Award from the Village of Westmont for its successful commitment to improving the environment by recycling. It was an honor to be recognized at the November 7 Westmont Village Board Meeting as "the best and most improved big business recycler."

We've taken specific steps to institute an environmental stewardship program by educating and informing our team on how to be responsible with natural resources. In 2010, we recycled twelve thousand pounds of paper, and we allow the public to drop off paper in recycling dumpsters in our parking lot.

"We are committed to protecting the environment and to the responsible use of natural resources. Our employees are to be commended for their diligence," says Anne Gerth, IVP's director of production and fulfillment.

10) Biblica Acquisition


In December we acquired Biblica Books, the book-publishing arm of Biblica Worldwide and obtained 170 current and nearly 30 new Biblica Books titles. This includes Operation World, the definitive global prayer guide that's now in its seventh edition. "With this acquisition, IVP becomes an even stronger publisher for biblical and missions-oriented resources. We are grateful for this expansion opportunity," says IVP Publisher Bob Fryling.

You can browse all the Biblica books available on the new tab on our website.


What about you? As you look back on the year, what were the big life-shaping events you won't forget? And what are you looking forward to in 2012?

Posted by Rebecca Larson at 12:32 PM

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