- A New Kind of Christianity, Brian McLaren
- If the Church Were Christian, Phillip Gulley
- The Case for God, Karen Armstrong
The McLaren and Gulley books are about praxis, how to form a new kind of church that would actually embody the values of Jesus, instead of just talking about him. Armstrong's is about history—understanding how we got "here," a world where many people identify religion with fundamentalism and dismiss it altogether, and where many others identify their religious truth as the only true truth and dismiss everyone else.
I hope to take time to write more, especially about the praxis books. However, my nightstand now has on it Diana Butler Bass's A People's History of Christianity, and it's beckoning to me, more than three months after Robin M. gave it to me. (In between the food pantry debut, a baseball game, Quaker Heritage Day tomorrow, and meeting for business on Sunday, it's simply going to have to wait just a little bit longer for my attention.)
One brief note from Gulley's book: He lists the desirable testimonies of a congregation as being simplicity, peace, integrity, justice, and equality—which you can abbreviate as SPIJE. I like this as an alternative to the mnemonic of "the" Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality, which are an extension of something Howard Brinton originally synthesized in Quakers for 300 Years. (Here's an old post I wrote in 2006 about doing a workshop on the "SPICES" testimonies—the extra S is for Stewardship.)