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Performing the Gospel:
Exploring the Borderland of Worship, Entertainment, and the Arts

What is the difference between good worship and good entertainment? Too often, people disparage some aspect of worship by calling it “just entertainment” or “just a performance.” Others say that they do not need to go to church because they have profound spiritual or even religious experiences at concerts, plays, movies, or dances. How is worship different from these performing arts? How is art different from entertainment? This book looks at the history of the performing arts both in worship and as worship, with particular attention to the attitudes that shape our ideas about both worship and entertainment. Working definitions of words like “art,” “excellence,” “liturgy,” and “play” help to illuminate what different people mean when they use them in conversations about Christian worship. Putting theological, scriptural, and practical writings on worship and the performing arts in conversation with interviews with dancers, musicians, actors, preachers, and liturgical scholars, this volume is intended to help pastors, performers, and everyone who plans, leads, or cares about worship talk with one another in mutually respectful and helpful ways.

To buy Performing the Gospel direct from Wipf and Stock Publishers, click here.

Sanctifying Art:
Inviting Conversation between Artists, Theologians, and the Church

sanctifying_art_coverAs an artist, I have often been surprised and dismayed by the unexamined attitudes and assumptions that the church holds about how artists think and how art functions in human life. By investigating these attitudes and tying them to concrete examples, I hope to demystify art—to bring art down to earth, where theologians, pastors, and ordinary Christians can wrestle with its meanings, participate in its processes, and understand its uses. In showing the commonalities and distinctions among the various ways that artists themselves approach their work, Sanctifying Art can help the church talk about the arts in ways that artists will recognize. As a member of both the church and the art world, I want to bridge the gap between the habits of thought that inform the discourse of the art world and those quite different ideas about art that are taken for granted by many Christians. When art is understood as intellectual, technical, and physical as well as ethereal, mysterious, and sacred, we will see it as an integral part of our life together in Christ, fully human and fully divine.

To buy Sanctifying Art direct from Wipf and Stock Publishers, click here.

Calling on God:
Inclusive Christian Prayers for Three Years of Sundays

with Peter Bankson

Both of us grew up in a world where God was referred to almost exclusively in male terms. After a lifetime of prayer, contemplation, and study, we have come to understand that God is bigger, deeper, and more mysterious than the “old man in the sky” image that peers down on us from countless Renaissance paintings. Reading our Bibles, we find God spoken of as the rock of our salvation, imagined as a spring of living water, likened to a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wing. Metaphors like these remind us that it is impossible to comprehend God in any one image. If we human beings are made in the image of God, then everyone—men and women; old and young; people who are gay, straight, bi, transgender, or impossible to define; those whose skin is dark and those whose skin is pale, and any other kind of people we leave out of any list—everyone needs to be able to see themselves included in our images of God. Inclusive, expansive, imaginative language for God that we present in this book opens us, and those with whom we pray, to the Divine Mystery who holds us all in love.

Buy Calling on God now from Skylight Paths/Christian Journeys
and many other fine booksellers for $18.99 ISBN 978-1-59473

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