Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching and there is much to do & much that I want to say over this next week.  One thing I realized is that I have not blogged much about the books that I am reading at the moment, partly because there are so many that I get a little behind with writing them up.  However I realize that this is the time that most of us are putting together our Christmas lists (unless you are determined to make this a buy nothing Christmas)  so I thought I would give you my suggestions.

The approach of Christmas seems a good time however to reflect on some the boundary breaking books that I am reading – those books that push my thinking outside the boundaries of the usual ways I think about faith

Top of the list is The Boundary Breaking God: An Unfolding Story of Hope and Promise, by Danielle Shroyer.  I think that this is a must read for all of us who are grappling with what it really means to be a follower of Christ in today’s world.  God’s people were always those being pushed to the margins – the outsiders who are moving towards an unknown yet hopeful future.  I love the way that Danielle stretches our thinking beyond the familiar ways of interpreting bible stories.

I love her telling of the story of the Magi – “these very un-Jewish, pagan astrologers” far from home yet acknowledging Christ as king.  Danielle’s comments seem very appropriate at this season.

“Though God’s activity in the world began with one family, Jesus’ kingship begins with one world.  Christ’s birth marks the beginning of the promised Kingdom of God on earth.  And that Kingdom as we see in Epiphany reaches far beyond Jerusalem.

From the very beginning of jesus life on earth, God makes it clear this Messiah is going to muddy the lines between who is in and who is out.  The story of the astrologers is the story of God’s expanding love from the viewpoint of the unexpected outsiders.

The second book I want to recommend is a new bible that arrived in the mail a few days ago.  It is called Mosaic and combines the New Living Translation with reflections for the seasons of the church year.  Tyndale has drawn together authors from a rich array of backgrounds and cultures to share reflections, poetry and art.  The trouble is that I wanted to read all the reflections on the first day.

I love the New Living Translation – it is very readable but as a translation not a paraphrase which is great.  I also love that proceeds from the bible go to support the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators.  So again this is a gift that I would heartily recommend – and with that feel good sense that you are doing something to spread the word of God into other cultures too.

The third book I want to recommend is one that I actually have not read as yet (I am expecting to receive a review copy in the next couple of days).  It is Samir Selmanovic’s: It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian. Even the title is enough to make my mouth water. I will probably blog more about this after I get into the book but here are some reviews that are definitely enticing me to want more.

His aim is to embrace the diversities and even the mutually exclusive mysteries of the three Abrahamic faiths and atheism to gain a new perspective that is not about ourselves but about God.  Read the entire review here

Through his personal stories and engagement with the stories of  Christians, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists and more, author Samir Selmanovic points the way to a life with God and each other that is bigger and better than most of us have ever dared to dream.  Read the entire review

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