Book of the Month Club
Join us each 2nd Thursday at 5:45 PM for our Book of the Month.
- Bring your book ready to discuss & a dish to share.
- How do I get my book? Either purchase online, or contact the church office to order for you. The church library will have a limited number of free copies for use. Please do not let cost be an obstacle to attending.
Pastor Hylden (September 15) “No Cure for Being Human” by Kate Bowler
It’s hard to give up on the feeling that the life you really want is just out of reach. A beach body by summer. A trip to Disneyland around the corner. A promotion on the horizon. Everyone wants to believe that they are headed toward good, better, best. But what happens when the life you hoped for is put on hold indefinitely?
Kate Bowler believed that life was a series of unlimited choices, until she discovered, at age 35, that her body was wracked with cancer. In No Cure for Being Human, she searches for a way forward as she mines the wisdom (and absurdity) of today’s “best life now” advice industry, which insists on exhausting positivity and on trying to convince us that we can out-eat, out-learn, and out-perform our humanness. We are, she finds, as fragile as the day we were born.
With dry wit and unflinching honesty, Kate Bowler grapples with her diagnosis, her ambition, and her faith as she tries to come to terms with her limitations in a culture that says anything is possible. She finds that we need one another if we’re going to tell the truth: Life is beautiful and terrible, full of hope and despair and everything in between—and there’s no cure for being human.
Debbie McNaull (October 13) Into My Father’s Embrace by Debbie McNaull
Into My Father’s Embrace walks with the author and her family through their four-month hospice journey as they bid farewell to the family’s patriarch, Robert Stokes. These pages reflect upon the generous embrace of an earthly father and friend, and the faithful, ever-present embrace of the heavenly Father, extending hope and comfort as a husband and father passes from life to death. As life-long lessons are remembered, they reveal the steadfastness of a loving father who taught his children how to love and how to persevere, how to live and how to die. Through stories old and new, words of scripture, songs of faith, and the daily gift of the sunrise, a personal good-bye is shared and a good life is honored.
Sabrina Pepsny (Nov. 10) Becoming All Things by Michelle Reyes
Healthy relationships across cultures are possible. Dr. Michelle Reyes takes a close look at the concept of cultural accommodation found in Scripture—and especially in the letter of 1 Corinthians—to redefine how Christians interact with cultural narratives that are different from their own.
Christians—whose standard of living is oneness in Christ, whose gospel is radically nonexclusive—should be at the frontlines of justice and of cross-cultural unity. But many of us struggle to reach outside of our own cultural bubbles and form real relationships that move beyond stereotypes and lead to understanding, healing, and solidarity across cultural lines.
Why is that?
- Why is it so difficult to reconcile our call to be united in Christ with a celebration of different cultural expressions?
- What are the reasons for cultural differences and how do they so often lead to stereotyping, appropriation, gentrification, racism, and other forms of injustice?
- What does the Bible say about human beings as cultural image bearers?
- How do we reevaluate our awareness of culture identity in a healthy and constructive way?
These are just some of the questions that Dr. Reyes explores as she faces the challenges surrounding cross-cultural relationships in America today and her thoughts on the way forward.
John Byron (Dec. 8) “A Week in the Life of a Slave” by John Byron
"I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me." These words, written by the apostle Paul to a first-century Christian named Philemon, are tantalizingly brief. Indeed, Paul's epistle to Philemon is one of the shortest books in the entire Bible. While it's direct enough in its way, it certainly leaves plenty to the imagination. A Week in the Life of a Slave is a vivid imagining of that story. From the pen of an accomplished New Testament scholar, the narrative follows the slave Onesimus from his arrival in Ephesus, where the apostle Paul is imprisoned, and fleshes out the lived context of that time and place, supplemented by numerous sidebars and historical images. John Byron's historical fiction is at once a social and theological critique of slavery in the Roman Empire and a gripping adventure story, set against the exotic backdrop of first-century Ephesus.
Ben Hylden (Jan. 12) “Finding Faith in the Field” by Ben Hylden
On a cold April day, Ben Hylden tried on his suit coat for the upcoming school prom, then sped toward nearby Park River, ND, for an appointment. Running late and driving too fast, he lost control of his car on ice, flipped the car and was thrown out the passenger's door-plunging face first into an icy field. Ben's face and body were crushed, along with his dreams of being a basketball star. As his battered body lay in the field, Ben's life seemed to be coming to an end. However, it turned out to only be the beginning of a remarkable journey of faith that showed him glimpses of life beyond this world, and gave him a new perspective on what matters most.
Pastor Hylden (February 9) “The Life We’re Looking For” by Andy Crouch
In The Life We’re Looking For, bestselling author Andy Crouch shows how we have been seduced by a false vision of human flourishing—and how each of us can fight back. From the social innovations of the early Christian movement to the efforts of entrepreneurs working to create more humane technology, Crouch shows how we can restore true community and put people first in a world dominated by money, power, and devices.
There is a way out of our impersonal world, into a world where knowing and being known are the heartbeat of our days, our households, and our economies. Where our vulnerabilities are seen not as something to be escaped but as the key to our becoming who we were made to be together. Where technology serves us rather than masters us—and helps us become more human, not less.
Lana Potter (March 9) “Learning to Walk in the Dark” by Barbara Brown Taylor
Taylor has become increasingly uncomfortable with our tendency to associate all that is good with lightness and all that is evil and dangerous with darkness. Doesn’t God work in the nighttime as well? In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Taylor asks us to put aside our fears and anxieties and to explore all that God has to teach us “in the dark.” She argues that we need to move away from our “solar spirituality” and ease our way into appreciating “lunar spirituality” (since, like the moon, our experience of the light waxes and wanes). Through darkness we find courage, we understand the world in new ways, and we feel God’s presence around us, guiding us through things seen and unseen. Often, it is while we are in the dark that we grow the most.
With her characteristic charm and literary wisdom, Taylor is our guide through a spirituality of the nighttime, teaching us how to find our footing in times of uncertainty and giving us strength and hope to face all of life’s challenging moments.
Vincent Bacote (April 13) The Political Disciple by Vincent Bacote
“What might it mean for public and political life to be understood as an important dimension of following Jesus? As a part of Zondervan’s Ordinary Theology series, Vincent E. Bacote’s The Political Disciple addresses this question by considering not only whether Christians have (or need) permission to engage the public square, but also what it means to reflect Christlikeness in our public practice, as well as what to make of the typically slow rate of social change and the tension between relative allegiance to a nation and/or a political party and ultimate allegiance to Christ. Pastors, laypeople, and college students will find this concise volume a handy primer on Christianity and public life.”
Daniel Hawk (May 11) “The Violence of the Biblical God” by L. Daniel Hawk
How can we make sense of violence in the Bible? Joshua commands the people of Israel to wipe out everyone in the promised land of Canaan, while Jesus commands God’s people to love their enemies. How are we to interpret biblical passages on violence when it is sanctioned at one point and condemned at another?
The Violence of the Biblical God by L. Daniel Hawk presents a new framework, solidly rooted in the authority of Scripture, for understanding the paradox of God’s participation in violence. Hawk shows how the historical narrative of the Bible offers multiple canonical pictures for faithful Christian engagement with the violent systems of the world.
Pastor Hylden (June 8) “Reading While Black” by Esau McCaully
Growing up in the American South, Esau McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in the African American context. A key element in the fight for hope, he discovered, has long been the practice of Bible reading and interpretation that comes out of traditional Black churches. This ecclesial tradition is often disregarded or viewed with suspicion by much of the wider church and academy, but it has something vital to say.
Reading While Black is a personal and scholarly testament to the power and hope of Black biblical interpretation. At a time in which some within the African American community are questioning the place of the Christian faith in the struggle for justice, New Testament scholar McCaulley argues that reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition is invaluable for connecting with a rich faith history and addressing the urgent issues of our times. He advocates for a model of interpretation that involves an ongoing conversation between the collective Black experience and the Bible, in which the particular questions coming out of Black communities are given pride of place and the Bible is given space to respond by affirming, challenging, and, at times, reshaping Black concerns. McCaulley demonstrates this model with studies on how Scripture speaks to topics often overlooked by white interpreters, such as ethnicity, political protest, policing, and slavery.
Ultimately McCaulley calls the church to a dynamic theological engagement with Scripture, in which Christians of diverse backgrounds dialogue with their own social location as well as the cultures of others. Reading While Black moves the conversation forward.
Linda Hartzfeld (July 13) Victorious Emotions by Wendy Backlund
“Are you tired of trying hard to be happy and victorious?Are you tired of working hard at enjoying life? Then this book is for you. Victorious Emotions will help create happiness as your default emotion. Even if we have unhappy circumstances, we can build a system of beliefs that, as effortless as the tides, will always bring us back to joy.Victorious Emotions gives powerful, practical strategies to live out Romans 12:2, which says to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. The word "renewing" in the Greek means renovation. This book is about renovating and reconstructing the pathways and strongholds of our thinking. It explores how our brains create certain belief systems and how to intentionally create new ones.The goal of this book is not to focus on eliminating negative emotions, but to build a tidal wave of victorious emotions that are pulled into our lives as easily and surely as the ocean tides will appear every day. It is time to be overtaken by emotions that lead us into victory!”