A Christianity That Looks Nothing Like Christ

October 23, 2018
News Release

A dispatch from the wreckage of U.S. Christianity
Mattson urges moving towards a Jesus-centered faith in The Great Reckoning

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Disillusioned with an American Christianity that loves political power, promises prosperity, and feeds on fear, author Stephen Mattson offers a clear-eyed yet tender critique of where the church has gone wrong in The Great Reckoning: Surviving a Christianity That Looks Nothing like Christ (Herald Press, October 2018).

Tired of rationalizing how a loving God can be connected to unloving churches, institutions, and people, Mattson calls the church to critical self-examination through a “Jesus lens.” Instead of doomsaying or casting aspersions, Mattson offers hope for seekers looking to move away from the culture wars and toward a Jesus-centered faith.

“Similar to the Great Awakening, a series of revivals that permanently affected the Christian faith for years to come, I believe that we are living in what we could call the Great Reckoning: a time of soul-searching and truth-seeking and candid reflection on what we as Christians have allowed Christianity to become,” writes Mattson.

Mattson offers hope-filled examples of how Jesus followers can embody their faith in authentic ways.

“Decades from now, will the American Christianity of our day be known for a legacy of inspiration, or will its stance on racism, refugees, immigration policy, welfare, gender, and poverty leave a damning mark in history?” writes Mattson. “We must always be vigilant and aware of how Christianity is being co-opted.”

Stephen Mattson is a writer and activist whose work has been published in Relevant, Huffington Post, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, and a variety of other venues. Mattson graduated from Moody Bible Institute, served as a youth pastor, and now works at University of Northwestern–St. Paul. He and his wife and children live near Saint Paul, Minnesota, and attend Woodland Hills Church.

The Great Reckoning is available from Herald Press for $16.99 (paperback) and $13.99 (ebook) via 800 245 7894 and at the Herald Press webstore, www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877 846 1593), Parasource (800 263 2664), and elsewhere.

To schedule an interview with Stephen Mattson, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Resources for living out a countercultural faith      

News Release
October 17, 2018

Two new study books ready for congregations
Resources for living out a countercultural faith         

HARRISONBURG, Va.—Two new short study books for Christian education classes and small groups will help Christians looking for guidance on two urgent areas: parenting and prayer.

Herald Press launched the Upside-Down Living series in early 2017 to accompany the release of The Upside-Down Kingdom: Anniversary Edition by Donald B. Kraybill. The eight booklets in the Bible study series engage participants with questions about how to follow Jesus in ways that seem upside down in today’s culture. Each guide includes six sessions.

Upside-Down Living: Parenting authors Katherine and Peter Goerzen tackle the topic of parenting in the way of Christ. In addition to diapers and discipline, raising kids to heed Jesus’ upside-down call away from status and power and toward service and sharing can seem almost impossible. How can Christian parents model countercultural choices? What does success mean in raising your children? The study offers Scriptures and discussion starters geared to parents.

The Goerzens are graduates of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and are ordained ministers in Mennonite Church USA. Currently, Katherine is associate pastor at Tabor (Kans.) Mennonite Church, and Peter is Bethel (Kans.) College campus pastor and instructor of Bible and religion.

In the second booklet, Upside-Down Living: Prayer, writer Kelly Chripczuk looks at how to make prayer more than just a hasty sentence or laundry list of the things we want. What does it mean to pray that the kingdom would come here and now as it is in heaven? Prayer can be a time to find out what God wants for us—and for the world.

Chripczuk is associate pastor of Grantham (Pa.) Church and is licensed for ministry in the Brethren in Christ U.S. denomination. She received her MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary and received training in spiritual direction through Oasis Ministries. Chripczuk offers contemplative retreats and classes at local churches and retreat centers.

The books in the Upside-Down Living series are available for $9.99 USD from Herald Press at 800-245-7894 or online at www.HeraldPress.com (25 percent quantity discount when ordering five or more). Books are also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877-846-1593), Parasource (800-263-2664), and other booksellers.

Pastor and biblical scholar Meghan Larissa Good offers new light on old stories in The Bible Unwrapped

News Release

October 8, 2018

Pastor and biblical scholar Meghan Larissa Good offers new light on old stories in The Bible Unwrapped

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, have questions about the Bible that they are too afraid to ask. In a new book, The Bible Unwrapped: Making Sense of Scripture Today (Herald Press, October 9), Meghan Larissa Good helps readers consider why the Bible matters. The book tackles dozens of difficult questions about passages in the Bible, drawing from the best of contemporary biblical scholarship and the ancient well of Christian tradition. Good is teaching pastor at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Good has earned a reputation for imaginatively engaging the Bible as a window into God’s wide world. Delving into issues like biblical authority, literary genre, and Christ-centered hermeneutics, Good calls readers beyond both knee-jerk biblicism and skeptical disregard. “The most common question teenagers ask me about religion is, ‘Why should I even care what the Bible has to say?’” writes Good. The Bible Unwrapped serves as her answer. “Between the lines of its obscure laws and strange and unexpected stories, the Bible forms inspired imagination for the God-shaped possibilities of the world,” Good writes. “In it we learn what God’s activity has looked like in the past so that we will recognize it when it is unfolding right in front of us. We discover what God sounds like so that we can hear when God continues to speak.”

Leonard Sweet, bestselling author and scholar, says about The Bible Unwrapped, “Do not let this unique gift pass by unopened and unenjoyed.” Dottie Escobedo-Frank, pastor and author, adds, “You need this book in your church, and in your work with people who are searching for answers. It is the missing piece for our discussions on the Bible.” Gregory A. Boyd, author, theologian, and founding pastor of Woodland Hills Church, is writing a foreword for the book.

Good has degrees from Gordon College, Duke Divinity School, and Portland Seminary. She is a frequent speaker around such topics as biblical hermeneutics, emerging Anabaptism, and the church’s generation gap.

To schedule an interview with Good, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org. The Bible Unwrapped is available from Herald Press for $17.99 (paperback) and $13.99 (ebook) via 800 245 7894 and at the Herald Press webstore, www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877 846 1593), Parasource (800 263 2664), and elsewhere.